A man tries to comfort his little girl.
|From The Daily Flash Fiction Contest
"What would God want with a dead dog?"
The question hung there staring at him from blue, unblinking eyes.
Roger took in a deep breath, held it, started to say, “Well, you see—” and quickly changed his mind as an uninvited smile tried to challenge his impassive dad-face. His eyes shifted away, seeking safety.
He zeroed in on the people at the other tables, watching them blithely eating their cheeseburgers and their French fries, watching them trying to open ridiculous little packets of ketchup with their teeth, watching them chew, laugh, all of them unburdened by a child's question impossible to answer.
"Don’t be sad, baby,” he had told her earlier. “Your doggie is with God now.”
It was a stupid thing to say, but don’t kids get told things like that all the time? He faced the music now. He faced the eyes. It was time to explain himself to a nine-year-old girl who didn't seem too pleased with him at the moment.
"What? Huh? Tell me the truth,” she said. Her open hands rose to shoulder height.
He exhaled, finally.
Her hands were still up, her eyes were still waiting.
What the hell would God want with a dead dog? Roger didn’t have a clue. A laugh of sorts slipped out through his nose.
The blue eyes narrowed, seemingly stung.
“Abi. . .” he started, “Darling. . .” A mistake to speak at that moment. A smile charged forth, became a full-fledge grin, and his laughter exploded from within as the ugly truth dawned on Abigail’s sweet face--her father was an asshole!--and Roger, witnessing the magic he once possessed go POOF into air, gone, like Santa Claus closed his eyes as people looked over and self-pity began dancing joyfully with self-loathing inside his Pegan soul.