How Frank the Dog Saved the World  And Later...the Galaxy 

by Jim Dustin

Chapter III 

Democracy has come to the world and flourishes in Greece in the 5th Century, B.C. The city-state of Athens rules the Aegean and influences the politics and behavior of half the Mediterranean basin. It gives birth to the voices of Aeschylus and Sophocles, Aristophanes and Plato. But while it practiced democracy at home, it kept 1,000 cities under its imperial thumb. Many rebelled. One was Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. Athens sent an army to besiege the city. After it was taken, the noble Athenians executed 1,000 men for the crime of wanting to be free to govern themselves. In 416 B.C., Athens tried to force neutral Melos into the war against the Peloponnesian League. When Melos refused, the noble, freedom-loving Athenians killed all the men and sold the women and children of Melos into slavery. 

Humankind hardly needed to provide more evidence for the prosecution, but there they were, further incriminating themselves even as the Judgment Ship approached. But then, they didn’t know about the Judgment Ship. Many of them were living their petty little lives as if there was no quid pro quo in life.

Dogs are flexible. They not only can twist and jump and squirm like no human, they also have more chromosomes than humans. Plus, they have short life spans. They can breed at about one year old, and breed again and again. Thus, it is fairly easy to produce specialty breeds of dogs. And from that one original dog ancestor, hundreds of breeds have emerged.

About all these breeds had in common was that they were bred to serve some purpose decided on by humans. Dogs were bred to hunt, they were bred to kill vermin, they were bred to guard, they were bred to locate what humans wanted, they were bred to haul, they were bred to carry, they were bred to look pretty, they were bred to be mean, they were bred to be big, they were bred to be small, they were bred to retrieve, they were bred to search, they were bred to point, they were bred to run, they were bred to herd, they were bred to watch. And some were bred to fight.

Frank was the product of a breeding experiment to cross a pit bull terrier with a German shepherd. The idea was to produce a fighting dog with the tenacity of a pit bull and the strength and weight of a shepherd. The product of the effort was a squat, muscular dog with a big head and powerful jaws. To look at him from afar, you’d have to assume the chunky mutt was a fighter, a look-over-your-shoulder dog; one that made you walk a wide path around him, then look over your shoulder to make sure he wasn’t following. Frank had that kind of Ty Cobb aura - the competitor who was a damn good ballplayer but just a little bit too tightly wound for his teammates’ comfort.

If you could get by that stiff-legged, head-high posture, if you could get close and kneel down in front of him, look into those expressive dark eyes, you’d see a personality yearning for just a smidgeon of kindness. Because you’d also see that scarred left eye, and you’d also notice that slight limp and the scars on his nose and legs. You’d realize he’d been hurt repeatedly. You’d notice that, but you wouldn’t have been Billy Bob or Lenny Callaway.

Frank wasn’t named Frank originally. He was named, with a singular lack of imagination, Killer. He had seemed to grow into the name because, as he filled out, he looked formidable. He had the brown fur and black saddle of a shepherd and some of a shepherd’s bulk, but he also possessed the low-slung, bowlegged carriage of a pit bull. He also had that species’ squarish head and powerful jaws.

Billy Bob and Lenny took good care of Killer when the dog was young. Killer got a lot of raw meat on the theory (a word with which the Callaways were not familiar) that raw meat encouraged aggressive behavior. The dog got a lot of walks and play - if you could call what Billy Bob and Lenny did play. Killer loved most of it. He loved grabbing on to a stick and holding on to it no matter what the men did. They could actually lift the dog off the ground and swing him around without Killer losing his grip. They’d time how long they could swing him in that manner. Always, their arms gave out before the dog’s jaw muscles did.

Killer also loved to run, although that wasn’t his forte. Killer kind of looked like a speeding tank when he ran, all leg movement and no body movement. Plus, he tended to run through things rather than around. The mixed-breed puppy looked kind of weird when in motion, but the Callaways didn’t care; the dog was growing up strong.

However, he wasn’t growing up mean. Killer had the natural instinct of pit bulls to be antagonistic to other dogs. Killer failed to follow through, though. He’d run up to other dogs in a belligerent manner. The stranger dogs would usually give up on the spot, lie down and extend their necks. That was sufficient for Killer, who probably should have been named Intimidator, but that was another word the Callaways didn’t know. Establishing dominance was enough for Killer. He’d trot over to Lenny or Billy Bob expecting some sort of reward for defending the turf against another dog only to be yelled at or kicked.

