The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
By Jerome Blanco
After Brian stuck his tongue out the window while driving up the I-5, he lost sleep thinking about what life would be like if he were a dog.
“You’re a person. You’re not an animal,” his wife said.
“Is that my fault?”
Brian gnawed at a chicken bone over dinner. He hadn’t shaved since they returned from San Diego five days ago.
“My body may not be fur-covered,” he had told her, “but my face can be.”
His wife shook her head. This is like the time he wanted to buy a Jaguar. That only lasted a week. By Tuesday, he will forget about the whole dog thing.
By Tuesday, Brian’s beard was coming in nicely. He brought home a bag of DoggeeChow after work. When his wife came in, Brian was in the living room watching Animal Planet. He was holding a cereal bowl, munching on Chow. Puppies and kittens scampered around on the TV screen.
“Maybe it’s time we had children,” Brian said.
A puppy Pomeranian wiggled its hiney on the screen. The two had talked about children, but they always said soon, never now.
“Okay,” his wife said. They hadn’t had much sex lately. They hadn’t had babies ever. She wanted more sex and she wanted babies.
Maybe, she thought, this will get his mind off those canine ambitions.
They had sex that night, although Brian only wanted it doggie-style. His wife said, okay, but next time maybe could she get on her back. Brian only made a sound that sounded a little like woof.
One month later, Brian’s beard was tremendous and beginning to smell. The sex had stopped. On most days, after returning from work, Brian crawled around the living room. He looked out the window and barked at passing cars.
His wife called her sister.
“He says he wishes he were a dog.”
“Why?” her sister asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Have you asked him?”
“Honey,” Brian’s wife said later. “Why do you wish you were a dog? What’s wrong with being a person?”
Brian was on the floor licking his arm hair. He buried his face into the backs of his hands and shook his head.
“It isn’t about being a person,” he said—his voice muffled by the floor and his flesh.
“It’s about being a dog?”
“It’s about being Brian.”
He rolled onto his side and made a sad noise that hummed out of his belly.
His wife met the other man at the grocery store. In the frozen foods section. Two months had passed since Brian stuck his tongue out on the I-5. The other man was carrying a basket with salad dressing and figs. Brian’s wife bumped into him, and one of his figs fell onto the floor. She apologized, and the two bent over to pick it up. Their hands touched over the fruit, and the wife thought it was very much like a movie, except she had a husband, and figs were not very romantic.
Brian was naked in the backyard when his wife came home. He had taken to shedding all his clothes after work. He stamped around the grass on all fours.
“Honey, I’m home,” she said.
Brian stuck out his tongue and then ran up to his wife and licked her shoes. She knelt down and pet him on the head and stroked his hairy back. She ran her fingers through thick hair, which she knew had not been there last week or ever before really. She scratched him. He made a sweet growling noise.
Brian’s wife sometimes wanted to throw up. She did not like Brian being Brian. Why did he have to want to be a dog? Why not president or a woman or a twenty year-old?
The next week, the other man was in the grocery again. This time he bought apples.
“I’m making pie,” the other man said.
He said he was an accountant, but he now wanted to be a baker. The wife said baking was a sensible desire. He said he thought so too. He told the wife that his wife used to bake pies, but she died of cancer two years ago, so he had to make pies himself now.
The wife made a sad face, and then they went and had a cup of coffee.
On Sunday morning, she woke up and almost kicked the dog that was curled at the foot of their bed. The dog stuck its tongue out and looked at her. Its tail wagged. He was covered in black fur.
“I supposed I’m going to church by myself then?” His wife asked.
Reverend Moseby preached about adultery and its harmful effects on marriage, children, and the environment. He was going through a Ten Commandments series. He started speaking about hermit crabs, and the wife was not sure if he meant that humanity was being a bad example to hermit crabs or that we humans should not stoop to the level of adulterous hermit crabs.
The wife thought about animals and adultery. She wanted to ask Reverend Moseby what the Bible had to say about husbands turning into animals. Bestiality was a no-no according to Leviticus. But if one was, supposedly, already one flesh with a person, did anything change if this person turned into a hedgehog for instance?
She was not sure. She did not ask Reverend Moseby.
The wife wondered if Brian was still Brian. If Brian was not Brian then she would not be cheating on the man she married, would she? But if Brian was still Brian, then should it matter if he was a dog? Did she no longer love Brian? No, she thought, that made it seem like she was to blame.
"He changed," she said, "not me."
She played logic acrobatics in the kitchen while drinking coffee. Brian the dog sat on the floor. He stuck his tongue out and the corners of his mouth went up around his teeth like he was smiling. He was smiling at her. And then he licked himself.
She took Brian to a dog park, because he seemed lonely in the yard. But in the dog park, he was shy. He pressed his face against her leg and watched the other dogs run around. He scampered up towards them for a second, watched, sniffed, then ran back to her.
“What’s the matter?” she asked. “They’re dogs. Just like you.”
A woman came along, walking a sexy poodle. Brian’s ears perked up, and his tail swung. He stuck out his tongue and watched the poodle, and the wife watched Brian watch the poodle. Brian woofed and ran off after it.
When they went home, she called the other man.
Sex with the other man was normal, human. They did it in the huge bed of his huge bedroom of his huge house. She wondered, did the dead wife sleep in this bed? The wife thought the non-dogness of the other man was the best part. But his non-Brianness was not her favorite.
He said “fuck yeah” and “oh my God,” and she did not like that, because she did not like profanity and because Reverend Moseby had just preached about using God’s name in vain. He came and she went.
At home, Animal Planet was on the TV. The wife wondered how he clicked the TV on by himself. Brian was not in the living room. She looked into the backyard, but Brian was not there either.
She found him in the bedroom, sitting on the floor in his grey briefs. Hands, back, and face were remarkably not furry and not dog. Brian’s human legs were spread in front of him. He stared at the floor. His face blank.
“I’m not a dog,” he said to his wife.” I wish I was, but I’m not am I?”
His wife shook her head, but she did not know the correct answer. What made a dog anyway? Why shouldn’t her husband get to be a dog if he wanted to be a dog? Maybe dog was a state of mind. Maybe dog was more than four paws and a tail.
“What makes you say that?” she asked her husband.
He looked at the floor. “There I was, being as dog as I could be. Barking and running and everything. And the neighbor’s dog was walking by with his owner. And he started talking to me about dirt. Dirt! And I thought, this is not right. This is not me. I am not a dog. I am not a dog after all. Dirt!”
She put her arm around him.
“I think I might try and become a person again.”
“Just be Brian,” she said. Then she kissed him.
She made dinner for the two of them. A Caesar salad, a spinach lasagna, and a bowl of DoggeeChow, because neither of them liked to waste. Later that night, they made love in the backyard.
#Unreal #Identity #BeingBrian #AnimalInstincts #Fiction #Dogs #Canine
Visit our shop and subscribe. Sponsor us. Submit and become a contributor. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.