It’s not even Friday, but as I’m going to try and get back to working on my book over the next week, I thought I’d keep you ticking over with a bit more flash. This one is for everyone who has ever felt lonely, asked the universe for a favour, had a bad day, a crappy job or had a dog. Okay, maybe there’s a little something for everyone.
Dog Day Afternoon
The malevolent brown eyes studied the man through the frame of the brass letterbox decorated in its stringy saliva. This was not what he needed on his first day in the job. It was bad enough to be dumped by your girlfriend because she thought you looked daft in your uniform, but to be mauled by a dog on your first day was the icing on the proverbial, and never to appear, wedding cake. His mother and the ladies from the Mother’s Union were going to very disappointed at the rate his love life was going; a one handed postman was hardly going to represent an improvement on what he could offer. Perhaps he should take up prayer, he wondered, and silently asked the universe to allow his day to improve. Start with a small favour, he thought, and then ask for the big stuff; a decent job, a lovely woman by his side, marriage, kids, a nice house.
Tentatively waving the white envelope as a sign of peace, he attempted to push it through the opening in the cheerfully painted front door. The letter crumpled under the pressure as he tried to ram it through the stiff brush lining of the opening. Nervously, he pushed it further with a single digit, before quickly retracting it at the next low growl which rumbled through the flap. The letter gently floated to the ground and landed on the welcome mat. Picking it up meant getting closer to the beast, was he brave enough? Sweat dripped from his forehead and he wished he’d taken off his jacket sooner, but then again it was an extra and very welcome layer of protection.
Somebody really should have warned him about this, especially on his first day. Perhaps that’s why everyone chuckled when he was handed his mail bag that morning. Why could people be so unkind? He only wanted to do a good job and then go home to his meal for one. Why couldn’t people just be nicer?
His hands trembled as he slowly knelt down and picked up the corner of the envelope. The beast had pushed his muzzle right through the letter box and he could feel its breath on his neck. The lolloping, dripping tongue made contact with the back of his hand as he stood up. He wiped it dry on the sleeve of his uniform and attempted to flatten the envelope out between the palm of his hand and his leg, massaging it so most of the creases disappeared.
Bracing himself, he took a step forward, holding the envelope lightly with the tips of all ten fingers. He hoped it looked non-threatening, as if he were an explorer presenting a valuable gift to his king. Turning his head away, so as not to witness any impending gore, he quickly pushed his delivery through the brass box and stopped when he felt something moist on circling his fingers. Cringing he withdrew them and wiped them on his trousers, leaving a foamy residue on them. Could his day get in worse, he asked himself? At least he still had all ten fingers, he thought, that was something.
“Don’t mind her,” a voice said from behind him, “It’s just her way of saying hello”. The angelic voice came from the prettiest thing he’s ever seen wearing sandals. A canvas bag was dangling awkwardly from her one hand, a bunch of flowers in the other. It was bizarrely intoxicating. “I’m Frances, with an ‘E’. Are you my new postman?”
Straightening his back to appear taller he extended his non licked hand and offered it in a handshake. “What a coincidence,” he said, “my name is Francis, well Frank, with an F.” He wasn’t very good at spelling, or talking, or flirting, at the best of times, let alone when such a pretty woman was talking to him.
“Indeed,” she replied blushing, she didn’t talk to men very often. She had hoped that getting a dog would have been a conversation starter but it really hadn’t proved to be the case at all. “Would you like to come in for a cup of Jasmine tea and to clean up? Betsy is a bit over enthusiastic with new people that she likes. Just think, we’d have never of met even if you hadn’t taken the time to stay here playing with her. How very kind you are.”
Yes, thought Frank, what a coincidence indeed. But then, Dog does move in mysterious ways.