Tag Archives: dogs

A Fall Morning in the Park

There’s nothing like getting to work in the city with time to sit and read in the park, especially on a brisk Fall morning.

A child runs in circles through the leaf piles, enjoying the crunch of his feet on the brown leaves.

Two dogs sniff each others’ butts as their owners catch up with small talk.

Music reminiscent of a Chinese Food Restaurant plays by the George Washington statue as a couple does yoga.

A mom plays with her son in the recently-emptied fountain, watching her son run in circles around the cement wall that holds him in place just as it would a pool of water.

And I sit, reading, looking up every once in a while to watch the beginning of other peoples’ morning. What a lovely way to start a day.


The Melancholy Robot and the Little Girl

The Melancholy Robot is a collection of flash fiction stories about a robot who wishes he were human. It focuses on its daily life and small experiences. I’ve asked different artists to do renditions of the stories; a different artist creates art every day inspired by the story. It’s been a fun experiment so far, I hope you enjoy!

The robot stood in the park watching a dog defecate on the grass. A little girl approached the metallic man.
“Hi.” It looked down into her impossibly blue eyes. “What’s your name?”
The robot turned its attention back to the dog.
“I have no name.”
“Everybody has a name.”
“Not me.”
“That’s sad.” The little girl skipped away and the robot watched as she stepped in the fresh shit.

Artwork by the lovely and talented Kate Hiscock. Click the image for her blog or click here.

If you enjoyed this, check out the other robot stories featuring different artists here and here. And please, like my Facebook page.

She sat

She sat on the hardwood floor, looking out the window as if it were television. Two children played…an old woman shook dust from a carpet…a car drove by…a dog sniffed the ground then urinated.

Her cable was out.

Bradley (A Story of Connections)

Bradley stopped to peer into the weird store with all of the rats. He always stopped by here to watch them run by the windows in the huge maze of clear plastic pipes. One jumped at him, starling him into dropping his little shovel.

He picked it up and looked at the small clumps of dirt clinging to his mom’s garden tool. The green handle looked so new and his mom would certainly notice that it had been used. She was a neat freak, a word he overheard someone call her when they learned of her many cleaning rules imposed on him. He’d laughed at the term and called her that sometimes when she wasn’t around.

The same conversation was what led him here. He’d heard them talking about movies, then books, tuning out the conversation as best he could since it was interrupting his Transformers war.  He tuned back into what they were saying once he heard the term “father” uttered, which always grabbed him since he didn’t know his dad.

“And his father spends time with him by burying items in the park and then leaving clues so he can find them.”

“Wow, sounds interesting.”

“Yes, and he goes on a quest to find his father’s final clue by searching the whole city.”

Were they talking about Bradley’s father? He was furious at first with his mother. She had known about these hidden treasures all along and not told him, not let him start the search? Maybe, if he started digging in the park he would find one of these treasures and somehow finally meet his dad. All of his friends had dads. Not all of them had one living with them, but they still had them, and Bradley always wanted to know his missing parent. Maybe this was his chance.

But he’d been digging for days now and only found a few squirrel bones (which were cool, he had to admit) and a few creepy bums tried to talk to him. Plus he’d saved that little dog from the bigger one. But still no treasure.

Maybe he should ask his mom. But she’d kept it a secret from him for a reason. He was on his own.

As Bradley realized he was probably late, he turned and started walking home. A car drove by and he saw a girl he knew from school, but he ignored her. He had bigger things on his mind.

If you would like to know more about the people in these stories, click on the “Stories of Connections” categories and read about some of the other people he’s bumped into or connecting events. Bradley pops up in other stories here and there. Tomorrow, learn more about what Bradley’s mom was talking about in “Ronald”.

Ziggy (A Story of Connections)

“Ziggy, what the hell kind of personal assistant are you? The chicken tortilla soup container cracked and soup is all over our dinner! Plus now Jul doesn’t have her soup! You couldn’t go back and get another?”

He gave his boss a look that could kill but quickly hid it; intelligent people don’t make nasty faces at a heavyweight champion like Bobby Rox. He breathed once before answering. “I stepped on this little dog…I didn’t even notice that the container opened until I was on the elevator here. I was more worried about the dog.”

“Was the little guy okay?” Jul asked from the leather couch with obvious concern.

“Yup, he was fine, barked once and then ran off yelping.”

“All I know is that this is Jul’s favorite soup, and now she doesn’t have any!”

“It’s not a big deal, Bobby. Really.”

The gargantuan looked at his personal assistant and shook his head. At that Jul’s phone rang and she went into the kitchen to answer it. She came out crying a moment later and rushed over to the closet to grab her coat.

“I have to go…emergency…sorry guys!” she yelled as the door slammed behind her.

Bobby looked at the closed door. “That was weird.”

“Yeah. Again, I’m really sorry.” The smell of Jul’s perfume still hung in the air, and Ziggy enjoyed the scent once more before it was gone and all that was left was the smell of sweaty shoes that Bobby seemed to emanate at all times. All of a sudden he realized Bobby had been talking to him for a while.

