“Three of Us” Chapter Five

This was actually the perfect time to turn this into a journal. Something interesting actually happened.

Alex and I were talking and chilling in the storage room for most of the day. Zach had gone out that morning and we didn’t expect him back ‘till after lunch. Anyway he came back with a dog. I know.

“What the heck did you bring a dog in here for?” I almost yelled. Alex and I had both jumped up in shock.

It was one of those really shaggy dogs with long white fur, covering its paws and eyes. Its tail was huge. It was like a baseball bat or a huge fan every time he wagged it around. Its enormous pink tongue was out as it panted in excitement. He was pretty big. Up to my waist at least.

“How’d you even get him in here?” I persisted.

Zach shrugged. “No one saw him. He was out front. No leash or collar or anything. He followed me, Chris!”

“With help?”

“Huh?”

I pointed to the rope he had tied around his neck. Zach looked down for a while and then back up.

“I helped him follow me. Fine. But he would have followed me anyway.”

“Of course.”

“Zach we can’t keep a dog!” Alex finally spoke. “We can barely keep quiet down here. We don’t need a barking dog!”

“He’s not that loud!” Zach said defensively. He turned to the dog. “Speak.”

“Zach no!” Alex cried.

The bark was loud. That’s all I have to say. I thought my ears were going to bust.

“He’s trained, obvioiusly. He obeyed you. We can’t keep it,” I said, after the bark and echo in the storeroom had died away.

“But we have to!” Zach said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because—I…well…we’ve never gotten a dog!”

“That’s because we live in a grocery store,” Alex remarked.

But I knew what Zach meant. He had never had a dog before. Alex and her grandma were cat lovers. And my brother and I had a dog and a couple birds. Zach, though, has always lived on his own. Granted, he’s taken care of a couple mutts here and there. But he’s never kept an actual pet before.

“We can’t keep it, Zach!” Alex persisted.

“We’ve got to, though!” Zach said. “He’s never had a home. He’s out on his own. And that’s not the most comforting feeling—you know that!”

Alex and I fell silent. Neither of us was going to argue with that. And that’s a fact.

He?” Alex finally asked.

“Shaggy,” Zach replied, looking down at the dog. Wagging its tail, his tongue was still out of his mouth.

“You’ve already named him?” I couldn’t help but smile.

“Well…yeah,” Zach stammered. “He looked nameless.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Zach we can hardly keep this place a secret with just the three of us,” Alex reminded him. His face fell as she spoke. “And we can only go out and in certain times during the day! Taking on a pet would take away our ability to work out different schedules!”

“Plus, we’d have to haul a lot of dog food and treats and stuff down here,” I added. “And we have enough people looking at us weird when we get our own food.”

“And a dog like that needs exercise,” Alex continued. “We’re in a storeroom.”

“I could take care of that!” Zach exclaimed. “The lake is right across the street! And I’ll be in charge of him. I’ll get the food he needs and the exercise he needs…”

“What about taking him outside?” Alex said in disbelief. “It’s not like you can put a newspaper down or anything.”

“So he’ll come out with me in the morning and afternoon…and maybe at night.”

“You’re gonna be responsible for all of that?” I asked, smiling. I couldn’t help it. “You sure you can remember that?”

“Yes.”

His reply was so blunt, I shut up immediately. That was that, I guess.

~J.L. Cordova

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