A dog’s life

It was in late-August,

the day my sister and I

returned home from summer camp

and our old dog Pepper was not

at the door to greet us.

***

Our father sat us down

and solemnly reminded us

that Pepper

had been with the family

since before we were born …

***

But then, seeing our faces,

he stopped and

thought for a moment,

and then explained that while we were at camp,

he had sent Pepper

to live on a farm upstate,

— a magical farm!

One where she could play all day long

and live a life of ease.

***

And, most importantly, he concluded,

it had been mostly Pepper’s decision.

***

We were suspicious, but

then mom appeared

and presented us with a surprise: 

a puppy

we named,

Pepper 2.

***

And suddenly, once again, all seemed right in our world.

***

That is, until, later that night,

just a little past our bed-time …

***

The phone rang.

I answered.

It was Pepper.

***

She barked & whimpered

into the phone.

“Pepper is that you?” I asked.

“Are you ok, gurl?”

***

Suddenly,

I heard a human voice say,

“Get that receiver away from Pepper!”

And then the line went dead.

***

It was then I knew our father had lied.