Randall’s condition was growing worse by the day; even at his heaviest, he was not a large man, but the gauntness in his face was beginning to alienate so-called friends that hadn’t seen him in a long time. They would come once to his lonely little room, and never again.
Randall usually called them train-wreckers when he would laugh about them with his dog Valentine, his only constant companion, but sometimes he would grow silent after a visit, and not speak for days, lost in his depression.
At these times, Valentine would crawl into the bed with Randall to press his warm body into the man’s bony side. Eventually, Randall would come around, and apologize profusely to Valentine, feeding him special treats and pouring sparkling water into his bowl.
One night, he opened up his laptop and went to his Facebook page, scrolling past the dozens of hopes and prayers and wishes. He started to type out a status over a dozen times, but never finished enough to post it. He closed the laptop and laughed, startling Valentine.
“It’s my own fault that those train-wreckers come visit, Val,” he laughed. “I’ve got to stop telling the world that I’m sick. No one ever bothered me when they thought I was well.”
Randall opened his laptop back up and quickly pecked out a short message and shared it for everyone to read as they wished. He turned the computer off and snuggled into his pillow, more at ease with the state of his life than he’d been in a long time.
His soft snores drew Valentine’s attention again, and the dog scrambled up to join his master in the bed.
He woke to seventy-four notifications on his phone and more prayers than ever, thanks to his one-word status: cured.
Stanley does enjoy the wheelchair.
When Felicia opened the front door that morning, there was a dog sitting on her front steps, a medium sized brown and white dog with short hair and a pointed tail that he whacked good-naturedly on the top step as he cocked his head and stared her down.
Felicia had never owned a dog in her life, but she promptly stepped aside to let this one inside. From then on they were fast friends. Felicia named him Wallace.
Anywhere one went, the other was right behind, and it was a blessing that Hank, the grocery store owner, had known Felicia since she was a little girl, because he believed her when she promised him that Wallace would never be so rude as to shit on the grocery store floor or bite a fellow patron. True to her word, Wallace did neither.
Felicia was not so lucky when she tried to bring Wallace to her next doctor visit. She had no idea that Dr. Vargas had been bitten as a small child by a dog bearing an eerie resemblance to Wallace. She also had no idea that contamination of the bite caused an infection which was the reason that Dr. Vargas always and only wore pants to hide the prosthetic leg that he attached to his stump each and every morning before coming to the office.
No amount of pleading and weeping and promises was going to make Dr. Vargas change his mind, so for the first time in just over four months, Felicia and Wallace spent nearly an hour and a half apart. Wallace was a good boy, so Felicia left him in her car with all of the windows down. The weather was nice enough that the only pain she felt at doing so was leaving her other half.
When the interminably long appointment was finally over, Felicia dashed out the door, and Wallace leaped from the car. They bounded toward each other and met with a crash that any onlooker might have cringed from, but their mutual joy in reuniting kept them from hurting each other or themselves.
Felicia drove them straight home and rewarded her best friend with a handful of his favorite treats.
She then retired to the couch where she spent the next forty minutes on the phone trying to find a doctor that would allow her dog in the exam room with her for checkups. Dr. Breakham was most obliging.
stalking soft quiet
silly little butt wiggle
pouncy pouncy pounce