Oh, achy days. The whites of my eyes are virus gray. The dog is nervous. I’m screaming at myself to find peace.

But I’m doing my friend Shadow a favor, dog sitting Apple. I’ll wash the sheets, wipe down the counters, I promise. My friend Shadow’s wife Wanda has a medicine cabinet full of herbal supplements, like an awful spice rack, extra-prescribed, unauthorized. In my friend Shadow’s drawer was a razor, nail clippers, etc., but also a bottle of Cartier cologne. The scent was really for an older, wealthier man, but his surprising choice still had allure. The couple shared an underwear drawer, so nothing was hidden there. If I said they wanted me to do this, no one would believe me, so I won’t bother.

There was no foolishness about the dog. Apple was not the type to ride in the back of a pickup. She knew what she had stumbled into with my friend Shadow and his wife Wanda, and abided no disturbances. Dogs can sense earthquakes, and also marital strife. And I am feverish.

I didn’t get a flu shot, not because of a fear of needles or politics. I don’t know why, except to say that self-preservation is not my top priority. Also, I have a new philosophy about the meaning and purpose of life as we know it, which often includes suffering.

Sean Ennis

Sean Ennis is the author of CUNNING, BAFFLING, POWERFUL (Thirty West), and his fiction has recently appeared in Bending Genres, trampset, Flash Boulevard and the Best Microfiction 2023 anthology. More of his work can be found at seanennis.net

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