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But Where Is the Master?

by Paul Kesler

 
The dog formerly known as The Master's Dog still crouches in the garden as
the days stroll by, unswayed by curious passersby who peer through the
wrought iron fence in continual and persistently disappointed expectation
that something will happen. Unperturbed by the lack of solicitude which for
long years slaked its every desire, its face frozen into entrenched
stolidity and its claws retracted into fists of resistance, it howls
occasionally at the children who lob sticks and incongruous morsels of meat
and candy, while guttural sounds emerge from its throat. It's rumored that
the mouth rarely moves, that it howls through its teeth, that it does not
swallow and never actually barks, though why it should not is still a matter
of puzzlement among the townsfolk, inasmuch as it was, at one time, a
forceful and vociferous exponent of that canine indulgence, and a feisty
defender of its master into the moonlit hours of dawn. 

Equally mysterious is the cat's tail which protrudes like a fuzzy tongue
from its clenched jaws, which it never munches or masticates, persistently
twisting and swaying as winds stray through the garden like a pendant lost
and found, though one has yet to trace the ownership of the cat whose
posterior remnant so tauntingly dangles before the bewildered eyes of
visitors, and it is now conjectured that any attempt to undertake such a
torturous errand would be completely and utterly warped. 

For that matter, it has yet to be ascertained why visitors should frequent
the garden, where the weeds grow higher every day, where roaches proliferate
and the birds settle, while the dog grows more difficult to see, cloaked by
the flora and fauna which have no more reason to question its existence than
the owner who dropped from sight. Speculation grows that the dog did away
with its master, though this is no more proven than refuted, a rumor,
seemingly, and one that seems unduly fanciful given that dog and master got
on exceedingly well and romped on many a witnessed occasion through the
streets and sidewalks, when sticks were thrown and fetched and the dog was
continuously rewarded by the master's love, never at a loss for morsels of
every kind. More likely, we surmise, is that the master croaked himself, and
the dog, as a consequence, in a paroxysm of mortification at this vision of
suicide, froze in this posture in the middle of a foray.

Gone, those halcyon days when life reigned in the garden, with the lawn
pared and the hedges pruned, when the now-dusty larder did not reek of mold
and the village children had better things to do than stare at the dog which
does not stare back or vouchsafe signs of welcome, its jaws clenched but
drooling and the fine strands of its spindly hair twining with the winds
surrounding it like a whirlpool, the weeds climbing, shaking hands with the
bushes and the bushes indifferent to the dog catching glances from the sun,
cat's tail dangling while the passersby wonder why the dog never moves,
never barks, droning through the days while the garden climbs the fence,
looking for rain and friendship.
 

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