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Somebody’s Been to the Vet
Beagle

Alice, a Beagle, enters the living room, where Comet, another Beagle, is napping on the loveseat. Comet lifts his head and sniffs.

Comet: Somebody’s been to the vet.
Alice: Right-o.
Comet: Treats?
Alice: That chicken-mush baby food and Pill Pockets.
Comet: Pills?
Alice: Probably, somewhere. Didn’t chew.
Comet: Smart. You sick?
Alice: Thanks for noticing. Colitis.
Comet: Metronidazole twice a day with food.
Alice: You could have saved me a ride in the car.
Comet: I thought you liked the car.
Alice: I don’t hate it the way you do, but that’s true of every mammal on the planet.
Comet: I’m all right in the car.
Alice: You whimper like you’re on death row.
Comet: I think of it as keening.
Alice: Then you’re giving keening a bad name. I think of it as being a basket case.
Comet: Colitis, huh? You under stress?
Alice: You’re kidding, right?
Comet: Um. Maybe I missed something.
Alice: They should print that on your collar. First there was the move …
Comet: We moved?
Alice: Amazing. What did you think that 10-hour car ride was about, with you … keening … all the way?
Comet: To me they all seem to last forever.
Alice: Next trip I’ll cry like a schoolgirl for a couple of hours and see if that doesn’t sharpen your sense of time passing. You didn’t notice we’re in a new house?
Comet: But the loveseat …
Alice: Same loveseat, different house.
Comet: It does smell different.
Alice: There you go.
Comet: Ten hours?
Alice: Every minute of it. And you whining start to finish.
Comet: Change upsets me.
Alice: I’m the one with colitis.
Comet: Moved! Ha! I thought I was just disoriented.
Alice: A safe bet. You can’t smell the ocean?
Comet: Duh.
Alice: Could you smell the ocean before?
Comet: Before?
Alice: Focus. Before the 10-hour car ride.
Comet: Who remembers? No wonder you’ve got colitis.
Alice: That’s what I was thinking.

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Jeff Steinbrink teaches at Franklin & Marshall College; his work has appeared in The Believer and McSweeney's, among others.

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