Sheeplifting: a short story with Harold the Handsome

“Go on, Harold. Go pee.”
The writer opened the door and checked the street for traffic. It was quiet. “Go on, I trust you.”

Harold was an old dog, well, not exactly old, just the far side of middle-aged. He was a good dog, honest and reliable. The writer wandered back inside and sat at the desk and stared at that metal bland object she loved more than him. He was bored. He decided to go get himself a treat.

Harold walked down the hill to Main Street. When the voice at the corner said Wait, he waited. When the beeps began and all the humans walked, Harold walked. He walked past the temptation of the popcorn maker, the bagel maker, and trotted past the booze seller and into Shaw’s, the grocery store. He’d never been inside before. It was all rather exciting. The doors opened when he stood there. The cashiers smiled at him. The other humans petted him. He was a big boy, with thick black fur and a red bandana. He looked pretty good and he knew it. His tail wagged, sweeping from side to side, and so he strolled past the carrots and spinach and towards the butchers in the back. He sniffed and found heaven.

Rows and rows of dead animals. No hunting needed.

He stood there, did Harold, nose sniffing deeply, jowls dribbling, and tail picking up speed. He stood on his hind legs and peered into the fridges. Sheep. Cow. Pig. Chicken.

Which should he pick? Sheep, he decided. You don’t come across them often, not something he gets to chase for himself. He chose a decently sized lamb chop with bone and clamped his teeth into it and drooled. He lay down for a quick chew.

Yes, it was good. He took it with him as he strolled back down aisle three, wondering why the writer always made him wait outside. He had just stepped through the magically opening doors when a voice stopped him.

“Wait!”

Harold is a good boy. He waited.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

A hand clamped onto his collar and in surprise Harold yelped. He dropped the meat. The hand let go to pick it up.

“I’ll have to call your owner. Where are your tags, dog? Don’t you have any? Should I call Animal Control to take you? Come here, dog. Poor thing, don’t you have a home?”

Home? Harold thought of home. He bared his yellowing teeth and then ran. Oh boy, did Harold run. Up Main Street, along State Street, waiting at the crossing like a good boy and then home up the stairs to his home.

His writer hadn’t moved. She glanced up at him standing in the doorway.

“Did you go pee?”

Harold turned around. He’d forgotten about that. He walked back downstairs and thought about getting a treat.

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Author: Sarah Leamy

Sarah Leamy is a freelance writer, a novelist, and cartoonist. She is a MFA student at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is on the editorial team at Upstreet, Hunger Mountain, and Wanderlust-Journal. She is currently writing a collection of short stories as well as a novel called Buzzed, Busted, and Broke. She has lived in England, Germany, Spain, Guatemala and the Southwest of the US. Sarah lives in Vermont.

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