Dog Walk

8:30 PM.

Jack stumbled forward straining at the leash, trying to slow Jill down. Not an easy task considering that Jill is a 75 pound Syberian husky, a present from a former girlfriend who thought "Jack and Jill" was the funniest thing she had ever heard. Jill was understandably excited; so many sights and smells, the wide open spaces beckoning to her.

Their nightly dance followed its usual course - 2 blocks to a small park where Jill could be unleashed to work off her energy. It always seemed to take 3 hours to make it back home again, and like every night, Jack swore that he would limit tonight's romp to a half hour.

They reached the park entrance and Jack started to unhook Jill, who could hardly contain herself during the 5 seconds it took. Why do people have to take so long?

"OK, Jill, have fun." Jack only got as far as the initial "O" before she took off, full speed into the small wooded area ahead. She flushed out a squirrel which dashed up a tree. She explored a rotting log that smelled of musk and rain. Then she ran into the small sandy playground where Jack was strolling.

They played "tag" for a short while (although Jack spent the whole time being "it"). Then Jill caught an interesting scent in the far corner of the sandlot. A familiar scent, just under the sand.

With a cloud of sand spraying into the air, Jill dug rapidly downward toward the scent. Suddenly, Jill recognized the smell and stopped digging. She looked quizzically up a Jack who was ambling toward her. "What's up, old girl? Find a bone?"

Jill looked back and forth a few times and then resumed digging, slower this time. Jack reached the hole and squatted down to look in. "Whatcha got down there, old..." Jack froze at the sight of the top of a human head. "Oh, my God..."

Jill continued to excavate; a forehead, eyes, and a nose slowly came into view. Jack felt faint, a buzzing in his ears. He sat down heavily next to the hole and stared in horror as his own face emerged from the sand.

Jill stopped momentarily and looked at Jack's stupified trance, and then continued the dig in a frenzy. Torso, arms, waist, and legs slowly appeared in the shallow grave. An unresponsive Jack sat and stared blankly at a newly uncovered Jack.

Jill then clamped the body's shirt collar in her jaws and pulled and tugged until the body was laying prone next to the hole. She let go and ran back to the seated Jack, still staring into the hole. She circled Jack a few times, whining.

But the sand under Jack was slowly giving way, and suddenly Jack tipped forward and tumbled into the hole, the sides falling in and partly covering him. A cowering Jill backed slowly away from the hole, returned to the prone Jack, and tentatively sniffed his face.

Jack's face twitched as Jill's whiskers tickled his nose. Jack then sneezed violently and sat up, sending Jill skittering back. Jack looked around ... it was quite dark and he could see little among the dark shadows of the park. He squinted at his watch, pressing the button which illuminated the numbers. 11:15. DAMN! He had fallen asleep again!

Jack stood up, brushing the sand from his clothes and hair. "Come here, Jill. Come on girl." Jill returned to Jack and let herself be re-leashed. Then, with Jill still whining, they started walking home.

As the night wore on, the wind blew steadily, and the hole in the playground slowly filled in.