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by Jane White

Dave slipped out the door and did not look back; he just assumed Jane was following him. He was sick of being inside. They really did not get out enough. Well, at least not as much as they used to. The combination of the cool winter air and the warm sun awakened senses that had been rendered sluggish by too much chemical air freshener and the quotidian dust that circulated continuously through the heating vents. Being outside reminded him of his youth - playing in the yard with his brothers and sisters, curling up by a warm fire after a long day...he inhaled deeply, and began walking briskly down the street. He could hear Jane’s boots sloshing through the melting slush behind him.

He stopped suddenly, his nostrils widening. What was that? That smell? It was mouth-watering! He had to find where the smell was coming from. He began walking faster. Jane called to him to wait, but he ignored her. She never could keep up, and rarely, if ever, did they get to go where he wanted. He’d pay hell for it when she caught up to him, but he just couldn’t stop himself. The smell was just too tantalizing. There, just ahead! There, by the side of the road! He began running. Jane was screaming at him now, running too, but he didn’t hear her. He was drunk with the smell. He skidded to a stop, next to some very smeared road kill that was none too fresh. He gave it one huge sniff, wriggled with delight, dropped to the ground and began rolling in it with great abandon. Jane finally caught up to him.

“Jesus Christ, Dave,” She yelled, “STOP, dammit!”

Dave stopped briefly and smiled up at her. Then he began rolling with continued vigor. She watched helplessly for a moment, and then steeling herself, reached down and yanked him up by his filth-covered collar.

“What the hell, Dave! You crazy dog! Now I’ve gotta give you a bath!”

Dave cringed at the word bath; he looked longingly over his shoulder at the road kill as Jane dragged him up the street. “I hope you enjoyed that,” Jane said grudgingly. He trotted happily next to her, wagging his tail. At least he’d smell good for a little while.