“Suburbian Nights”

It was a dark and stormy night. It quickly turned, however, into a dark and kinda rainy night.

Then, later, the rain stopped and it was just a dark and sticky night. But it also felt a little breezy. Maybe

frigid? No. Chilly? Yes, chilly. Also, the clouds were moving pretty fast, so the sky was clear. But you

couldn’t see the stars because of all the streetlamps. So, it was clear, but not that clear. Like, it did what

any normal sky would do, but it wasn’t trying to impress anyone. It had other, more important sky things

to attend to. Anyways.

It was a dark, sticky, chilly, casually clear night when Joanna found herself in the middle of the

street, tending to the body of a dead dog. She hadn’t killed it, but she had most definitely just rammed it

with her car. Actually, now that I think of it, I guess you could say that she did kill it. Huh. Funny how

that works.

So, Joanna is bent over this dog. Naturally, she’s upset. She just accidentally pummeled over it

with her Ford Fiesta. She’s now questioning death and if this dog has reached the afterlife and whether

or not life is just a fleeting moment in which we all must suffer until we die. She starts to laugh. Her

horoscope that morning said to “beware of road blocks.” So cheeky, that horoscope!

The road is barren of cars, but Joanna proceeds to quickly drag the dead dog to a grassy area.

She doesn’t know what to do with it. It has a collar and a name and an address, but none of these seem

like a starting point.

Should I call the police? She thinks with her mind, wiping her hands along the wet grass to get

the dog blood off. Joanna decides against this. She doesn’t want to go to jail for dog murder because if

she’d learned anything while being educated under the Texas public school system, it was that dog

murdering is not cool and it will probably lead to something bad and scary and everyone will think she’s

a homosexual if she dog murders.

Joanna remembers her friend, Denny, from down the street who hit a dog once. He didn’t go to

the police, but, instead, planted the dog in front of Carol, their other neighbor’s, car in order to make

everyone think she had killed the dog. It worked and now everyone thinks Carol is a lesbian, including

her ex-husband, Greg, and their two kids.

Without any more thought, Joanna picks the dog up and puts him in her backseat. She has no

towel for him but she figures sanitary wipes will suffice. They do not.

By the time Joanna reaches her home, only ten minutes away from the crime scene, the back

seat reeks of blood. She jumps out of her car and hurries over to Denny’s house, leaving the dog where

she left him.

Oh, you idiot! Joanna thinks inside her skull bone. You have to leave a window open! She returns

to her car only to remember that the dog is dead and, therefore, probably doesn’t need to breathe.

When she reaches Denny’s door, all the lights inside his house are off. There is no sign that he is

home, except that he’s sitting on the porch.

“Hi, Joanna!” Denny says, holding a library copy of PEOPLE Magazine.

“Hey, Denny,” replies Joanna.

“What brings you to my front porch?” Denny is still holding a library copy of PEOPLE Magazine.

“You remember that dog you killed?” Joanna isn’t wasting any time.

“What?” Denny looks genuinely confused.

“Shit!” Joanna yelps, kinda like the dog did before she hit it.

“Is everything alright?” Denny puts down the library copy of PEOPLE Magazine with much effort.

“Everything’s fine!” Joanna calls over her shoulder as she runs back to her house. She forgot that

Denny wasn’t the one that killed the dog that made Carol a lesbian. She was. She must’ve forgot. It’s

weird how the brain makes you think things.

Ok, what did I do last time? Joanna can’t remember how she dealt with the other dead dog. Or

dogs. See, Joanna is a terrible driver.

That’s right, I gave it to Carol. Joanna considered the dead dog a gift because Carol was better

off without her husband. Greg is the kind of man who can’t please women in bed. This has a lot to do

with his need to play Today’s Hits Radio on Pandora during intercourse and his ability to only finish if

Pitbull is playing.

Joanna is leaning against her car, trying to decide on what to do next. Denny appears suddenly

beside her.

“Joanna?” He says, raising his voice at the end so that she knows he’s asking a question.

“WH-what? Oh! Denny!” Joanna is surprised. She thought she had gotten rid of him. Thinking

back, though, she definitely heard him calling after her as she walked back to her car. And she turned

around and saw him following her, concerned. So, really, Joanna shouldn’t be surprised at all.

“Are you alright?” Denny asks. “Do I smell dead dog?”

“How did you know that?”

“Know what?” He stares at Joanna. She nods her head toward the car.

“What?” He tries again. Joanna keeps nodding her head at the car. Denny doesn’t understand.

Then, he laughs.

“Oh, my God. Is there one in there?” He points at the car window.

“Yeah!” Joanna exclaims, laughing with him.

“Oh, you sneak!” He jokes, pushing her shoulder. They laugh together. This is so Joanna.

They stop laughing. A moment of silence. Joanna holds in a fart.

“No, but really, that dog smells like shit.” Denny cups his hands against the car window and

looks inside. “Adorable, though. It’s a real shame.”

“Yeah,” Joanna sighs.

“What breed?” He opens the car door.

“Bloody hound,” Joanna kids.

“Oh, is it time for jokes?” Denny looks at Joanna as he takes the sanitary wipes off the dog.

Joanna waits for him to crack a smile. He doesn’t. He holds his gaze, collecting a fistful of wipes. He

brings them towards his face and inhales deeply. He looks back at the dead dog. Joanna lets her fart out.

“What’s that?” He says, remaining focused on the dead dog.

“What?” Joanna is frozen in place.

“I thought I heard you say something.” Denny hoists the dead dog over his shoulders.

“I can run inside and get us a box to put him in,” Joanna says quickly as she turns toward her

“No, no. This is good,” Denny assures her, readjusting the dead dog around his neck. “Where do

you want him?”

