The One that Got Away

by Brianna Johnson

I found the hole in the fence this morning. The wire was gnawed through and the dirt clawed down to the foundation. Blood still dripped from a few of the links. Poor baby probably cut his tongue.

I’d found Chuckie outside a bar. It wasn’t hard to get him; it was raining and my car was warm. He looked so sweet curled up in the passenger’s seat, all wet and shivering. He seemed eager to come home with me, pawing my lap and kissing my cheek. I gave him a treat to calm down.

I’d started taking in strays a few months earlier after a run-in at a party; a rough little mutt nipped at my heels. My friend said she’d found him chewing on cigarettes outside a Save-a-Lot. I remember he still smelled like smoke.

I took in my first stray a few days later, a little blonde with dark eyes. I found him in the park by the fountain. I named him Mickey.

After Mickey, my collection grew. I found them everywhere: the movies, the library, the gym—I filled my home with them, all shapes and sizes crated and cared for. They all grew to love me and each other.

However, Chuckie was a troublemaker. He’d nip and spit and growl. My name’s David, he’d say. I’d hear him whisper to the other boys about escape, about how easy it would be, how they could overtake me.

I picked a few of his fingernails from the soil. He couldn’t have gotten far. It looks like rain, poor baby.

Brianna Johnson lives in the Sunshine State, but does her best to avoid sunlight. She can often be found at home, or dancing in the shadows at a concert. She draws strength from her family, Beyoncé, and Barbra Streisand.
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