The other passengers are staring. Normally, that wouldn’t trouble me. I carefully selected my ensemble and applied warpaint before I came out, so I would have been miffed if no one had paid me proper attention. But the problem is this wretched dog.
And of course, my sister. She is completely self-obsessed and takes me for a fool every time. This morning, she departs for Thailand with her latest boyfriend, and sends me a text from the airport :
‘Hi Cassandra. Could you go to the flat and pick up Butch? We’ll only be gone a fortnight. He’ll be company for you, now that Norman’s moved out.’
Cheek! She knows I can’t abide canines, especially small yapping ones ; but she’s aware that I am too soft-hearted to leave the brute abandoned in that flat. It would expire. It wouldn’t bother her, but she’s depending on the fact that it would weigh on my conscience if anything befell the mutt. So off I went to fetch it.
It took hours. Norman commandeered the car when he left, so I had to travel on the beastly tube. Then, when I reached her block, I had to search for the caretaker. I eventually found him, after half an hour scouring the corridors, and he says, ‘Oh, your sister texted me to say you’d probably be round. Such a lovely woman.’ He was doing his ‘cheery cockney’ act, fishing for a tip. Well, he got nothing from me.
When he unlocked the the flat, there’s Butch in a state of hysteria, with a preposterous, huge, red bow round his neck, and it’s exactly the same shade as the sweater I’m wearing. I could have wept. It looked as if I had colour-coordinated with the animal.
I tried to undo it, whereupon the monster bit me. Whenever I tried to remove it, he had another snap at my fingers. I was so upset that I had to pour myself a couple of whiskeys from her drinks cabinet.
When I felt calmer, I searched her cupboards until I found her enormous, Gucci handbag, the one she claims cost over a grand. After a mad chase, during which some of the art pottery collection 2 got smashed, I trapped Butch and stuck the little horror inside, leaving just his head protruding from it, in case he suffocated. That didn’t stop him from whining, but I managed to ignore it.
So now I am on the tube, an hour’s journey ahead of me and a carriage full of rubberneckers, staring at me, in my best red sweater, him in a handbag, his vile red bow flapping like a flag, They think I’m unhinged.
I hope he craps in it. Serve her right.
Gordon Gibson is a Scottish writer, living in Ayrshire. Since being forced by disability to retire from lecturing in higher education, he has been writing full-time. His poems and short stories have appeared in a number of print and online journals and anthologies, and a selection of his published work is showcased on his blog.
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