“Kill the damn dog, you stupid,” one or the other would yell, and drag Killer over to the other animal unaware that as far as dogs were concerned, the issue was settled. Those were the first times Killer was hurt, when he was dragged by his spiked collar. He tried to keep up, but those stubby legs were no match for the long strides of the men. He became afraid when either of the two men would approach, their anger apparent, and reach down to grab that collar. It hurt, and Killer couldn’t fathom why was being hurt. In his world, the dog protected the turf and his masters. He had defeated intruder after intruder. What was he doing wrong?

“You’re not making him fight for his food. If the dog ain’t born mean, you’ve got to stick mean in ‘im,” Dad Callaway intoned. “It’s like Lenny there. He was God’s own coward afore we started taken ‘im to the roadhouses. Ain’t that right, Billy Bob?”

Billy Bob smiled a gap-toothed smile. He remembered. Billy Bob liked to fight. He was the best bar fighter in the county. He stood 6-foot-5 and weighed 260 pounds. And strong. He could bale hay from dawn to dusk, hoisting 100-pound bales one after another into the flatbed truck as high as the man on top could stack them. He could handle a chain saw with one hand, split wood in the evening after dinner and earn a living as a hod carrier when he wasn’t working on the hard scrabble this family called a farm. Dad Callaway had taken to hauling Billy Bob out of the county to fight because no one within 50 miles would take him on any more.

Lenny was ten years younger than Billy Bob, and only a half-brother. Dad Callaway liked to remind Lenny that Lenny didn’t have Billy Bob’s genes. That’s because Dad Callaway’s first wife and her genes had disappeared after one too many of Dad Callaway’s beatings. The same thing happened to Lenny’s mother, and after that, purt near every woman in that county and all the surrounding ones didn’t have anything to do with the Callaways.

So Lenny hadn’t grown up with Billy Bob’s bulk, nor did he have Billy Bob’s cruel streak, or at least he wasn’t born with it. Billy Bob liked to kick a man in the ribs a few times even after the man had been knocked unconscious. Or Billy Bob liked to slam his heavy work boot down on a man’s hand as he was lying helpless on the floor. He said he wanted to know if the man still had feelings after being knocked cold. Then he’d laugh until spittle ran out of the side of his mouth.

Lenny ran with some other kids when he was younger, though he hadn’t gone to school. The Callaway “farm” was situated way back in the woods off a dirt road that ran from a gravel road that connected to a two-lane paved county road that led eventually to a two-lane state highway. School officials didn’t even know Dad Callaway had had a second son. Their home was a couple of old trailer homes surrounded by old cars and furniture. A gully that ran by the dwellings served as a landfill, clogged with tires, useless appliances, bottles and other trash.

Lenny ran with a bunch of kids from similar circumstances, so he was familiar with certain bars by the time he was 17. Those bars were rough places, and Lenny had been beaten up more than once. “We gotta toughen your ass up, boy,” Dad Callaway announced one day. For the next year or so, whenever Dad Callaway felt like Lenny needed some training in the manly arts, the three of them would hop in the old Dodge pickup and head down Interstate 55 to find some roadhouse. The bar might be in southeastern Missouri, or northeast Arkansas, or Tennessee, or sometimes even as far away as Oklahoma. They had to get away from where Billy Bob was known, and none of them worked steady anyway. It wasn’t like they were losing a paycheck.

When they’d find a bar, they’d send Lenny in. Lenny’d have a few beers while his half-brother and father would sit outside, boozing in the pickup. Then they’d wander in a little later and sit at a table away from the bar. That would be Lenny’s signal to start a fight with someone at the bar, and that someone had to be fairly big or Dad Callaway would beat up Lenny himself for picking an easy target.

If Lenny won the ensuing fight, fine. If he was losing, Billy Bob would step in and beat the crap out of the other fellow. Billy Bob showed no mercy in those instances. Billy Bob used to have some friends; Billy Bob was 39. All his friends were either dead, in jail, or just gone. All he had left was family. All he had left was blood, and as far as Billy Bob was concerned, anyone who was fighting Lenny was trying to kill Lenny. Anyone who landed a punch on Lenny was going to have Billy Bob trying to break his ribs and ram the broken bone into a lung. And if things got too out of hand, Dad Callaway was sitting there with a knife in his boot and a .380 and a .38 in either pocket.

