She’s paid six figures to be his pooch. She sits in her basket, while he eats seafood from the Orasay. The Orasay deliver to his door.
Sit. She rubs her forehead against his shin, scrounging for food. Sit nicely.
Often, she’s left alone in his house. He installed CCTV somewhere, but it’s well hidden. She’s his pet, even when he’s out of the house. His estate is so big, they go on walkies, and don’t bump into anyone. This niggles her. She’s proud of her work, and she starts to wonder, as he drops a wet prawn onto the heated floor, whether he wants to keep her secret.
As a child, she liked to show Jacko off as much as possible. Walking the springer spaniel down her cul-de-sac, she’d nod to her neighbours. They’d smile.
He finishes his food from the Orasay. She knows the smell of fish will linger in the kitchen. She has always had an acute sense of smell. Maybe he’d sensed this before she’d started working for him. He pats her head and pours himself a drink. She whines. He gets the message. She crawls into his garden to do her business. Her paws are tough as leather.
She takes herself on a walk around the perimeter. There’s a gap in the fence. She lifts one paw from the ground to touch the splintered wood. It’s a thick, wooden fence. The hole, the wound, is thick. She wonders where it came from. Through the hole, she can see the road leading to the house. Before she pushes herself any further, she hears a familiar whistle. She puts both hands back on the grass, then makes her way to the French windows.
He’s standing in the threshold. He follows her into the kitchen. He’s talking to her, but she isn’t really listening. It doesn’t matter; she isn’t supposed to hear what he says. She is invited to eat. Pressing her mouth into the bowl, she is grateful, so grateful.
Kieran Wyatt lives on the Fylde Coast. He is co-chair of GenSex (@GenSexResearch), an interdisciplinary research group, asking probing questions about gender and sexuality. His work has been published by Eunoia Review, The Art of Everyone, and Small Leaf Press. He graduated from Edge Hill University with a degree in Creative Writing in 2018.