The Lost Dog

by Kevin Myrick

They found the shaggy mutt around the neighborhood one spring afternoon. Their daughters Cassie and Jordan convinced them to keep it through their pleadings of "we'll do everything! We'll even clean up his poop!" They played it up big with shrink-wrapped tears. That sent Lucas and Marla over the edge. When the dog and the girls were inside, Lucas said to his wife: "this is a bad idea."

"Let's see what happens," she said. "It could be a great lesson in responsibility."

Sure enough, Lucas was right. The mutt came into their house from the deepest pit of hell. He ate Lucas' favorite pair of tennis shoes. He pulled the heads off of Barbie dolls and swallowed them whole. He even marked his territory on the couch. The girls had named him Charley; Lucas simply called him Satan.

"The dog has to go," he said. He had everyone gathered around the dinner table for a family meeting. "He has destroyed the house!"

The girls ran off to their rooms and cried the for rest of the night. Lucas and Marla got drunk while Satan looked on and barked. He always barked at Lucas.

"So what do we do about the dog?" Marla said.

"Take Satan to the pound for all I care. Let them deal with the bastard."

The next morning while she nursed a hangover, she got the girls off to the community pool then took Charley away for good. "We tried, but the dog is evil."

"Evil?" the woman behind the counter window asked.

"Evil," Marla said. "He isn't a dog, he is Satan."

She told the girls later Charley ran off into the woods and took the leash with him. She had searched and searched, but couldn't find him. Maybe he wanted to be a lost dog again, she told her daughters. The girls went looking around the neighborhood, knocked on doors and nailed fliers to telephone poles. They never found the dog, and Marla never forgave herself for what she did.