It was Killer’s misfortune to be delivered into this family. Not mean enough? Dad Callaway had a treatment for that. If the father was willing to subject his own son to such treatment, he had no hesitancy whatsoever in visiting such cruelty onto a dog. It was the Lenny treatment, only worse, because Dad Callaway didn’t really care if the dog lived or died. There were lots of dogs. Killer only had two things going for him: The Callaways thought he might be worth something, and the entire family didn’t have the IQ equal to that of a pin oak. Had they been able to find dogs vicious enough to put in a cage with Killer, Killer probably wouldn’t have survived. Finding such dogs wasn’t an easy task, and finding such dogs without having to spend some money was an almost impossible task.

In their crooked neck of the woods, those that had vicious dogs fought them. The winners got kept, the losers got killed. It was a sport in certain regions of America where people gathered in dark and remote places to watch dumb beasts tear each other apart. They found this amusing. If they had known anything about history, they might have argued that this was a step up from the Romans watching humans tear one another apart in the arena, but they didn’t know anything about history. They didn’t know anything about the responsibilities incumbent upon a creature that has a choice about sending lesser creatures to their deaths as opposed to creatures not having a choice about being sent to their own deaths. And they couldn’t have parsed, or possibly even read, the previous sentence.

The upright people in the neighboring towns might have known about the dogfights. Sometimes the fights got broken up, but not often in rural areas. Local sheriffs weren’t exactly FBI qualified, and were usually elected. Even the smart law officers figured the dog fights and other twisted amusements of the backwoods types was one way to keep them out of town. The churchgoing, chamber-of-commerce types didn’t want them in their bars, after all.

So the Callaways and their ilk could operate pretty much undisturbed. They could even kill one another. Dad Callaway had had three sons. One had gotten into a feud with some other clan across the hills and got himself killed. Dad Callaway wouldn’t tell Billy Bob who’d done the deed, because Billy Bob was dumb enough that he’d march right over there and continue the fight. That would end up with Dad being the only Callaway left, and Dad Callaway didn’t want to get killed himself. He was smart enough to know which clan was bigger and tougher. The other-side-of-the-hill clan had dumped Leroy’s body off at the front of the Callaway's dirt driveway, and Dad Callaway had buried his son right there.

That was the way Dad Callaway lived, both as a coward and as a bully. And now, he was upset about a dog for which he had paid good money - $40 - not living up to his perceived potential. The Callaways would pick up strays, go to city pounds, get culled dogs from too-large litters, steal pets and put them in the fenced yard with Killer. Killer would always dominate, but he wouldn’t kill. He wouldn’t even harm another dog that had stretched the neck in submission. Confronted with the fact that the dogs they brought in wouldn’t force Killer into viciousness, the Callaways attempted to do the job themselves.

They started by putting Killer in a cage not much larger than the dog. Killer couldn’t move around. He had barely enough room to stretch out or turn over. The first night they put him in the cage, he whined piteously and gnawed at the gate. “Now, we’re gittin' somewheres,” said Dad Callaway, sitting in an old chair that smelled of stale beer and mold. “First, they’re sad. Then, they’re mad,” he intoned. Billy Bob and Lenny nodded as if some great wisdom had just been imparted.

For the first few weeks, when either Billy Bob or Lenny would come out of the house, Killer would try to rise up in his cage to greet the humans. He’d try to wag his tail, but it kept hitting the rear end of the cage. In response to the dog’s greeting, the brothers would beat on the cage with a stick, or poke the dog until Killer yelped in pain. Or, they’d fire a gun. Killer hated that. It scared him terribly. The loud Bang! of the gun filled the air around him and slammed into those sensitive ears that stood up like the ears of a fruit bat. Killer’s ears were muscular like every other part of his body. He actually could fold them as if trying to keep that terrible noise from penetrating, but it didn’t work. Lenny or Billy Bob would laugh to see those ears crumpled over.

Truth be known, though, Lenny’s laughing was just show. He didn’t like torturing the dog. In the Callaway clan, he couldn’t not participate. But he didn’t enjoy it. If he’d come upon the cage alone, well away from his brother and father, he’d talk to Killer with kind words. “You’re a tough little guy, ain’t cha,” he’d say, and Killer would look at him with those big, brown eyes as if trying to decipher the words, as if trying to pick some comfort out of what had become a miserable life.

