Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sheepdog-01

A man, beaten and bloodied, sits on the stoop of a ruined house. About him is a scene of carnage—corpses litter the yard, cars and motorcycles lie wrecked about the property and the trees are the worse for it—and besides him a small schoolgirl clutches him as she sobs a river of tears. He has in hand a pad of paper and a pen, with which he writes furiously. Sirens howl in the distance, signaling the approach of the police as well as the fire department and the ambulances. Atop the paper one easily reads first “AFFADAVIT”, and then “THIS IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD”.


* * * * *


Kathy Berglund had everything she desired. She married an ambitious businessman from a wealthy, respectable family. She had a successful line of novels, written under an ambiguous pen name, that she just transitioned into the thriving digital publishing world. She had two strong, healthy children and housed them in a dream home out in a fashionable lakeside property that had all of the benefits of a rural cabin without being removed from urban center of her—and her husband’s—career. Unlike many of her friends from college and high school, she still the enjoyed a reasonable expectation of security and prosperity, so—as a good friend—she helped them as best she could.

This compassion, coupled with her own talents, once had her in the arms of another man- a man that remained firmly fixed in Kathy’s heart, a man that she remained friendly with after she left him and a man that was soon to arrive at her idyllic home to join her family and friends in celebrating her eldest child’s 5th birthday. She saw him in the distance, riding up toward the house on a motorcycle, as she stood on the backyard deck overlooking the lake. He waived, and once more the same excitement that drew her to him all those years ago rushed through her being.

She went inside and grabbed her husband. “I saw him!” she said, giddy, “He waived to me from across the lake.”

Kathy’s husband, Reginald, just chuckled. This wasn’t the first time she’s seen her old boyfriend since they got together. They’d met up plenty of times since Kathy accepted his wedding proposal. She had plenty of chances to run back to that man, yet she always came home to Reginald. Once he met the man, he understood why Kathy loved him so much- and why she left him. He holds his own warm regards for the man, so he didn’t mind that Kathy had him come to their daughter’s birthday party. So, after getting a pair of beers, he followed his wife out the front door just in time to see him come up the driveway and park the bike. Kathy ran up to him, threw her arms around him and kissed him as if they were still the lovers they were when she was in college- and Reginald just smiled, chuckled and shook his head.

As soon as Kathy let the man come up for air, as it were, Reginald approached and put a beer in the man's hand. "I see that Kathy's given you a warm welcome, Ken." he said, "Ellie's waiting for you inside. We hadn't told her yet, but I doubt that we'll need to."

Just then, the birthday girl crashed through the front door and ran out to meet their guest. "Uncle Ken!" she cried, "You're here!"

It's a rare thing to see two men share knowing, appreciative glances at each other, but these two did.

"That's right, honey." Reginald said, "Our sheepdog is back."

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