“I was thinking we could put him in front of Carol’s car.” Joanna offers.

“I don’t know. That seems a little harsh.” Denny pulls his phone out of his pocket. The dead dog

slides off his shoulders and falls to the ground. “Shit.”

“Hey, watch it!” Joanna hurriedly picks the dog up in her own arms.

“I was trying to check the time. Jesus.” Denny closes the car door.

“I’m putting him in front of Carol’s car. I don’t care.” Joanna marches next door with the dog on

her back. It kinda looks like a piggyback ride except not as fun and with less blood. Denny follows her.

Joanna stares at Carol’s car. She places the dead dog by the front tires. She steps back, rubbing

her chin. She picks the dog back up and puts him behind the rear wheels.

“What do you think?” she asks, turning to Denny.

“Maybe put it back in front. It looks a little– ”

“Gauche?” interrupts a muffled voice.

Joanna and Denny scream. Looking around, they see no one. A lighter flickers from inside the

car. Smoke begins to billow from a tiny crack in the window.

“Carol? Is that you?” Denny steps closer to the car.

“You took my family from me,” Carol says from the back seat.

“I’m sorry. What was that?” Joanna asks, trying the door of the car. It’s locked.

“You took my family from me,” Carol repeats. “You took my life from me. You turned me into a

beast. An outcast. A social pariah.”

“I have no idea what she’s saying,” Denny whispers. Joanna shrugs.

“Could you repeat that?” Denny leans in.

“Oh my God,” Carol groans. “I said– ” She begins coughing. “I said–” Her coughing continues.

“Jesus, Carol, get out of the car,” Joanna insists.

“Fine!” Carol fumbles with the lock and flings the car door open. Smoke fills the space between

“You took my family from me!” She yells. Joanna and Denny stare back into Carol’s eyes.

“We thought we were helping you,” Joanna defends.

“By making everyone believe I’m a lesbian?” Carol flicks her cigarette and it lands on the dead

“Listen, Carol. It’s OK to be a lesbian,” Denny assures her.

“Yes, I know this,” Carol scoffs. “But the thing is, I’m not. Do you know what my son said to me

the other day?”

Joanna and Denny shrug.

“He said that he wanted Fruit Roll-Ups for school and not Gushers.”

“What?” Joanna doesn’t get it, but that isn’t saying much. “What does that have to do with

anything?”

Carol throws her hands up and shrugs.

Denny is focused on the library copy of PEOPLE Magazine sitting on his porch, waiting for him.

“Look. Carol,” Joanna focuses back on the dog. “We’re trying to get rid of that dead dog.”

She points to the same dead dog I’ve been talking about for some time now.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Carol says upon seeing the dog. “Again?”

“Yes, but we thought you wouldn’t mind,” Denny replies, the library copy of PEOPLE Magazine

in his hands.

Joanna stares. “Where did you get that?”

He shrugs.

“Look, Carol,” Joanna says, looking at Carol. “We need a place to bury this dog. Do you have any

idea where we can put it?”

“You want me… to help you?” Carol is on the verge of tears.

“Well, yeah.” Joanna puts her hand on Carol’s shoulder.

“OK,” Carol says. “But only this once. And only because I really hate Greg. He’s awful. He prank

called me at work the other day.”

“What?” Joanna asks.

“Yeah,” Carol says, picking up the dead dog. “Now, come on. I know the perfect place.”

After retrieving her child’s booster seat from the trunk, Carol securely fastens the dog in. Denny

calls shotgun. The dog is still bleeding as they all hop into the car and drive to a nearby neighborhood.

Carol pulls into Greg’s driveway.

“You ready?” Carol locks eyes with Joanna and Denny.

“For what?” Denny asks. “You haven’t said anything for the past ten minutes.”

Without another word, Carol gets the dog from the booster seat. Leaving the car on, she creeps

up to Greg’s door. She’s giggling as she lays the body down on the front steps. She rings the doorbell and

sprints back to the car. She pulls out of the driveway just as the door opens. Standing at the entryway is

her son, Roger. He’s seven.

Carol emits a war cry and floors the gas pedal.

Joanna and Denny look at each other without a word. Carol is smiling wide.

“You can take us back now,” Joanna mutters.

Carol drives them back to their street. They all get out of the car.

“That was fun,” Carol says.

Joanna looks down at Carol’s pants to see that she pissed herself.

“Carol.” Joanna points.

“I know.” Carol waves her hand in dismissal, not even bothering to look down.

“Right. Well, I’m going to go,” Denny says.

“Yeah, me too,” Joanna mumbles, walking away.

“Next week, then?” Carol attempts.

Neither of them respond. Joanna steps into her house and closes herself off in her bedroom.

Denny enters his house, but we don’t follow him. It’s in his contract.

Carol goes into her home and sleeps like a baby.

Meanwhile, the dog is lying on Greg’s porch. Roger and his brother, Darren, are staring down

into its cold, dead eyes. Roger nudges it, but it doesn’t budge. They call after Greg. He sees the dog and

gags in disgust.

Picking up the dead dog body, he walks down his street and casually places it on the side of the

road. The dog lies there until the last drop of blood escapes its body and soaks into a grassy roadside

patch. From the ground emerges a ball of light. It dances around the body. Then the light forces itself up

the dead dog rectum and, in an instant, illuminates its innards. The dog is radiating and, at last,

breathing again.

The glow wears down. After this anal rejuvenation, it continues down the road, presumably back

to its owner’s place. Where that is, who can say? All that is known is that Joanna learned something on

this night. Our actions have consequences. They affect other people, and sometimes animals. Denny

learned the importance of staying out of people’s fucking business. And Carol, well, she went on to

become the captain of her high school’s varsity football team. A few years later, she would die in

combat in the Vietnam War.

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