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“Wow. Ow. Bow. How. Ow. Ow.”

There’s some swearing in this one. Those of a tender disposition might want to look away.

***

I

can see the breakers rolling up the beach: white lines smearing out like wrinkles. A dog is barking. “Bow. Wow. Ow. Bow. How. Ow. Ow. Ow.” And it keeps barking. It’s so incorporeal, it could be lost in a building along the coast, could be dropped down a well, or it could be as close as the flat next door. That’d mean it belongs to the guy who’s renting us this holiday home.

I realize that dog has been barking its way around my subconscious for days now; a never ending, barking metronome that just won’t shut up.

Damn owner should be shouting at that damn dog.

But: “How. Bow. Ow. Ow.”

There it goes again.

A barbecue is blowing smoke in my face. We’ve got it pitched out on the veranda, and that salty sea air is rolling around in the smoke like it’s playing with it. And that dog is calling for its supper. Wanna bit of burger?

“Bow. Ow. Ow.”

Little snapper. Wanna plug its woof-hole with a half-pound of chuck-steak.

Though I guess that would be just what it wants.

We sit in bed discussing the psychology of pet ownership. I’ve never had a dog; never walked on the moon, neither, but figure I’m more of an expert than NASA.

Damn dog is ‘owing’ and ‘bowing’.

1 AM. Dear God. You furry little shit!

There was this other dog. I’m in the queue for the butcher. Dog’s outside. One of those rough, little dogs they keep up in the schemes, with a harness – practically a neck-scarf – and floppy jowls. It’s the colour of malt-brown caramel.

“Baby, Baby. Don’t you worry.” That’s what it’s owner says when that dog starts blowing out on the pavement. ‘Cept this dog is so loud it sounds like it’s in the shop with us.

Whining. Barking.

That dolly totters over to the door, trying to keep her place in the queue with an outstretched hand and backwards glances. “Baby, mummy’s just getting’ dinner. Don’t be like that, honey.”

Dog yowls, yawns, whines, one sharp bark. Looks worried around the door, but I know this little, brown torpedo is spoiled to high-hell. I never owned one, but I know this woman is apologising to that little rust-spot. Tick, tack, back in the shop, fake tan swinging on her arms, and I’m just wishing she’d snap the umbilical to that pooch-hound.

“Ow. Bow. Wow. How…”

Tick, tack. Tick, tack. “Bertie! You be a good boy. Mummy’s only going to be a minute. What a silly billy. Mummy’s here.

Dear, god. Dog’s got it’s eye set on a chop the size of its head. A long cord of drool drags around on the pavement, before pulling itself down as a frothy bolus of saliva. Dogs like that little sput have a bad rep round here. They’ve attacked kids.

“Bow. Ow. Ow. Ow.”

Tick, tack.

Christ. Push her out of the queue you lilly-livered sons-of-bitches.

Dog is sitting with its ass on the warm pavement, pale furry underside leading to pink flesh, like its stomach is receding; dog bits flopped around all doolally.

“Ow. Ow.”

Tick, tack. Tick, tack.

“Baby, don’t be like that.”

It goes on and on. And now I realise I can’t remember if I ever did get my pack of pork chitlins, or whether Bertie and the tick-tack woman ever made it out of the shop, or whether we all turned on them with pitchforks and torches; her and the damned Hellhound.

“Ow. Bow. How.”

But, I can’t concentrate to remembering, what with this multi-headed monster right next door. Barking out on the dog radio; barking back through time, like it’s that dog in the store talking to me, dissing me, sticking up the little dog ‘V’s.

3am. No sleep. “Ow. Bow. How. Ow.”

5am. No sleep. “Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. How. Bow. How.”

5:45am. Carving knife in hand.

12 comments

1 Steve Green { 07.09.11 at 3:15 pm }

As always, a good use of words, I like the sound effects, and jeez aren’t people who talk to animals as though they were babies annoying?

The last few lines gave me a smile, I think before long that there pooch is gonna be having good reason to go “OW OW OW” 🙂

2 Icy Sedgwick { 07.09.11 at 5:34 pm }

I’ve seen owners like that, who let their pets round rings around them. It’s enough to make you snap…which I suspect your narrator has just done!

3 Harry B. Sanderford { 07.10.11 at 12:33 pm }

Oh I know this dog. I’ve never understood how the owner, who is presumably closer to the, “multi-headed monster right next door. Barking out on the dog radio; barking back through time, like it’s that dog in the store talking to me, dissing me, sticking up the little dog ‘V’s.” can ignore it.

Something new on the grill tomorrow?
🙂

4 Helen { 07.10.11 at 1:37 pm }

Oh that barking dog! I’ve experienced a few – I can see how it might be going Ow ow ow for the last time.

Good story, nice sound effects! 🙂

5 Aidan Fritz { 07.10.11 at 5:56 pm }

This captures the insanity of sleeplessness, and the creeping-crawling anger that brings out neanderthal man. Crush, crush. Wait did I say that… must not have slept well. Another great voice & fun play.

6 Joan { 07.11.11 at 4:50 pm }

Ooh! Stephen! You’re my new best friend! Do you really think wrinkles can ‘smear out’ like white lines on the beach?!?
Seriously – yeah – there is a dog like this that barks outside my bedroom window every morning before 7.30. And last thing at night about 11.00.
And the police helicopter in between … oh, but we’re not supposed to mention that.

7 Steve Green { 07.11.11 at 10:37 pm }

Hi again Stephen, when you have a mo, can you pop over to my blog, I have an award waitng for you. 🙂

8 Chuck Allen { 07.13.11 at 2:41 am }

Ha ha! I LOVE this piece. You nailed the frustration – both with the constant noise culprit and the annoying spoiled critter at the store.

9 Stephen Hewitt { 07.17.11 at 11:22 pm }

@Steve — talking to animals as if they were babies is generally not a good sign. In this case, I think you’re right — that pooch may well be going ‘Ow, ow, ow’ very shortly 😉

@Icy — chewy rings, ok. Runny rings, not so good.

@Harry — It’s probably the same pooch. Anyone for a hot dog?

@Helen — thanks Helen. It seems that everyone has experience of one of these fiends.

@Aidan — lol. I recommend a nice relaxing snooze in your cave. That sabre-tooth dog won’t seem so bad in the morning.

@Joan — ‘wave away’ is a new breakthrough in skin-care and oceanography. That dog’s on a busy schedule, though it is managing to put in flight-time towards its helicopter licence 😉

@Steve — you weren’t kidding. Thank you very much 🙂

@Chuck — thanks Chuck. Frustration is definitely a defining emotion when it comes to these little buggers.

10 Sonia Lal { 07.20.11 at 9:38 pm }

Liked the last line! If that was me, I think I would be tempted to do something to. Like all the sound effects.

11 Stephen Hewitt { 07.26.11 at 11:09 pm }

@Sonia — thanks Sonia. I always enjoy a good sound effect, and that pooch-hound probably had better start running.

@Joan — it was probably an Airedale. (da-dum-tisk). I’ll go get my coat 😉

12 Joan { 07.22.11 at 1:33 pm }

Just have to say – you make me laugh out loud Stephen – loved your comment about the dog and its helicopter licence! Now I know who the real culprit is.

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