Part 1: Jenny Gets Her Driving Gloves

#Sorrynotsorry.  Loving my new driving gloves.  Softest leather ever!  

            Got them from Dad last night to congratulate me.  Finally got my G2 and heading out on the road.  Alone.  No Dad yelling at me to slow down, check my mirrors.  I know how to check a mirror, me.             

            OMG!  Danny’s going to freak.  I know she was looking at these when we were in Chinatown last weekend.  Dad must have heard us talking about them at dinner that night.  

            Whatevers.  She’s going to be so jealous. So sad, too bad.  

            I can go anywhere now!  Do anything.  It’s great having your own car, but what’s the use when you have to take your parents everywhere with you?  I’ve been thirsty for my G2 for like ever.  A whole eight months of G1 before I could even take the test!  And that nerd of a driving instructor. Keep your back straight, eyes 360, never mind about your phone. What the hell was up his ass? Like, so basic.  

            These gloves, though!  Grip the wheel so nice.  Feel like a professional, but with like total softness.  So elegant.  So powerful.  So rich!    

            These gloves are so the best thing about driving.  Don’t get me wrong though. I’m woke AF!  I don’t do dairy or anything, and I haven’t eaten meat in like 6 months.  Meat is just wrong.  I mean, it’s killing the planet, and all these factory farms cutting down the forests and polluting all the poor people who can’t afford to move away from the smelly pig farms.  I saw all about that on a Netflix documentary.  It’s so terrible I can’t even!  So I do my thing by not eating animals.  IMHO, it’s just so much healthier for you anyway.  

            Maybe you think I should be feeling guilty or something?  Maybe.  But I deserve nice things, why not?  I work hard with school and then my job at Shoppers in the evening and weekends.  And I’ve been getting good grades even.  Well, I so have to because I’m going to U of T next year.  They don’t let losers in, you know.  It’s the best school in Canada, that’s what everyone says.  

            I really wanted to take psychology, but then I heard that you have to do so much reading for that, and well, it’s not that I’m not a good reader, but like I just want to be able to keep working because I know Mom and Dad will only give me enough money for my rent and food, so I’ll need to have money for clothes and going out and stuff.  

            So, I decided to apply for the Creative Expression and Society Program because I’ve had my own blog for a few years now, and lots of people say I should be a writer, and I think I have a lot of good ideas and stuff to say about everything.  So probably I’ll be really good at that, and it won’t be so much hard work.  Writing is a lot easier than reading, for me anyway.  

            Anyway, I’m not going to feel guilty about these gloves.  I didn’t buy them, so it doesn’t really count, and they’re just so soft and beautiful.  Dad said they’re made from sheepskin which is supposed to be the best leather for driving gloves, and I used to love lamb when I was a carnivore, so probably the gloves are just the skin of some of the lamb chops I’ve eaten in the past.  LOL.  I don’t think one pair of gloves is going to bring the world to an end.  

            Me and Danny saw this guy at Kensington last weekend pushing a shopping cart across the street at that busy corner, you know where that cheese shop is and there’s always a million people walking on the road and the cars can’t get round the corner too well.  Anyway, we figured he must have been homeless, and he had these two dogs in the shopping cart, and they were all snuggled up on top of a pile of clothes.  Soooooo cute!

            Danny said that lots of homeless people have dogs these days and that it’s good for them because the dogs keep them company.  But I was thinking that it’s kind of sad because the dogs deserve to have a nice home, too.  I mean, don’t you think?  I don’t know if homeless people should be allowed to have dogs?  Maybe it’s an animals rights thing?  Because how can they even feed the dogs properly when they can’t even feed themselves? Maybe we should have called the Humane Society on the guy?  And then at least someone could get the dogs and give them a home?  Or maybe it would be worse, because they might end up putting them down?  But maybe that’s better than living on the street with a homeless dude?   

Maybe we should have called the Humane Society on the guy?  And then at least someone could get the dogs and give them a home?  Or maybe it would be worse, because they might end up putting them down?  But maybe that’s better than living on the street with a homeless dude?   

            Anyways, this guy starts yelling at us because I bumped into his shopping cart and it woke the dogs up.  We just kept walking and headed out to Chinatown, and that’s when Danny and me saw the gloves in the leather shop.  

