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The International Writers Magazine:Thailand

Dog Days Gone Bye
Austin Muckinhaupt
The tides lather the beach as they roll up.  Leaving behind only froth and seaweed they retreat back just as lazily as they had arrived.  The sun is beginning to set.  All the fishing boats are sequestered and tied firmly to poles coming out of the water. The boats look like gondolas, but with long outboard motors attached at the end of them.


You stand on the bridge which marks the entrance to the beach.  The bridge, which shelters most of the boats, is wooden and spans a finger of an inlet.  The beach is surrounded by mountainous jungle.  There are small hotels along the beach none of them are particularly well to do.  The beach is about a 10 minute walk from your house, you’ve read about the sunsets here.  You walk along the sidewalk which is raised eight feet above the beach and ocean.  The sidewalk begins its declination towards the shore, beginning a rapid descent at the foot of the bridge which winds down to a terminus at the beach. 

A pack, maybe ‘pack’ is too organized of a word, a group of feral dogs run up and down the beach comfortably knowing it’s theirs.  One of these dogs is particularly arrogant, smug and very self-satisfied, but looking at him there is no reason for it.  He’s colored lightly, white actually, but not a clean white, nor a pure one.  His torso is roughly the same shape as a barrel and protrudes oddly, almost like the shape of a potato, not a red but a large gold.  The dog is not large maybe a foot at the shoulders.  To support this mangled soda can of a body there are four of the most unseemly legs ever imagined.  They look to be impossibly skinny, like the most brittle branches on a young tree.  As the dog runs the legs do not bend, almost like he has four peg legs.  Honestly the whole dog looks like he was constructed by a toddler.  Then there is the dog’s head.  The most startling aspect of it is the eyes.  There are two incredibly bulbous eyes, eyes like prisoners on death row, so desperate are these to escape they would do anything. The eyes looked like balloons in a vice. Its tail was a sad one.  This is the dog that has confronted you on the sidewalk as you try get to the beach. 

It’s around twilight on the island of Phuket.  The beach is Kamala Beach, and the sunset is wonderful.  The dog strikes a proud contrast holding his ground waiting for you to pay tribute.  This is his beach.  The other dogs don’t seem to notice, but they could be on alert, just waiting for you try to get on their beach if the tax-man doesn’t collect.  Either way you don’t want to press your luck.  All you have in your pocket are cigarettes, matches, and loose change, maybe totaling hundred bot or so.  So you grab your change and toss at the dog’s unwieldy and broken legs.  He doesn’t move, doesn’t really look like he can, the standoff continues.  He eyes the six pack in your hand.  Six of the cheapest beers you’ve ever purchased, but that was the point, shitty beer is still beer, and you wanted some drinks while you watched the sunset.  A sunset described as the most beautiful on the island. 

The dog is still standing there, twig legs, barrel torso, bug eyes and all.  He is still eyeing the six pack.  You toss a few cigarettes down they roll right between his legs down to the beach, the dimples in the concrete threatening to stop or derail them, but it never does.  He gaze is still fixed slightly to your right, not in the cute way dogs tilt their head, but the way a man in a neck brace looks, stuck, fixed yet broken.  You set the beer down, its perspiring heavily, most of the natives put ice in their beer.  The dog miraculously steps to his left.
© Austin Muckinhaupt Oct 13th 2011

My First Car by Austin Mcukinhaupt

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