The pounding never ended, not the fists of the moneylenders at my door, nor the headboard against the wall. My neighbor, Doris, made her money from the stream of men that flowed in and out of her apartment. Our walls, thin like skin, betrayed every thump.
With my looming debts, I thought about following Doris down that path and putting myself on the open market, but I have several moles I’m a little self-conscious about. So instead, I watch Doris’s dog.
Too many of her men complained about how the dog looked at them during. Noodle has an intense gaze. But Doris can’t stand to put him in the closet, so whenever a man comes up, Noodle comes over.
Noodle is a smart and handsome dog. A noble breed raised by Germans, if I had to guess. A deep chestnut with hints of mahogany, and so helpful around the house. No one ever tells you how fast creditors turn tail when confronted with a snarling animal. You could pay up, or you could borrow an ample sized dog.
Sometimes the constant thumping gets to both of us and we leave the apartment for a long walk. We become different people when we are out on these walks — well, I become a different person, and he becomes a different dog. We walk taller and with more confidence. People assume we are together, and I let them; I let them think that we just came from that nice brownstone down the way and that we’re on our way to agility training. I let them think that we will both be eating liver that evening.
But the fantasy always ends when we climb back up the stairs. Doris’ latest meat-and-greet brushes past us in the hallway. Neither of us likes what we smell.
I knock on Doris’ door but it gets harder each time to give him back.
If Noodle were a man, I think we would run away together.
Front page image by Anita Carril.
GHOST WRITER is a project by Tracy Danger Mumford. New sections are released every other Sunday. If you’d like to receive email alerts—and that’s all you’ll get, a short email—saying the new one’s up, sign up here: