Charlotte Heather

Beached

 

The waves crash and crawl up the beach and a dog drags itself down to the water. It tries to drink. It collapses. And now the dog is dead. Another dead dog ruins the view of my beach. I mean, our beach. The President of the United States of America looks at me because he thinks it is my turn to remove the dead dog from our vista, but he is wrong. I, El Presidente of the United States of Central America, removed said dead dog yesterday. Well, not this dead dog, another dead dog, which means I do not remove today’s dog, as it is his turn. I am not moving the dead dog.

Moving dead dogs is a tedious task because they are heavy and the sun is singeing the hairs on the back of my neck more every minute and I do not want to sweat. I am already sweating. I do not want to sweat more heaving a dead dog into the pit. I do not want to go near the dead dog pit because it is coming up to burning day and, quite frankly, it stinks. We burn the pit twice a week. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Sunday is the day of rest. It’s important to remember tradition.

Mr President soon realises his mistake. It is, of course, his turn to move the dead dog. The last dog was only yesterday so it is relatively fresh in our memory. If there isn’t a dead dog for a couple of days we sometimes forget who’s turn it is and we have to play a game we know how to play but do not know the name of. It involves counting to three. On three one chooses to make a fist, stick out two fingers or hold the hand out flat. Fist beats two fingers, naturally, and two fingers beats flat hand. Flat hand beats fist, which makes no sense to me, as a slap is not as bad as a punch.

The President of the United States of America heaves the dead dog backwards and sweat is dripping down him and I smile. I do not know how I can be El Presidente of the United States of Central America when he is President of the United States of America. Surely one is in the other?

The heat is starting to ebb. I look forward to Mr President’s return from the pit. By the time he gets back it will be dark and cool and we can hold hands and touch one another without dripping so heavily with sweat. We always wait till dark.

Tomorrow I shall be President of the United States of America and he will be El Presidente. We take turns. Tomorrow, or the next day or, if I am lucky, the day after that, I will have to remove a dead dog but at least the pit will be burned and full of ash.

 

Charlotte Heather is a displaced Yorkshire woman and graduate of the Goldsmiths MA Creative and Life Writing programme. She has worked with and written for Secret Cinema, the Wild Writers, SheRa magazine and Theatre in the Rough amongst others. Her debut novella comes out with digital serialisation publishers The Pigeonhole on December 2nd.

Twitter: @lottyyy

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