“…and then pick them up. Okay?”

Ziggy nodded as if he’d heard. He’d have to figure out a way to get the instructions again later. “What do you think made her run out like that?”

Bobby looked at him and laughed. “She’s out of your league, man. She makes clothing for goddamn stars to wear to the Oscars! Think she’s going to date a personal assistant?”

Ziggy looked out the window at the cityscape that he loved so much and wished he could find a job in architecture, his major in school. His love for buildings and drawing them took over a little as he rearranged the view in his mind. He smiled at its beauty.

“HEY!” Bobby’s yell made Ziggy jump back to reality.


“I said I need that suit now. It’s down at the 49th Street Cleaners.”

Ziggy grabbed the tag from the counter and slammed the door behind him a little too hard.

If you enjoyed Ziggy, please click on the “Stories of Connections” category on the right and read the others. Each story connects to another in some small way. Thanks for reading!

And find out what happens to Jul in the next Story of Connections, coming soon!

Duffy (A Story of Connections)

Duffy’s short canine legs were working overtime in his attempt to flee the much larger Doberman that had been chasing him since the park. His paw still hurt from the twig that had become lodged in it, but he could still run. He headed for a small hole in the fence he saw up ahead and made it through just in time to narrowly escape the Doberman’s sharp teeth. It barked through the hole, but Duffy recognized how safe he was, yelped once or twice with an attitude, then headed off to the dumpster he loved to root through before heading home.

He turned a corner only to find the Doberman standing there in wait, almost smiling at him. He turned to take off but the bigger dog was just too close, he knew he was caught. And he would have been if not for the little boy digging in the park.

“Hey!” the kid yelled and both dogs froze to look at him. He ran and scooped up Duffy. “Bad dog!” he said to the Doberman, who had been hit by his master just enough to assume another strike was coming, so he ran away whimpering. The kid held Duffy up so that their eyes met. “Hi, I’m Billy. Duffy, huh?” Duffy recognized his name and gave a friendly bark. “I think you owe me one, Duffy. That big dog was probably going to eat you.” Duffy responded by licking the kid’s face, on which the little Scottie recognized the taste of ice cream. He licked until the taste of vanilla was gone and then wiggled until Billy dropped him.

“Hey!” the little boy said as Duffy took off down the path, leaving Billy to continue with his digging project.

With the park behind him, Duffy headed to the dumpster, where he filled his belly from the Mexican restaurant that used it and went to head home when the door opened and a man carrying two huge bags of food stepped on his tail. Duffy whelped in pain loud enough that the man stumbled and dropped one of the bags. The splattering sound let him know something had gone wrong in the bag, but he wanted to check on the poor dog he’d stepped on first.

“You okay boy?” he asked in a kind tone as he squatted to check the pup. Duffy jumped up and barked once in anger before taking off, leaving the man to check on his  dinner.

Damien (A Story of Connections)

Damien was running down the street, and for a man who never runs and has a few extra pounds, it was quite a sight. The combination of a tie flying over his shoulder, his jacket in flight behind him, and a bright red face all told people ahead of him to get out of his path or deal with the aftermath. He almost didn’t hear the muffled yelps as he turned a corner but stopped fast enough to make a group of nearby children liken him to a cartoon character.

As he followed the cry for help, he checked his watch and knew he was already going to be late, a few more minutes wouldn’t hurt. He followed the sad whimpers until they led him to a small alley. He discovered the poor little guy, a tiny Scottie limping around in a circle and tearing up.

“Hey there boy,” he said in his calmest voice, forcing his heavy breathing aside for a moment. “What’s the matter?” The pup looked up at him with the saddest eyes he’d ever seen, even including the poster of the sick puppy he had on the wall of the office in his veterinary practice. It didn’t take long for him to spot the small twig wedged into the jet-black dog’s paw and he pet the little guy to calm him down.

“Don’t worry little fella. Let’s check your tag.” He let the dog sniff his scent and then checked the dangling gold emblem attached to the collar. “Duffy, huh? Okay Duffy we’ll have you fixed up in a jiff.” The dog reacted positively to hearing his name, barked and then rolled over, offering the damaged paw to the doctor.

He had the twig out in a few seconds and Duffy jumped up, barked twice, and took off.

“Guess you won’t be paying me,” Damien said to no one in particular. He started a bit as he checked his watch. His friend who set them up specifically told him not to be late, and it was 7:07, a few minutes past the appointed meeting time. He ran to the alley’s edge and hailed a cab.

As he checked himself in the window of the small restaurant, his eyes refocused on the single woman sitting alone in the restaurant, his date. He panicked. Her strawberry-blonde hair, beautiful eyes, amazing body, he focused back on his reflection and knew he never had a chance, even if he had been punctual.

He was better off standing her up than facing rejection again. Another taxi later and he was on his way home.

