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The Short Straw

By Don Katnik

Copyright 2012 Don Katnik

Smashwords Edition


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The Short Straw

By Don Katnik


Taking out Bella was orgasmic. The .22 caliber yellow jacket slug flung that yapping Chihuahua bitch head over tail across Helen’s backyard ending a week of constant, spine-decalcifying Yi! Yi! Yi!

The ‘Burb Lords—the neighborhood men who presided over its mown lawns and smoking barbecue grills—had met the night before in our Man Cave (a.k.a. Steve’s garage). “What the hell are we gonna do about that damned dog?” Teddy had asked. There was only one answer. Steve had produced a handful of straws. Not the clear kind, but bright-colored ones with silly cartoon-character heads.

“Really?” Frank had asked as I’d reached for Scooby Doo. I didn’t know if he’d meant the straw selection or picking among them to choose Bella’s executioner, but Scooby had been the short one.

The spent shell casing spun up in the air, winking in the bright sun before it bounced off the chimney and landed in my lap. From my sniper’s perch on Teddy’s roof, I watched Bella lie motionless. It was the only time I’d ever seen that dog not moving—not tearing around the yard on its zip line, yapping incessantly at everything and everyone near it. I killed the can of beer I’d brought up. I had thought I might have to wait for a good shot, but Bella had spied me immediately, charged to the end of her zip line, and commencing barking at me full-on; a perfect target. I’d also brought up a whole box of ammo, but Bella had needed only the one shot. I, on the other hand, needed more than just the one beer.

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