Original Fiction

An Essay by Molly Dolly: On Wanderlust

Basset hound, 22 months old, sitting in front of white background

by Grace Hopper, age 11

  It does not matter a bit what happened this morning until I explain that I am a dog. Not just any dog, for not any dog can write such a dignified, to-the-point essay as this one, certainly not a Pomeranian. They seem much too flighty. But I am a hound of the noble race of Basset. I am sorry I had to explain that, but otherwise you might have thought that I was a coyote … or a goose … or even an elephant, though I suppose the sort of people who read essays of this sort are not so fanciful as to think a Basset Hound is an elephant—but, then, you can never tell.

      Anyway, this morning, as I was walking about my yard, the spirit of wanderlust began to pulse through my veins. Spying the gate—left ajar by some careless human—I raced toward it. The normally green and verdant yard seemed dull in comparison to the grass on the other side of the fence. The glories of that crystalline pond and those unknown houses were just bursting with unexpected surprises. My yard seemed to be painted in dirty browns and grays, and the normally majestic mountain ash tree could be a thorn bush strewn with dirty, torn rags, for all I cared.

      As I rushed out the gate, my gallant but somewhat slow-witted comrade, Dottie, trotted beside me, the spirit of adventure pulsing in her blood.

      Once safely away from the yard, we paused and smelled the delightful smell of fresh grass and somebody frying bacon for breakfast as well as a muddy and murky —  in short, delightful —  smell from the green pond. It was just too much.

      I trotted about, Dottie lumbering dangerously close to the pond beside me. We chased a squirrel (or three), until we heard all-too-familiar voices coming from behind us.

      The youngest voice belonged to Joy. She never pets us, and shouts at Dottie and me when we engage in our favorite pastimes, even something so innocent and pleasant as raiding the trash, and that is particularly discouraging when the trash yields nothing but eggshells, coffee grounds, and paper.

      Next was Grace. She is kinder to us than Joy, but she, too, gets annoyed at me because I smelled up the giant and oh-so comfy pillow in the school room. I, quite frankly, don’t care about that. It was well worth shouts and shoves to get that pillow for myself, as the humans declared it too filthy for them to use and put it under my bed. But where was I in this very to-the-point essay? Ah, yes, now I recall.

      Nancy, or Mom, or Moo-moo or Nanny (she has a lot of names—it’s quite confusing), came last. She pets us but gets mad at us—a lot. She also gives us baths—ugh! Bath is almost a bad word amongst dogs, so that is all I shall say about a b-a-t-h.

      I don’t know why I ever ran to her and lay down in submission. I don’t know why I am writing this into the essay. Perhaps it is because I am a truthful dog. Another painfully truthful fact is that, on a leash, I followed her into the yard.

      There is nothing else I need say about my brief outdoor adventure. It does not matter a bit what happened afterwards.

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