Lenny would stick his fingers through the grate and scratch Killer’s head. Then he’d stop, and let his fingers dangle there, Killer would look at him, then nudge his fingers with his nose. Lenny would scratch his head again. One night, Lenny had an idea. “You want to learn a trick, Killer?” as if dogs didn’t want to learn tricks. Lenny would scratch Killer’s head through the grate, then let his fingers dangle in the vicinity of the gravity lock on the cage. Once in a while, pushing up with his nose in hopes of getting more attention, Killer would accidentally push the gravity lock up, and the door to the cage would swing open.

“Now, if ya’ll ever git in real trouble, you jist push up this heah latch, and run like hell. Run!” Lenny would say, and grab both of Killer’s stubby front legs and pump them. But then Lenny would go to bed, and Killer’s lonely reality would set in again.

The Callaways wouldn’t feed him anything except dog parts - skin, entrails, bones. Dad Callaway seemed to think that kind of diet would give Killer a taste for dog meat. Dad Callaway’s knowledge on the subject of diet was not too far removed from Nero’s views on the subject of community fire protection. This wasn’t a good diet for Killer, and it didn’t do what Dad Callaway intended. Feeding a canine dog meat will no more make him a killer than feeding a cow grass will make the cow a specialist on lawn care.

On top of that, Killer didn’t get much exercise. Occasionally, they let Killer out to run in the yard, and it was a tribute to the loyalty gene in dogs that Killer didn’t just use the opportunity to run full speed to the horizon. None of the fat Callaways could have pursued him much beyond the end of the driveway. The only walks Killer got were when he was leashed to the back of the pickup and had to trot along behind while whoever was driving drank beer and listened to the radio. Every once in a while, they’d forget about the dog and go too fast, dragging Killer along the gravel road by his neck.

This was the dog’s life. He never got to play. He never got to run through the green pastures. He never got to track down the source of the myriad of smells that hang in the air around any dog. He never got to experience the thrill of the smell of danger lurking in the scents left around a tree, nor to experience the bravado of marking his territory over the mark of another, much more feral canine that had learned to live in the woods without the help of man. He rarely knew the pleasure of being scratched behind the ears, or snatching a flung treat out of the air. He never knew love.

The only thing keeping Killer alive was his natural resiliency and the fact that Dad Callaway had paid a whole $40 for him. Even those two factors weren’t going to keep him alive much longer. The stupid diet he was on was robbing him of his vitality and sapping his immune system. What finally saved him from the Callaways was Billy Bob’s cruelty and fear of disease.

One day, Billy Bob was goading Killer in his cage with a stick. Someone had told Billy Bob that dogs’ noses were very sensitive, and Billy Bob took this to mean that it was easier to hurt a dog by hitting the dog on the nose than, say, his rump. So Billy Bob was trying to poke Killer on the nose when he accidentally poked the dog in the eye. Killer yelped and cowered toward the back of the cage, blood running from his right eye. Bill Bob didn’t care that he had hurt the dog, but he did care that he may have damaged a family investment. He even more worried about having damaged the dog to an extent that it might cost money to fix it.

That would make Dad Callaway extremely mad. Billy Bob didn’t know the truth of how his other brother had died. All he knew was what Dad Callaway had told him, and what Dad Callaway had told was that Dad himself had killed the other boy for misbehaving and buried him right there at the end of the driveway. Billy Bob wasn’t quite sure what degree of offense would merit the death penalty, but damaging a dog on which Dad Callaway had pinned such hopes might qualify. A dog couldn’t fight with one eye, could he? Billy Bob wondered to himself.

He opened the cage door and pulled Killer out to examine the wound. He dabbed some disinfectant on it. While he was doing that, he noticed Killer didn’t have any fur on his lower jaw and chest. Billy Bob, that paragon of bravery in bars, dropped Killer like a hot coal. He hopped up and away from the dog, shaking his hands like he’d been snake bit. “Sheet, Lenny,” he yelled. “That there dog’s got the mange, or some sich, an’ I teched him! Damn me for a fool, get some bleach and water outn heah, quick like, and don’t tech that there dog!”

Dad Callaway, classified as one of America’s unemployed and therefore home, came out to see what all the commotion was about. “Dad, he’s got the mange! Lookit his front! He tain’t got no hyar. Let me shoot him, Dad. We cain’t keep no dog ‘round heah with the mange, can we?” Billy Bob blathered.

