The Odd Couple
A short story by Doug Van Slembrouck
October 14, 2006
The sound of the closing car door caused Bruno to leap off the sofa and run to the door wall.”Dad Dad Dad!” he barked loudly, swinging his massive tail in loud knocks against the armchair.”It’s just a car, dummy,” said Macy. She was sleeping, or trying to, on top of the fridge, her front paws draped over the door. She flicked another fridge magnet to the floor with a contemptuous smirk. “And stop calling him Dad, the human’s name is Edward.” “I am not a dummy.”Said Bruno, lying with his nose pressed against the cold glass of the window.
Macy stood up slowly, stretching luxuriously. Her pink nose was permanently pointed skyward, with cool aloofness. She gracefully jumped to the kitchen counter, walked to the end, and floated to the floor in a single, noiseless movement.”You bark at every noise that you hear. He’s not coming home you know. He has had enough and is leaving us. It’s your fault too, you ate that green napkin. That was the final straw my dim-witted friend, the final straw.”
Bruno spun around, his tail sinking to the ground.
“He is too coming home! Dad always comes home!”
“Nope, not this time. I’m happy really, I don’t need him. He gets in the way really. He has poor taste in women, he snores, he smells, he sings off key in the shower. Good riddance, I say. You’re screwed though, you need him more than me. Who will feed you?” She was grooming herself now, licking her paws and gently smoothing the long white hair on her face.
“No, you’re lying! Stop!”
“Do you see what time it is? No, of course you don’t, you can’t read” She said it with dripping malice, her evil grin spreading wide across her face. “It’s almost midnight and he has not returned. He probably ran off with that tramp of his, whatever her name is. You’ve done it now fleabag!”
It took everything he had for Bruno to not lose his cool. Macy always picked on him, but this as scary. What if Dad never came home? He shuddered to think of it. Mustering all the courage he could find, Bruno walked back to the sofa.
“You’re lying, I don’t believe you.” Then he muttered “And I don’t have fleas, poop butt.”
“What’s that Mumbles?”
“Nothing, leave me alone”
Bruno tried to control his fear. Macy might be right. He really shouldn’t have eaten that napkin, but it was an accident! He was so excited running from room to room with the treasure he found laying on the bathroom floor that he accidentally swallowed it. I said I was sorry, Bruno thought. But Dad was really mad about that, he didn’t even call it a napkin, he kept saying something about a fifty dollar money, whatever that was. Bruno wished he knew what that was. He had asked Macy, but she had sneered at him saying “Duh, you idiot, it’s a fancy napkin”
“Oh it will be much better without him. I’ll get to do whatever I want. I know where my food is, I am not the one who needs someone to let me out for the bathroom, I have my own private bathroom. Ah yes, it will be the live, no more Edward.”
“Dad’s coming home, he’s just “.. The light from a passing car passed over the house, briefly lighting the living room.”
“DAD DAD DAD!” Bruno woofed triumphtly, running to the front door.
Macy rolled on her back in laughter. “HA HA , you poor sap! That’s just a car outside! What a dummy! Keep it up and you’ll go hoarse you fur bucket! Bark bark bark! Haha, what a dolt.”
Bruno walked into the bedroom, muttering over his shoulder, “I’m not a dummy.”
“Ok dummy, go pout by yourself.”
Macy walked to edge of the sofa and sharpened her claws in the same place she had for years, despite the human’s futile efforts to prevent it. “Nope, trust me mutt, he’s gone for good this time.” She was yelling towards the bedroom. “You’ve really done it. Humans are very sensitive creatures, they are hurt very easily. And you hurt him, eating that fancy napkin. Phuut, a napkin! Humans are so stupid.”
She strolled into the bedroom. “Where’d you go sensitive Sally?”
Bruno had dragged his bed in the corner of the room. He was facing the wall and trying to sleep, pretending not to listen.
“AHHH! I claim the bed” She jumped up on the red silk pillows, stretching out her long body as far as she could. “Fit for a queen! Ha, that’s me!”
“You’re not supposed to be on the bed”
“And who is going to stop me?” She rolled on her back and stuck her tongue out at him.
“He- is-coming-home!” Bruno pronounced each word slowly, fighting against the raising fear that Dad was not coming home and Macy would rule over him with her furry fist. He began praying. “Please come home Please come home”
And then, as if as an answer, the front door opened and Edward walked in.
“Dad? DAD DAD DAD DAD!!!” Bruno raced into door, barking with absolute joy, and peeing, just a little.
“Hey bud. Quiet down. Did you have a good day? You need to go potty?”
Edward opened the screen door and let Bruno run out into the yard.
Sorting through the mail, he said “Sorry guys, late day at the office. It’s been a busy week”
Edward let Bruno back in, walked to his office, and sat at the computer. Bruno put his chin on Edward’s lap, his tail swishing wildly.
“Jeez buddy, you always act like you haven’t seen me in a week, chill out. We’ll go for a walk first thing tomorrow, I promise.”
When Macy walked into the office, Edward was stared at the computer screen, checking his mail or whatever it was he did with that thing. “Oh, hmm, when did you get home? I didn’t even notice.” She walked under the desk, laying comfortably on the mess of cables that poured from behind the computer
Bruno was so happy, he was going on a walk tomorrow, and Dad was home!! He laid at Dad’s feet, and fell asleep within a second.
After several minutes, Macy lept onto his lap, curled into a ball, and began purring. She grudgingly let him scratch her ears, at least for now.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.