Posts Tagged ‘domestic pet’

Story – Dolly, et al.

Thursday, September 15th, 2011



Bernard took the car out of the garage and rolled it slowly backward, looking left and right and checking in his rear-view mirror, then sped up slightly and ran over four cats, two dogs, one puppy, three hamsters, a frog and fourteen confused snails.


This was a pain. Because it meant Bernard would have to get out of his car, get the hose, turn it up full blast and wash down his driveway. Aiming the water, he watched the dogs, puppy and cats turn limp somersaults moving toward the gutter.


Then, inevitably, the neighborhood kids came to gather round to look. Some pointed their phones to take photos and send them to their friends with remarks like, “Cooooool.”


Then one kid pointed and sobbed, “My dog Fido!” Another kid screamed, “Dolly! Dolly! Dolly!”


Soon parents gathered around to make caustic remarks.


“You can’t keep doing this,” one said to Bernard.
“I don’t mean to,” Bernard answered as two of the dead cats finally made it to the gutter and flopped over into it and out of his sight. “They all just rushed under my tires I backed out.”
“You said that yesterday,” said another parent, not believing a word.
“And the day before that,” reminded another.


“Dolly!” bellowed the kid again and again.
A damp, fur-matted dog disappeared over the curb.


“I check,” Bernard said. “Every day, I check. Is there another animal out there, is there something I don’t see? The driveway is always empty when I roll out. Then, all of a sudden, they are there, diving under my tires. It happens so fast I can’t stop in time.”
“Dolly!”
The frog fell on top of the dog.


The last dog fell into the street gutter, then a cat. Barnard was going to be late for work again.


Three parents crossed their arms tight over their chests.
“So you’re saying you think this is some sort of unexplained natural phenomenon where domestic animal life commits suicide under your car wheels?”


Bernard turned off the water, tossed the hose aside. “I didn’t say that.” The animals were gone from his property now, bodies resting floppy and over-flowing in the gutter. “But I wouldn’t rule that out.” Most traces of the animal blood was also gone from his driveway. “I don’t know, really. It just happens.” He got into his car.


“Dolly….” It was more a whimper now, the boy already half-wondering whether his mother would buy him another dog. Bigger. So it wouldn’t get run over so easily.


“You like to kill animals,” someone shouted.
Bernard rolled down his window. “Maybe they are not happy.”
“Who isn’t happy?”
“Your pets.”
“What are you talking about?”
“So they come over here and kamikaze themselves under the wheels of my car day after day.”
“You saying we’re lousy pet lovers?”
“I’m saying maybe you should try feeding them better food on a regular basis. Talk to them more often. Pet them. Be better humans.”
“Damn! He’s lecturing us and he’s the murderer.”


Bernard shouted as he drove off, “And how many pets do you people have, anyway? I’ve run over at least eighty this month!” He glanced at his watch. He was going to be twenty minutes late. Again. He rolled up the window, swerved around a cat that threw itself in front of his car, and started making good time as soon as he left his neighborhood behind.

Story – A cat dies

Saturday, November 7th, 2009


In 2003, a cat I shared the house with died. I wrote a short piece about its last days. Later I turned it into a dramatic  monologue I directed for the theater. Here’s the words, & a link to the monologue.

This morning the cat, Tanit, twelve years of bad character and weird behavior, was found when Monique went to get the vacuum cleaner in the veranda and I heard her scream. Kitty was dead in the corner of the veranda, laying hidden between the stove and the wall, behind inert domestic equipment. She’d been dead a day or two, one side of her flat from lying in the same position. Eyes open, goop having leaked from them.

She had had a tumor diagnosed at the beginning of the summer. She limped and stumbled toward her death. Carefully moving in the garden from one stone slab to the next, sometimes listing sideways, her usually adroit paws colliding with one another, once ending up on her side in the corgette plants.

She would get up, knowing something was dreadfully wrong, and move on. She panted on, lying under the fir tree when it was too hot, going from one spot to another, usually avoiding the sun, whereas in days gone by she was always trying to follow the sun, gather its warmth, bathe in it.

The last Saturday of her life we had a ten people over for lunch in the garden, and she had joined us, being socialable, rubbing and even eating, with relish, some bits of beef I gave her. I could see her eating the dropped morsels with gusto, then, during a good gnaw the sixth piece, suddenly she froze, her eyes figuring, the pain there, a sudden loss of appetite, and she turned and walked into the neighbor’s bushes, and sat, then lay down in the shade, unmoving. During lunch, I had picked her up and laid her emaciated body across my two palms and showed her to everyone. She did not move; she had purred.

Now flies land on her corpse, and scamper toward her eyes, to suck on those unblinking orbs.

*******

That was the original bit I wrote.  Five years later, I turned it into a monologue. If you watch the video of it I made here.

Close listening will reveal that some textual changes were made. Nearly always necessary for spoken text adapted from prose meant for reading. Much of it is the same, however, with only the names have been changed to protect…