The Dove

Shit, Frank thought as he drove up to his apartment building.  The neighbor lady was sitting out in her lawn chair waiting for him, he knew.

“He got another one,” she yelled as soon as he got out of his car.  He walked on toward his door.

“I thought you said you were going to keep him IN-side?”

“I had to go to work and he got out.  I didn’t have any time to catch him.”

“Well, I don’t know what to say.  I just feel like I’m just helping him out here with all my birdfeeders.”  She was up now and walking toward him.

“That’s two birds in two days.  He’s getting worse,” she went on, looking right at his eyes now.  Frank looked down at her toes, polished bright red in her flip flops, then focused on the palm trees on her purple house dress.

“I’ll try to keep him in.”

“Something has to be done.  I don’t know what I’m gonna do if he gets my dove.”

“He won’t get your dove,” Frank said as he put his key into his doorknob.  “I’ll keep him in.”

As soon as spring came his neighbor lady had been pestering him about the cat killing birds, reporting each kill to him when he came from work or popping out on the weekends as soon as he stepped out his door to run an errand.  She had her patio spot chock-full of hanging birdfeeders and crap.  She also had what she called a white dove that sat on the eave above her door that she pointed out to him every chance she could get.  He grew up in the city, though, and he knew that the thing was just a nasty pigeon with some albino gene making it all white.  Nothing special about it.

The cat was not his, just a cat he was watching for six months while his friend was in Australia.  Well, not friend.  Co-worker really, and a little more than a friend at this point. He slept with her once, Farrah, before she left, which is how he got slammed with the cat for six months.   He remembered her dropping it off with the self-feeder and self-waterer.  Farrah was small with big tits, kind of like his ex-wife, and she had on a tight white blouse.  He was hoping they could do it again before she left, but she fussed over the cat and hurried around, moving the food and water from one spot to the next, and then said she was going to be late for her flight so he didn’t press it.

Friday night was what he needed and it chugged along fine.  Most of the people who came were from work, but some brought their spouses and others brought friends.   Trey and Tess were trying to set him up with their friend Mindy, who was alright.  She had smooth tanned skin, small tits, but a really nice ass.  But her nose was really big, so he was trying to avoid her really.  And he didn’t really want to get involved with anything right now.  Farrah was coming back Monday to get the cat and who knows what else.  He had all this shit he was dealing with, his ex-wife asking when he was going to visit the kids.  She wasn’t really his ex-wife yet, even though that’s how he though of her and he was divorced from her on Facebook.   He suspected  anyway that she was gonna get her mom to pay for a fancy lawyer and hose him up financially.  So the drinking was just what he needed, but not the complication of Mindy.

But then he was in the kitchen getting the last of the sangria.  Everybody had kind of thinned out and then there was Mindy and Tess coming in the kitchen from outside.

“We just let your cat in,”  Mindy said.

“That looks like Farrah’s cat,” Tess said.

“It is,” said Frank.

“Hmm, Farrah must not have wanted her cat corrupted by our two.  I thought I was going to watch him, but then I never heard from her,” said Tess.

“Well, I wish you had watched him.  He’s been killing all the birds around here.  And I hate cats.”

And then there was Mindy up in his face and pressing her body on him, laughing, saying, “You hate cats, do you?  Do you really hate cats?”  And she started kissing him right there and before he knew it they were back in his bedroom.

Frank woke up early in the morning with Mindy still sleeping naked in his bed.  He left her there and walked through the living room.  The short rodent-looking chick from HR, Patty, was still laid out on the floor where she had passed out and Trey and Tess were both sleeping on the futon.  He walked into the kitchen, poured himself some water.  His head was throbbing.

“My phone.  Where the hell is my phone?” Patty obviously just woke up.

“I think Frank put it in the fridge,” he heard Trey say.

“What the fuck?  Who does that?  Shit,” she said and walked into the kitchen.   Frank opened the fridge, pulled out the purple phone and handed it to her.

“Oh my fucking god.  I have 56 missed calls.  This is shit!”

“It was making all sorts of noises,” Frank said, but she didn’t seem to hear.

“I have a fucking husband you know.  And a kid.  Shit shit shit!  Unfuckingbelievable.  I cannot believe you guys did this.”

“Calm down, Patty, it’s okay.  You were out of it.  And your phone was making all sorts of sounds,” says Tess.

“But who the hell does that?  I’ve gotta get home, Trey.  Now.”

“Alright, we can go, Patty,” Trey says.  “Thanks for having us, Frank.”

“Yeah, thanks so fucking much for freezing my fucking phone, Frank.”  Patty says as she heads for the door.  She opens it then says, “Oh my god, a fucking dead bird staring right up at me.  This beats all.  Just my fucking luck!”

Frank went to the door and saw.  It was the dove all white and red.  He quickly bagged it  and put it in the trash as Trey, Tess and Patty left.

Sunday there is a knock at his door.

