Here is another piece that I put together for #Fridayflash. Please let me know what you think, and as always, feel free to be extra stabby with your critiques. It's the only way to help both of us grow.
Each step ground that foulness deep into the fibers of my carpet. Each step could have been prevented if not for my anxious desire to drink a glass of water. Each step taunted me when I reached my kitchen and I realized what I had done.
But I must stop blaming myself, for it was not my fault that yet another violation of the townhome association’s bylaws — Section 6 article 14 regarding each owner’s responsibility to clean up after their pets — lie in wait for my shoe to come along. My neighbor, Amber, had been cited four times throughout the year on this very violation with numerous other complaints brought forth by myself, and I was sure she was once again the culprit.
Taking my jogging shoe off, I proceeded back towards my front door where I could toss it onto my porch, careful not to step in the evenly spaced brown smudges and keep the damaged contained. From my porch I spied it, the source of my miseries on the sidewalk in front of Amber’s door.
Back inside I heard, even from across the extra thick, sound proofed walls I paid so dearly for, a faint barking, probably from that devil of a dog — Smokey as Amber called him. That dog itself was a violation. I would have bet my entire comic book collection that it was above the forty pound limit established by the bylaws. I had brought that up to the board as well at the last meeting, and once more they took no action.
After that final dismissal by those seven tyrants who held sole jurisdiction over the matter, I realized that the next time I would be on my own. I had never considered myself to be the type of man to resort to vigilantism, but then again I had never considered that in this world, the justice system could fail one of its citizens so egregiously. Stored away in the back of my closet, next to my winter hats, I retrieved a small box of dog treats I kept for Dixie, a schnauzer my neighbor Doug watched for his parents from time to time. She was safely under the size limits and whose temporary guardian, I am quite confident, adhered to Section 6 article 14 of the association bylaws.
I put a handful of the treats in a bag and went down to my garage where I kept the rat poison. Using it against those particular rodents that invaded my own home caused me to feel guilt since they kept themselves hidden and did not disturb me; however, the dog next door on loan from Beelzebub himself harbored no such merits.
I crushed the poison into a fine power and put it with the treats next to the door. For the next two hours I scrubbed and cleaned my carpeting with the aid of no fewer than six different cleaners and both of my wet-vacs. The sun was dipped below the horizon and the neighborhood was blanked in the soft yellow glow of the porch lights when I finished. Checking my watch, I saw that it was 7:57pm.
If anything, Smokey was reliable, and at 8:33 plus or minus thirteen minutes at one standard deviation he would want to go out. I put on a dark coat I seldom wore and proceeded outside towards Amber’s door where I noticed there were no lights on inside, meaning she was probably working out in her basement gym as was her custom.
After quickly checking that nobody from the neighborhood was out that may recognize me, I placed a small handful of treats on the corner of Amber’s porch, sprinkling it with enough poison to kill a small horse. As soon as Smokey came through the door and smelled the treats, it would only take one lick for the white powder to enter his body and send him back to hell where he belonged. And Amber, that irresponsible young woman, might be inspired her to re-think her behavior over the last year.
With it being garbage day, I strolled down the block and discretely disposed of any evidence that would point to myself, including the jacket in another resident’s bin. I then made my way to Doug’s unit and knocked on the door.
He let me in and his parent’s schnauzer ran up to me and barked a couple times in excitement; a bark so similar to Smokey’s that the rage it conjured urged me to kick the thing. But I calmed down and we sat down on his couch where we resumed our series of great action movies; tonight The Dark Knight was on the docket. Even though the movie made me feel great pride at exacting my own vengeance, I began to feel the slightest bit of guilt by the time 9pm came around.
Towards the end of the film at approximately 10pm, a knock came at the door. I stood up, reminding myself to act casually with the police, who would inevitably come canvasing the neighborhood for the culprit. I would tell them nothing of the feces or what I had done, and they would in turn never find out it was me.
However it was not the police at the door. It was Amber, and she was crying. My excitement tempered as I saw the human toll of taking the law into my own hands. Doug ushered her in, unaware of what I had perpetrated, sitting her down on the couch next to me.
She took a couple deep breaths between sobs and said, “Smokey and I just got home from our trip up north. I let him out of the car and he went for this pile of treats on my porch. Then the next thing I know, he’s dead.” Amber collapsed into the couch and resumed crying.
On the screen, Batman departed the factory a wanted criminal, but at least he got the right guy.