He planted his feet on the side of the yard and watched the riding lawnmower continue its looping circuit, Jim’s head having fallen onto the steering wheel at just the right angle to keep the mower going in lazy donuts around the yard. Jim’s lifeless puppet body and the steadfast mower were being dutifully pursued by his dogs, their yapping through the perpetual game of catch coupled with the hum of the motor were the only sounds besides occasional birdcalls for miles. Gary shook his head, shot a thin stream of brown saliva onto the road, and took one last look at the bizarre procession before continuing on.
There was an awkward moment as they performed the you’re-blocking-my-way dance. After the necessary adjustments she lumbered off, leaving a scent faintly evocative of urine. As he watched her walk away, her impressive girth shifting one way and the other, his lower lip began to tremble. She was all he had, and God knows that wasn’t much. He was not generally given to excessive displays of emotion, but at that moment he began to feel all of the years of emotional stoicism crumbling away. With a girlish cry, he buried his face into the soft dog tummy, and cried. Cried like an infant with his square shoulders rounded forward and shaking with sobs. The dog, mildly interested, lifted its nose to snuffle wetly against his suit, leaving an abstract dark blot of pity as evidence.