An owner helps his best friend relive triumph once more.

The year started with meat. Every year, on the first of January, a man went to the butcher to select the finest piece of meat he had available. The man sorted through all the different meats for hours, finding the best one, the piece of meat his dearest friend would enjoy the most. After sifting through meat the entire day, the man would return home and promptly begin preparing the meat.

The meat fell on the steel cutting board with a loud thud, which was followed by the smooth sound of knives being sharpened. After the knife smoothly delved into the meat, the man would pull the incision open to verify that the meat had the proper marbling. After the confirmation, the man finished his incision by severing a piece from the huge chunk. Twenty more slices were made, each slice being the exact same thickness cut from the same angle. These slices were slowly placed side to side, recreating the slab of meat that was once whole. The man recreated his precise slices, but each slice creating a 90 degree angle with the previous slices. Upon finishing, the man looked at the perfect cubes of meat with an air of accomplishment.

It was the same every year. Although the man did this same ritual every year for 10 years, his cherished friend never knew it was coming. The friend rested on a cushion near the fire in the fireplace and kept himself warm. His life was almost over, having only 5 years left in him. He knew this himself, and he planned to devote these last five years of his life to the man in the kitchen.

A large tray was extracted from the cupboard and placed next to the meat. The raw meat was neatly rested upon the tray. A thin glaze of peanut sauce was applied to the meat. The man placed the tray on the floor beside a large bowl of water. He let out a short whistle. Slowly, his friend rustled himself away from the fireplace and made his way to the kitchen. He greeted the chef with a wagging tail and a happy face. The man pat his dog as the dog quickly ate the prepared meat. The feeling of accomplishment was replaced with a mutual feeling of delight between the two. The man knew how much his dog loved the meat, but most of all, he knew how much the dog loved what followed.

About two hours after the meal, the man walked outside with his happy dog following closely behind. The vet said that he had possibly another five years left in him, but the man could tell that the dog didn’t have anywhere near that amount of time left. He understood this and just wanted to enjoy the time they had left. They walked through the park, down the river side and back to the house, just as they had every year. When they reached the back yard, the man and his dog enjoyed another ritual together. After the dog pooped a sturdy turd on the grass, the dog proudly presented it to his owner. The owner glanced at the steaming pile of pride and pat his dog on the head. The dog wagged his tail with excitement and nuzzled his face into his owner’s legs. The man enjoyed this time the most, for every time that they experienced this moment together, the dog seemed young and alive again, almost as if he had a hundred years left to live.

This year was different. The man knew it, and the dog knew it. This year, when they reached the back yard, try as he could, the old dog could not deposit that thick piece of glory as he had every year before. The man waited and the dog tried, but nothing came of it. The dog would try for several moments and turn around only to find an empty spot on the grass and an empty heart in his chest. The man knew how much this moment meant to his dog and it tore him apart to see the disappointment in his dog’s eyes. He knew he had to do something for his dog, his life couldn’t end in disappointment.

The main changed the frequency of the meat ritual from an annual event to a daily event. Every day he fed his friend those beautiful cubes of meat and every day they went on their walk. Every time they reached the backyard, only tears touched the grass. The man knew the truth but didn’t want to face it. He didn’t want to face what had really happened to his old warrior. The dog, in his old age, had run out of poop. He knew it. He knew that their days of triumph were over. He knew this, but he would not accept it. He couldn’t accept seeing his old pal become so disappointed, day after day. The man was determined to do something for his friend.

The next week, after an entire week lacking of triumphant piles of pride, the man had a plan. He scoured the internet for hours to find the perfect subject. After 75 hours of searching, the man found another dog of the exact same breed and build as his best friend. The dog was only two years younger than his own. He quickly drove 500 miles to the owner’s house in the middle of the night, and brought with him a large tray with meat cubes glazed with peanut sauce. The dog from the internet happily scarfed down the treat and the man waited. He waited for two and a half hours, and finally, the dog displaced a huge heap of brown gold. The man quickly placed it in a sack, thanked the owner, and drove home to greet his best friend before 10 AM.

He could see his friend was getting older by the second and he wasn’t about to let his life slip away without seeing his pal triumph once more. He pulled his prepared tray of meat out of the fridge and called his dog. The dog weakly but happily ate what was in front of him. After three hours of waiting, the dog slowly walked towards the chef to let him know he was ready. The two walked through the park, down the river side and back to the house. They reached the back yard and the dog, with an air of determination, planted himself in one spot and began trying to expel a piece of gold from within him. Quickly, with skilled hands, the man reached into the sack and extracted the maple-colored jewel and secretly placed it under his dog. The dog continued with his efforts and after a couple minutes, turned around to see if he was successful. The dog began sniffing what was in front of him. The man crossed his fingers and hoped to heaven that his friend would identify the mass as his own. The dog’s tail began wagging with delight and he howled into the air with the force of triumph and glory in his lungs. The man fell to his knees and began crying as his cherished animal began nuzzling him with glee once more. As he placed his hand on the fur of his comrade, he noticed that the tail had stopped wagging. The dog collapsed onto the floor.

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  • Rathnashikamani on Feb 26, 2011

    Very mysterious story! A great effort of narration with suspense and unexpected outcome at the end.

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