            She wanted to buy them for herself, but I told her what’s the point of having driving gloves when you don’t have a license.  Danny’s afraid of driving and says that nobody in Toronto needs to drive anyway so what’s the use of going through the whole thing of getting your license.  I told her driving was like total freedom!  But she just huffed.  Sooooo jealous.  

            I can’t wait till she sees these gloves.  She’s going to hate me.  She should get a life, though.  


Part 2: Ruben’s Late for Work, Again

            LA Metro runs good you know, but some days I just can’t get outta bed in time.  Couldn’t sleep last night.  So fucking hot and there’s never any quiet.  Traffic running right under our window 24/7, people on the street all hours of the night laughing and screaming and getting up to no good all the damn time.  

Missed breakfast.  That’s ok. I’ll survive.  But anyhow I missed the 4:45 and had to wait for the 5:05 and then I only got to the factory by 5:40.  

I didn’t get to the floor and get clocked in till 5:46, so they gonna dock me the sixteen lousy minutes for my first hour.  Ok, so I only lose like a dollar thirty or something for the day, but that’s like about a box of Mac and Cheese.  

            I could work through lunch again and not clock out that half hour, so I’ll be up fourteen minutes for the day.  That’s what I’m gonna do.  I’ll get home by 7pm, so I can wait till then to eat, that’s no problem for me. 

            For a whole one week I get $275 after taxes, but I need to work 6 ten-hour days for that, so can’t really afford to miss quarter-of-an-hour’s pay.  

            My wife’s at home again with the new baby, so she took a leave of absence.  She works here with me, but we’re not strictly legal, so she don’t get no maternity money.  Well, you know, we’re not really married.  We never got the time or money for a wedding, so we didn’t make no fuss about rings and legal stuff. 

            Our middle kids are 11 and 6 now, and in school, so that’s a blessing because they have this breakfast club so Sonia and Jorge get some free breakfast in them before class.  But the kids tease Jorge some kind of crazy about his lunch.  Yolanda makes for them jam sandwiches.  We used to give them peanut butter, too, you know, but you not allowed that anymore because some kid might die from peanut fumes or some crazy shit!  They probably tease Sonia, too, what do I know, but Jorge, he’s so little and more sensitive.  He comes home crying every other day from some problem with the kids in his class

            The clumsy kid broke his arm last year.  They teased him about that,too.  I don’t get what’s so funny, but these kids just find anything to pick on a soft kid for.  Alls he did was fall over running through the park, but the way he fell he cracked his wrist pretty bad.  That just about wiped us out, and we still got bills hanging over us from the new baby.  The factory doesn’t help us with nothing, you know.

            Last year a woman got her hand smashed in the clicker press.  Like, seriously she got the shape of a driving glove cut right across the palm of her hand but like her whole hand was almost cut right off.  Ended up to have the whole thing amputated.  But she didn’t get any compensation or nothing.  Just had to quit.  Don’t have any idea how her family and her managed to get by.  I didn’t hear nothing from her since she left.  But I know for damn sure I’m always extra sure careful.  

            That’s my job, yo.  The clicker press.  It’s a hell of a job.  Well kinda, I guess.  It’s really easy, though, you know, cause alls you have to do is line up the leather between a slice of wood and the die, put the whole thing under the clicker press and hit the green button.  Doesn’t take no genius or nothing.  But you have to be on your feet for ten hours doing the same thing over and over.  You can’t get distracted, man, which is pretty hard to do when you’re doing the same boring-ass thing over and over and over.  Your mind goes wandering, thinking about all kinds of crazy shit, like how you gonna spend your money when you win the lottery, you know what I mean.  

            I think about that all the damn time.  I tell you, when I win that lottery, I’m gonna haul ass outta this fucking shit-hole job so fast your head’s gonna spin!  Me and Yolanda been dreaming about our own little place with a pool in the yard and maybe like some swings for the kids.  Some place we can call our own, and we can grow some vegetables in the yard and the kids can have some space to live and run around and be free.  

            And Jorge bugs me every day to get a puppy.  I can barely feed Jorge let alone a damn puppy.  But truth be told, I love dogs, so yeah, Jorge gets a puppy first thing after I pick up my winnings.  

