It’s been a little while since I’ve had the time to do any flash fiction. Since I’m working my way around the genre pool, today I’ll be swimming out into the deep end of speculative fiction. Because I’m too lazy to do the whole “here’s the first paragraph now subscribe for more” thing, I’m going to give you the whole enchilada on the blog. It’s my gift for starting out the new year with no flash fiction for three months. I just ran the statistics and it’s really good to see you all stuck with me through December, January, and February. You’ve also tolerated me for all of March and most of April. I’ll be less of an absentee landlord now that Mr. Kringle is back in his box for a while, some big contests have come and gone, and I have visited mommy in Florida.
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I heard the low growl escape my throat at the same moment the furry maniac next to me bolted for the fence. I sat barking at the table while my neighbor stared at me from her porch.
“Just messing with the dog’s mind.” Yeah, right. I had no control over that growl and bark. All that ran through my mind for a moment was the thought, “Deep engine, bad truck, must go.”
This thought, and a variation or two on it, was still screaming around inside my head while I watched my dog throwing herself against the fence. I heard the trash truck next door, and watched it rumble past my garage. The entire time it took all I had to to keep from barking. An alien voice was roaring at me to run off the truck, and then it commanded me to run to the far fence. In a split second I realized that I was inside my dog’s head, and hearing the internal conversation she must be having with herself over the evil garbage truck.
Indeed, that’s what it was, for a few moments later I felt intensely satisfied at the departure of the truck and thirsty at the same time. She sauntered past me and emptied he bowl in a record time.
When that drink was done she gave me a funny look. Just as I suspected, she had always been able to read my mind. But for the first time in my life, I actually was able to read hers. Scooby Doo always said “Ruh-roh” when trouble was afoot. I guess my knowledge of cartoons had influenced my dog, for that was her response as well.
Like a mute Mr. Ed, she sat down next to the wrought iron table where I was writing and stared at me. “How long have you been able to read my mind?”
I said, “About two minutes. The trash truck seemed to trigger it for me.”
She flopped down on the patio stones and rolled on her back. “Yup. That thing always gets me wound up. Tummy Rub?”
I didn’t need any voice in my head to get that one. I liked rubbing her tummy. But it got pretty creepy a few seconds later when she started moaning inside my frontal cortex. Nothing sexual, but a primal joy that was as deep as the ocean.
I finished with a flourish and sat back in my chair. She sneezed and rolled over on her side. “How are we going to work this? I don’t like having you in my head.”
There you have it. All my life I wanted to talk with my dogs and she has decided, on her own, that it should continue to be a one-way street. “I think I like this better than before. You’ve always been able to read my mind, haven’t you.”
She quit tugging at her dew claw and closed her eyes. “Not always. But since I was a few months old. I always thought it funny that you were so proud of my vocabulary. I had to play stupid or you’d expect too much. I get it all.”
Now it was my turn to ponder. I had no more than formed the thought when she said, “All of us. Every dog can read its human’s thoughts. Some are better than others. Border Collies really rule the roost, just like us Danes. Some breeds, like Labradors, have a hard time thinking any thought clearly, much less understanding the person’s thoughts. They get the basics, but nothing too deep.”
That answered a lot of questions I’d had for all of my life. Questions like how did that dog know we were going to the vet? How did they find that snack so quickly? How did they know exactly how long they could bark before I’d lose my temper? It was all clear – they really ran the show.
The smile on here face said it all. “Of course we’re in charge. You humans are so easily manipulated. A wag of the tail, a lick on the face, and you’re putty in our paws. It’s not so bad, you seem to like it, don’t you?”
There really wasn’t any arguing with that statement. But she kept talking about licking my face. I closed my eyes to try and get that thought out of my head but it kept coming back.
I opened my eyes again and my neighbor was kneeling next to me, shaking my shoulder. The dog was licking my nose and I had no clue how I’d gotten stretched out flat on my back, legs in the air. My neighbor, Erica, asked if I was alright.
“Sure, but what happened. I was talking to Sparkles and then I’m flat on my back.”
Erica said, “Wow, you really hit your head if you think you’re talking to the dog. She bolted for the garbage truck and your chair flipped over backward. Her leash was tangled around the leg of the chair and it flipped you on your noggin. I’d better call an ambulance.”
She ran off toward the house. I just laid there, disappointed that my dream of talking with the animals was nothing more than a concussion. Or was it. Sparkles sure looked like she was laughing at me.