Moxie : a short story by: GF Willmetts

I studied the gravestone. The words give my master John’s name and the length of his life but anything else is a touch of algae now as I’ve waited so long. Not in the way humans do it, my sense of smell was more acute than that. The gravestone was only a pointer. Below me in a wooden coffin was my dead master. He had made a point in his will not to be cremated. No doubt believing that any smell from him was better than nothing. It wasn’t as though I couldn’t tell the difference between dead and alive. Being buried underground was also a giveaway and he wasn’t that.

You would have thought that his other friends would come and visit from time to time but once you’re dead they have a habit of moving on. Almost as if they are afraid that if they visited that they might also end up the same way. Very few of them have dogs so maybe they don’t get the bond we have with our masters. There is never a ‘til death do us part’. There is always something left to stay and mourn. It won’t last forever. The aromas of the earth will absorb John’s smell eventually and there will be nothing left to mourn. Only then will my final task be completed.

Until that time, I will sit and wait. Occasionally, I will lie down or stretch my legs. I ignore the change in temperature. The occasional rainfall. The rarer snowfall which lasts a lot longer. The spells of sunny weather lasts longer than all of these changes. I note it but rarely let it intrude upon my vigil. Weather is not important in mourning. Night and day just flash by. My time is infinite.

Our union was some time back. We loved spending time in the forest, living off the land. It was a happy time. We returned to the city from time to time where he would leave me for a time to do diplomatic business.

Then we were given an unusual job. We were to host two men into our journey into the forest. While John was out, I watched the telecasts and knew they were important. The solitude was away from their people and media to get to have something meaningful to say to each other. What it was didn’t really bother me. They patted my head from time to time and happy to eat whatever we caught. This happened more than once but they seemed to come away better each time. This later extended to other people. John said we avoided something called a ‘cause célèbre’. He explained we saved a lot of problems and time. We also spent a lot of time together. I liked John.

It doesn’t last. Humans have such short life-spans. Eventually, John died. It happens. I stay. I mourn. I think. I don’t really need to think but feel.

I no longer want to be a dog. I’ve absorbed enough of John to continue. It is quiet and I am not being watched. The transformation is complete as I shift from four legs to two. It will take a while to get use to using two hands. Far more than walking on two feet. Shedding hair will take longer but will survive as a disguise until I put clothes on. Something else to get used to. Especially the urge to scratch an itch.

From out of the woods came my replacement Moxie. There will always be a Moxie. It was time to continue what we started. Peace whether people talked more than war.




© GF Willmetts 2019

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