Dream Part Two - Doggatorface
Several meters into the olive dark of the pipe, the sound of the horse’s clopping hooves stopped, leaving splashing water and low, growling.
Horses don’t growl.
Its shadow had shrunk to the size of a small pony in the circle of light at the opposite end of the pipe. Once it reached the bow of light at the other end, I saw the horse had transformed into a large dog. When she stopped at the rim of the pipe, I could see her profile; her fur was gray and she had the heavy, bunched shoulders of a boxer, yet her snout was wolfish. As I hurried to catch up, she looked over her shoulder at me and her face morphed into a cartoonish jumble of asymmetry and squiggling lines. Her mouth rotated with triangle teeth. She huffed at me, then faced forward again, and the normal features returned.
I reached her side at the lip of the pipe and we both peered out from the opening. The water here was a translucent jade, bisected right below the concrete by a strip of raised land that ran all the way to the shore, which curved up into a soft hill at the top of which was an illustration of a small house. The lines of the house were drawn in redbrick crayon, with four-square windows, a crude doorway and purple smoke rising from the chimney. The arc of an orange sun floated just above the right side of the house. The afternoon sun shone bright through the drawings.
The door opened and a real woman stepped out and waved at us. “Come and visit at last. We will have talk.” She went back inside the house, leaving the door open.
The dog and I jumped down onto the land bridge. Immediately gargantuan shapes rose out of the water on both sides, pushing up mounds of water that washed over my feet. The dog hissed as the shapes coalesced into the biggest alligators I had ever seen, some 20 to 30 feet long. They brushed their flanks against the shore of the bridge, then each rested its horrible jaws on either side of the strip. Clearly they could easily scramble up and munch on us, but they remained still, following our passage with their yellowed, oligocenic eyes.
We ran the remaining distance to the base of the hill, climbing our way to the open door and entered.
The space inside the two dimensional drawing was three-dimensional and welcoming. A living room furnished just short of hoarding, each luxurious chair or lamp or table pressed up against each other. A man wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt sat in an easy chair placed before a diamond coffee table. His mouth silently opened and closed.
The woman greeted us just inside the door. She wore a strapless dress that had been made out of eggplant.
“I am so glad you are here!” she said to the dog, bending down and burying her nose in the dog’s neck fur. She pulled a cookie out of an eggplant pocket and gave it to my grateful companion.
“Come over here to sit and listen,” she said, indicating a long couch diametric to the seated man. The dog and I walked around the jumbled artifacts. The woman and I sat on the sofa, and the dog bounded up and lay down, her chin on my knee. Her eyes were placid and focused on the man.
His mouth continued to move as words began to emerge.
“ . . . flies. So many flies. Flies in sauce; flies are the boss. Why do the roots of illness gnarl in the happiness of lovers? Why is the mote in your eye the only boat to the safe shore? SO MANY FUCKING ANGRIES IN THE CHURCH BUTTER! You will never believe that the sun I drew pre-dated the big bang, and that within my semen swims missiles of xenobiology to smush the mush brains of me and all the other elses! SO MANY FUCKING ANGRIES IN THE CHURCH BUTTER! I am the straight man in your tragicomedy, dearest, dearest, dearest . . .”
The dog leapt from the couch into the lap of the now-talking man. Her face shifted into the terrifying visage I had seen before, and she ground her teeth into his forehead down to his chin, growling and digging out chunks of flesh and bones and organs and glands, swallowing and digging for more. The man flailed at her with his hands and knees, but he was now silent.
The woman got up, saying, “Screaming. Screaming. Screaming.” She walked around a wall into another room and returned carrying a plastic grocery bag. Shaking it out, she went to the easy chair and spread it open on the floor in front of the dog and man.
The dog slurped up one last strand of artery, swallowing, then bent over the open bag and vomited her belly’s contents into it. She coughed a few times, then sat down and looked up at the man.
He stood up from the chair and put his hands in the pockets of his jeans. His face was hallowed out like the skin of an avocado. A splinter of bone fell free from a patch of blood on the back of the shell, landing with a clink in the scoop of his chin.
The woman tied the handles of the bag into a square knot and handed it to me. It was heavy and sloshing.
“Feed this to the gators on your way back. They will be grateful,” she said.
I glanced at the dog, motioning her to follow me outside. She ignored me.
The woman said, “She lives here now with us. Go on now. Try to divide the remains of his face evenly.”
I walked out the door down the hill, swinging the bag like a wet and heavy pendulum.