            We’re so damn crowded in this apartment.  The boys all in the bedroom together, and Sonia, she sleeps on the couch in the living room. That ain’t right for a young lady, you know.  She gonna be 12 this year, so I want to give her a beautiful room with a mirror and a pretty chair to sit on and brush her hair, you know like in those old pictures where the lady looks so elegant and whatnot.  Damn, she’s a beautiful kid!  Image of her mother.  I tell you.  I’m a lucky man.  

            Me and Yolanda have a mattress in the little dining area off from the kitchen.  We can’t never keep nothing clean and organized in this place.  When we hit that winning ticket, we gonna buy ourselves a little freedom, you know what I mean.  

            I’m pretty lucky though, you know.  I got this job after only like a month here in LA. At least I got a job, you know.  Least in this damn city.  So many damn people walking around with nothing.  I walked all the way from San Salvador.  Ok, so I hitched a lot of the way, but there was days when I was safer to go through forests, and it was quieter, you know, and better to sleep in them, too.  

            It was harder through Mexico though because there’s only brush and desert where it’s flat enough to walk. You get better luck of a ride when you stay closer to the Gulf.  But I didn’t sleep so good through Mexico.  

            I gave all the money I had, plus some that my cousins and aunties gave me, to pay for help across the border.  That’s the scariest thing I ever done.  Thought for sure we’d get scooped up when we scrambled up under the fence.  But this dude in a pick-up truck was there waiting, even though I’d heard stories tell how the trucks didn’t always show up on time or even ever.  

            I met Yolanda at the glove factory.  She came across when she was a girl, her whole family together on a plane.  Her uncle in San Diego helped her father get some kind of work visa just enough to get through.  Yolanda and her mom and two sisters already been at the factory for 5 years when I got here.  

            Man, she was beautiful.  I saw her on the first day.  To tell you the truth, I only stayed at the factory ‘cause of her.  I hated this job from the beginning, but at least back then I got to see her every day and that was really good, you know. But now she’s at home again with another kid, so won’t be back again, and coming here 6 days a week without her just kills me.  I been coming alone, on and off, for 15 years though, since a month before Ruben Jr., our oldest, was born.  

            He’s a handful that kid.  Always gets in trouble at school.  Shitty grades.  And I’m like almost never home to help Yolanda with him, ‘cause I’m here at the factory all the damn time, and he never stays home in the evening, always out causing trouble with his boys, you know.  They don’t have no discipline.  All they do at school is suspend him, so like it’s hell for Yolanda and nothing but a holiday for the kid.  He just stays in watching t.v. and jacking off all day, you know.  Yolanda caught him a bunch of times.  He just don’t care.  I don’t know what they hell I can do.  He never listens to me anyway. 

            I told him I’m gonna try get him a job here at the glove factory. Says he wants to quit school.  He’s crap at it anyway, so I say what the fuck, the kid should just get a job, you know.  But Yolanda wants him to stay in school.  Says why we need another person in the family working the same shit job with no safety or nothing.  But he thinks he knows everything, you know.  Thinks he can do better working at Starbucks or Mickey D’s or some shit.  Maybe he’s right. 

            What the hell does a 15-year-old wanna spend the rest of his life cutting gloves for rich kids when he can sell coffee for three times the money to the same damn idiots anyway?

            Fucked if I know!

            Jeez Luis, I’m hungry.  Only 3 hours till quitting time.  Yolanda, she makes the best rice and beans.  Maybe even a little chicken tonight.  


Part 3: Xin Dreams of Lychees

            The holes in my feet are hurting again.  

            They’re painful, all the time, but especially when I’m at work with Shunjun.

            I spend the day mixing hides in big stone moulds with a wooden paddle.  Most of the time I balance my bare feet on the edges of the moulds, trying to keep them dry, but the pink liquid splashes constantly, and sometimes I lose my balance and fall into the knee-high solution.  Sometimes I have to stay in there with Shunjun and help him haul the hides in and out.  I’m lucky because I can stand on the rims most of the time, but Shunjun’s in that swill all day, but at least he has long boots on, not that they really do him much good when he’s been in those vats for most of his life.  

