Stu kicked open the rusty screen door and stomped out onto the sagging front porch of his single-wide. He squinted into the late afternoon sunlight and absently dug a finger into the dank cavern that was his belly button. After a brief examination, he wiped what he’d excavated across the front of his stained t-shirt.
He was bored and out of beer – a hazardous combination.
Scanning his trash-strewn lawn, Stu’s gaze settled on a potential source of entertainment. Grinning, he snatched an empty beer can off the porch railing and launched it at the rickety plywood structure his dog, Rufus, used for shelter. The can ricocheted off the roof and Stu waited for the mongrel to explode out of the lopsided opening and bark savagely while straining at the end of his chain as he usually did following such a disturbance.
Nothing stirred within the doghouse.
Stu grunted in disgust and yelled out, “Wake up you lazy ass mutt afore I wake you up!” He threw another empty can at the shelter and mumbled a curse when it missed.
Still no reaction from Rufus.
Not wanting to let a stupid dog get the best of him, Stu lumbered down the porch steps and shuffled across the yard toward the doghouse. On the way, he stooped to pick up a small rock and flung it as hard as he could. The rock slammed into the plywood shelter and the reverberations dislodged several layers of caked on dirt.
Rufus remained reticent.
As Stu neared the doghouse, he noticed a rancid smell, like rotting meat. “Damn, boy! Did you roll in a dead skunk or somethin’?” He covered his nose with the hem of his t-shirt and knelt in front of the darkened opening of the doghouse. “Rufus. Com’ere, boy.” Stu slapped the wall beside the opening in an attempt to rouse the dog. “You ain’t sick are ya?” He leaned further into the doghouse. “Rufus?”
From the darkness came a low, rolling growl and a shuffle of movement. Stu tried to back away but lost balance and fell on his ass in the dirt. Rufus, or more accurately, a beast that resembled Rufus, emerged from the doghouse, bloody drool dripping from his snarling maw. The flesh of the animal’s muzzle was ripped away on one side revealing gums slashed down to the jawbone. One foreleg was void of skin or muscle, a skeleton limb pawing at the dirt.
Stu released a mewling scream and scrambled backwards on his hands. The beast leapt forward, bloody jaws wide, and ripped out the throat of its former owner, ending his pathetic life much quicker than the man deserved.
There are no bad dogs. Only bad owners. And with dogs like Rufus around, soon there won’t be any bad owners either.