You don’t need to leave the house to enter different worlds, they’re all hiding right here. I got down on all fours at eye-level with the three dogs and galloped across the tile from the kitchen through the dining room, where we met under the table, and had a word.
Ben was the spirit dog from down the road who lived on a farm; his owners let him run across the freeway to meet with our dog, Chumley. They wouldn’t let us buy Ben and got pissed off when we said he could get killed, crossing the freeway to be with our dog, but they didn’t care.
Ben chewed rocks and pissed on the floor first thing when he showed up. We called him Spirit Dog because we weren’t sure if he was real, the fact he crossed the highway and never got hit, the fact he always seemed to turn up at auspicious times, like holidays or when there was trouble.
We called Emmet ‘Screw Face’ because he had been badly abused, nearly killed, and my step-dad found him dying by the roadside and took him in. His face was so mangled, he resembled a Dick Tracy character: his eyes and mouth formed a kind of question mark, a spiral.
We had an impromptu recording session with about a dozen musicians and I put everyone in African robes and turned off all the lights, so there was just the reflection of soft blue, with the snow outside, and the forest valley.
Emmet escaped the Invisible Fence border in the morning, never to be seen again, no tracks, no remains. My mom dreamt about him in France, called to see if he was okay, but I told her he was missing.
I got paranoid and started sleeping in the center of the house, right there in the middle by the fireplace. The house was big, designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright student, something about the architectural theory of expansion and compression, where the common areas were large but the bedrooms were small.
The house made me nervous, with all the windows. I moved the guns from time to time in case someone saw where I was keeping them. The HVAC system resembled the sound of a dragon sleeping and I tried to get my own system in sync with it, to fall asleep.
When I got home, the answering machine was beeping in the basement and the alarm panel was squealing. I was afraid to go down to the basement. The panel said something cryptic about a breach in Zone 2. That was the master bedroom, with the sliding doors off the deck. It would be easy enough to pop the lock on those doors and we normally kept a broomstick in the frame to prevent just that.
I still had the drumkit set up near the front door and I put the pistol on the snare drum when the doorbell rang and the cop peered through the window at me, in my African robe.
He asked if everything was alright and gestured to the drums, to the gun, said “Playing the drums?” and I nodded, yeah.
He left, and the machine kept beeping, and I realized he had no way of knowing I was the owner, he just left. I was all alone, with Chumley, who didn’t bark.
Submitted (late) for this week’s WordPress writing challenge.