(For more fiction by drsoos see "EPISODIC" and "SPECULATIVE FICTION" or "drsoos")
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They call them the dog days of August. Chestnut, my golden retriever, would have no more dog days. He had died in his sleep the night before, with his toy apple in his mouth. He was quite stiff when I found him. I was drenched in sweat as I tried to dig a hole for his grave.
His name did not match his color. Since puppyhood he would bury his nose in any exposed cleavage, given the opportunity- hence the name Chestnut- a dog after my own heart.
I hadn’t managed to dig even a foot deep yet and I was about to drop. The temperature and humidity were both in the 90’s. I briefly considered bagging him up for trash pickup, but I couldn’t do that- Chestnut deserved better. Unable to complete his burial without killing myself in the process, I decided upon cremation.
I built a pyre in his unfinished grave with dead branches and small logs and odd bits of wood. At least I would accomplish some yard clean-up while cremating him. I wrapped his body in an old sheet and placed him gently atop the pile. I lit the kindling, then covered him (more or less) with a lid from a large charcoal grill. I then went inside to have a sandwich and a few beers to drown my grief.
Several beers and an unplanned nap later, I returned to check on the cremation progress. Poor Chestnut’s legs had been reduced to stumps. His snout had shriveled and retracted, exposing more teeth gripping his apparently fireproof apple toy. Cremation had failed. I had merely roasted Chestnut. I removed his charred body from the embers and placed it upon the picnic table. His aroma was unexpectedly appetizing. This situation demanded more beer. I headed for the house to fetch a six-pack and decided to have another sandwich.
Returning to the scene, I saw my nosy neighbor Bob standing by the picnic table.
“Wow, a pig roast. It smells delicious. Could I have a taste?”
How could I refuse?
Bob enjoyed roasted Chestnut.
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."
- Ralph 'Where's Waldo' Emerson
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like. And I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
- Bilbo Baggins