The Master in the doghouse |

The Master in the doghouse

Barry Smith

“I want out,” Fido said. “OK, we’ll go walkies just as soon as I’m done with the sports,” the Master said, without looking up from his paper.”No,” said Fido. “I mean I want out. Like really out. Out of this whole mess. Out of this, this … situation. It just isn’t working for me anymore.”The Master dropped his paper and looked at Fido for a moment.”What are you talking about?””I’m sorry if it seems sudden to you, but I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.””Look,” the Master said. “If it’s about that whole Alpo thing, I’m willing to …””You just don’t get it, do you?” Fido sighed. “You used to treat me like I was such a good dog. The long walks. The lazy afternoons playing fetch. The little Milk Bone treats you’d surprise me with. But now …””Look, I’m sorry. I’ve just been a little preoccupied lately. You know how much pressure I’m under at the office.”The Master got out of his chair and crouched over Fido, who was now staring wistfully at something invisible out the window. “Does my widdle Fido want some scratchy-wachy?””Don’t touch me!” Fido snarled.”Oh, wubby dubby dubby …” the Master began scratching Fido on his tummy. Predictably, and much to Fido’s dismay, his hind leg began to kick.”Is that what Fido-wido wants? Some scratchy-wachy…?””Stop it. I’m serious!””Scratchy-watchy-wachy!””I’ve met someone else!” Fido yelped.A sharp silence fell over the room. The Master stopped mid-scratchy-wach. He got off the floor and sat back down in his recliner, taking a long drink of his beer.”Who is it?” he said.”It’s the Johnsons,” Fido said, still trying to catch his breath.”The Johnsons? From two houses down? Those Johnsons?””Yes …””But … the Johnsons are cat people.””They … they love me. Not that you would know what that means.”The Master took another slug from his beer and slammed the can down hard. “And just when did you and the Johnsons hit it off so big?” he yelled. “I suppose that all those times I thought you were out rooting around in neighborhood trash you were actually curled up in their living room eating their table scraps?”Fido looked away.”And to think I trusted you!””Trust?” Fido barked. “Trust? What do you know about trust? Your idea of trust is to keep me on a leash all day! You don’t care about trust, you just want me to be your precious little plaything. Where’s your bone, Fido? Roll over, Fido! Bad dog, Fido! That’s all I am to you, isn’t it? A possession! Well, no more. From now on I’m standing on my own four feet!””Oh, and I suppose it’ll be different at the Johnsons, huh?” he screamed. “Well, I won’t let you turn me into the laughingstock of the neighborhood! Listen to your master. Heel, Fido, stay … STAY!!””SEE!? That’s just what I mean! The whole ‘master’ thing is just so played out. I don’t need this crap.””Oh yeah? Well … I’ve been seeing someone else, too! A … a Rottweiller … twice the dog you’ll ever be! Ha!”The Master went on and on about other dogs he’d petted, grasping for names of poodles and bloodhounds and terriers, but Fido ignored him and began to gather up his squeaky toys from under the furniture. “Mongrel!” he shouted as Fido was halfway through the doggie door. Fido stopped, turned around, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Remember all those times when you pointed your finger at me like a gun, said ‘BANG,’ and I sprawled out on the floor like I was dead?””Yeah? So?””Well … I was faking it.”

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