For part 1 – Click here.
For part 2 – Click here.
Bart walks in, uninvited and the fake smile on my face disappears when I see what he is holding.
It’s his dog – Baxter. Baxter and I go way back. He has a habit of waking up at odd hours of the night ever so often and barking his head off. When I had moved into this neighborhood, the real estate agent had assured me that the area was peaceful during the day. Obviously, she chose her words well. Buyer beware!
Bart held out Baxter towards me.
‘Here. Take him. My mom’s fallen sick and I’m going for a week. You OWE me girl.’
I look at Bart…or rather, look down at his bald, tattooed head in disbelief.
Bart coughs and forcibly pushes Baxter into my arms.
‘What the f.’
Baxter weights more than what he looks like. I’d never seen a weirder looking dog. A cross between a dachshund and a pug. I can feel his slobbery tongue lick my chin and I try not to shudder.
‘Bart…I can’t look after him! I’m sick myself and I’ve never kept a pet! OW!’ I scowl as Baxter decides to give a nudge to my broken rib-cage. I let him down gingerly and scowl at Bart, trying to keep my cool. Before I can say anything, he hands me a list.
‘Not to worry dear! I’ve mentioned all the things she needs to eat, how often you need to bathe or take her for a walk and the vet’s details…everything is there….plus you have my number….girl I got no one else to ask and you OWE me.’
Bart smiles up at me hopefully.
I sigh deeply. ‘Her? Baxter’s a her? Always reckoned she was a he.’
Bart grins and takes it as an acknowledgement of my acceptance of this strange animal.
‘You better be back in a week.’ I mutter as I see Baxter settle down on my favorite couch. My favorite white couch. I mentally decide not to worry about stains right now, scowl one last time at Bart as he makes his way out of my house and sit down wearily.
In the midst of all of this, I forget to check my phone. I check it again. No messages from YOU.
I throw my phone across the room. It makes a strange sound, like something’s broken. I secretly hope that it has. And then I hope that it hasn’t.
The day goes by quietly. I feed Baxter the food Bart has left with me and take her for a short walk around the block at night, to do her business. I don’t bother picking it up. Bending is painful and not recommended by my doctor.
Baxter gives me a quick lick and we both fall asleep on my bed.
I wake up to loud barks. Baxter’s going nuts. She’s prancing around my bedroom window.
Baxter whimpers but settles down immediately. After 5 minutes, she’s making these weird sounds as if she’s crying. I wonder if I should go pet her, but I don’t have the strength. I make a mental note to ask Bart about it later.
Exhausted, I fall asleep.
To be continued….