The amount of pride I get from outsmarting the dog is shameful.
I pull my jacket on in the kitchen. I pick up my keys. I put them to my mouth.
“nom-nom-nom” I say, “Mmmm…”
Belly’s ears perk up. He stands.
“Oh! These are good,” I say. I walk out of the kitchen. Belly follows behind, curious.
As soon as he is clear, I turn and slam the door shut. I latch it.
I spin around. “Aha! No garbage for you! Boom!”
Belly stares at my keys. He cocks his head to the side. He whines.
A slow desperate one. I start to feel guilty.
He wines a little louder.
“I said no!”
He lays down on the floor, looking up at me. I sigh. I turn around and walk into the kitchen. I open the fridge and pull out a carrot. Belly likes carrots. He’s a weird dog. I snap off a bit and walk it out. I pull the door closed behind me.
Seeing the carrot, Belly sits up. I walk toward his food bowl. He follows, wagging. I drop it in. He begins scarfing it down. I pat him on the head and walk to the shop.
“Why do we have pets?” I ask the woman at check out.
“Do you need a bag?” she responds, in Russian.
I shake my head. “It really is weird, you know, we have these things that we don’t eat, or breed, or use for warmth. We just spend time and money on them. Then, then! They just go and die before us, making us sad. You know, like, what is with that?”
The woman at the register stares at me.
“I don’t understand,” she says, in Russian.
I sigh. “Me either.”
I pay her and walk back home.
In the door, I smell it.
“Dammit,” I sigh. I forgot to latch the kitchen door.
Garbage has made its way to the far corners of the apartment. Belly sits in the middle, head cocked a bit, looking at my keys.
“What is wrong with you!” I walk towards him.
I reach down to strangle him. My hands automatically start scratching his ears. And suddenly I’m hugging him.
And now I’m laughing.
Holy shit, did the words “good boy” just come out of my mouth?