So I met Freckles. Freckles sat in a water tank, which was a little odd, because he was a cocker spaniel. To say he sat in the water tank is perhaps inaccurate. He was standing in it, so that only his paws were in the water, and that caused the fur to flush outward. I had to laugh, but I tried to be discreet.
I didn’t ask him why he was in a water tank. He looked miserable, more miserable than I would have imagined anyone at the Roadkill Café to look, because they all seemed to be philosophical, left their baggage behind.
If there was one word for it, I’d say it was “closure.” Freckles didn’t seem to know that word. He didn’t talk to me, either, and any noise he did emit was trailed by a gurgle. I would’ve said it was endearing, but he seemed to derive no pleasure from that, either. I felt bad for him.
Ribsy explained that Freckles had come to them years earlier, looking just as adrift as he did now, like he was a toy that some child had abandoned, that had once been a favorite. He had once had a family that loved him, a whole family, even the members who didn’t admit it. That much was clear. He himself had clung to his master, more and more keenly the older he’d gotten, until he reached this place, where things like age and death and decay don’t matter, but he’d once had many, many hearts that loved him, cherished him.
And then he was abandoned. Ribsy didn’t know the whole story. No one knew the whole story. He was the tragedy of the place. He just stood there in his water tank, looking all abashed, but also hopeful. He kept expecting the day when the nightmare would end. He had a pineapple with him, but he no longer ate anything. Plenty of patrons at the Roadkill Café ate, but not Freckles. He’d lost his appetite. This is sad for a dog.
Tell me more, I pleaded Ribsy. I was heartbroken. Who wouldn’t have been? Please tell me there’s something good here, I begged Ribsy.