He was not bad.
It had been two days since he'd been out--two whole days since he'd licked out his dish.
He nudged the Man. Please! Please! Good boy, see? Good boy! He raised his paw and hoped.
The Man lay still.
He was not bad when he barked at the letter person and chased the fat cat or when he hid his bones in the new couch; and once, when a boy was mean to him, he did not bite though he should have. Sure, he soiled the rug and chewed some shoes and dug up a few house plants; but that was when he got scared--LIKE NOW. He was not bad.
He wagged his tail.
A thought sent him from the room. He came back with his best toy; a mouth-sized rubber ball that squeaked like a mouse when he bit down on it. When he felt sad or mad or sick, this made him feel good. It would make the Man feel good, too.
He bit down on it. The mouse sound sent chills down his spine. He bit down on it. Oh, such joy! It would be good to have a mouse. He looked at the Man.
Don't be mad.
With care, he placed his toy in front of the Man's open eyes.
When He woke, his gift would be the first thing his friend would see.
Copyright © 2002 by Lorraine Pinelli Brown and Bewildering Stories.