“I don’t mean to bother you, you know, but the dove is missing.  Just since Saturday, you know.  And I know you had that party on Friday.  We could hear the music.  We were wondering, you know, if any of your friends saw anything?

Frank shook his head.  “No, I haven’t seen a thing.”

“Well, it’s just, you know…  this dove, it was an omen you know.  Joe’s been fighting this cancer for two years and it was just since that dove came that he’s been cancer-free.  I just don’t know, you know.”  Her eyes were tearing up.

“Maybe it just left,” Frank said.  “Sometimes they do that.”

“I just hope nothing has happened to the poor thing.  I was feeding it every day, you know.  It wouldn’t come to the birdfeeders.  I just put the food down on the sidewalk and when everybody around here was gone to work the dove would come down and eat.  Every day.”

Frank looked over at the eave over her door.  He could see bird shit dried up over the edges and then a huge spot of it below, right in front of her front door.

“Well, maybe it will be back.  You never know.”

“I know,” she said as she turned to walk away, “maybe it will.  I hope so.  I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Frank walked back in and shut his door.  An omen, good god.  Shit happened.  Cancer kills your dad.  Your marriage falls apart.  Omens didn’t exist.  She was grasping, that’s all she was doing, grasping at a damn albino shitting pigeon, hoping that would be the change her life needed.

He knew better than to grasp at anything.

12 thoughts on “The Dove

  1. Anne – So thrilled to see a post from you, and I love this short story. It’s the kind of story I can read more than once and see something new each time. I love the image of the white dove (I laughed at the albino-pigeon thing) and the idea of omens, what we hold onto, what brings us hope or makes us choose despair instead. As usual, your dialogue flows so well that I forget I’m reading, and feel like I’m eavesdropping. And the image of the red of the polished toenails, the red of the bird’s blood-I keep thinking about that. Great work. -A

    • Thanks so much for reading, Alexandra & I so appreciate your feedback. So sorry about the line spacing – I’m going to go fix that now 🙂 I’m so glad I got something out as well…and hopefully I will on a more regular basis now. But I think this one needs a little more work…we’ll see!

  2. Very tight story, almost a vignette. Your characterization of Frank very much reminds me of guys I used to know. The association people make between disparate events is also very realistic. I do think that Frank is more of a “grasper” than he might recognize or believe. I really enjoyed reading this…I think I’ve read it at least three times now. Very well done, Anne Katherine. Also, your blog name is taken from what I consider to be the best of all the sonnets. Well chosen.

    • Thanks so much for your feedback. Yes, I know lots of people who do that with disparate events…myself included! If I get .66 in change I might have to go home immediately and avoid any heavy machinery for the rest of the day for fear of what the universe might have in store for me!
      I very much appreciate your reading this.
      And I agree about the sonnet, though “let me not to the marriage of true minds…” is also one of my favorites!

      • Now that’s funny. I would consider “66” to be lucky because it is a double and it is even. 🙂 I try very hard to make sure the amount I spend on gasoline lands on an even number or a multiple of five. I consider it an omen regarding the tenor of the day’s remainder.

      • HA! Yes, I do that at the gas pump as well.
        I just always thought the number 6 was associated with the devil, Lucifer and such…and so, you know….get home. Hide under the covers… And I’m with you about the tenor of the day….the next day it’s all new (I hope)…but all new numbers to watch out for. Or black cats. Or snakes. Or doves 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh, this is the funniest line: “She wasn’t really his ex-wife yet, even though that’s how he though of her and he was divorced from her on Facebook.”

    I like your purpling: “purple house dress” and “pulled out the purple phone,” the smallest link from his reality to hers, all he will allow

    “this dove, it was an omen you know” … Wow, I love how you switch gears here, letting us see the alternate of her reality, the one Frank has never even considered … and still doesn’t choose to care much about, at least on a conscious level.

    What a sad but pointed ending.

    Well done, Anne Katherine! Please keep writing. 🙂

    • Thanks thanks thanks, Shawna for reading!
      I am going to try to keep it up!
      And yes, sad was the point, though on the surface it might not seem that way.
      And thanks for noticing the humor. I was hoping some of that would come through!
      So appreciate you reading!!!

  4. I love black cats. 🙂 I used to have one named Zoe when I was about 18, and she used to sleep on my face, right across my forehead. She would also pee all over my apartment, particularly on unfolded laundry piles.

    • Yes, that’s the worst thing about cats – if they have that horrible bad habit of not using the litter box. It’s funny you should say that – the seed of this story started out as a story I wrote in college about a guy who had a cat who peed all over his apartment causing is neighbor to call him and then call maintenance. It was a terribly boring story, but I liked the interaction between the neighbor and the guy, so I tried to change it up, hopefully for the better!
      Thanks, Shawna, for increasing the traffic to my site. Makes me feel very loved 🙂 I AM working on another story. Was hoping to get it out today, but it needs a bit more work!

  5. You totally have to keep writing….this was AWESOME!! Funniest part: the phone in the fridge!!! Honestly keep going and please tell me you have ambitions of writing a book…cause you really should.

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