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Doggy Business
by Russell W.B. Kirkby

Across the neatly manicured lawn cut within an inch of its life, Sam's English Springer Spaniel, Puff, bounded playfully with a punctured, soggy, half-flat tennis ball in his mouth.

“Here Puff,” the twelve year old boy instructed, holding his hand out. A cool breeze rippled across the perfect clusters of pink and golden carnations behind.

The spaniel growled excitedly, yanking with his teeth as Sam carefully grabbed the ball while trying not to get nipped.

“Careful!” he said, “Don't bite me Puffy!”

Sam's grandfather's garage was connected to the front of the enclosed yard which was surrounded by an immaculately painted white fence. Sam could hear the creaking of the automatic door opening and a car rolling in. As the handbrake squawked and the engine cut out, Puff's big brown eyes swiveled expectantly towards the tall wooden gate.

“What is it Puffy?” The dog yanked harder at the tennis ball twisting his body, trying to pry it out of Sam's hand.

A car door slammed and there was the rustle of shopping bags. Puff let go of the ball and Sam threw it across the yard, where it bounced off the wooden deck and landed in the freshly turned earth of his grandfather's petunias. Seconds later, Puff was digging and sniffing through the flowers. Sam heard the thud of the garage door and the jingle of keys outside the front gate. Puff came barreling from the resplendent garden like a rocket, green stems matted into his smiling canine face.

Just as the gate opened and Earnest P. Goodwin, Sam's grandfather, entered in his usual grey trousers, white collared shirt and peaked cap, the fluffy brown spaniel dropped the ball and began to squat, legs splayed, on the pristine green grass. For a moment, there was only the sound of cicadas. Earnest's face dropped, clearly mortified.

“That bloody dog!” the old man bellowed, rattling the plastic bags like he was warding off spirits. He was trembling with rage.

Panting and smiling innocently, the dog's tail quivered like a candle in the breeze as he went about his business.

“Every time I come though that gate, that bloody dog of yours shits on my lawn!”

Earnest slammed the gate with his foot before turning back to his grandson. 

Puff was disgorging a second impressive turd on the lawn.

“Have you ever considered,” Sam retorted caustically, “the dog sees you coming and shits itself?”