by Phebe Jewell
The dog lifts his head, searching for clues while the grumbling man packs a bag. The dog remembers that bag. It smells of smoke and gunpowder. Blood. When the man holds this bag, he’s bigger, louder. Harder to please.
The dog knows to curl up behind a chair or slip under the bed. But the man and the bag fill the space between the dog and chair.
The dog leans against the front door, watching the man toss boots, jacket, and guns into the bag. The last time the man packed this much, he chained the dog outside for days. The man frowns as he talks to himself, sweat staining his armpits.
The dog is never enough for the man. Not big enough, not scary enough. Not smart enough. The man pauses to drain a can of beer. Shrill sirens, blocks away. The dog paws at the door. Swearing, the man slams his beer, shielding his body from sight as he pulls the door open.
The dog darts out, over a fence, through streets buzzing with cars and trucks. With each block the dog stretches - bigger, longer than the horns and grinding brakes and the chop chop of helicopter blades circling above the man’s house.
Phebe Jewell's flash appears or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including Bending Genres, X-R-A-Y, Monkeybicycle, MoonPark Review, Milk Candy Review, Pithead Chapel, Flash Boulevard, and Drunk Monkeys. A teacher at Seattle Central College, she can be found walking her stubborn dog in the woods or hitting a heavy bag at her boxing gym. Read her at https://phebejewellwrites.com.