The Lamentable Charles W. Berkhouse (A Story of Fiction)

This is the story of Charles W. Berkhouse.  If you’re looking for a happy tale, one that will make you smile at the end with a fortunate feeling in your heart, you’re in the wrong place.  This is the tragic story of a man’s miserable life, one in which the tragedy starts from the day he was born.

An orphan left on the steps of a nunnery, newborn Charles was found one fall morning wrapped in a blanket with a note pinned to the his diaper, two simple words scribbled messily “Unwanted child” on the back of a coupon for five cents off steak.  The nuns sent him to their orphanage, a bare-walled, refurbished insane asylum rented out by the church for such events.  It was fourteen years before an unwanted Charles would use a different return address, when he would leave the orphanage and get a job in an up-and-coming five and dime store in the city.

Years would pass, small promotions would come, leading him to his career as an underpaid traveling salesman for the same company he’d worked for his whole life.

As an adult, Charles eventually had it all, a wife, a child on the way, a good job, car, house with the white picket fence, everything a man in the 1940s could possibly want.  Until that fateful day when Eunice, his wife, went into labor a few weeks earlier than expected.

They lost the baby; she would have been a beautiful little girl.  They’d prematurely named her Elizabeth if she was a girl, Robert if he was a boy, Betty or Bobby.  But little Betty never had even a minute outside of the womb.  Eunice was devastated.

It wasn’t even two months later that Eunice was hit by a car, driven by another traveling salesman, a competitor of Charles.  The driver was quoted in the daily paper as saying, “I was driving my route, I sell car brakes you know, best in the business, and I don’t even know where she came from.  One minute the road was clear, the next…”

Charles was devastated.  His life insurance company wanted to investigate the accident before they paid out, but Charles quickly told them to forget about it.  He sold the house and poured himself into his job, staying in fleabag motels and dirty boarding homes on the road, never looking back.  He carried his few belongings in a small suitcase he’d bought at a garage sale, which proclaimed visits to Paris, Madrid, Rome and a few other exotic places, none of which Charles would ever see for himself.  All he would know were the small dying towns on his sales route, places long forgotten as time passed.

Every year, at some point, his route would bring him back to Middletown, New York, where both Eunice and Betty were buried.  He would stop by a florists, pick up some cheap flowers, after all, his route wasn’t what it used to be, and stop by for a quiet visit.  He wouldn’t speak or cry, he would just stand for exactly five minutes, timing it on his watch, and then move on towards his next appointment.

It wasn’t until his fifth visit that he first saw the dog, a golden blur shooting by in the corner of his eye.  He spun, looking for it, and finally saw it standing directly behind a nearby tombstone.  It panted and walked up to him slowly, trying to get Charles to pet him.  Charles, being an orphan, never had a pet, even when Eunice begged him repeatedly for a cat every time a holiday came around.  He just didn’t see the point.

And so, he reacted the way he always did when a pet wanted attention from him.  He turned and walked away.  After all, his five minutes were up, and he had to meet Mr. Moskewitz in fifteen minutes.

The next year, once again he found the dog there, begging for attention, and again Charles shunned the poor beast, leaving it whining behind him.  As he left, he saw the caretaker and felt a need to complain.

“Sir, I find it extremely distracting and inappropriate that you allow your dog to just run around willy-nilly like that.  This is a serious, somber place.  Not somewhere for a dog to playfully run around and, ahem, do his business one can only assume.”  The caretaker looked at him curiously.

“We don’t got no dogs here, buddy.  Not allowed on the premises.  Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

A year later, Charles once again found the dog near the grave, and once again ignored it.  But this time the dog walked up and started nuzzling his shin, and he kept trying to shoo it away with no luck.  Finally, he decided to look at the tag.  It had one simple letter in quotes, “E”.  He frowned and turned it over, looking for an address, but there wasn’t one.  The dog followed him out, only to get him a scolding from the caretaker, who reminded him that no dogs were allowed in the graveyard.

The following year, he expected to find the dog again, and was not disappointed when, as he approached the gravesite with his yearly small bouquet, the dog, E, once again jumped out from behind a nearby tree.  Charles walked up to it, let it sniff his hand and tried to pet it, at which E backed away from him.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a dog bone he’d bought and tried feeding it to E, who just backed away more.  He left the treat on a small tombstone and went to his meeting with Mr. Meinheim.

Another year passed, and this time he was prepared with a leash, ready to capture this animal that was surely destined to be his companion in life.  He imagined the dog going on his route with him, visiting parks and fields, playing catch, having strangers take their photograph in each town, and even though he was awkward with animals, he liked the sound of it.  It was surely a sign that the dog was there every year, and that the caretaker didn’t recognize him as a common occurrence.  As Charles walked towards the spot excitedly, playing with the end of the leash in his pocket, he realized he’d forgotten the flowers.  He walked up and started looking for E, only to realize that the dog was nowhere to be found.