Ode to the Unceasing Doggerel


There is a dog barking somewhere in your apartment complex. That’s no surprise. You are, after all, trapped here until your lease is up. Little annoyances like this are part and parcel of your current socio-economic standing. The roof leaks, the stove belches smoke, and the dog barks. It’s nothing to worry about, you think at first, no reason to cause a fuss. You were prepared to endure a few curs when you signed on the dotted line.

Something, of course, is somewhat unusual about the dog. It barks very often and seems to become louder the more you think about it.

Bark, bark, bark. This thing must be a mutant, you think, the bastard child of Cerberus and Cujo.

It barks at you in the shower, when you are eating breakfast, when you are caught in the sweaty embrace of your partner. Sometimes it calls you at work and barks at you over the phone.

It barks the loudest when you are watching the news. The goddamn beast seems to think it knows the world better than you. The steady drone of its monotonous yelp falls in time with the beating lips of so many talking heads. You think of the animal wearing a suit and tie, growling out his own analysis of daily affairs and chasing pundits and politicians up a tree. This, of course, is utter nonsense, dog vanity.

Something must be done about this mongrel. You complain to the landlord, only to find out that the dog is the sole legal tenant of apartment 200. There are laws in this country and apparently even the dogs are getting themselves a fat slice of the big apple pie. Still, it seems odd to you, wrong somehow.

One night, the dog crosses the line. It begins yammering and howling in the middle of the night. You have a big presentation tomorrow and desperately need rest.

Some solution must be found. You secretly begin to think about murdering the cacophonous hound. Unwanted violence crawls into your imagination and whispers about dropping poison into an exposed dish or hiring some local meth-head to stove in its skull with a rusty claw hammer.

“No!” you scream at the ceiling. You didn’t want to picture that revolting scene. You would never actually do these things. You are a good person. The dog made you do it!

You shake these visions away and sit upright.

You’ve woken up so you might as well do something. You know that TV will just make the barking louder so you decide to take a midnight stroll to calm your nerves. As you put on your coat and check your pockets for your keys you realize that the barking has stopped. This is highly suspicious. You run to the door and throw it open, only to find the dog waiting for you. The mutt is sitting in your hallway wearing sunglasses and a rakish hat. In his mouth is a leash. He slips one end of it over your wrist as you lock the door. Things are becoming clear. Peace can be attained. Domestic tranquility is at your fingertips. All you have to do is walk behind this beast for a while and see where it takes you.  

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