This is a story about a man and a dog who go for a walk. Calling it a story might be pushing it as though there is a beginning and a middle, there is no end. It’s a catalogue of moments carved out of the hurtling forward of life, its momentary offerings settled in the mind of a man and a dog.
Mr Arthur Puddle wore a mud brown suit everyday except on weekends. On weekends he lay in bed wondering to himself what shall I wear? What shalst I wear? He said “what shalst I wear” even though he knew it was funny talk. He stuck his finger out the window to see if it would know but it usually didn’t say anything, unless it was snowing, then the finger would say wear your thermals and a raincoat.
It never snowed where Arthur lived, so Arthur Puddle’s finger barely got a word in.
During the week Arthur knew what to wear because he had to go to work. He was always grumbling and saying to the cat, “well some of us have to work you know.”
He said it with an ironic smile because secretly he felt relieved by the certainty of it, but if the cat had yawned and said “poor you” he would have wholeheartedly agreed. Life was full of these sorts of riddles.
Fortunately the cat didn’t say anything because it didn’t care either way.
And even though his suit was very undistinguished and lacking in pizzazz, it seemed to him like an old friend, who never changed his mind, or sulked or flung insults or threw saucepans or ran away with anyone else.
You couldn’t say that about everyone….
And though his desk was only a small desk, it had drawers: drawers full of all the kinds of things you can never find when you need them. Things like sticky tape, and scissors and stamps.
Such things can be very reassuring, especially if something disconcerting should happen… If Miss Barbara Fulsome should walk by and say,
“Mr Puddle, I do believe you are dreaming.” Then Arthur could look down at his drawer and hold onto the sticky tape and remember that the world was a reasonable place.
When Arthur came home from work, he took off his work shoes and put on his walking shoes. Then he went to get Maude. Maude lived next door at the Mosley’s house. The Mosley’s were a rambunctious family of six who were fond of pizza and usually glued to a large screen in the back section of their house. Maude was their sadly neglected dog.
Maude’s ears were one size too big and very hairy. Arthur did not point this out to Maude as he was not impolite. Every time he looked at Maude’s too large ears he instead found himself full of fond feelings which came about because of Maude’s obliviousness to her own oversized ears. It was apparent that Maude didn’t care about her ears at all, which was refreshing as most people cared a great deal about their shortcomings and their strong points too. Arthur took Maude for a walk.
When they walked, they saw small but telling moments of life, which filled Arthur with a quiet but poignant fondness for human kind, a fondness which came naturally to Maude anyway.
They saw an old lady in black reaching into a lemon tree with a long stick
Brad Bond the electrician in his cricket clothes
A starling holding a red plastic thing in its beak
A voluptuous ginger cat facing the other way
roses the colour of watermelon, waving their faces in the sun
a pair of men’s slip on style shoes, sitting alone by the side of the road
a fluffy white dog hitting the window with his fist
a big garage with its mouth open singing ruby tuesday, goodbye ruby tuesday