            Shunjun’s legs are covered in a patchwork of white and brown skin mixed with raw spots and dry scaly bits.  I’m worried my legs will start to look like his soon.  My feet are worse than his though.  They’re bleeding every night when I walk home.  Sometimes they heal up a little over night, but then the sores start to swell again by early morning once I’ve been at work for an hour or so.  

            Shunjun always says to me, Xin, your feet are too big like a boy, so that’s why you always fall in.  He thinks I have boy’s feet and that I don’t look like a girl because I let my mother cut my hair short.  I have to keep it short because when I had it long before it got too much pink guck stuck to it and that made my face burn.  

            Shunjun coughs all the time, and his nose is always running.  His snot is the same colour almost as the stuff he stands in all day, but he says that’s because the inside of his nose is thin and the blood mixes easily with his snot.  He laughs when he says the word snot, Xing bítì, because it sounds like my name.  He says Xin, why don’t you have any Xing biti?  I tell him it’s because my nose is always dry and tickly.  I think it’s because my mother never fed me enough milk when I was a baby.  Shunjun says it’s because they stole my snot for my name.  He’s a crazy old guy, but I love working with him.

            Last month when I became 13, Shunjun gave me a straw hat that his wife had made for me so I could keep the sun out of my eyes and the hotness from burning my head through my short black hair.  The top of my head was starting to get thin of hair and it was itching all the time from where I put my hands on it to stop the sun.  Then the pink stuff got in my hair and some of my hair came away.  I think it’s growing back a little now that the hat is protecting me from the sun and the goop.  

            I don’t mind this job.  It’s good because Shunjun laughs a lot and he teaches me things about the way the sun moves and how the stars make different shapes in the sky at night.  Sometimes when I walk home I imagine I can see them in the sky, but there don’t seem to be any stars in the sky in China anymore.  Maybe they were there when Shunjun was a boy, but now they’ve all gone away somewhere and there’s just a lot of yellow haze in the sky all night.  

            Also, this job is better than the one I did last year.  Last year I had to scrape the meat and hair from the skin, and the smell of that never gets off your own skin, and it feels like you are already kind of dead. I used to get bits of dog guts glued to my temples what with the heat of the sun baking them into my skin.  I still had my long hair then, and used to wear it back in a ponytail.  Mom would spend about an hour brushing my hair every night before I went to sleep.  It wasn’t a nice kind of hair-brushing where your tummy goes all relaxed inside and you feel floaty and close your eyes and go to a little sleep.  It was like always pulling and stinking and making me cry.  I only did that job for a little bit.

            My brother still does that job.  He’s a couple years older than me so Mom says he can handle it.  But I can’t sleep well at night because he stinks so bad all the time, and even his breath next to me in bed smells of dead animals and rotting hair.  I don’t think he smells it any more.  Maybe he can smell it on the first day after washing?  But even then his skin isn’t really clean.  He’s happy though because that job pays more and so he is proud that he can bring the most money home.

            Dad died a few years ago.  He got backed into by a pick-up truck full of lime slurry and it poured all on top of him.  He got burned real bad and since we don’t have a hospital close Mom just tried to get him cleaned up at home, but his skin was so bad and it just got a lot of white stuff coming out and he was crying all the time.  After about a week his heart stopped.  Shunjun says it’s because he was tired of the pain, but Mom said it’s because he got an infection in there from all the lime that went into his body.  

            It didn’t make any difference to me.  I cried for a long time after Dad died, and when I was at work, I was afraid to go near the lime trucks.  Shunjun always says I’m too much of a goose, but he laughs at the same time, so I don’t mind so much.  I’m happy that I work with Shunjun.  He’s kinda like my dad now in a way.  

            Shunjun says I should try to get out of the tannery.  But what am I going to do?  I can’t go to school because it’s been so long now I don’t even know how to write my own name.  I would really love to go to school.  I asked Shunjun to show me how to write my name, but he just told me to blow my nose into my hand and look at what comes out.  He’s a crazy old guy.  But I love him.  

            This week’s the week we all have a day off in our village.  We get some of the dogs from the streets and eat them up with lychees.  They say dog meat’s supposed to give us energy in the hot sun and help us with stronger bodies.  Shunjun says dog meat’s the best because dogs don’t do hard work like the other animals so they are softer and more tasty.  Plus, he says the skin from the dog gets the best prices.  All the leather me and Shunjun make comes from the dogs. 

