Proof We Have Lived

People want absurdity. I know whereof I speak. I learned this from Otis.

Otis the dog, a noble creature I met in the park where I often take my afternoon walks, was a stray as far as I knew, without a name to his always curious face. I gave him that moniker. It suited him. What breed was he? I’m no expert on the canine species, but he was a scavenger usually nosing around the trash cans and the playground area in search of edible discards–terribly unsanitary let alone unappetizing. But we all need to eat.

No one seemed to pay Otis much attention other than to shoo him away if he became too invasive of their personal space. Well, I started bringing a sandwich with me to the park to give that poor dog a decent meal. After a while, we developed a routine. I’d sit myself down on a certain bench (the only one in the place without something juvenile carved into it,) and Otis would gallop to my side. He’d wolf down the sandwich in a minute or so then lay his head upon my lap so I could scratch it and stroke his back while relating to him all the goings-on for that day.

“Otis, my boy,” I told him, “The world is going to Hell in the proverbial handbasket.” He loved that line, always perked up at it. His curious eyes never wavered as I ran down the bad news. (It’s all bad news these days. So it goes.) Otis listened intently and interjected here and there with a sniff at some odious individual’s mention or a yelp at some terrible deed committed by such people. Of course, everyone–even dogs–have their limits. Eventually Otis felt the need to wander again, go off to clear his head or do whatever creatures do by nature. I’m no expert.

Nothing lasts forever either. One afternoon I took my usual walk, sat down on my usual bench sandwich in tow, and Otis failed to make an appearance. I took this as an aberration until the same thing happened the next day and the day after that one. A whole week passed, and Otis did not come for his daily meal with me. I asked around the park, but none of the other habitual patrons had noticed Otis’s absence or knew what might have become of him. After several more weeks went by, I resigned myself to never seeing him again.

I can only imagine that Otis, noble creature that he was, found a loving family willing to take him in and feed him three proper meals a day, far better a thing than I could do. I’d expect nothing less for him. As for the sandwiches, I just keep tossing them away given my distaste for bologna on white bread. (I feel I must continue bringing them to the park. One never knows.)

People want absurdity. I know whereof I speak. And there’s little else I wish to say.


Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.


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