The House Guest


He lived with me. No contract had been signed. I didn’t ask for a lodger. I had asked on multiple occasions for him to leave. When it became obvious he wouldn’t leave without a prompt, I packed a polythene bag full of sandwiches and threw it up the garden, where it smashed into my lame herbaceous border, then sat upon a particular bulbous perennial like a cancerous growth. Of course, once he noticed, he’d be off, clambering across the grass, slicing the bag open; his wet chops smeared with raspberry jam, his chest speckled with crumbs.

As the adventurous sort, he despised staying inside. My ideal day: a cheesy cop show on TV, a few cold beers in the fridge, a tub of chocolate chip in my lap seemed to incense him. Mostly monosyllabic, he preferred to beat his chest, jump about the place, smash his paws through anything he took a vehement dislike to.

We compromised or at least I did. He wasn’t the sort to give anyone a break. Stubborn and petulant. He once ate my driving licence. Shoved it into his big fat mouth. Chewed on it like a medium rare steak, just because I wasn’t in the mood to give him a hug.

So, trying to do the right thing in this relationship, I’d tie a thick black leather collar around his neck and attached a strong leash, keep step as we trotted, in a breezily manner, down the crowded street. People stopped and stared, jumped to one side, knees knock knocking but I’d say, in a well-to-do voice, fingering my neckerchief ‘well, Byron had one’ and they’d look at me curiously before mouthing the words ‘had one’ to each other in confusion.

© Copyright Henrietta M Ross


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