“Unbecoming Canine,” by Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb
Confronting me fiercely, the old bitch screamed, “You hate dogs! You hate dogs! You hate dogs!” Her shiny, silver-gray hair, cut too short around her thick neck, bobbed absurdly up and down as she indignantly marched along side of me and continued yelling. Then the demented, old bag crossed directly in front of me and blocked my path with the leash. I was out for my morning stroll in the lush grass of Courtyard Park just down from my home on the hill, and I was in no mood for this nonsense.
Her loud accusations were an attempt to humiliate me, to draw attention to my preferences in public—which, of course, were different from hers. And she did turn heads. A number of people, some others with dogs, watched the spectacle with interest but kept their distance. This perceived audience further encouraged her. “She hate dogs!”
Purposely stepping on the leash of her so-called companion, I stopped to look her directly in the eye, knowing this would be most threatening. Suddenly she pulled away, looking around to find witnesses just in case I stooped to the level of honoring her attack—with one of my own. Rather, though, I turned my back to pick up my pace across the lawn. But I could feel the wetness—sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff on the backs of my heels.
I whirled around to growl at the elderly man because this unpleasantness was all his fault. He was stunned, immobilized by fear that if he dare moved, I might hurt the bitch he doted on. Finally, he yanked the retractable leash, and the harassment by the beast with the ridiculous haircut stopped. Even though irritated, I continued on my morning route. Keeping ears and tail high, I heard from somewhere behind me the now familiar cry, “Hey, look! There goes a coyote!”
About the Author:
Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb’s work has appeared in Dark Matter: A Journal of Speculative Writing, The Broken Plate, Kudzu House Quarterly (Kudzu Review), Split Rock Review, Epiphany Magazine, Blue Lyra Review, Foliate Oak, Terrain.org: A Journal of the Natural and Built Environments, Sierra Nevada Review, Concho River Review, Aji Magazine, Pedestal Magazine, The Blueline Anthology (Syracuse University Press), and other journals and online forums, with work forthcoming in the anthology Talking Back and Looking Forward: Poetry and Prose for Social Justice in Education (Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2015), Sediments, Caesura, and others. A past Pushcart Prize nominee, she holds an interdisciplinary MA from Prescott College and is co-founder of Native West Press, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit natural history press (which attempts to raise positive public awareness of some of the less favored wildlife with whom we share the American West).
Image Credit: © asmakar / Dollar Photo Club