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Stannie the Dog - Short Story by Jim Meirose

He better. But why is he wearing that big puffy coat like it’s winter you know? And why does he need a coat with ten thousand pockets? I mean look—

Maybe he’s got bad thyroid. That can make you feel cold—but you know, the more I look, I know him from someplace, but I can’t remember where.

No. You’re just saying that to make me not think he’s just some wacky sick somehow guy, that wears some outlandishly totally wrong thousand-pocket coat, so fat and thick it’s like he thinks it’s fifty below. But it’s gotta be ninety today at least. But, hey—Lord God, nutzoid or not, just let him walk from that poop. Just let him.

He won’t. He’s looking for a bag to pick the poop up. But I know for sure, I’ve met him.

That is not important. The damned coat does—I mean, think; why would any company even make a coat like that? Nobody would buy. Nobody but some nut!

—or waiting rooms playgrounds caf├ęs trains—

Okay, Doc. Tell you whut! If the coat bothers you that much, go out and ask him. I really don’t fucking know why he’s wearing the damned thing!

Hey, wait—that was pretty rash, Stannie. I was just talking. Don’t get rubbed all out about it now, eh. I mean for God’s sake—

God’s sake what?

—I know I had a pen, but; he ho no no hurry-up hurry, the sax is over and the sax being over is the flip of the switch of my erase the memories to make room for new processes, so, I got to hurry was harder, to write this down now, because the clock’s ticking now to the signal to suck it all and everything, completely gone down the drain. I can hear the drain in the distance swirling and beckoning. I can yes I can. Oh, if I tell anybody that though, they’ll think I’m off. They’ll say that’s just the traffic. Or that plane up there. Or those construction guys over there; and I can see why, sure, they think that’s what I hear. They think that because they’ve been taught it must be that. They want me to think it must be that. But no, anytime I try to think or keep remembering something, and I’m distracted making it all slip away, that distraction whether of sound sight or time, is really the drain they call the past all swirling and sucking my best possible efforts away to nothing. What’s left is just the hourly daily weekly monthly yearly for between ten and thirteen years on average doggy pee and poop roundabout track-run sneakered almost all the dog walk like this one, but; I am determined not to forget why I am searching for this pen. It’s something about that house over there discovered by chance when the dog stopped to poop before it—yes it’s something about that house over there discovered by chance when the dog—yes it’s something about that house over there discovered—yes it’s something about that—yes it’s—Jesus Christ damn it to Hell here I find myself in the road with a dog next to a pile of poop looking for a pen—no no no. Not a pen a poop-bag. Not a pen but a—here it is green all plastic the wind waves it from my grip as I bend—toots my noodle suckin-thuck Boca man—hard to bend at my age body fat roll-chest pressure inhibits breathing—toots my noodle suckin-thuck Boca Boca—there; grip it all not to get it on my hands yes to smell the big stink hey Boca why the giant industrial strength brushed aluminum suitcase? Oh, I see, I see, that’s what it’s not—see when scooping poop a memory or three oozes through the periodically appearing leaky seal—

—or movie theaters skyways shopping centers railway platforms—

—sigh here’s a gnat why we wonder yes we wonder why we do, but—there it is gripped and raised and never really was on the grass ever at all, in the memory of the inevitable landowner doubling as groundskeeper though to hire one would cost just a bean or two. There it is! Funny, funny—how just one of the over thirteen thousand poops the average dog will take in a lifetime, seems like the most significant one of all but just ten strides away turns utterly never happened, but, hey wait a minute—the idle thrust of the hand in one chancely-random pocket says—what is is what is it what, darlin’ my dear? Who knows, dear Madame—let’s look; oh! It—it’s a mother fucking pen! Why does that seem so important why is that making me all dizzy why is that making me tell the dog, Faster boy, faster—I need to get home and lie down. It’s already been a day. Come on—come on this minute pal. I got to get away from the instant when I failed to remember why I ever would stash a pen away without its best pal, clean new bright writing paper. Those two are inseparable. Why did I so heartlessly destroy a family? What family, you ask? Well, that family or maybe that or oh no no the drain I hear the drain no don’t stop to use that pole for your personal old-time rubbing post. Skip that rub stretch and pee. Let’s get away. There’s a thousand more poles to pass on the way. And they will all have much less creosote all gluey on the sunny side. So you’ll be better off in the end, see? See how well I take care of you. Having a dog, having a dog on such a fine spring day is great. Why on earth did I hit that low spot that I just came out of oh my? No reason. Thank God. Hey boy. Go.

—waiting rooms rest stops truck stops or lastly yes quite lastly. We will wait no longer it’s time to be heard—

Hey, Doc. Looks like he moved on and took his shit with him. What’s the next duet we need to run through? The next one here in the book? The next one here?

Stannie, he only picked up the shit because he knew we were watching. That is the first truth you can gain from this.

How could he possibly know?

The Doctor began idly thrumming his fingertips across the edge of the bell of his sax as he answered, saying, He might not have known right away. But we didn’t give up; his manner which shrilled at us I do not feel you I do not fear you—his manner of shamelessly acting as though we weren’t watching, hey, huh—did you feel it?

No, that is silly. Isn’t it just as simple as he felt no one was watching? If no one’s watching, well—I don’t expect someone I’m watching to act different if they don’t know.

Never mind all that, never, hey; you have just finished telling yourself the exact reason why you are progressing through these sax lessons no faster than the below average student or sax hobbyist; you need to start becoming sensitive enough to start to feel and react to all these things that none of the common herd of low people ever will. They are fertilizer, you and I are more—you really felt nothing from him as we watched? Nothing? Really? I thought you were progressing fast enough to begin sensing these things. It is not just while playing sax you will see the cobwebs in the way of ultimate mastery clear away—but when you put the sax down and move forward in non-sax mode you will see many other kinds of cobwebs clearing away all around you whatever you do and wherever you are and whether you like it or not. Want to know the truth about all this, Stannie?

Okay. Tell me. But there’s just three more hours in this lesson. You said at the start of this lesson that we had to clear through all sixteen two-year student’s duets in this new method book you told me about when I came here today—

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