Got up to go to the can in the middle of the night. Damn prostate. I thought I heard someone clear their throat. Just getting off of a double, hallucination was a common side effect of sleep deprivation. I saw my son’s Rottweiler sitting in front of the stove.
“Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon? I must have some for this sandwich.”
Being a doctor, you have a clear sense of what is possible in the world and what isn’t, so I shook my head and went on to the bathroom. When I finished I came out to find the dog blocking the doorway.
“Perhaps you didn’t hear me.”
“No, no, I heard you. I simply don’t believe you’re talking, so I am going back to bed to get some sleep.”
“You’re not even curious how I came by this roast beef sandwich?”
“Roast Beef?” Stomach rumbled. “Okay, I’ll bite. Where did you get the sandwich?”
“I feel so guilty telling you. Okay, you twisted my tail. The twins gave it to me. I was supposed to keep quiet while they went to the concert.”
“The Metalhead concert? The one they were forbidden to attend?”
“Not my job. I just wanted some mustard. I knew you would take care of me if I just asked.”
“So when are they getting back?”
“Uh, I can talk, but I still can’t tell time.”
“Fine, let’s split that sandwich and wait. I’ll get the mustard.”
“Did I mention that aromatic herb I’ve seen them smoking out back?”
“No, tell me more.”
And so he did. I discovered things about my sons, I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. As I closed up the mustard jar, the Rottweiler remarked, “Those thumbs are truly amazing. I heard you were a surgeon. Any chance I could have some thumbs?”
“As a matter of fact, I have two sons who won’t be using theirs after tonight. You have four paws and they have four thumbs. Can you wash dishes?”
“Sorry, my resume includes biting, barking, ear-hustling, crotch-sniffing and talking to you. Dishwashing not included.”
“Just as well, they are going to need those thumbs for all the chores they will be doing.”
“I don’t hear anything.”
He cocks his head and rotates his ears. “Dog, remember?”
I turned off the light in the kitchen and waited. They would have to pass me to get to their room. I could smell the concert all over them; the beer, marijuana and cigarettes. Ugh.
“Evening, boys. Say hello to your new warden.”
The dog barks at them, a series of sharp, staccato sounds.
Looking at the boys, “He says you are going to like it here at our new facility. Go to your rooms and take a shower. Lawn mowing at 8:00 AM. Sharp.” I smiled at the dog, “Adding to your resume already…”
The Warden © Thaddeus Howze 2012, All Rights Reserved
From a Writers Digest writing prompt: Your kids have spent years asking you to get them a dog. You finally break down and get one, only to discover that this dog talks—but only to you. More interestingly, the dog loves to gossip about your kids and their lives. Write a scene where your dog rats out one of your kids for doing something they shouldn’t. (500 words or less)