Once again we’re doing a “Writing Prompt” short-short from Writer’s Digest. The prompt goes as follows:
One day you wake up to find your dog/cat waiting for you at the side of your bed, sitting on your briefcase. Cocking its head, it tells you, in perfect English, that you won’t be going to work today. Why won’t your pet let you go to work, and what happens? 750 words or fewer
This is little more than fluff, I’m afraid (like the other ones were Shakespeare, amirite?) but I hope it diverts, if only a little. It’s called Jake. and it might be named after someone. Of the four-legged variety…
At first I thought I hadn’t shut the bed room door when I went to bed last night. I mean, Jake’s a clever little dachshund, but a dachshund was all he was. He couldn’t even reach the knob, let alone turn it. I had been extremely tired when I entered the apartment. Just didn’t get it closed, was all.
Yet the door was still shut and the dog was still sitting in the room, right on top of my briefcase. He watched me with that sorrowful look, like I never fed him or that I yelled at him. Made a real impression on the girlfriends, he did.
Seeing him like that, I almost imagined I was still asleep. You could even see the symbolism. The briefcase represented adult responsibility while Jake was childhood promise unfulfilled. Very Freud, or Jung, or something.
I glanced over at my alarm clock, saw it hadn’t gone off on time. Five minutes later than I ever wanted to be, but that couldn’t be helped now,
I turned back to Jake and asked. “Hey, were you going to just sit there and let me sleep all day or what? I’ve gotta go to work, you know.”
Jake cocked his head to one side and, I kid you not, said “You are not going to work. Not today.”
I gaped at him. Not because he spoke — his last owner had a chip installed — but for another reason entirely. “Hey! That’s a complete sentence! When’d you start speaking in complete sentences?”
“That is not important right now. What matters is that there is something vital that needs attending. Something so very important that it scarcely bears thinking about it not coming to pass.”
“What is it, boy? Did Timmy fall in the well?”
Jake shook his head. “You know that wasn’t funny the first time you said it.”
“I will need your full an undivided attention. What I am about to ask of you is crucial. You will need to focus your entire mind, body, and soul upon completing this task. I know it will be strenuous, but it must be done.”
“I need walkies.”
“I said I need walkies. Right now.”
All that verbage for walkies?
I sat up in bed. “Use the mat by the front door. It’s what it’s there for.”
“No!” Jake hopped up and down on my briefcase. “I need walkies now!“
“Sorry, bud. If I don’t hightail it, I’m going to be late. Again. And the boss was thinking about firing me anyways. Don’t need to give her a cause.”
“Tool of the capitalist system! Pawn of the oppressor!”
Jeez. I didn’t know he knew such language.
“Tell you what. I’ll pick you up a cheeseburger after work. Howja like that?”
Jake flopped down on the briefcase as I rose from the bed. “Suppose.”
I stepped towards my dresser, only to realize there was something else I wanted to ask him. “How did you get in here, anyways?”
“And how did you start talking in full sentences? They told me the chip could only holds a limited vocab.”
Jake gave me his best soulful look. “Bow wow?”
He never did tell me.
Sometimes I think he’s too clever for my own good.