Long Term Bet

Inspired by Do It Again by Steely Dan

He was preoccupied with this type of dog when he wasn’t in Vegas. He’d heard about this dog at Burning Man, sounded like a high climber. He liked spunk. New age called to him, the thought it was all about the way a place felt, the way a person levitated in the night, the way the stars fell quiet around a face. He owned a chair and a bed. Here there was a dog bed, without a dog. He said he’d never make a long-term bet, but he was looking. When a man swears and kicks and begs that he’s not a gamblin’ man, he’s looking. Quick women, cars, dogs. Wanted a wild one that could shimmy!

He bought a baton at a yard sale, didn’t know why. In the land of milk and honey nobody had it and so they sold their things. Sold them to each other. A pale middle-aged woman selling a daughter’s baton had divorce written all over it. He didn’t have much to say to a creature with no tan.

Nakedness was all around him these days, his own, and the nakedness of shiny thoughts. The kind he wanted to hold next to his ear like shells. The kind with pretty thoughts, understanding lips. Maybe it was time to slip up. Get licked on the fucking nose. Dance all night long like a bounced check. Those black cards can make you money but what he really needed was an American dog, a sympathetic face. He wouldn’t need to display it.

Meg Pokrass is the author of five flash fiction collections and a book of prose poetry, Cellulose Pajamas, for which she received the Blue Light Book Award. Her work has been widely internationally anthologized, most recently in New Micro (W.W. Norton & Co., 2018), Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015) and The Best Small Fictions 2018, 2019. She serves as Founding Co-Editor of Best Microfiction.

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