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  #1  
Old 02-19-2007, 09:55 PM
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Medesha Medesha is offline
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Buddy

[This was my entry for the WD Short Short Story contest. Stories had to be 1500 words or less. I didn't win, but I do like the story. If you can think of another place to submit it, please let me know.]

Buddy

Paul was so distracted when he came home that he attributed the click of claws in the kitchen to his German Shepherd, Sally. Only as he pushed the kitchen door open did he remember that Sally was chained in the back yard.

Stray must have gotten in through the pet door, Paul thought. Wonder why Sally let a strange dog into the yard? Big dog, too.

Then the wolf opened its mouth. Its pink tongue flopped over the side of its lower jaw, and its curved canines glistened with saliva. The wolf’s eyes crinkled as it smiled.

Paul reached for Roscoe out of habit, but he wasn’t wearing his holster. He caught himself before reaching for the nonexistent radio. Paul scrambled onto the kitchen island. His knee popped when he knelt, and he gasped but didn’t cry out. Don’t spook the wolf, he thought. Don’t show weakness.

Once settled on the island, Paul’s face reddened. The wolf licked its lips and rolled its tongue out, laughing at him. “Suppose you can jump up here anytime you want,” Paul said. He inched his hand toward the knife block. “Well, I’m not used to finding wolves in my kitchen. Had a parolee in here once, wanted to pay me back for my testimony. I had Roscoe with me then.” He glanced down at his missing holster. “If I still had him you’d be down with three bullets in you.”

The wolf sat down and yawned, showing its black tonsils. Its tail swished across the floor like a gray mop.

Paul eased a knife out of the block. He slowly drew the blade around in front of him. It was the bread knife, rounded at the tip and serrated down the length. He set the knife down on the island.

“Got a rifle upstairs,” he continued. The wolf seemed to enjoy listening to his voice. “If I move slow I could probably get to it. You don’t seem too riled up.” He took in the rest of the kitchen — the shredded butcher paper on the floor and the red streaks on the linoleum. “Chris always says not to defrost steak on the counter. Doubt she figured on this, though.”

As if in reply, the wolf lowered its muzzle and snuffled the butcher paper. It lifted its head again and licked its nose.

“Phone’s on the wall. I could call Animal Control. Somebody must be looking for you. Bet you escaped from the zoo. Is that it, buddy? Did you escape from the zoo?” The wolf whined. “I guess that could happen. You probably hate being in a cage, huh?”

His hand reached the knife block again and drew out a second blade. He brought it around and saw the chef’s knife. “I kind of hate my cage, too. They just retired me after forty-nine years of service. I know, you can’t join the force until you’re eighteen. Back then it was easier to fudge a little. My cage is a lot bigger than yours, but I still hate it.”

The wolf yawned again and swung its head around, as if looking for something. Paul chuckled. “You’re about the tamest wolf I ever heard of. Suppose if I call Animal Control they’ll stick you back in that cage. Bullet might be more merciful. But that’s the coward’s way out.” Paul set the chef’s knife down. “You like steak? I got more in the freezer. Maybe you’d follow me right down the street if I carried it. Dennis Hage sells meth just a few blocks away. Never could make charges stick. He’d scream and raise all sorts of hell at the sight of you. No one could fault you for tearing his throat out.”

Jaw clicking with a final, enormous yawn, the wolf slid down flat and rested its nose on its forelegs. Paul sighed. “Then they’d kill you, though. The cage is bad, buddy, but it’s what you have to face. You run in the wild and hunt because that’s who you are, and you have to pay the price for that. Can’t pretend to be something else. Can’t make another man do your work for you. Wish there was another way.” He picked up the phone.

When Animal Control arrived, the wolf was sleeping. It started awake and tried to stand when the dart hit it, but an officer was ready with a muzzle noose. The wolf staggered for a minute, twisting its head in an effort to shake off the noose, then went down. It took three men to carry it out the front door.

Paul stood and watched the beige van rumble down the road. “Bye, buddy.” He called Chris and said, “Could you come by for the next few days and look after Sally? I might be gone for a bit. Thanks.”

The kitchen looked smaller than it had before. Paul squatted beside the empty spot where the wolf had been. He breathed deep and smelled wet dog and blood from the steak. A thread of spittle lay across a clod of dirt the wolf had brought inside.

It took Paul five more minutes to find the keys to the chest in the attic. He kept the ammunition separate from the rifle, and he had to go back downstairs and retrieve it before he could clear the weapon, pull back the bolt, slide in a bullet and lock the bolt again.

“There’ll never be another Roscoe,” he said to the rifle. “But you’ll do, Buddy. Let’s go see Denis Hage.”

The End
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Old 02-21-2007, 02:37 PM
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I wonder what was the range of the contest, that is what were entries to be about? Or was it an open entry?
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Last edited by Treslo Kresha; 02-21-2007 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 02-21-2007, 02:56 PM
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The story could be about anything. The only requirement was it had to be 1500 words or less.
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:47 PM
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Nothing about resubmission really, but simply something that came into my head.
So the way I understand it, Buddy is the rifle, which he is using in place of his pistol. Then my only real question is - why use: "Is that it, buddy?"
Unless you were wanting to create some confusion, perhaps get people to think that the wolf was Buddy. Just a smallish thing I wondered.
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Old 02-22-2007, 08:38 PM
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Buddy was his name for the wolf. After the wolf was taken away, he named his rifle Buddy in honor of the wolf, or to remember the wolf by, however you like it.
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