KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 5: Spring 2016
Tanka Tale: 243 words

Me and Pa

by Urszula Funnell

It all happened so fast—the screech, the thud, the yelp. Pa switched off the engine. “Stay inside the truck, girl,” he told me. I don’t know what gave me the courage to disobey him, but seeing the mangy dog lying on the ground made me wish I hadn’t. It looked unhurt on the outside, but even I could tell its back wasn’t right, the way it was all twisted and mangled. “Get back, girl,” he ordered.

“Do you think we should take it home, Pa?”

“What are you, some kind of fool? That dog will just as likely bite you on the ass,” he sneered.

“It don’t look fierce to me, Pa.” I spoke so quietly that I don’t think he even heard me. He headed towards the back of the truck. For a brief moment, I thought he was going to get something to help that poor dog. Instead he pulled out the shovel.

“Turn your head,” he told me. For a second time that day I disobeyed my Pa. I watched as he hit the dog over the head. Then he looked over at me, and I swear to almighty God I saw the flicker of a smile cross his face.

“Sometimes it’s just the kindest thing to do, girl.”

We both got back in the truck and neither of us ever mentioned that dog again.

rag doll
left behind
once more
whiskey dances
on his breath


—Finalist in the KYSO Flash Triple-F Writing Challenge

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