All In

week2-poker“So.” Domino asks, all offhand-like, as if the question doesn’t come with maddening, torturous regularity. Like it’s not the same question he’s brought up a thousand times. Maybe ten thousand. “Tell us, Rosco, how’d you end up down here, anyway? Eat one too many slippers?”

Beaner pipes in, “Yeah, you chase too many mailmen?”

Chloe’s turn. “Couldn’t stop makin’ it on the carpet, I bet.”

Every week I’m asked.  Every week we repeat the same stale topics and rip the scabs off the same tired arguments. I mean, it is hell.

And every week I deflect the question the same way.

“Naw, Domino. Once I just jumped too high going for a Frisbee and ended up pullin’ an angel straight outta the clouds. Apparently salvation’s withheld to them that eat one of God’s beloved heralds and servants. But it was worth it. That was the best meal I ever had. Better even than squirrel.”

They laugh, I laugh. I throw another pointless chip on the pile. What’s betting five years of perdition when you know you’ve got an eternity? Still It’s the only thing we have to offer up.

“That was a pigeon if it was anything, you muffinhead.” Domino chuckles.

But how could I tell them? You’d think of all places, hell would be the one place where crime loses the capacity to startle.  The things I’ve heard other dogs did would give me goosebumps, were that I still had skin. But how could I tell them?  That every time I look at the backs of those playing cards as a hand is dealt out to me; Those cards branded “Devil’s Own” so you never forget for a second what you’re playing with and who you’re playing for; Those cards bearing that diabolical likeness on each one, with those long whiskers, crescent eyes and great purring grin… that reminds me of her.

How I’d stay out all night just so I could be with her as she walked the neighborhood.

How she’d bring me mice and birds and I was happy to take them, though I couldn’t stand ’em.

How she’d curl into a ball, bury her little nose into her belly and sleep right up next to me. And I’d try and fail to not wag my tail so hard in happiness.

No. Even in hell there’s no way to tell another dog that.


From Joel’s post:  Dogs playing poker. IN HELL

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