Concise Prose. Enough Said.
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Mad Dog

By Ann Gonzalez

If Joe gets to write his story I want to write mine too. I am not some stupid girlie doll. I have black teeth in the front of my mouth. My nose is all wonky. I always have crusty stuff stuck to my underpants; it just oozes out of me. My belly is big and round even though my legs are spindly.

I stay hidden. If people saw me they would say I was disgusting. I live out here in the woods. I try to sleep inside but I need to wait until the crazy lady and the little man go to sleep. I don’t like them. There is a girl inside too, but she doesn’t know anything that is going on. She sings “la, la, la” all day long as she walks to and from school.

I don’t know any other kids; I think they are stupid anyway. They make fun of me because my face is ugly and my clothes are ripped and filthy. They don’t know I see things and know things. I do know things. I know a little girl who lives over the hill, way away from here. She is real cute and she laughs and has dolls like other girls. She has friends and a mother who really loves her. Her mom sings her lullabies at night after hugging and kissing her and tucking her into bed. Her dad loves her too. He comes home after a long day at the office and says, “Ahhh, Ann let¹s relax and read the paper together before dinner.” He smells like elk. Not bad--elk smell really good.

I don’t get to see her, the girl that lives over the hill, but we know each other. We even have the same name. It's okay to have a friend with the same name as yours. Ann is our name. The other children don’t think that I can know a girl like Ann ­ but I do. I know her real well.

I am hiding right now waiting for the mean lady to lie down. If she boozes enough, maybe she'll fall asleep. Joe doesn¹t like drinking but I do. Oh yeah, Joe lives in the house with the people too. Joe wishes I would clean myself up, behave better. Behave? Behave for her? He has got to be kidding. That lady is just bigger than I am but she is no smarter. Yeah, she often gets me and whips me for stuff but she can’t kill me. She has tried but I have special powers. It is almost funny to watch her work herself up into a frenzy hitting and punching and me not feeling a thing. Oh, that makes her mad. Stinking mad. I don’t know where I got the powers but I am glad I¹ve got them.

The boy, he too tries to kill me. Even though he is not as big as the lady he hurts me way more. My powers don’t seem to work on him. Actually, I think he has special powers. He makes me do things to hurt myself. Once he made me use a razor blade on my legs until those puny little sticks looked like candy canes. Who knew legs could bleed so much. I try to avoid him because I am under his spell. I don't even really hate him like I hate the lady.

I hate her.

I’d like to write down all kinds of mean things I¹d do to her but it would sound too evil. I sit out here in the bushes and glare at her in the house. I just glare at her. Someday I am going to tell her how much I hate her. I'll wait until I am bigger and she doesn’t have that big stick anymore. Maybe I’ll have my own stick then and I’ll hit her as hard as I hate her. That will be really hard. She’ll remember that.

People say she is sick and I have to understand, I have to be nice to her, I have to let her rest, I have to help her, I have to take care of her, I have to be quiet, I have to be nice. The whole time these people talk she sits there all pretty and smiling. “Yes things are a little hard,” she says, “but we are managing. I don¹t know what I am going to do about money. The children¹s father just won¹t send any.” These people go back to telling me, “your mom is sick, she is tired, she has worries, you need to be nice to her, you need to let her rest, you need to be more helpful, you need to take care of her, you need to be better, you need to be better, “blah,blah, blah.” I hate the people too. They don’t know anything they are talking about. As soon as they leave the house, feeling all good that they helped out the nice lady and straightened out the bad kids, she just goes Godzilla.

I hate her.

Sometimes I use the razor to cut lines in my belly. It is okay because there isn’t anything in there anyway. It is kind of cool how it is all smooth and you can’t see that any cuts are there. Then you move and bright red lines show up. I like the white clear edges to the red when you pull the stomach apart. Let go and it is all smooth again. The red snakes around in the water looking for the way back but in but it is all sealed up. This is a fun game I play.

I touch myself a lot. I hold my pee-pee when I go to sleep at night and finger myself during the day. The lady doesn’t like it and that makes me want to do it more. It feels good too. Sometimes I stick things inside me so it hurts real good. I don’t know why I do that but I hate the lady when I do. Somehow it makes me feel better.

When people walk by me in the woods I bare my nubby black teeth at them and growl. They get scared. I like to scare people. They back away like I am a rabid dog. I smile my garish smile and wish I could foam at the mouth too. People may not like the junkyard dog but they sure do talk about it. A mean old dog gets a lot of respect.

I am only going to live to be 8 or 9. That is how long dogs live. When they find me they should write on my epitaph: Here lies a mean old dog. Everyone hated her except the nice little girl over the hill.


Ann Gonzalez is a 46 year old MFA student in the Whidbey Writers Workshop. This is the first MFA program to be offered by a collective of writers outside of the confines of a university or college. Ann writes: "I have often felt the renegade in my writing and my sense of revolution is increasing for this unique learning opportunity."

Photo "I see you" courtesy of Andy Heyward, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

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