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“Damn it, Spanks,” I cursed as I made my tenth lap around my neighborhood. My girlfriend wasn’t far behind, trying her best to call the stupid animal in her cutest, sing-songiest voice, with a few clicks of her tongue for good measure.
“I think he’s staying gone this time,” I called back to her, though I don’t know if she was choosing to ignore me or was just busy shaking a nearby bush. Yeah. Like the dog was napping in a damn shrub.
It was a Christmas present to her from her folks, who didn’t like me and knew I didn’t like dogs. I think they figured it would drive us apart, but I have managed to tolerate the smelly, drooly animal just to spite them.
As I passed each telephone pole, I thumped each of our “Lost Dog” posters. I wanted to take them down, and stop all this frantic “worrying” about the animal’s well being.
“Hey, babe,” my girlfriend called to me. “Can you go a street over to the café and get me a hot chocolate? It’s so cold, and I don’t want to freeze out here. Thanks!”
Oh, well, then maybe you should go back in, dearest, I thought. So you’re worried about freezing in sixty degree weather, but not the dog first? Jeez.
“Sure thing,” I replied in a half-sarcastic voice, looking over my shoulder to see her peeking behind a fire hydrant. I love that woman, but hell, she can be pretty damn stupid sometimes.
As I rounded the corner on the next street over, about half a block from the coffee shop, a flyer caught my eye.
“DOG FOUND,” was what caught my eye first, and then the picture of a lab that looked just like ours. I drew myself closer to read it, and made a mental note to see an eye doctor for new glasses.
“Female lab found at 5:20 pm on Thursday, May 14th on the corner of Liberty and Franklin. The dog is about a year old. Black lab with a white, heart-shaped patch of fur under its chin. Slightly crooked tail, and a limp on the left hind leg. Brown collar, but no tags. Very friendly.”
Amazing! I thought. Someone found this damn mutt. There was something in smaller print below all the text, but I figured it was the contact info of the person. Filled with relief—not for the dog being found, but rather for the searching to be over—I called my lady over.
“What is it?” she asked, placing her head on my shoulder. “Oh!” she said, excitedly, finally noticing the poster in front of her. “Look! It’s Spanks!” she said, reading the poster out loud, for confirmation that the dog pictured was indeed ours.
“Oh my god!” she screamed and stumbled backwards, and began to cry very suddenly.
“The hell is wrong with you?” I asked. “Someone found the dog.”
She didn’t say anything, only pointed weakly at the poster.
“I don’t get it,” I said, turning back to the poster, and read it out loud, thinking I missed something.
Nothing struck me as odd until I looked closer at the smaller text.
It read, “Tasted like chicken.”