by Sheree Shatsky
The dog sleeps crumpled in a heap by Marjorie’s feet. Her hands busy with knitting needles, but every twenty rows, she reaches down and pats him proper. Her husband flaps his newspaper with each pat, shaking his head behind the headlines.
‘I see what you’re thinking, Merrill.’
‘You keep your mind off my dog.’
Merrill folds the paper in half and rolls it like a sausage. ‘That’s no dog,’ he says, pointing at the Lab. ‘That’s a zombie. A dead dog zombie.’
‘Nothing wrong with him. He’s old and creaky, sure, but lots of life left to live.’
She marks Row 8 with a diaper pin. Fancy knitting markers were fine, but diaper pins made her think of her fur baby, Zippy.
‘That dog’s a goner. Mark my words, this time next year, he’ll be buried in the backyard. He’s good as gone now. Look at him, nothing but skin, bones and lipomas.’
‘The vet says to keep his weight down.’
‘It’s down all right. He’s dried up shriveled and about to blow away. He’s barely breathing.’
Marjorie quickens her knitting needles. ‘He’s breathing just fine.’ She reaches for a diaper pin and marks Row 15.
Merrill laughs. ‘You are blind, Marjorie. For crying out loud, the dog is wearing a diaper. Zippy, do you like wearing a diaper?’ The dog yawns and rolls over.
Row 17. Diaper pin. Marked. ‘It’s a mobility device. Helps him ambulate.’
‘Ambulate?’ He slaps his knee with the paper. ‘The vet used that fifty-cent word to describe the seal walk Zippy’s got going on? Priceless.’
Marjorie bites open a diaper pin.
‘You’d believe anything, woman. Can’t you see, that vet is bleeding you dry?’
‘Oh I see, see what you’re thinking.’ She gets up and stabs Merrill deep in the thigh with the diaper pin, hammering the plastic head one good lick with his newspaper. ‘Now you’ve got something to moan and groan about. Keep your mind off my dog.’
Marjorie marks Row 20 with a fresh pin and pats Zippy proper.
Sheree Shatsky writes short fiction believing much can be conveyed with a few wild words. She was selected by the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program as a Spring 2018 mentee for flash fiction. Recent work has appeared in KYSO Flash and mac(ro)mic with work forthcoming in Sleet Magazine. Read more of Ms. Shatsky’s work along with her adventures with Wild Words at www.shereeshatsky.com.