Two Sundays Ago Right Before We Met Those Sailors On Our Way To The Pizza Place
Andrea Kneeland

I thought the bar should have been called Delphi or The Oracle, because then at least instead of being tacky, the name of the bar could have been chalked up to ironic kitsch. Instead it was called The Dog House. Pythia was bolted to the top of the bar, near the taps. She had probably been an average dog when she was alive, but dead, she was spectacular. She stood painfully alert, guarding the liquor; slightly bent at the haunches, mouth set in a grimace bordering on a flehmen sneer, lips curled back to reveal the sharp yellow bone of her teeth. Her starchy brown fur had been desecrated beneath spilt drinks and the tips of cigarettes, but rather than diminishing Pythia’s empty dignity, the escalating disfigurement made her presence even more oppressive. Her tail stuck out to the side, curled into an indecipherable gesture. I had put my ear to one side of the dead dog’s abdomen and you’d knocked your fist against the other side as I listened. What was inside her old stomach? Sawdust? Cotton? Nothing? Her smooth glass eyes looked like kerosene bullets. While I scratched Pythia’s haunches, nursing a scotch, you’d begun sobbing and spilling your gin all over your shoes, refusing to look at me. Finally, in a gasping whisper: “The bolts through her paws remind me of Jesus.”

Andrea Kneeland’s first book, the Birds & the Beasts, is forthcoming from Cow Heavy Books later this year. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently Prick of the Spindle, NANO Fiction, Knee-Jerk Magazine, Everyday Genius, and Juked. She is a web editor for Hobart. Stalking capabilities available here.