All the World’s a Stage — That Goes For the Four-Legged Too

Here is another short story I intended to submit to a publication a few months back. I found it in drafts and thought it was worth taking a risk to publish on my own. Hope you enjoy it and no offense intended!!

I wandered on stage before the dress rehearsal started. The set was finally complete and the smells of fresh paint and new wood excited my nose buds. This set was replicating the inside of an upper-class house’s living quarters. If I scaled my head way back, I could make out a staircase up to an inviting door above. Opposite me stage right, several yards away, the stage exit crafted as pastel mahogany double doors was closed to show the drama’s fictional world was not yet accessible to audiences’ imaginations. Center stage, two armchairs sat facing the audience with an inviting coffee table between them. Etched into the staircase was a fictional fireplace to bring the cozy scene even more warmth.

Stage lights were pouring out over the set. The empty theater was pitch dark. Due to the lack of all the smells like sweat, chocolate, leather from purses or jackets, hairspray, and the like, I knew the room was empty. Freedom, this was my moment to shine! I pranced happily to the middle stage chairs and sniffed the stage left seat up and down. My nose caught scents of that sweet lady who did all the singing. I picked up a sweet pear fragrance plus a trace of tangerine. I loved that lady so much, she was always stroking behind my ears and saying “you’re just the sweetest little guy.” I started passionately licking the seat. Oh, the taste was what I loved most in armchairs — that salty taste with my lovely friends’ fruits mixed right in. I couldn’t get enough.

Soon, I jumped up on the chair and rested my head on the arm. I imagined a brief moment of Sweet Singing Lady coming out and lifting me up before sitting back down and placing me in her lap. She massaged behind my ears and began singing a lullaby, and I slowly drifted off to blissful rest.

But then I remembered who actually would be accompanying my dear lady friend — that rude, sneering short plump man who could barely carry a tune and always skirted what seemed several feet away in the dressing rooms. “Oh, I’m deathly allergic!” He would protest, “and who knows where these specimens of creatures have been!” I jumped down and skirmished over to the other armchair. Ha! Yes, the scent was almost too much to bear — an overbearing blend of grape-scented tobacco plus some cheap brand deodorant. I was not going to do any licking here but had the most splendid idea. I jumped up on the armchair, lifted my leg, aimed, and squirt!! And once I had to tend to one order of business I had to attend to the other as well. I squatted over the chair and let it all drop out. Allergic Plump Man would hopefully sit in the waste byproduct from my afternoon turkey stew kibble washed down with some fresh laps of water. After finishing my business, I jumped down, panting nervously and sniffing the air to make sure no one was near. I then trotted back to the other end of the stage and quickly made an exit.

In the hallway outside the backstage, I could hear Master Jed’s call. “Rufus? Rufus, boy, where are you?” Before I went out of the hallway, I looked back to the lighted stage where I would be making a brief appearance in a later scene with Master Jed. We only would be walking on for a moment, as Master Jed would call me by some fictional name and briefly mention the strange occurrences that went on in that mansion up the hill. I would not be but a passing blip of wonder to audiences before Sweet Singing Lady and Allergic Plump Man stole the show. But that didn’t matter, I had already made my mark in the fictional mansion. It was the mark my kind always makes — licks of compassion for those who offer us love and a little fun-loving mischief for those who berate us! Now, whoever said that human men and women were the only players on the world’s stage?

“Rufus, there you are!” Master Jed leaned over and rubbed my head as I entered the hallway. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” I licked his hand to show my love and suddenly he opened the other with a treat! A wonderful bone-shaped biscuit I would chomp up quickly, not as elegant as Sweet Singing Lady’s scent but familiar and satisfying nonetheless!

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