Bitch: Transformation

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Chapter 20 - Kid Logic

I heard Hannah come back and motion the other two onto the opposite lower bunk as the RV pulled onto the road. Lurching wildly and creaking. I could hear the dishes in the cupboards shift and clink.

“I have a special surprise, but you have to be super quiet if you want to know what it is... Promise?”

“I promise.”

“Pramiss.”

“Ok shhhhhh...”

Suddenly I was staring at 3 little sets of wide eyes.

“Puppy,” said tow head.

“No silly, she’s too big for a puppy... she’s a doggie.”

“She looks funny.”

Little arms wrapped around my neck. “I love you puppy.”

All of a sudden I couldn’t breathe, not because of his little arms but because a feeling welled up inside me. My nose felt all tight and runny. I had missed this, not this strange loving child, but touch from another human. I know he didn’t know me well enough to love me, but I treasured it all the same and locked it away in my heart.

Several hands now stroked me. It felt good. I licked one of them.

Ahhh... katsup. I missed katsup. I licked some more.

“It feels funny,” said tow head.

“Are you hungry puppy?”

I nodded.

“You’re hungry? Ok lemme get some of the leftovers.”

Hannah was back in a minute with a paper plate and small pile of chicken nuggets.

“Do you like katsup?”

I nodded again.

“You do? Me too.”

She squirted some katsup on the nuggets.

I looked at her. For permission to eat I realized. I was turning into that dog in the back of the rover.

“Oh right I forgot. Ya have’ta say blessing.”

“I’ll do it.”

“Bow your heads and yer hands,” suggested tow head.

“I know, lemme do it... Dear God: thank you for the fried chicken and the katsup. Amen.”

I’d never tasted better food in my life. Cold fried breaded chicken, and thin katsup felt like manna.

“You were hungry, huh?”

I nodded again.

“Can we keep her?”

“Where did you find her?”

“She was here in the RV. I saw her get in.”

“She got in the RV? Did she have a key?”

“No, you left the door open.”

“Did not.”

“Did too. And she picked us. God gave us a dog. Remember dad said that God would give us a dog and now he did.”

“What’s her name?”

“I don’t know she didn’t tell me. She’s a dog. She can’t talk.”

I nodded again.

“Yes she can,” announced tow head.

I looked at him in surprise.

“No she can’t. Mom says that dogs can’t talk but they listen good. They don’t understand the words but they hear how you say it,” said Hannah.

“She said yes,” said tow head.

“I didn’t hear.”

“She said yes like this.” And tow head nodded.

“Ask her a question.”

“Do you understand what I’m saying?”

I nodded.

“Do you say yes to everything?”

I shook my head.

Their eyes grew big - except for tow head he just grinned. “Told you.”

“Ask her something.”

“Where are you from?”

“Do you like me too?”

“How old are you?

Mother rounded the corner and yelped, “Augh! I knew you three were too quiet. Where on earth did you find a... a... dog? And how did you get it in here?”

“She got inside by herself.”

“And she’s real smart too. She unnerstans what you say.”

“Ask her a question.”

Mother was chiding. “You can’t just pick up dogs off the street. She might be somebody else’s dog that just wandered off. Think of how upset they would be to come home and not find their dog there.”

“But mom, God sent her to us. He sent her to make up for Bandit. Remember dad said the only reason we don’t have a dog is because God hadn’t sent her to us yet. Are you saying that God didn’t send her to us?”

“An’ she doesn’t have a collar I looked.”

“Ask her a question.”

“She’s not anybody’s dog we asked.”

“Who did you ask?” Mother wondered aloud.

“Her.”

Mother sighed exasperated and sat on the edge of the bed. She looked me in the eyes, “Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Heart in my throat, I nodded slowly looking her steadily in the eyes.

Mother shook her head, and blinked. And then she looked at me very hard. She thought for long moments before asking, “Are you someone else’s dog?”

I shook my head slowly.

“Did God send you?” asked tow head.

I... I... I don’t know. I tried to shrug.

Mother stared and stared, she was making the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Finally she said, “What’s two plus two?”

I nodded four times without breaking eye contact.

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