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SHINY BLACK PROBLEM (standard:drama, 981 words)
Author: BENTLINKAdded: Apr 26 2010Views/Reads: 1955/1143Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Someone I never met gave me a problem I had to solve; a passed on burden that before being resolved would caused me to learn more about myself than I really wanted to know and wound my heart in the process.


Someone I never met gave me a problem I had to solve; a passed on burden
that before being resolved would caused me to learn more about myself 
than I really wanted to know and wound my heart in the process. 

I am retired man living quietly in a nondescript neighborhood of
Memphis.  The cause of upheaval in my life, the insult to the tranquil 
sameness of my days was a beautiful young but fully-grown stray dog.  
He had medium length shinny black fur, a carriage, size, and coat very 
like my first ever dog I grew up with as a boy.  When I went out for my 
daily walks, the young dog followed along at a distance about one house 
behind.  When I stopped to chat with neighbors the dog crossed the 
street moving one house ahead and sat down to await my next move. 

Walking or waiting the dog was alertly looking about, observing
everything happening around him.  He always looked quickly back my way 
when I talked or moved.  The urge to touch the dog, to run my fingers 
through the shiny black coat, to look into what I knew would be soft 
warm brown eyes, to have my hand licked and then my legs calf muscles 
warmed by the dog standing close beside me grew stronger with each 
passing day. 

I never called the dog to me but I knew with absolute surety that he
would have responded in an instant.  I also knew I would have been 
powerless to resist being drawn into a twelve or fourteen year long 
relationship of unconditional love and companionship, hopelessly 
committed to pet ownerships responsibility and care giving for the 
remainder of his life or my own.  I thought several times about phoning 
for the city dogcatcher or collecting the beast and taking it to the 
pound.  I of course did not call, could not call because I feared the 
animal would be put to death or find its way to a place were it would 
be unloved and mistreated.  I now think I did not take action because I 
was afraid of loosing another bit of my humanity.  I cling tightly to 
and hold sacred this bit of me that feels shamed by even the idea that 
I could be the cause pain or death for such a beautiful healthy animal. 

In addition to this stray dog, we have also had a ground mole invasion
here among the small well-kept homes.  Almost every household has a 
family of moles digging up their Bermuda grass lawns and searching out 
grubs and earthworms by tunneling under flower bulbs and plant roots.  
The young black dog must have thought he had been sworn in as our 
neighborhood mole sheriff because not long after he arrived and started 
walking with me he began a spirited day and night pursuit of the moles. 
Dog size irregular shaped holes began appearing in the neighborhoods 
manicured flowerbeds. 

The dog also acquired a taste for and the skills required to retrieve
tidbits from the roll around trash carts we place street side for 
collection each Monday morning.  He learned the carts need only be 
knocked over, their contents spread out and the sifted through in order 
to get a tasty well balanced meal of table scrapes and other family 

After a number of phone call complaints to the powers-that-be by the dug
upon and trash cart insulted neighbors a dogcatcher was dispatched to 
remove the shinny-coated vagabond. 

The officials first visit was fruitless as the dog was no were to be
found. However giving evidence that he was still around was a freshly 
dug hole and two overturned garbage collection bins.  Refuse had been 
scattered or carefully sorted depending on your point of view across 
the front yards of several homes. 

Since I knew the family that used the carts had babies I put forth the
theory that perhaps the dog was somewhere sleeping off a used diaper 
induced stupor. 

My theory about the dogs whereabouts might have been better received had
I offered help in the cleanup but years ago after my last offspring was 
fully potty trained I had made a promise to myself that I would never 
again touch a soiled diaper.  So instead of helping with the litter 
pickup beautification project I stayed true to my pledge and stole out 
of sight while mumbling something about expecting an important phone 

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