Dog



Once, in the town where I grew up, a man was bitten by a dog, twice.
I guess it was one of those mangy dogs with shaggy, grease leaden hair. The man maybe not that different from it, just that his jeans were greasy too, as were his hands, which spannered under car bonnets and the hot sun.

Perhaps it is early afternoon, the heat caught and congealing beneath the garage canopy.
The man is idling an engine, his mind in some girl’s bedroom or the backseat of a car. Like a bored kid, his eyes cast around for diversion. And then he sees the dog.

Perhaps the dog has lumbered into town from the highway in search of food; a dusting of sand clogging its hair makes the man move towards him.

The dog steps back from his metallic smelling hand and the man steps forward, because what’s a dog doing if he’s not coming for petting? The dog’s paw crunches like a nutshell under his boot. The man winces in stupid empathy that comes too late. The dog lunges for his hand. Lunges at what it has cowered from, and with a whining growl and yap of teeth, clicks first on air, then into the man’s fingers.

Bandaged up a week later, having lost a finger and some confidence, the man sees the dog sidle over from the highway so gets up and goes towards it. The dog steps back again, he steps forward, and crunches over its paw. The dog plunges at his hand, this time enclosing it up to the wrist in a clutch of tooth and bone and oily knuckle.

Like I say, it might have been like this, I don’t know. All I know is that a man was bitten by a dog, twice.