            To be honest, I just like the lychees.  We used to have a dog that lived outside our house before Dad died.  I never wanted to eat him.  Anyway, I don’t even like the pig’s and cow’s meat so much any more because all I smell all the time is the smell of dead animals.  

            The lychees are so clean and sweet and smell like my mother used to smell before I had to stop drinking her milk.  I think about them all the time when I’m with Shunjun.  He loves them too.  We both agree that thinking about the lychees helps us forget about the dirt we work in every day.   Sometimes I even think about them when I’m in bed, before I fall asleep.  The soft cool whiteness of their flesh makes me feel calm inside my body, and I dream that my skin is clear and smooth like the lychees.  The smell of lychees in my head also helps me forget the stink of my brother in the bed next to me.    

            My feet hurt all the time.  But I almost forget about them thinking about lychees.  I even think about them when I’m at work as though I’m lying in my bed dreaming about them.  I look forward to that every day, to go home and dream of lychees.  Of course, I eat them, too.  We have a tree outside our home.  But mom makes sure I don’t eat them too much, because she says they aren’t good for your blood.   

            I like to sit in my lychee tree after work, when it’s dark and quieter.  Every night I climb up and look to see if I can see any stars.  But I haven’t seen one yet.      


Part 4: Dog Has Had His Day

            I got lucky again today.  The woman in the hut next to my favourite tree threw me an old leg of a sheep and it filled me up right good.  

            I wandered into this little village when I was still just a little pup, and I decided to stay here.  I am free to choose where I go, and that’s what I love most about being a dog.  I can roam and wonder as I see fit.  

            I’m almost as big as the big dogs now, and they started to let me hang around with them.  

            There was one big old guy who used to bite at my butt when I got too close to him, so I learned to stay at the back when we forage together and he seems ok with that.  As long as I know my place he leaves me alone.

            I haven’t seen any of them today though.  We all woke up just when it was getting light out and I had a bad pain in my stomach and had to take extra time pooing.  I ate some bad garbage last night and it didn’t come out well.  

            They were all gone ahead by the time I was done.  But then she threw me this bone and I couldn’t resist, even though my stomach still hurts, but I don’t know when I’ll get anything this good for a while.  

            I’ll have to try to catch up with them soon.  But there’s still some meaty bits I can lick and chew from this leg before I get going. 

            Oh, that sounds like one of them barking now off across the other side of the sand field.  Doesn’t sound like a good bark.  Wonder what’s up over there?  I should go and see.

            There’s another one.  That sounds bad.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should stop here in the field and lay low?  What’s going on over there?  Sounds like some trouble.  

            I smell something good though.  I should go check it out.  But I just ate enough for a while.  I’ll be ok.  Should stay here and make sure it’s all ok.  

            Oh, oh, oh… they’re all barking now.  Maybe something fun? Did they find a rabbit or a rat to chase.  That must be it.  I’ll just go and see for myself.  That’s the best fun, chasing rabbits and they taste the best.  Better than a day old sheep’s leg, that’s for sure.

            Hey, there they are.  That doesn’t look like a rabbit?  What is that?  I’ll just get a little closer.

            Hey guys!  What’s going on there?

            Nobody’s answering me.  Didn’t they hear me bark?

            Guys?  Guys?  

What the?!  

            That’s not a rabbit.  That’s that little white poodle that joined us a just a little while ago.  Why isn’t’ she moving? What’s happened to her.  Are they trying to help her?  Or are they biting her?

            YOWWWW!!!  Something just went around my neck and now I’m being dragged along the ground.  

            I can’t breathe!  HEEEEEEELLLP!  I’m in the air and can’t breathe, this thing’s digging into my neck and I’m being dragged backwards on my butt!    


            What the?!  I’m in one of those moving machines with the long bark noise that never stops when it’s moving.  This wire things’ still around my neck, and it’s cutting my skin and I can’t breathe too well.  

            YELP. YELP. YELP!!!

            Why is this man hitting me in the butt with his fist?  That hurts so much.  It’s a terrible pain.  He’s so angry.  I can feel his anger in the pain in my butt now.


            He’s trying to push me into this cage, but there’s bits of sharp wire sticking out of it, and every time he pushes me forward the sharp bits dig into my side, and it’s so much pain.  I don’t understand what’s happening.

