© 2000, 2009 by runswithscissors
Well, it was a cold day, it was, walking on the beach like that, that old man and his little dog. The dog had recently been subjected to sizeable doses of radiation and his fur was falling out in handfuls, so he was chilly when the wind gusted up. Still, they were happy there, ambling along leaving footprints behind them, sniffing things, peeing on helpless crustaceans when the mood struck.
They wandered on, just the two of them, encountering only the occasional elderly woman and one friendly child whom the old man kicked, seeing no witnesses about. The child's merry wailing did the old man's heart good. "Bark, bark!" said the dog.
The old man walked, lost in thought, breathing in the ocean air, distracted only by the squealing of a sea gull the dog attacked and left maimed. It's funny how life goes, the old man reflected as he watched the bird trying to fly with its broken wings. One moment you're meandering along, in tune with the bounty of this great Earth, and the next moment God decides you need some excitement. And suddenly existence turns upside down. He chortled at the jolly chaos of it all. "Krab, krab!" said the dog.
"Well, time to go home, old girl," the old man said. The dog paid no attention because it was male and its hearing had been spotty since the time one of the old man's grandchildren probed its ears with a knitting needle.
At that moment, several great shafts of sunlight shone through gaps in the autumn clouds. For no good reason that he could discern, the old man found himself overcome with sudden rage. He lunged at the dog, intending to drag it off the beach and take it home to their bungalow for a good beating. But funny old God had other plans, for the old man slipped on some wet rocks and tumbled over, striking his head and lying on the ground for a good long while. It was pleasant resting there with no memory of who he was or of how terribly the broker for his old union had mishandled the pension fund. The dog came and sat down next to him, farting as it did so. It was a whopping bad fanny belch, but as I've said the day was gusty and they were out in the open air, so no harm was done apart from the mild concussion and facial abrasions the old man suffered in his fall.
Eventually, his pants caked with sand and medical waste carried by the incoming tide, the old man decided he'd better get up and get on his way. He didn't care about the discomfort. He'd just remembered it was almost time for Pat 'n' Vanna.
All in all, it had been a fine day walking on the beach, the kind of day that made him appreciate the awful perfection of life.
When the old man got home, he locked the dog in the basement, unsuccessfully attempted to mount his wife, then settled into his favorite easy chair for an evening of television programs that all looked remarkably similar.