Contributor: James Higgins

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Another Friday night at the railroad yard. When the last brown bottle was empty I punched the clock with my fist and walked out the door. A beautiful warm summer night. I picked Susie up behind the general store. She was shy at first, but gave in when I sang to her. We went back to my home and I fell through the screen door into the kitchen.
Inside the living room was Mabel. Mabel was old, boring and asleep on the couch in front of the radio, as usual. She looked up from her dirty afghan. Susie and I crept across the floor through the dim glow of the lantern. Mabel lowered her eyes and disapproved but remained silent, as usual. Susie slept in my bed but I woke up alone, as usual. It was three weeks before I saw her again.
I brought Susie home for good and chained her to the wall. "It's better this way." Susie didn't fight. Sometimes she would cry at night and sometimes she would smile.
We've lived together for seven years. I talk about work and Susie is a great listener. We sleep a lot. We eat a lot. We listen to the radio. We go for walks at sundown.
Today her four legs couldn't carry her down the stairs so I shot her in the back of the head. I buried her in the yard next to Mabel.

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James Higgins is a teacher in Detroit. He writes fiction and non-fiction.
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