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Josh Markwell

“Come on, Sadie! Come on!” I encourage from the patio. “She’s so pretty, daddy!” My daughter points out to me as we watch Sadie trot back to us from across the yard. I put my hands out in a cup to catch her as she runs directly underneath my two feet. Sitting down next to my daughter with her, I agree. “She most certainly is. You know, these dogs are so smart. If you’re in trouble, they know it, and they can protect you!” I say to my daughter with the tone of a teacher. “Wow!” She huffs in excitement and enthusiasm, picking Sadie up and cuddling with her fat, puppy skin.

“Go on, play with her! Get to know her!” I insist as I stand up and walk towards the sliding glass door, where my wife is standing with her arms crossed, grinning at the joy that this tiny creature has brought our daughter. “So?” I pry. “Whaddya say?” Grinning in approval, she answers. “Fine. We can keep her.” For the first time in my 34 years of life, I did what they call a happy dance in response to her approval. I took me and my nerdy white man’s overbite swag outside to celebrate while my wife held her abdomen because of how hard she was laughing. “We get to keeeeep her! We get to keeeeep her!” I boast with my daughter.


“Alright.” I sigh, giving into her irresistible demands. “Let’s go.” I say, nodding towards the front door as I grab the leash. Sadie, who had been waiting patiently at the front door for several minutes, started jumping in 360 degree circles with excitement. Slipping my sandals on and grabbing my eyeglasses, I open the front door. Sadie runs ahead of me, stopping at our front yard gate to wait for me. As I finally catch up, I hook the leash onto her collar, and start down the street. Sadie always loved going for walks at night more than anything. She would stop at certain parks, certain trees, or other areas, and stare out into the sky, sniffing the air. I suppose I didn’t mind it either. After all, doctors lately have been telling me to get more exercise at this age.

The dry, warm air blew delicately past Sadie’s face, disturbing the strands of gray hair that were on her chin and above her illuminated brown eyes. There was something in her natural expression that seemed meditative. “How’s that air treatin’ ya girl?” I ask her as we walk, noticing the giant smile on her face. I interrupted my connoisseur-like admiration of Sadie to attempt to see whatever it was about a quiet, dark, desert night that could be so mesmerizing. And that was when I saw it.

To Sadie, everything was as it needed to be. There was this moment, and that was all there was. This one, perfect moment in which the stars existed specifically for their enjoyment, as did the trees that acted as wind chimes, and the grass that cooled their sweating feet. The warm and dry, yet refreshing breeze blew only to satisfy them in that particular moment. Future, past, mistake, regret and the like were concepts that didn’t exist. All that existed was this moment, and millions of others just like it.

“That is some deep stuff, girl.” I say to her as I conclude my reading of her. We reach the end of the street, and turn left, crossing to the other side. “Are we? No…” I mumble to myself as we walk, looking up towards the end of the street. “We aren’t up here, are we girl?” I ask, looking at Sadie, who returns me a look of uncertainty. As we reach the gravel paved driveway leading up to the porch-lit duplex, I turn to her again. “This was us, right girl?” Sadie looks back at me blankly. I turn and begin walking towards the door closest to me. I get to the front porch and see the red engraving of “402” on the door. I turn again to Sadie, who is a few feet behind me. “403?” I ask her. She stays consistent with her blank expression, shifting her eyes from the door to me unemotionally, almost as if to say “Uh, what are you doing?”

I turn back around towards the door, nodding at Sadie. “Come on, girl. Stop being so strange.” I command as I go to open the front door. But when I turned my grasped hand, the knob wouldn’t move. “Did I…lock it?” I ask myself in a confused whisper as I fumble through my pockets trying to find my house key, or remember if I had even brought them. “Okay…just…hold on a second here, girl…I’m gonna get us all situated here.” I promise Sadie as I finally pull the key out of my pocket. I first tried it upside down, then the other way. The key fit, but the door wouldn’t unlock.

As I grew more vigorous in my jiggling of the key into the lock hole, Sadie began whining and whimpering, turning her head from me to the road, as if she were trying to herd me with her eyes. Growing frustrated at the miscommunication, I throw my hands up. “Well, shit, girl! Where the fuck are we then?!” Sadie’s ears went down, and she laid with her nose between her two front paws, waiting for me. Feeling like an asshole, I went over and sat next to her on a brick ledge that acted as a feature of the front patio of the apartment. Staring off into the horizon of city lights, I asked Sadie in desperation. “Where the hell are we, girl?”

Sadie looked up at me with her eyes that could write novels. They told me everything. They told me that she was tired, and old, and that she just wanted to go for a walk. They told me that she could only detect where we live up to a certain point. They told me that she’s terrified that I might not be able to support her forever. They told me that she’s trying.

A young man approached the front door, finishing a text on his phone. Looking down from the phone and at the man sitting on his porch, he slid the phone into his pocket and approached him. Sadie sat up, keeping her eyes locked on the man. “Hey, uh, are you guys okay?” I turned to him, still completely unaware of where I was. “Uh, well…no actually.” I tell him shamefully. “I uh…” I look down at Sadie. “We’re kind of lost…I thought this was my house but it isn’t…” The man nodded, looking at me and Sadie with concern. “Hell, I just don’t seem to know a damn thing anymore.” I add.

“It’s cool, uh…tell you what; let me put my stuff down, and I’ll drive you around a little. We’ll try to figure this thing out. That sound okay?” I sized the man up. He didn’t look especially threatening, and I saw him pull up in a Prius, so it can’t be that risky. “Okay…uh…thank you.” I reply. About two minutes later, the slender, geeky good Samaritan came back out. “Okay, good to go!” He tells me with pep. I direct Sadie into the passenger seat, and I get into the back. “She’s our eyes.” I explain to him.

“All good.” He replies as we start around the block. We drove through about 23 blocks of false familiarizations, and blank recognitions. Finally, we approached a dirt road labeled “Pecoma Drive.” As we slowly glide down the road, scanning houses, Sadie had a disturbance. She fixed her eyes on an old cottage, and began barking. “Woah there!” The nerdy driver said, giggling at Sadie. “Stop.” I tell him. As the car came to an abrupt halt, I reached up to the passenger seat and opened Sadie’s door. Bolting out of the car, Sadie ran up to the gate, turning around and looking at me. I broke out in heckling laughter at myself. “What? What is it?” The man asks. “This is my house.” I explain, still laughing. “Sadie knows where we live.”

AUTHOR BIO:: Josh Markwell is from Santa Barbara, California, and writes short stories, poetry and screenplays because when you’re making stuff up there’s no lonely times, just stories.

April 26, 2018 8:08 am

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