I want to warn you, this is the roughest of rough drafts. I haven’t written a short story since before my surgery and I’m extremely rusty. That said, I don’t care, I’m too happy about writing something to care!
I got kicked out of the house young, barely an adolescent. I was a typical unruly kid. You know the type, constantly in trouble and making messes I couldn’t clean up everywhere I went. Caring about consequences were beyond me since I always seemed to get away with whatever I did. Sure I would get yelled at and occasionally smacked around but did I ever pay a price for my actions? No.
Until that last night. Earlier in the day Dad warned me, telling me if I screwed up one more time I was gone. He was tired of protecting me and taking the blame. I was old enough to know better he said over and over.
The incident with the neighbor kid was blown all out of proportion. I mean, hell, what was I supposed to do when the little bastard starting throwing things at me? I think I did a pretty good job of holding onto my temper until he hit me. After that? Well, he got what he deserved and will never bully anyone again if he’s as smart as he thinks he is.
I knew I was lucky to still have a home. Honestly, I swore to myself I would be good but my promise didn’t last a full day. We’ll not talk about what I did. It’s embarrassing and all that matters is I got kicked out.
For the first two months on my own I roamed the streets and did what all the other vagabonds did, slept under bridges and dug in the trash behind restaurants for food. Everything was fine until Sam found me. The jerk had been after me since I was little. He was a long-timer on the streets, as tough as they come. He’d handed my ass to me a few times until I learned to avoid his turf. Unfortunately, now I was also homeless and he considered every street his.
Word must have gotten out because he came straight to me, clearly knowing where I was the first time… I hadn’t made any friends so there was no one to back me up. I was pretty torn up after that encounter but less so with the next few.
I hated him but he helped me in ways he didn’t mean to. If I was going to survive I had to learn to fight back and I did. During our final fight I gave as good as I got. I lost but won Sam’s respect in the process. He never touched me again and protected me a few times. Mostly we simply left each other alone, with sporadic team-ups when it benefited us both.
All was well, if difficult, in my world until the day I got picked up for loitering. It was the worst day of my life, even worse than when my Dad threw me out. They put me in a cell, fed me what was laughably called food and ignored me until they realized I was not an adult. They called Dad but he had washed his hands of me. Into the foster system I went.
It wasn’t as bad as it could have been but none of the people who took me in really wanted me in their family. Sure they took care of me but they were just way stations, not real homes.
As you’ve probably guessed, the inevitable happened. I got in a fight and back to a cell I went. I would say it wasn’t my fault but I would be lying. I was in a bad mood, feeling lonely and sorry for myself and snapped over something stupid. I’d been thinking about my Dad and how I failed him. He was mean, distant and uncaring but I loved him and it hurt that he didn’t love me back. Until then, I’d always believed he would eventually come for me and I was coming to terms with the fact that he wouldn’t. I regret taking it out on someone else but what’s done is done.
I spent two weeks in jail. It wasn’t exactly solitary confinement but it felt like it. The other inmates looked so sad, resigned to a lonely, loveless existence. It didn’t take long for me to wear the same face as the rest. I felt pathetic and worthless, until last week. Visitors’ day.
I was laying in my cell trying to ignore all the people streaming through. None of them were there for me anyway. At some point the melancholy became too much and I whined. It was horrifying and embarrassing! I curled up and buried my head under my body in shame. A moment later I heard an angelic voice.
“Hey there boy.”
Opening one eye I peeked at the woman speaking to me. She had the most beautiful smile. Her face had cute spots and her hair was orange, just like mine! I thought only setters could have this color fur. In shock I simply stared at her. After a time her smile faded and she turned to my jailer.
“I guess he doesn’t like me.”
What? Of course I liked her. I jumped up, pushed my nose as far through the bars as I could and licked her face until she backed out of reach. I whined some more and my back was starting to hurt from how hard my tail was wagging but I couldn’t help it.
The jailer let me out and I jumped into the orange woman’s lap, cuddling with everything I had. She was talking in a soothing voice but I wasn’t listening to her words, I was hearing her kindness. This lady was nothing like my first owner. Somehow I knew if I could just convince her to take me home, she would love me and care for me and never hurt me.
I’ve been living with my new Mom for a while now and everything is perfect. I’ve been on my best behavior. I don’t make messes because she taught me to scratch the back door when I needed out. She gave me a bunch of toys to chew on so I don’t destroy furniture or newspapers anymore, although I miss it a little. I have my own bed and as long as I don’t jump on the couch I can go anywhere in the house.
I think about my old Dad sometimes but not with guilt. If I hadn’t stolen his steak that night, I wouldn’t have found Mom.
If you like animals and have the ability and desire to care for one, please consider adoption. There are so many dogs and cats in need out there.
As mentioned, I’m rusty. I almost didn’t post this one but I figured if I didn’t I wouldn’t have any reason to fix it later. All the flash fiction pieces I’ve posted have been rough drafts anyway. It needs to be pared down and polished but I’m not unhappy with the result.
Love the twist! I was thinking poor Patrick and then bam! Loved it.
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Well done and a nice O. Henry “turn” at the end!😊
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Good shading; I must say, I didn’t realize who/what Patrick was until late in the story. For this one, I’m glad it had a happy ending!
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