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"Dogs Deep," short story excerpt

Monday 7/12/21

You’re going to kill it, or you can fuck off right back home.”


The boy holds the dog that is two or three days old in his hand by the loose skin around its neck. There appears to be more skin there than there ought to be. The dog has problems, it’s going to die anyway, the boy thinks. It’s what the boy knows, because it’s actually the truth.


They are behind the school. Summer has never been so dry during the boy’s life. He thinks about gangs in cities. What he’s read. The words felt like legends. What boys like him did to get their friends and keep them. The needless waste of it all. Maybe this was the farm version. But with less waste because the result would be the same.


Brad was badass. He was fifteen but he might as well have been twenty-two. Seems like his father’s crops failed the hardest when everyone’s crops generally failed. They did a lot of borrowing. “A shit ton,” was the town consensus. Some adults thought it was pathetic, even if you can’t help your luck.


The boy came to this place behind the school often. It’s where he practiced his fielding, throwing a racquetball off the wall and pretending that he was the best shortstop who had ever played the game of baseball, despite the fact that he couldn’t hit a lick.


He was so strong in the field that the caliber of his arm, the extent of his range, the way he turned his back on the plate and broke towards the outfield to snag flies that would have otherwise landed in no-man’s land, made it such that no one gave a rat’s ass that he barely broke .200 at the dish. And he didn’t even want to hit well, if he was being honest. It just wasn’t that important to him.


“You’re one of us or you’re not one of us,” Brad says. The other boys wait and watch. One cracks a joke about how much fucking farm dogs do. Another offers a follow-up joke about how else were they going to spend their days? A third says there’s balls deep and then there’s dogs deep.


The boy isn’t sure how to dispatch the dog. He could twist its neck. There are sores on the neck and they are bleeding. His fingers will probably end up going into the dog a bit that way. They’ll be a part of each other for a moment and the boy doesn’t want that for either of them. The animal is suffering. It’s true. That part is not made up. Sometimes one just comes out like that. What to do, what to do. Brad told this story at school about an uncle of his he had called Davey Blue Balls, and Davey needed to cum but he couldn’t cum for like six years, and all of him became purple and it’s this rare medical condition. Fact. Look it up.