That Old Familiar Sting

by | Oct 14, 2022 | Kuntz Day 1

When the bitch-coon went for my boy I got in between them. My bark has always been bigger than my bite and I hadn’t tasted flesh since I killed those village swans. Just a dickhead pup and jesus did my boy’s dad tan my hide for that carcass pile. Didn’t help that put them on the front porch, thought it was a gift, but any passing village nose spread any juicy news like pine cones in August ablaze. The coon’s nails were nails. One swipe razored my belly from foreleg to hip but I got her neck in my jaw, clamped and rolled. Then another nail which was a serious nail caught my eye. Before I went out, I saw my boy screaming and raising a picked-up branch over his head. I never discovered if my boy crowned the coon or she got away. I awoke on the kitchen floor with the boy’s dad sewing my side shut. His shaking head the definition of pain.

The next week was full on hurt. Every minor move a stab, even lapping water cost. My boy petted for hours every single night, combing me calm, rubbing my ears between his soft fingers. Cafone is the word for running your hand through hair, not many people know it, most just moan, don’t bother to name. Eventually, after the TV went off the boy’s dad would carry him up the stairs to bed, him usually falling asleep, head on my belly, close to the scar but never right on it. The dad always returned to shove some pills jammed into a raw meatball down my mouth. After a week of floor-lying-nothing-getting-better-nothing-going-on-healing, he’d stick a needle in my ass, and goodnight Irene. I’ll get you in my dream.

I knew a week before either of them something was infected, not right. Maybe that bandit-mask had rabies, maybe some worms found a home when I rolled on the forest floor, maybe it’s simply just my time. Being a vegetable is painful. My boy hurting more than me and I could never support sympathy. I said all I could with my eyes. Go ahead, do it. My only consolation, from where I am now I am glad I went first.

The dad took me out into the field behind the house past the woods. Helped my boy dig a hole. Lay me softly beside… rolled me in my old rug. I saw him talking to my boy for a long time, tears, hugs, shouts, shaking, gibberish, a stare then more hugs and tears. The boy’s dad handed him a long needle. My boy came for me, bent down, rubbed my ears, those soft hands, kissed my forehead, stuck the needle in straight.

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