Jamison T. Crabtree



Lost dog

In the rearview mirror I notice the dog on the side of the road as he bolts up, shifts his weight from lying dead on the shoulder to shooting after me. I wasn’t taught to leave a dog like that so I let my foot drop onto the brake, slide it into reverse, throw open the passenger side door, and tell him I’ll give him a ride.

As he hops in I notice how thin he is. One of those dogs that’s all ribs, ears, and barely any tail. No collar, no tags but someone has spray painted “Lost Dog” in red across his flanks. The bastard who did it must have either been as sneaky as a thief or plain dumb faster than lightning.

I explain to him that I can only take him as far as Brunswick, that if I drive any further I’ll be late for my shift, which I think he understands.

We get moving and I turn on the radio and the dog starts howling. We argue over it for a good five minutes before he ends the discussion by sticking his head out the window. Eventually he brings his head back into the truck and we sing Patsy Cline together, off key as men and dogs typically do.

Soon as we pull into the factory, he goes flying out the window and heads back towards the highway. I watch him for a while, kicking up dust, ignoring the beer bottles that line the blacktop as he runs for the horizon.

When he gets back to the shoulder he lets himself drop. The words painted on him disappear between his skin and the pavement; I grab my gear and head inside. Maybe he’ll still be there when my shift ends and we can drive down to the trout pond or over to Bill’s or maybe even further. Maybe he’ll already be gone. Either way I’m starting to think that maybe, when I punch out, I can get in the truck and head for the end of town and just keep driving.


Jamison T. Crabtree is currently pursuing his MFA at the University of Arizona on a Rogers Fellowship.