Dad Callaway looked at his son and cuffed him out of the way, which Dad Callaway could do because he weighed in at around 350 pounds and had that lie about the third brother buried at the end of the driveway to back up his discipline. Billy Bob glared at his father, but didn’t retaliate. Killer cowered in a corner of the yard by a fence, watching his tormenters and trying to lick at his wounded eye. The whites of his eyes appeared as he looked fearfully around, perhaps wondering if there was any more suffering that could possibly be added onto the burden he already was bearing.

Killer hadn’t done anything wrong in the context of canine behavior. He’d just bonded with the wrong humans, but they were the only humans he’d ever known. Killer had known only three humans, having been sold as a puppy. He couldn’t help bonding with them; he was a dog. Dogs don’t need to be forced into loyalty with beatings and the threat of a brother killed and buried at the end of the driveway. Killer was a member of a species that had entered into a partnership with mankind that had endured through seventeen millennia. As man had marched upward to claim dominance over all the earth, the dogs had marched right along beside, eyes bright, tongues hanging and brains alert for the next instructions.

And what was this tiny but not unrepresentative splinter of mankind doing with its dogs? Putting them in pits and watching them fight because that was the best entertainment they could muster up on a Saturday night. No longer did Man need a watchdog; he had Brinks. No longer did Man need a tracker; he had the FBI and paper trails. No longer did Man need a companion to patrol the perimeters of the cornfields; he had electric fences and traps and poison. No longer did Man need his friend to lie outside the tent and watch while he slept; all the bears were locked up in Yellowstone, and all the mountain lions had been killed to make way for the cow. Dogs now worked where they could, still doing what they were asked to do, even to the extent of strutting like fatted sows and walking in useless figure eights in incredibly meaningless dog shows. Or jumping down into the pits and killing or dying for the amusement of their masters.

Killer hadn’t made the grade. Like the man who had sat up on the roof all night waiting for the sunrise, it had finally dawned on Dad Callaway. Killer would have been dead at that moment, except Dad Callaway had paid $40 for that mutt, and he was going to get that money back.

“Pick ‘im up and put ‘im in the truck,” he told Lenny. “We’re goin’ to St. Louie. A friend o’ mine up there sol’ me that dawg, and we’re goin’ a give him back. But don’t hurt him no more. We might be able to do this pleasant like, but maybe not, so git my guns too.” The three of them got into the truck and drove off into the late afternoon, north on Interstate 55 toward St. Louis.

They arrived in the wee hours of the morning when it was still dark, which was okay with Dad Callaway, because he knew Tommy would have been at the local tavern until closing time. Then, unless he’d gotten lucky, he’d have wandered back home to fall into a boozy sleep. Knowing Tommy, Dad was fairly certain he hadn’t gotten lucky. The three Callaways burst into Tommy’s apartment and strode into his bedroom. “Git up, Tommy. We gotta talk,” yelled Dad Callaway.

Tommy opened red, swollen eyes in confusion, trying to figure out where he was and who was there with him. He fumbled for the light before he realized it was on. He recognized the Callaways standing there and looked at the clock. “Goddamn it, Dad, it’s 4 a.m. You ain’t got the manners God gave a skonk. What the hell do you want?” he asked.

Dad pulled up his chair next to the bed and sat his bulk down. His two sons stood menacingly behind him, Billy Bob absently slapping a short, hardwood rod into his left palm. It made the same sound that it would make if slapped into a face. Dad leaned over and glared at Tommy, who was trying to sit up in bed. “I want that $140 back I give you for that wuthless hound you sold me. You remember Killer, that pit bull that couldn’t miss? Well, he missed. That dog’s a no-count coward, won’t fight, an’ I want my money back. You kin have that shit-for-brains dog back too. You feed ‘im.”

Tommy squirmed around in the bed, looking unhappy. “Fust of all, you din’t give no $140 for that dawg. You gave 40. An’ you bought a pup. No one knows how a pup is gonna turn out. Everone knows thet. A deal’s a deal, Dad, an’ that’s all they is to it,” Tommy finished, squirming some more and trying to back off from the looming bulk of Dad Callaway.

