Ok, so I didn’t make the deadline for submitting this at Thain in Vain’s blog, but I liked the prompt and wanted to write to it anyway. It was crazy hard getting this to not be over 500 words. My first draft was just shy of 700. It was an excellent exercise in editing (ahhhhh I love alliteration) however, as I went through and trimmed it to the lean but fun story it turned out as. Hope y’all enjoy it.
The prompt? A man’s dog (or pet of your choice) develops the uncanny ability to communicate telepathically with him. No more than 500 words.
Bob sat up, his hands flying to his eyes, wiping away the sleep.
“We need to talk, Bob.”
Bob stared slack-jawed around the apartment, brow furrowed. He leaned over the side of the bed, looking beneath it. He went to the wardrobe, flung it open. He checked the TV. Off.
A sigh followed.
“Look down. The end table.”
Bob looked down at the table, saw a magazine with a picture of the President and a goldfish bowl. In it, Flipper, his goldfish. Bob leaned down close to the magazine.
“Mr. President?” he whispered.
“Fucks sake, Bob, no! In the bowl!”
“Yes. Flipper. GOD I hate that name. You do realize that Flipper was a dolphin, right? You know what dolphins eat, right? It’s like intentionally naming a kid after a serial killer.”
“I guess I never thought of that.”
“You haven’t thought about a lot of things, Bob. That’s why we need to talk.”
“I’m still a little…confused. Um…how, exactly, is it that we’re talking?”
“Telepathy, Bob. Look, I don’t have the patience to explain this to you because I know you aren’t going to understand it anyway. Hint, Bob – you have to *read* those brainy magazines you leave lying about to be smarter. And the girls you bring home aren’t impressed with them anyway.”
Bob was flustered. Was he really being lectured by a goldfish? Maybe he was hallucinating. Maybe it was last night’s dinner. He thought it had tasted off.
“It wasn’t dinner, Bob.”
“How did y…”
“Telepathy, Bob, fuck! I’m not going to explain it! Look, I’m just going to say this. Despite my frustration, I like you. You’re a decent guy. You feed me well, you keep my water clean, you even did the research and got me a filter and bubbler, which, you know, props. Because a lot of people don’t think a goldfish needs those. But we do, Bob, we do. We need to talk because I know you like that Amy girl and you’re thinking of popping the question.”
“Don’t lie, Bob. Telepathy. Thing is, I was cool with you dating her, because hey, everyone wants to have a bit of fun now and then. That’s a hint, Bob. This tank is made for two, know what I mean? Anyway, this girl. Amy. Don’t marry her.”
“And why not?” Bob asked, indignant at the gall of his fish.
“She’s a gold digger, Bob. She knows about the inheritance that’s coming your way, and when it does, she’s splitting and taking half.”
“Do I really have to say telepathy again?”
Bob’s head drooped, his lips frowned.
“Awww…don’t be like that, big guy. There’s plenty of fish in the sea. I should know. Look, from now on, you bring girls over, I’ll scan their thoughts, and we’ll find you the right one.”
Bob’s face lightened.
“Really? You’d do that?”
“Sure thing, pal. Just one condition.”
“Name it, anything!”
“Change my fucking name.”