            He’s barking his man barks at me now, but they don’t sound like nice ones, and he’s hitting me again with his fists on my shoulder.  This is all so confusing and I’m really getting frightened.  I should have stayed in the sand field.  I’m the same colour almost and maybe this man wouldn’t have seen me.  

            There are six other dogs in this cage so I don’t know how I can fit, but I’m going to have to get in because at least in there the man might stop punching me.  I’m getting so sore, I think something broke in my shoulder.  It hurts when I move my leg so much.  


            All the other dogs are barking so much together, I can’t understand what any of them are saying.  It’s crazy!  

            Where’s my mom? I just heard the littlest one bark.  I can’t give him any answer.  I’m too afraid.  

            Ok, I’m going to stop barking now, and just try to stay still so my leg doesn’t hurt so much.  I don’t even have enough room to stand up straight.  There’s another dog with her paws on my butt, that big old guy’s nose is nuzzled up real close to my ear and I’m worried he’s gonna bite me, and there’s a little one lying right under me. Wait, I think there’s two under me, and maybe even another one under my butt.  If I move I’ll probably squish someone.  

            Everyone’s beginning to quiet down a bit now and I can feel this machine is moving.  Oh it’s hard to stand up straight with the movement and my leg is throbbing now.  Something is very wrong.  Now the little one is whimpering again, and this big guy at my ear is frothing snot and saliva all over my face.  

            We’re done for!  That was an old mutt buried on the other side of the cage.  I always thought he was a tough guy, never thought I’d hear him whimpering. 

            Nobody answers him.  We all just stay quiet, apart from the littlest one who is just crying, missing his mom.  I even wish I was still with my mom at this point.  Snug and cosy up against her warm belly, sucking fresh goodness from her soft teat.  

            This is not good.  I can’t sit. I can’t change position. It’s getting so hot, and my tongue is so dry I can hardly get it back in my mouth.  My shoulder is on fire, but I can’t move!  This is getting my stomachs all tied up and I think I’m going to vomit.    

            Wait!  They’ve stopped the machine now, and there’s a whole lot of men trying to lift us out.  

Yelp!! YELP!! Yelp!! Yelp!! YELP!! Yelp!!  We’re all yelling in terror. 

            Ever time they lift the cage my legs fall through the holes in the bottom, and then they drop it down because they aren’t strong enough and my toes are getting sliced up.  I can’t even feel the pain in my shoulder now because my feet are hurting so much.  I think they’re bleeding because there’s warm gushiness down there, but I can’t even move my head to look down and I don’t know if it’s my blood or someone else’s.

            They’ve got some more men now and they’re moving us off the machine


            There go my feet again.  At least this time we came down in the dirt so it’s a little softer. 

            Oh no!  They’re dragging the cage, and my feet are caught under the metal. 

            YELP YELP YELP !!!!   

            It’s so much pain.  I’m trying to lift my feet but there’s no-where for them to go!

            Everyone’s yelping and panicking and scared to death.  And the pain in my feet is more than anything I could ever have imagined. 

            Some new men are here now and they’re barking new angry barks and trying to make us all stop wiggling and barking and yelping.  But they’ve stopped dragging us.  I’m trying to lift my feet up and lick them, but there are two dogs under me between my mouth and my feet, and someone’s paws are digging into the broken part of my shoulder.  

            YELP YELP YELP!!

            I think there’s a man opening the cage above me.  Yes, yes.  But we’re so tightly packed in here still nobody can jump out. 


            The men have grabbed the dog at the top closest to the little hole and they’ve pulled him out by his ears.  


            There he is now next to us on the outside of the cage, but I don’t think he’s free still because he’s got one of those things around his neck on a long stick and his head is pushed down into the mud and he can’t move.  

            Are they going to do that to all of us now?  

            Everyone’s panicking, and barking fear and frustration and anger all at the same time!

            Yelp! They’re going to shove us all in the dirt and break our backs!

            He’s going to hurt us! 

            Let me out!  Let me out! Yelp!

            Let me at him, I’ll rip his throat out!!

            Mummy, where’s my mummy?

            I can’t move.  Yelp! I’m stuck on this wire thing. Move your butt.  

