It’s time for another Micro-Fiction Monday. Because today’s story is a little longer than normal, I’ll be dividing it in two. You can find Part Two here tomorrow. Now don’t be afraid… This is only fiction…
By: Rachel A. Carrera
Tears welled in Katie’s eyes, and she collapsed in her husband’s arms as soon as he walked through the front door. “Ron, I think Brody got out when I was carrying in the groceries. I can’t find him anywhere!”
Ron hugged her and smoothed her hair. “Honey, he’ll be back just as soon as he’s hungry. He’s a big dog. He can’t hide for long.” He tossed his keys on the foyer table and headed toward the kitchen.
She sniffled and followed him. “I know, but I’m afraid he went next door. You know what Steve Parker said he’d do if Brody ever went in his yard again.”
Ron swiped his hands over his face then peeked out the curtain above the sink. “Did you go over there yet to look?”
“No. I went near the hedge and called for him, but he didn’t come. Steve’s out back barbecuing, and I didn’t want to ask him. He frightens me ever since what happened last year. Would you go?”
“Alright, just try to calm down. How long’s he been missing?”
“At least thirty minutes. Oh, Ron, you’ve got to do something!” Her chin quivered, and she buried her face in her hands.
He hugged her to his chest and planted kisses on the top of her head. “Okay. I’ll go talk to Parker. Don’t worry, Baby.” He kissed her cheek then headed outside. “Brody! Come here, boy! Brody!” He whistled as he meandered toward the hedge separating his yard from the Parkers’. “Brody!”
Steve Parker fanned the flames in his grill. The smell of seasoned meat permeated the air. He looked up and smirked. “You lose something, Crane?”
Ron narrowed his eyes. “Our dog got out. He didn’t happen to wander over here again, did he?”
Steve puffed up his chest and stepped closer to the hedge. “Well, maybe he did, and maybe he didn’t. But I told you what I’d do the next time that mutt came over here and dug a hole in my yard. I told you if he showed up here, I was gonna barbecue him!” He chuckled.
Ron’s face turned scarlet, and the veins in his temples protruded. “For as many times as your dog used to come into my yard—”
Steve cocked back his head and raised his voice over Ron’s. “Yeah, and my dog ended up dead in your back yard the day after he dug up your wife’s flowers! I don’t think that was any coincidence! I told you I’d reimburse you for those stupid roses, but you poisoned Murray!”
Ron narrowed his eyes and jabbed his finger at his neighbor. “You’re fuckin’ crazy! I didn’t poison your dog! He must’ve gotten into something. Maybe you should have kept a better eye on him!”
Steve squeezed his hands into fists and clenched his teeth, then his lips curled into a sinister smile. “Yeah, and maybe you should have kept a better eye on your mutt today, too.”
Steve’s wife, Laura, stepped out the back door. “Honey, you have a phone call. It’s the credit card company again. I don’t know what to tell them.”
Steve scowled and looked over his shoulder. “Get back inside! I’ll be there in a minute!”
Ron smirked and raised an eyebrow. “Money troubles, Parker? Is your business not doing so well?”
Steve puckered his face. “Screw you, man!” He slammed down the lid to his grill then spun on his heel and stormed inside his house.
Ron rolled his eyes and headed back inside his own house, slamming the door behind him.
Katie jumped out of her seat in front of him. “Did you find Brody? Was he next door?”
Ron stepped around her and grabbed the phone. “No, I don’t think so.” He stabbed the buttons angrily as he dialed a number.
“Who are you calling?
He held up his index finger. “My brother. He owes me a favor.” His eyes lit up, and he patted her hand. “Hey, bro, it’s me. Listen, Brody’s missing, and I need help. Can you call down to the station and have someone call Steve Parker’s house and tell him the burglar alarm in his store just went off? …Yes, it’s Parker’s Vacuum Cleaner Sales and Repair over on Hallandale Avenue. …What? Look, man, I just need to get him out of the house for a while so I can look for my dog. Katie’s in tears, and you know what a dick this guy’s been lately. Come on, you owe me, man. …No, I swear, I’m not up to anything. You won’t get in trouble. I just wanna look around his house for Brody without him there. …Cool, thanks. His number is 555-3772. …Alright, thanks, man. Bye.” He hung up the phone and grabbed a beer from the refrigerator.
Katie took the beer bottle from his hands and popped the top, took a sip, then handed it back to him. “What’d you do that for? Do you really think Steve has Brody?”
“Parker’s still bringing up when his dog died last year. He still thinks we had something to do with it. I just want to look again without him there. Maybe Laura or another neighbor knows something.” He peeked out the window, and a small smile formed on his lips as he watched Steve race out to his car and back out of his driveway.
Be sure to come back tomorrow to read Part Two of “The Feud.”
Time to talk: Do you like your neighbors? Do you allow your pets to run around the neighborhood unsupervised?