The door had slowly swung open slow, like it had when he pushed it and snuck in. Jumping off the bed he crept over to see if it was the man. It wasn’t. Back on the bed he is curled on the pillow. It smells good. Like hair and sweat and oil. Like people. And soap. Soft, he sank down into it and, divot-ed in he liked how it kept him warm. The open door let in smells and sounds he has heard before. Road, people, birds, planes, leaves…outside sounds. Grass, cars, smoke, fresh cut wood, oil, diesel…outside smells. Under the bed he had caught whiffs of food, mold and blood. If the man doesn’t come back soon maybe he’d go out and pee on something. A soft breeze pushed the door and it flexes open before gently swinging back; a wind-driven sigh.
His ears perk as he hears the sound of the motorcycle coming closer. The bike coughs a backfire and his head comes off the pillow and he uncurls to sit sphinx-like on tense haunches. Loose gravel crunches as it pulls up to the door. A hard rev and then it shuts down. A metal creak as the kickstand stretches it’s return spring and a thump as it hits the stop. Boots. The right sound for the man. His tag wags. He doesn’t want it to but it just does…like when he’d piddle with excitement as a puppy. The people go angry but it just happened.
Outside the door the man stops. The dog can hear him putting keys in his pocket. Waiting now. The man is right there. He smells right there now too. A meat. The man smell, the meat smell. The wag, wag, wag smells.
You in here? Says the man.
Right here, says the dog, jumping off the bed and turning the corner around the door. Right here. Sitting. Wagging.
The man’s face says, dammit and cool at the same time. A hamburger says, I’m in the bag. His tail says, wagging like I really mean it. Mouth watering he sits. Looking good. Steady and ready.
Wow, says the man. What a mooch. Reaching into the bag he retrieves a cooked hamburger in a wax wrapper.
No bun? No bun! The dog fidgets. No bun. All meat. Best day ever.
Karrera with the gray hair since high school had looked at him like he was nuts when he ordered a hamburger “hold everything but the patty”. She was cute when she was confused, wrinkled her nose like something smelled odd. It was the hot engine look riders got when they smelled oil or coolant or hot electrics. As metaphor a fire under your ass was great, but as a reality it was frightening. Nobody wants that much heat that close to their gonads.
Hello? Says the dog. Whimper. He doesn’t want to whimper but this was dammit and cool at the same time. Drop the meat already!
Stepping fully into the room the man tears off a small piece of ground beef with his right hand. He lowers the patty and holds out the chunk of meat. This what you want, he asks and holds the small piece too high to reach.
Dummy, says the dog. Jumping up he grabs a hold of the whole patty out of the man’s other hand.
Shit! Says the man. He manages to hold on to half the patty.
I win, says the dog disappearing under the bed. Now under the bed smells like hamburger, mold and blood. The hamburger is juicy and after he finishes gulping it down he licks his paws a moment to get every drop of grease.
The dog stays under the bed. You there? Asks the man after a moment. Licking his chops the dog sticks just his head out from under the bed.
Am I in trouble? Asks the dog.
No, says the man as he squats and offers another chunk of burger. Careful and slow the dog takes the meat. Two gnashes of his molars and the meat is gone. Gulp.
The man asks, when was the last time you ate? Chin on the ground and straining not to grab at the remaining hamburger the dog softly paws at the ground, crawling forward. The man drops all the way down to his knees and slides back to give the dog room to get out from under the bed.
Right here buddy, he’s patting his thighs.
I’m in, answers the dog, jumping up.
Thinking dammit and cool at the same time he pets and loves on the dog feeding him the rest of the patty.