Beware of Dog

There is a monster living under my stoop. I used to love him once, but now I have had enough.

Lately, he’s been dragging road kill home and leaving uneaten bits of entrails all over the garden. It was the stench that put me over the edge. I have to kill him … I know that … but I don’t know how.
It all started in the summer of ‘79, behind my house in the little cubbyhole the townhouse developers had called a “backyard.” I was 13; he was 14. We would be freshmen in the fall — high school that is. We’d been sweethearts since kindergarten, I think, so when he wanted to show me his thing, I didn’t really think anything of it, and when he wanted me to “put my mouth on it” all thoughts left my head.
He’d gone missing on his 16th birthday. I told everyone through a hemorrhagic flood of tears and sobs that “he wouldn’t have just run away.” Not from me. The police found him three months later, naked and starved, lying in a dumpster. He never talked about what had happened to him, but I had overheard his parents arguing one day, and it was said “horrible things had been done to him.” Horrible being only one of a thousand words his mother would use to describe those things she could never speak of.
He didn’t start killing people until we got to college … didn’t start eating them until after we were married. Mrs. Adrienne Turner, that’s me. I’d call him Addy for short, until last week. I had to put a sign up on the lawn last week. We’ve never even owned a dog. 
After he had disappeared, I was more angry than scared. I thought, or wanted to believe, that he had run off to California to become a celebrity, even though I wasn’t really sure how exactly one went about doing that. I always imagined him in skinny jeans and a Gucci shirt, white, pressed, accompanied by some sequined bimbo with synthetic boobs. She would be tall and have huge lips and long painted nails, and she would giggle a lot and flip her hair like a porn star. Still, I often dream of being that porn star. I always loved the way he fucked me just after he’d killed someone. All sweat and anger and release. We haven’t fucked in over two years now. He smells bad.

I think rat poison might work, but I have to go now. The mailman is coming, and I want to meet him at the gate. We’ve been through three in the past year. The last was big boned, screamed like a motherfucker when I maced him, and had too much mail to burn discretely. 

by Cheryl Anne Gardner