Extracts torn from forgotten books
by David Bussell
You can imagine how angry the man was when he discovered that his dog, who’d been living under his roof rent-free for the last eleven years, was a human being dressed in a dog suit.
What made the man even more annoyed was the fact that he hadn’t picked up on the signs, and thinking back on it, there had been many. Walking around on his hind legs, defecating in the toilet – certainly the man should have been tipped off by the fact that his dog had his own electric toothbrush.
The man enjoyed the company a pet provided though, and equally the dog needed a place to call home, so it seemed rash to throw in the towel on their friendship now. Besides, in most ways, a human being dressed like a dog made for a better companion than the genuine article. Unlike other canines, his dog took himself for walks, made his own entertainment, even prepared his own food. There were other benefits too – no chewed up shoes, no digging in the yard and practically zero shedding. In the end, the man decided to let the matter of his dog not being a dog pass, and the pair them carried on as they always had.
Then, one day, the man arrived home from work early to find the dog filing taxes. Apparently, while he was at the office each day, his dog had been working part time as an administrative assistant for a small engineering firm. This was a step too far the man thought. He’d made peace with most of his dog’s eccentricities – the eschewing of a collar, the eating of microwave meals, the love of French cinema – but performing ad hoc clerical duties was a step too far. For him, the illusion of dog-ownership had been irrevocably shattered. His dog doing his business inside was one thing, but it was another thing entirely when the business involved the use of spreadsheets.
The man took the dog by the scruff of his neck and dragged him onto the stoop, slamming the door against his very human nose. He did his best to ignore the scratching and whining that followed, but after a while the man felt his anger turn to pity. He thought about letting him back in but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Not while his so-called dog was out there repeating the word “bark” instead of just barking.
You can read 98 more of David’s short stories in his book, Bad Endings, available HERE.
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