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163 Life Above 5-Foot-Four

For Tuesday, June 11, Day 163 of the 2024 Story-a-Day Challenge

By Gerard DiLeoPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 2 min read

He didn't quite know she was dying, for that meant grasping one's place in the universe. Yet, he knew there was something wrong. He could smell it in that amazing chemistry lab known as a dog's nose. He could smell it through her abdomen, through her clothes, and even apart from the other smells that gave him the news of the neighborhood.

That cat! he thought, picking up the scent, wafting from the northwest, probably about 50 yard away or, as he appreciated it, a distance to the other house and back. (For that is how he gauged distance.)

She walked by and he smelled it again. Not as cancer, for that required an appreciation for pathology and mortality, neither of which his canine brain could fathom. But he knew it was a bad smell. A smell that attacked both of them. Her and him. He hated that smell.

It stank up the whole house and even her whole life. And it got worse everyday until she went away; somehow he knew she wasn't coming back. That stench had won. When he couldn't smell it anymore, he knew it had been buried in the ground, along with her.

Thus, a sense of dying entered him.

That evening there was a gathering of her friends and family. He wondered which of them would he be leaving with. That's what happens, isn't it?

He sensed how "gone" she was by her absence in her crowd--a bespoke entourage who had been engendered by her life over his lifetime. It was too noisy. People were talking loudly and even laughing. His ears were as sensitive as his nose, so he ran through the pet door into the backyard.

That is where he, for the first time in his life, looked up--higher than he had ever needed to--why look higher than her face?

Life over 5'4" had never shown itself before: he saw clouds. The moon. Stars. And he added another perspective--his place, insignificant as it was--in a picture bigger than what he had ever known.

And so, for one particular sentient moment, he was the wisest dog in the world. Until he saw the damn cat and started barking stupidly.



For Tuesday, June 11, Day 163 of the Story-a-Day Challenge

366 WORDS (without A/N)

Title-accompaniment photo was AI-generated (Artificial Introspection), and no dogs or cats were hurt in the making of this post.


There are currently three surviving Vocal writers still participating in the 2024 Story-a-Day Challenge:

• L.C. Schäfer, challenge originator

• Rachel Deeming

• Gerard DiLeo (some other guy)

Read them. Support them. And watch them start asking their friend for ideas.


About the Creator

Gerard DiLeo

Retired, not tired. In Life Phase II: Living and writing from a decommissioned church in Hull, MA. (Phase I was New Orleans and everything that entails.) Hippocampus, behave!

[email protected]

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Comments (7)

  • Rony Sutradarabout a month ago

    The way how you see love and feel it is brilliant. I subscribed you to give my support and I welcome you to read my ones too 🥰!

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Hahahahahahaha a dog! This was hilarious!

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    I love this story! I sights from the dog and how they capture things we don’t (although that cancer smell - ugh, 😑 was stuck in my nostrils once for a month). Who will the dog go with🤔

  • JBazabout a month ago

    Love how you brought this sentimental piece crashing down to reality by a bark. This was touching.

  • John Coxabout a month ago

    This is an absolutely brilliant bit of storytelling, Gerard. Deeply human and canine at the same time and as per usual laugh out loud funny at the end.

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Fabulous and loved it!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    Just brilliant, Gerard! I loved this so much. Life from a dog's perspective. I think this might be one of my favourites of yours.

Gerard DiLeoWritten by Gerard DiLeo

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