A short story by Maxine Kollar
I got a dog.
I didn’t want a dog.
It was fluffy and white and never barked. It just made a soft humming sound followed by a high-pitched sound. It sounded like a fan gathering speed but I never told it that.
All dogs going to heaven is a movie; well, a straight-to-DVD waste of time, but still. Not true.
This damned dog entered my world through a hole. He had torn the throat out of a boy named Adolf and had been sent here. It didn’t belong here. The boy named Adolf had continued on in another time and the dog couldn’t save the people. It tried. It was a good dog. You should get points for trying but this damned dog got hell for trying to save humanity from itself. A hole opened because there was a tug of war of sorts for its soul. Yes, it has a soul.
He was supposed to fall into the lake but I saw the fluff ball coming down and stuck out my hand and well, here we are.
How do you care for a dog in Hell? I wasn’t even sure what kind it was. Bitchin’ freeze?
“You know that animals know things that people never do,” said Edmund after he saw me ‘stealthily’ looking at my… the dog in the bag next to me.
“Like what?” I asked. Edmund and I were working on the intestinal torture line.
“I dunno. That’s just what I heard. But I’m pretty sure they can tell when earthquakes are coming,” he said.
“That’s stupid. We get earthquakes all the time and…” There was a big one coming right now. The dog started whining in a pitiful way. You’d think we’d be used to that kind of stuff by now—oh, the cries for mercy!—but this was different. I started stroking him and Edmund leaned over and started making a shh noise. The dog quieted down even as we hung on for all we were worth. Big Guy was mad this time.
Two days later, Malicant comes walking up behind me and Edmund while we’re feeding her. She likes intestines and we have plenty of those. Malicant is actually a manager, but he’s been at this for so long that he can’t even bother anymore. He asks her name.
Edmund and I look at each other. We took to calling her ‘The Dog’ and kept it that way because anything else would be how you get attached to something. We didn’t want to get attached. I mean, we were keeping her from getting scared and we sure weren’t going to let her get thrown into the lake with people. But that was it.
We tell Malicant that we don’t have a name for her. He says that it’s important because she is a female dog and if she gets lost you can’t just run around Hell calling, “Bitch, Bitch, hey Bitch.” He had a point.
We named her Contessa without knowing why and without much of an argument. It must have just fit. Malicant comes back the next day and we tell him to take Contessa for a walk. He is delighted but tries to hide it by breathing fire that scorches our foreheads and horns.
Unfortunately, a new manager gets transferred into the Division. He is young and eager and a total pain in the neck. Literally. That’s his thing. Anyway, when he finds out about Contessa, he loses it, while still smiling and scraping my trachea with the sharp end of his tail. He is writing up the report when Malicant walks up behind him and bites his head off. We roll his body into the lake with the people.
No new managers transfer into our division anymore.
Maxine Kollar is a wife and a mother of three. Her works have appeared in Mamalode, Clever Magazine, Funny in Five Hundred, Rat’s Ass Review, and elsewhere.