The mouth on top of that bulk opened to say something, but all that squirming by Tommy had had a purpose. He’d finally found the Smith .40 cal. automatic that had been under his pillow, and put two rounds - tap, tap - into the chest of Dad Callaway sitting not more than three feet away. Then Tommy rose and put five more shots into the real threat in the room, Billy Bob. All five hollow points had plowed into Billy Bob’s abdomen before the fact that he was being killed registered on the bully. Still, the big man staggered toward Tommy, tripping over Dad Callaway who moaned in his dying agony on the floor. Tommy put two more bullets into Billy Bob’s chest. All that gave Lenny time to run out of the room, out of the apartment and into the night, abandoning the truck, the Callaway home and the Callaway heritage.

Hearing the gunshots, Killer had similar views about the Callaway family. The noises scared him terribly, but he was locked in his cage. “If ya’ll ever git in real trouble, you jist push up this heah latch, and run like hell. Run!” Killer remembered. He was alone in the dark in a strange place with strange smells and the sharp, brief blasts of gunshots reverberating through the night. If this wasn’t “real trouble,” he couldn’t imagine worse. Killer nuzzled the latch, popped it up, and the cage door swung open. He jumped out into the bed of the truck, then off the tailgate and ran down the street, away from the hated truck and away from the family that had not only rejected his love, but almost destroyed his capacity for love.

Killer knew what he had escaped from, but the solid little dog didn’t know what he had escaped to. It was December in St. Louis, a cold, wet, dreary time of the year. It wasn’t the deadly cold of the Mountain West, but the damp, chilly cold of the Midwest. Killer padded slowly down the street, occasionally looking over his shoulder to see if the faded red pickup was following. Except for the incessant itching of his chest and his sore eye, Killer was in fairly good shape. One thing the Callaways had never done to Killer was to starve him. They might not have given him Science Diet, but dogs can survive on food that would be repulsive to humans. “I ain’t a gonna starve no investment to death,” the late Dad Callaway had observed.

But after close to a week on the streets, Killer was learning about hunger too. His short fur didn’t give much protection against the cold, so his hunger grew as his body burned fuel to keep him warm. As he padded through the back streets and alleys, wary of any human contact, he learned how to find food in garbage cans. He did this during the night. Knocking over garbage cans during the day brought yells, and thrown rocks, and sometimes a truck that looked too much like the Callaways’ old beater. So Killer would run, which accomplished two things: it kept him away from the dogcatcher, and it kept him away from anyone who might have helped him.

And he itched. He didn’t know what it was, but demodetic mange had established itself on his chest and had spread all over his front quarters and up under his chin. The microscopic mites were feeding rapaciously on his body and driving him half-crazy. He’d scratch furiously, but only succeeded in opening sores. The dog sighed and stretched out along a tawdry wooden fence next to a scraggly yard in one of the numerous fading suburbs nestled up to an ailing St. Louis, towns not big enough to support themselves, but jealous of their autonomy, as if a Jennings could ever attain the historic stature of a St. Louis. Among the normal city services such towns didn’t do well was animal control, so Killer managed to run free through December and into January when the damp chills could turn into truly killing temperatures.

The cold was particularly hard on him now. He hadn’t had much of a coat to begin with, being a shorthair, and now the mange was stealing large chunks of that. The dog’s skin began to crack beneath the triple assault of biting midges, furious scratching and cold. He slept only fitfully, trying to curl his body around the bare spots on his chest.

A couple of people tried to help him. One woman came close enough, only to recoil in disgust when she saw the raw sores on his hairless chest. And this was no poster dog for the humane society. He had those unmistakable heavy jaws and wide head of a pit bull, and therefore also had the attendant bad reputation. He had what appeared to be a boil on his right eye, the legacy of the late Billy Bob’s stick. And he limped. The dog had an old wound from a particularly vicious kick that had become arthritic in the cold.

Killer didn’t trust anyone anymore. He especially distrusted males, having known only males in his whole life and having suffered terribly at their hands. They’d hurt his body and his psyche. Every morning during his puppyhood, he’d awakened and eagerly greeted his humans, his humans, he had thought. Unabashedly wagging his tail until the movement involved his whole butt, he’d greet one of the three Callaways every morning, and every morning, his greeting was answered with a slap, or a kick, or a sharp word until all the love that once welled up in him was swallowed, and like the sweet meat of a nut, encapsulated in a hard shell. His current misery exacerbated his unhappiness. He began to sit near the big, busy roads, watching the trucks go by with their glass eyes and their black feet, wondering if maybe he ought to cross that road and let whatever would happen, happen.



Order by Mail