A Springer Spaniel Named Jerry

by Paul Germano

On a sunny day in his screened-in front porch, a Springer Spaniel named Jerry nervously gnaws away at a rawhide chew toy fashioned in the shape of a drum. His Mommy and Daddy are inside the house, arguing again.

Across the street, a young married couple in matching summer attire unload groceries from the trunk of their freshly-waxed Ford. “They’re at it again, screaming at the top of their lungs,” the young husband says, shaking his head in utter disgust.

“I wish they’d just move,” the young wife grumbles, “they’re ruining the whole neighborhood.”

On the screened-in front porch, where potted geraniums thrive on a table that gets plenty of direct sunlight, Jerry continues to gnaw at his chew toy, his tail completely still.

“Oh no, where the hell did the dog go!” his Mommy screams in a panic. “He was right here and now he’s gone! Jerry! Jerry!! Jerry!!!” The dog’s ears perk up when he hears his name, but he is clearly agitated by the tone of his Mommy’s voice.

“I bet you left the backdoor open!” she yells. “I don’t know what I’d do if something happens to him! If he got loose because of you, I’ll be …”

“I never leave that backdoor open! Never!” he yells. “And you know damn well where Jerry is! You upset him with that big fat mouth of yours! He always heads for the front porch when you start up with all your yelling!”

“Me! You’re yelling way louder than me!”

“Oh shut the hell up!” he growls at his wife.

“No! You shut the hell up!” she barks back at him.

He knocks over a vase and she shouts, “Look what you did!”

On the screened-in front porch, the dog cringes at the sound of breaking glass, then continues to gnaw on his chew toy. The screen door flings wide open. The dog looks up, eyeing his Daddy. “Hey Jerry buddy, you know Daddy loves you,” he says in a warm voice, easing his lanky-legged self down onto the floor and putting a fatherly arm around the dog.

His wife, following after him, plops herself down on the other side of the dog and fusses with the pleats in her skirt. “Mommy loves you too,” she says, kissing the dog’s forehead.

“I was here first,” he tells his wife, using a forced pleasant tone so that he doesn’t upset the dog.

“Well, I’m here now,” she tells her husband in a tit-for-tat sweet voice of her own. They both pet their Springer Spaniel, all the while gritting their teeth and glaring at each other. When their petting hands collide, he says “oops” and she laughs lightly. “Sorry babe,” she says clearing her throat. “I’m sorry too,” he says in a whisper. They both continue to pet the dog.

Jerry, now far more relaxed, continues to gnaw on his chew toy, his tail wagging in full throttle.