On Tuesday, they had to euthanize their
twelve-year-old Chocolate Lab.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
at ten p.m. and perhaps for every evening
in the foreseeable future for
however long it would take, the man picked
up his mesquite hiking stick and his 225
lumen, compact flashlight
and headed down the stars of the condo
to walk his dog. He made his way
through the back parking
lot with a lighted hill on his left leading to the
upper swimming pool and condos on his right.
He watched the blue, flickering light
in some and wondered if any of the darkened
condos were in foreclosure. He listened
to the sounds of the fountain
as he passed. The cascading water reminded
him, in a small way, of home and the waves
of Lake Michigan where his dog
had loved to romp. Periodically, he would
depress the button of the flashlight
half-way to spot flash along
the hill. Once he spooked a coyote at rest.
At the end of the parking lot, the trail
began which led to an underpass
and access to the mountain preserve where his dog
had loved to hike. He pushed the on button
all the way down so the flash
stayed on. As he walked to the bench that sat along
the trail, the light created shadows on the shrubs.
It never failed to stop him in his tracks.
He scanned on down the trail, the wash in front
of him and the darkened hill in the moonless
night behind him. He looked for
signs of javelina boars with tusks, sows and their
piglets and packs of coyotes. “Oh, Boomer, where
are you, buddy? You’re supposed to be
here so we could protect each other.” The man turned
and slowly walked back to the condo.