Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Killing a puppy

Days 29-30

Tues/Wed Dec 1-2

A puppy arrives on my doorstep, a skinny little thing, looks scared. It has hidden itself behind the large dressing table that my neighbour has dumped in the hallway along with his daily rubbish, cigarette ends and snack packets. I wonder if the dog is his too? It’s one of the toys – when I first saw it I thought it a rat. It has fouled the corridor several times and itself. When it sees me it bolts for cover under the dresser. I find the sight of the miserable little thing depressing. If I feed it, it’ll stay; if I leave it, who knows what’ll happen to it?

It howls once in the night, catches my eye in the morning and I sneak guiltily away to the studio. Give some money to a beggar instead, it’s emotionally cheaper.

Next evening the dog’s still there and the entrance to my apartment is a picknmix of litter and shit. In a fit of cruelty, I fill a bucket with hot water and detergent and sluice away the muck, leaving the puppy hidden under the dresser with a pool of water around it. It tentatively tries lapping at the hot stinking mess.

I shut my door on it, tell myself I can’t adopt a puppy and walk the anarchic Ciao Q. Cockroaches, rats, dirt and dogs are crowding me at the same time as my poem’s falling apart. My boundaries are dissolving and I cling to the poem like a left luggage ticket. I feel that I’ve not just left the UK, but am starting to float away from myself.

The puppy’s imploring eyes have freaked me. I fantasise about putting the dog in a box and dumping it in the streets so it’ll die quicker, out of my vicinity. If I wait til the early morning hours when I’m back from the studio, no one will be around and the thing can be easily done. I plan to dispose of it the following night. There are boxes stacked in the street after the night market finishes, just before the ragpickers scavenge the cardboard.

I want to talk to Yan Yan to check alternatives to murder, but he’s not around, tied in meetings. When I finally see him he’s worried-looking, overwrought with his job. He barely registers my presence then gives me the brush-off. I lose myself in work, solving nothing, sinking further into the mire.

Come midnight, I pack up. It’s raining and the night market is slush, boxes ruined. I ride the lift up to Jiu Lou (9th Floor) wondering if I can fit the dog into a plastic bag. But it has gone when I arrive and the sound of its howling comes from behind one of my neighbours’ doors. I sit on the edge of the bed and marvel at my own cracked brain: I am not like this.

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