Caroline Reid
October 2016 Commended

Last Dog

by Caroline Reid

After I had my dog put down I went to the beach where I saw another black staffy chomping on frothy waves like she was that crazed with thirst and hunger she could have drank the ocean, eaten all the fish, dived to the bottom to feed on crays, munched her way through the Great Barrier Reef, before gobbling up the entire Pacific trash vortex. Then a squall of kids stormed out of the Life Savers Club, scaring the shit out of me in their red rashies, and when the staffy heard them she took one quick preserving look over her shoulder, plunged into the sea and paddled like mad. And I remembered my first dog, the way she took ill suddenly. After the fits you could smell the terror on her, metallic and wet like steel pipes left in the rain and I was hard on myself because I got more upset over that dog than my dad, who had died the previous summer. I’d watched him shrink to half his size in the hospital bed, wiping grey gunk from his mouth, holding my breath against foul smelling boils that erupted on him daily as if anger were its own revenge. I watched the staffy drift to safety further up the beach and I thought that when the oceans fish have dried up, the reefs are white as Styrofoam and there are only starving mobs of kids left, this is the way the last dog will go. Hounded by a herd of freckle-heads across blistering sands, she will be forced to dive beneath toxic waves before disappearing for good. I sat in the shallows and let the sand fill my knickers, knocked the top off a bottle of bourbon and bawled my bloody eyes out.

About the Author

caroline-reidCaroline Reid wrote her first commissioned work for theatre twenty years ago and since then her plays, fiction and poetry have been consistently performed, broadcast and published. She has written for arts organisations, schools and community groups; and has created work alongside independent artists, artist with disabilities and young people. In 2016 she was writer-in-residence at the South Australian Writers Centre and a finalist in the South Australian Poetry Slam. She is currently working on her first novel. Caroline lives in Adelaide, where she loves to go walking with her family in the shade of her pink and green umbrella.

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