Wolf In Shepherd’s Clothing

Micro-fiction by Emily Ness

She was tired of listening to him regale her with his tales and moved to stop him in his tracks.

The two preteens had grown up within a mile of each other and she knew his tales weren’t nearly as heroic and adventurous as he made the mundane sound. “Your tales are so boring.  I want a good story with real elements of danger and mystery and imagination.  Let me tell you some stories.  Only one will be the absolute truth and you need to guess which one it is,” she said.

“Telling things how they are will get you a lot farther than imagining,” he said.  He leaned back on the plastic playground monkey bars and rolled his eyes skyward with boredom.

“Alright, here goes,” she said.

Tale 1
Once when I was a little girl, I found a cat that had snuck in to my playroom through a window that was covered by only a gauzy tattered curtain.  The cat had obviously been in a fight and had a deep cut in his ear and a bleeding lip caused by the claw of another cat, or possibly a squirrel.  I was playing with my doctor set at the time, a cheap vinyl covered kit that contained a plastic stethoscope, a syringe and a rubber mallet.  I filled the syringe with hydrogen peroxide and cleaned the cat’s wounds, as it lay panting and immobile.  I then dabbed the cuts with a towel from my make-believe oven set and went to the kitchen to fetch it a bowl of milk.  As I set down the saucer, the cat curled around my legs.  It had followed me.  It went to take a sip but a neighborhood German Shepherd took a quick crunching bite to the cat’s head, killing it instantly.

Tale 2
Every day in the second grade, someone was in charge of bringing a snack to school for story time.  One day I arrived to school and realized that my mom had forgotten our turn.  There were no homemade cookies, no Puppy Chow, just incredulous looks from the other students that we had forgotten.  Mortified, I returned the three blocks home to see if there were possibly enough banana Popsicles in the  garage freezer to cover all  my classmates. I got home just in time to see the German Shepherd attacking my mom as she was getting out of the shower.  I shook him off while my mother cried and looked embarrassed and told me he really wasn’t a bad dog, just scared and looking for attention.

Tale 3
Very late one night about three years ago, the mean old dog was cruising around the neighborhood near my house when he shouldn’t be.  I’m not sure how he escaped his house without the mother noticing.  He was crossing the street and in a freak accident, was hit by a bicyclist which pitched him off a median and in to the street where he was hit by a dump truck.  He was buried and one of our close family friends put the first scoop of dirt on his grave.  My mother stood in the background, barely able to contain herself.

“Tell me which one you think is true,” she said.

“I believe Tale 3 because that is the most likely one to happen.  I know because late one night, three years ago my father was out drunk and was hit by a bicyclist in this neighborhood.  It knocked him off the median and he was hit by a dump truck,” he said.

“Do you see what I mean about how using imagination is a better way to tell people a tale about somebody’s life?” she asked.

This story was created writing from the prompt, “She was tired of listening to him regale her with his tales and moved to stop him in his tracks.”

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