            Get your feet off my head! Yelp!

            My feet are dying. I don’t think they work.  I can’t move my legs even.  How can I run away.  I have to get away!!


            There goes the sweet little terrier out the little hole and face pushed down into the mud.  I think I might be ne….

            YELP!!!! YELP!!!! YELP!!!! YELP!!!! YELP!!!!

            The metal bits of the cage have cut a big hole in my ear and another gash in the side of my back leg.  I can feel blood running down my legs.  There’s so much pain now I don’t even have energy left to yelp.

            I’m flying toward the mud now.  



            I see stars.

            I want to shake my head, but nothing will move.

            At least the mud is soft, and the mud on my feet actually feels cooling because they are so hot and sore.  I might be able to stand, but this thing around my neck is still holding my face down.  If they push me anymore my nose will be in a puddle.  I have to keep my nose out of the puddle. I can just about swing my head around.


            Oh! A man’s boot in my belly.  At least the pain in my feet and shoulder are fading behind that pain.  Something’s broken inside me now.  I can’t hold myself up.  Just lie here in the mud and try to breathe.

            No, the man’s dragging me by the neck with this wire thing again.  I can’t breathe.  I can see a trail of blood coming off my legs.  Everything hurts.  I’m going to die.  I want to die.  

            I don’t want to die.  I want to bite this man and run away as fast as I can, no matter how badly I am hurt.  I have to get free.

            The men are dragging us all into a building now.  I’m inside a long hallway, piled up against a wall with all the other dogs.  But now they’re taking the wire things off our necks and we can breathe a little better.

            There’s a big door at the other end of the hallway.  It’s closed, but I can hear other men on the other side of it with their horrid barks.

            Now one of the men from the moving machine is opening the door and I can see the other men on the other side of the door.  One of the men has grabbed the little terrier by his neck and he’s flung him into the other room.  Oh my god!  What’s happening there?  One of the men inside is smashing the terrier’s head in with a big piece of wood, and he’s just fallen to the floor in a heap.  He’s not moving… I think… Oh my god he’s dead. We’re all going to die.

            We’re all going to die. We’re all going to die.  Everyone is barking the same thing.  

            We all know what’s coming and none of us are going to escape.  The door to the outside is shut tight, there’s no other way but through that killing door to that killing man with his killing wood.

            The little one who’s missing his mom is being grabbed now.


            The killing man is smashing his head with his killing wood.  But he didn’t hit him hard enough.  He’s still moving. I can see his legs moving.  He’s on his back and looks like he’s running upside-down.  Now another blow.  I think he’s dead now because he’s fallen down and he’s not moving.   But the killing man is kicking his dead body past the doorway and I can’t see him anymore.

            There’s only two dogs between me and the door.  But I’m not barking as much as those two and the man on the other side of the door is looking at me in the eye.  

            He’s moving toward me, stepping over the dogs in front of me.  I feel my body spasm.  I’m terrified and can’t move.

            He’s got me by the leg, the one with the broken shoulder and he’s lifting me by that leg and I’m dangling and I can’t bark because there is too much pain and I know that I can’t get out of this.  I wriggle and writhe to try to get free from his big nasty killing hand, but he’s got me so tight I think his hands are crushing my bones. I try to relax and let it happen, quickly. 

            He’s dropped me!  I land on my swollen feet and try to jump over the dogs behind me now.  Panic rises up in me as I sense the slimmest possibility of escape, of life.

            Run!  You gotta run, kid!  

            Then the man grabs me by the tail and yanks me backwards and I think my tail will come off.

            YELP!!!! YELP!!!! YELP!!!!

            He’s dragging me over the other dogs and I see the door pass by me, and turn my aching head toward the man to bite him and see the death wood coming down quickly.


            I don’t feel anything.  I don’t hear anything.  The blow has not ended me, but I feel nothing as the man throws me against a bloody wall where I land on top of the dead terrier.  

            There is so much pain it is almost nothing.  All I can feel is my body shaking, and the blood draining from my ears and my nose, but I am still aware that I am alive and in this place of hell.

            I hear one of the men in the death room barking more angry barks.  

            I hear the footsteps as they come closer, sloshing through the pink and the hair and the smell, and I close my bleeding eyes and relax my body.



 Photo image: djedj from