Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
  • Home
  • About
  • Archive
  • Bio Notes
  • Bookshelf
  • Contents
  • Submit
Flash Fiction
800 words
SHJ Issue 14
Spring 2016

Snickers’ Doodles

by Jon Sindell

Roger, former Boy Scout, was always prepared, and in ripe middle age believed more than ever in doing good deeds. So when he walked through the dog park, a long, narrow meadow framed by towering eucalyptus trees, he carried dog bags though his own dog had passed, because some dog owners forgot their bags, and others never brought bags at all. Roger would greet the exculpatory protestations of the latter sort with a mild smile as he gave them a bag, for he’d given up chiding upon joining social media a few years before and discovering that the world was bursting with scolds.

Syrena’s dog, a rambunctious Labradoodle, bounded to the edge of a rhododendron bed one spring day and doodled prodigiously on the grass—Syrena overlooking Snickers with her back to the crowd the way a mother might shield a child changing clothes on the beach. When Snickers was finished, Syrena jerked her head to see who might be watching, and her long red air swept up Roger’s breath and sent him rushing towards her, lest another Romeo get there first. Syrena turned from the dog mound and stepped towards the crowd, then noticed Roger and set her feet. She liked what she saw—a comfortably large man with a generously jutting jaw and puppy–dog eyes—and her blue eyes glittered and her smile shone whitely.

Roger was sure she’d forgotten her bag. There was no need to embarrass her by asking if she had. And when Syrena reached for the bright–green bag that Roger produced like a magician’s scarf, Roger demurred pleasantly, knelt gallantly, and scooped up Snickers’ doodles.

The two walked Snickers together the next day—Syrena laughingly brandished a handful of just–purchased doggie bags—and the rest of the week they walked hand in hand, foregoing the company of the other dog owners, who gossiped and giggled and called them “Class Couple.”

“She makes me feel like a king,” Roger gushed to his friends. “You–Know–Who made me feel like a joker.” They knew that was true, so they drank to Roger’s good fortune, and he disregarded their veiled intimations that he was dating over his head, for they did not know Syrena.

They did not know, for instance, how faithfully she protested when Roger picked up checks, yielding only at the conclusion of a humorously prolonged kabuki they had ritualized involving his steady income and her vast array of debts and expenses. They didn’t know how she had broken up with a long–time boyfriend two weeks after meeting Roger because Roger grounded her like no man ever, and was so incredibly square he was cool. They didn’t know how she made Roger feel like a tiger in bed, how her blue eyes glittered like sapphires in the morning light, how she praised his insight when he observed that blue sapphires were ideally suited for her. They didn’t know that he laid a pair of teardrop blue–sapphire earrings on her pillow as she slept one midsummer morning. And they would never partake of the exquisite pleasure of seeing the blue gems glittering against her fair skin, a cool blue complement to her flaming red hair. Roger hinted that he might one day match the earrings with a blue sapphire engagement ring, but Syrena merely lowered her eyes and caressed Roger’s hand.

Three weeks later, Syrena frantically flung the contents from her drawers as she searched for the earrings she said she had lost, violently berating herself, and refusing to stop searching until Roger wrapped her up from behind. “These things happen,” he said with a laugh, setting kisses all over her crown. “Heck,” he said gently, “these things are just...things.

“But you worked so hard for them.” Syrena’s face was a rigid mask of self–reproach. “And these things, as you call them, meant so much to us.

Roger nestled his cheek in Syrena’s fragrant hair and hummed the melody, “Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring,” succeeding, as always, in making her smile. “I’ve got errands,” he said. “Take Snickers without me.”

To Roger’s relief, the jewelry store had one last pair of blue–sapphire earrings. He beat up his credit card and rushed to the grove.

There he saw Syrena standing over Snickers as Snickers finished squatting. Her swishing hair flamed in the August light, catching the eye of a man who rushed over with a blue doggie bag. Syrena reached for the bag, but the man knelt gallantly and scooped Snickers’ doodles. Syrena smiled down at her knight.

Roger placed the earrings back in his pocket. He hung his head and stared at the ground. A mound of dog nuggets sat at his feet. He knelt with a bag and scooped them up.

SHJ Issue 14
Spring 2016

Jon Sindell

wrote the flash–fiction collection The Roadkill Collection (Big Table Publishing, 2014) and the long–story collection Family Happiness (2016). He curates the San Francisco–based reading series Rolling Writers.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury