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issue 18: may - june 2000 

spanish translation | catalan translation | author's bio

PUPPY DOGS' TAILS
by
Deirdre Maultsaid


We looked at our tires, a calendar and our cheque-book. Maybe we could make it to Ontario in three days, visit my husband's sick father, see the job situation and be back before the next unemployment stub was due. In the rush, we forgot Josh's stuffed dog so Josh whined which pushed Ryan to burst out that he hated all the toys piled between them in the back seat. The boys were finally pacified with juice boxes, then restaurant pancakes in Golden, then extra sweatshirts.

      Travelling in a car sometimes, protected, together, suspended in time and in between places, our hearts can suddenly sing. Secrets and dreams wake up and can be spoken out loud. If only Josh and Ryan would sleep forever, my husband and I could really talk! Instead, as streamers of mist rose up the gloomy, darkening mountains beside us, as the heater blasted over our feet and as the boys' eyes closed, we started picturing scary events. What if we saw a car crash? Get to the police. If we drove over a cliff? Grab a kid and jump out. Would that really work?
      As we climbed through the Rockies and into the night, my husband's fantasies got more sleazy. He asked the questions. I answered. If you were the prisoner of a psychopath? Talk him down. If he buried you alive in a box? Dig my way out. If he raped the kids? I don't know.
      "Think about it," my husband demanded.
      "I don't have to."
      He turned to me, "Don't worry. I would save you all."
      "Whatever you say."
      We were silent then. I handed him a cup of coffee from the thermos. Deep sleep made the faces of the boys yellowish and still in the lights of oncoming cars. We kept floating forward.
      It was late, somewhere outside Calgary, our car alone on a stretch of highway, when all at once a glossy black dog ran out in front of us. We hit it. The dog crawled and wormed out further in front of the car. Its terrible shuddering made it impossible for the dog to stand up. Did I see blood splashing when it shook its head? My husband opened his door and half leaned out of the running car. I looked back at the sleeping boys.
      "Just go, " I said.
      "What are you talking about?" he asked.
      "Go!"
      He shut the door quickly, then put his foot down on the gas pedal. I felt the thud. We went up and we went over. We kept going, floating east in the night.
      Much later, we whispered in the motel bathroom while the kids slept in the next room. We considered how many more kilometres we could go tomorrow. Together we drained the melting ice water from the cooler. From the way he kept clearing his throat then, I think my husband was nearly ready to say something important.
      

2000 Deirdre Maultsaid
spanish translation

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author's bio

Deirdre Maultsaid is a Canadian writer living in Spain, where she is revising her novel The Cold Ashes of Her Shelter. She has been published in print in Other Voices and Zygote; a Rowan Books anthology (Canada) entitled Study in Grey; and on the Internet at:
http://www.unb.ca/qwerte/contents.html
http://www.conspire.org
http://ariadna.cjb.net
http://www.SouthernCrossReview.org/
The author may be contacted at: deird@bigfoot.com
navigation:                         barcelona review #18                     may - june 2000
-Fiction Jess Mowry - One Way
Richard Weems - Curbside Mailboxes
Adam Blackwell - The Louis Agency
Deirdre Maultsaid - Puppy Dogs' Tails
Javier Calvo - Ned Flanders
-Poetry Dolors Miquel - Two Poems
-Article May and June in Barcelona
-Quiz William Faulkner
Answers to Jorge Luis Borges Quiz
-Regular Features Book Reviews
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