The Weird Fishes

'But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to his own vomit, and a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.' - 2 Peter 2:22

Chapter 1

The day was muggy. The sounds of oldies radio tunes drifted on the sticky air around a small condo in the middle of a dried out town, where a man was seated upon a lawn chair in the center of an over watered and over pampered lawn. It was times like these that Gentry Schwartz felt rather alone. No one was out in the cozy suburban neighborhood, it was much too hot, and even if it were not it seemed people had a way of hiding themselves in their small houses, or leaving them for cooler months. Gentry, who grew up and worked in the northern and more sociable edge of the country found it both unusual and depressing, but it was what he'd come to his condo in Palm Springs to experience; time to himself, time to bask in the terrible heat. The man sat up and after one more moment of glancing over his lawn he got to his feet; perhaps he hadn't thought things threw with his vacation planning. He turned to return to his air-conditioned Cando before thinking better of it and reclaiming his foldable lawn chair to bring back inside. He set the chair in it's designated spot near the closet door and wondered inside to shut off the radio which had gone on to excitedly describing new products and services. He took a seat upon the couch with a heavy sigh and allowed the silence to sink in. He hung back his head as his eyes sifted through the room; the phone, nope, no one had answered any of his calls or messages, they'd all gotten families awhile back and no longer had much time to spare on him. The television; there was nothing on… And no cable. The book shelf, over flowing with books of study and fiction…..all read. There was nothing left for him, he'd decided, nothing but work and tedious vacations. He'd gotten a dog a few weeks back but the youthful animal had quickly jumped the short fence and left his property and (as he figured) his life. He hadn't been very enthusiastic in his searches.

A knock at the door awakened him from a dream he hadn't known he was having and surprised him enough to get him to his feet and to the door's peep hole. It was a strange woman in what seemed work clothes, with Gentry's lost dog at her side on a make-shift rope leash. He took a moment to acknowledge the fact that the foldable lawn chair wasn't by the closet door, in fact there was no closet door, it seemed he was back home. He rubbed his eyes and felt an oddly significant amount of crust come off in his hand, if there was a mirror in the room he was certain he would have waited to open the door after making himself a bit more presentable, but without feeding into the thought much he unlocked the door and opened it half way.

"Hello." He greeted, his voice sounded as groggy as he felt.

"Yes, hello, is this your dog, sir?" The woman seemed slightly bitter to Gentry, perhaps she was in a rush.

Gentry already knew the animal was his but he took a second to examine him thoughtfully, albeit to the woman it likely appeared drunkenly. The creature was unmistakable, a third or fourth generation mutt with one floppy ear, a clear under bite, brownish red fur tone and the clear signs of being an unaltered male.

"Where are his tags?" He questioned.

"Is this your animal or not, sir?" The woman questioned again, this time with a bit more disdain.

Gentry nodded slightly and reached for the make-shift rope leash which was promptly moved away from his grasp.

"I'll be keeping the rope." The woman barked. Surely to go strangle someone with, Gentry mused. "I really should receive some sort of recompense." The woman continued in a bit of an angry rant. "If the shelter would have caught it before I did you'd be paying to get it out, and paying to get it neutered and chipped."

"I'll try to be less careless." Gentry muttered, keeping his head lowered slightly and his body behind the door.

"Well?" The woman stated, it was more of an order then a request.

"Money?" Gentry said aloud, thinking a moment as he felt over his pant's pockets.

The woman merely stood there, fuming in her own anger. Gentry couldn't help but feel sorry for the woman's children, if she had any left that she hadn't bitten the heads off of.

"You could keep him." He decided. "If you want." He glanced down at his feet. "I don't have any spare bills on me at the moment."

The woman huffed and un-looped the dog's neck from the noose before turning and marching her way down the front steps. The animal watched her progress before returning his attention to Gentry who opened the door, allowing the animal to enter the messy house.