My brother and me had to work late on The Little House of Horrors the other day so Miss Carol had walk the boys. Since I walk ’em every day twice a day, I didn’t think too much about asking Miss Carol to take them.
But when we got home, Miss Carol was in tears and Cutter and Tug were sitting in the corner, their ears down and looking guilty.
I looked back and forth between them and said, what the fuck?
Cutter and Tug lowered down on their bellies and Miss Carol stammered between sobs, Tug almost ran away, she cried out.
Glad that no one had died, I went to the refrigerator and got a beer. I twisted the top off and said, what happened?
Miss Carol choked back a sob, pressing her fist to her mouth and squeezing her eyes tightly shut.
I took them up to the beach, she said, her voice quavering.
And?, I said, leaning on the counter, eyeing Cutter and Tug.
And Tug took off, Miss Carol choked out.
I thought I’d lost him, she said, her tears rolling freely now. He ran and ran and wouldn’t listen, she said, hiccuping between tears.
I hugged her while she wept, and glared at Cutter and Tug.
Dudes, I said.
Cutter perked up a little and said, it wasn’t me, boss.
Tug grunted and closed his eyes.
I held Miss Carol until she had calmed down enough to make us a couple of cocktails and some dinner and then we went to bed.
Late that night I woke up and saw Tug staring at me.
Quietly I whispered to him, don’t never run away again, Tug.
He stared at me.
You’ll get picked up by some mean family and they’ll chain you to a stake in their yard and leave you outside, I whispered.
He looked at me, breathing hot dog breath on me. And then he licked my face.
I know, he said. I won’t, he said.
So I petted his big head, loving him.
Curled up at the foot of the bed, Cutter giggled in the darkness.
Buuuulllshit, he said.