The Pack

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The Pack

Postby snicklefritz » Sat Nov 18, 2006 9:39 am

November

The man sank deeper into his musty old chair reading a book of no consequence by the dim light of a kerosene lantern, while he listened to the rain spattering the window pane and the crackling fire in the hearth. Occasionally, the wind in the trees broke through the roar of the fire and prompted the man to reflect on his miserable existence.

His mind wandered, then, from the book, to nature’s creatures and he wondered if they too thought about how miserable they really were.

"Does the doe feel the sting of the freezing wind,
Or, the coyote the brutal desert sun?
Do fish swim with purpose,
And know the slinky cool feel of water?
Does the pack know it’s a pack?"


Another log on the fire; another swig on the bottle; another cheap cigarette, and a trip to the front door to turn the lock moved the man out of his chair. Another whine…more urgent and pitiful than before…not imagined - real and insistent. A lull in the breeze and another soft whine called the man out from his solitary reflection and into relationship.

The man opened the door and saw the dog in the dim glow of the fire. Standing there with legs splayed out, tail tucked, dripping wet and shivering uncontrollably, the dog gazed up at the man from lowered head and met the man’s gaze without malice, or apology. The dog and the man never broke eye contact as lightning flashed and bathed the dog in shimmering ice cycles of silver and blue, while the man felt something move deep within...something old; older than either of them...older than recorded history... older than dirt.

The dog staggered slowly forward, through the doorway, and into the one room shanty where he stood, too weak to shake off the water that cascaded onto the hardwood floor. The man closed the door on the dog’s past, and his own, as he grabbed dirty towels and began to dry to dog – gently at first – and then more vigorously when the dog showed no resistance.

When the dog was just damp he coaxed it to the frayed rug in front of the fire and laid an old quilt over the dog as it sighed deeply and fell into a deep and troubled sleep. Later in the evening, when the dog awoke, the man fed the dog beef broth and cooked rice. Again, the dog plunged into sleep, this time deeper and longer lasting.

When the man awoke in his chair the dog was nuzzling his hand and wagging his tail slowly. Sunlight blazed off fresh fallen snow, passed through the windows, and painted a kaleidoscope of color on the ceiling of the room where the man and the dog each waited expectantly for the other to commit to the pack. For the pack was the only thing the dog really understood, and the only place where the man and the dog had a chance to become what nature meant for them to be. The man understood the pack too, for he had been solitary for far too long. In his loneliness he had been led to the realization that his relationships with others provided the textures and shapes that defined who and what he had become as a man.

“Are you gonna stick around, or high tail it like all the others?â€
"When the sh*t hits the fan, you will not rise to the occasion. You will fight the way you trained."
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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:03 pm

Very readable, and nicely said. Got more?
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Postby snicklefritz » Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:36 pm

Not right off hand. But, there will be...when I have something more to say. Thank you.
"When the sh*t hits the fan, you will not rise to the occasion. You will fight the way you trained."
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