Thursday, January 8, 2015


I Bet You Are Wondering About The Pup
By Philip Schochet

I bet you are wondering about the pup. I bet you are wondering about why we were standing in a circle around it and blocking its attempts to escape with our feet. I too would wonder if I saw a group of people like us standing in a circle with a pup darting back and forth between them.

Well, I’ll tell you our plan was to kill that pup, to kill it for food, but we also wanted to give it one last run before it died.

Pups are very nutritious, a great source of protein during these protein scarce times. They can be prepared a number of ways but Gustav makes an excellent Galantine with pup meat. It’s a slow process but worth it. A true luxury during these luxury scarce times.

Don’t I move in such wonderful circles nowadays? My circles are brimming with luxurious wonder, and here you are, wondering about the pup. Personally, I couldn’t imagine anyone better to ride this thing out with.

I bet you are wondering about the expressions. Most of what we say we get from the tapes. On the tapes people place bets, wonder, brim, move. People used to talk that way, the tapes suggest, before everything became so desserted.

Gustav makes such spectacular desserts that on most days we don’t even know what to call them. Harvey once called Gustav’s flowerless cake black and dry but I live for his desserts. People might say life is sustained here on desserts and pup meat.

I bet you are wondering about the name. Pups are what we call the Iguanas we raise here. We call them pups because we always wanted a pup but found that Iguanas would help with our roach problem. Here the Iguanas never go hungry and neither do we. It’s a sustainable solution. We call them pups because while we thought giving them individual names felt cruel we wanted a way of signifying they meant something special to us.

More about our roach problem. Roaches fall from the ceiling here. Because we live in protein scarce times, we used to imagine that the roaches were precious jewels, which is hardly a healthy delusion. We are in a jeweled desert where jeweled sand crunches beneath our feet. We find the dunes positively perfect for sliding.

Two things we are obsessed with by the way: sparkling and sliding.

But it turns out the roaches are hazardous. We know because all of the flowers blackened sometime after they arrived. By then the food had already changed. The loaves had turned back to stone, the crops had been somehow set aflame. The hundreds of jars of pickles on reserve had all seemed to implode at once.

Harvey suggests that it’s probably something they carry in their leg hair, the thing that makes the roaches hazardous, that is. Whatever it is, it’s neutralized by the pups during digestion. The pups eat the roaches, we eat the pups, no one feels a thing. It’s a pretty good arrangement we’ve got.

Sometimes we need to stop the pups from overeating. Sometimes we imagine their stomachs bursting, a shower of intestinal fluid and precious stones. If we are being honest, we imagine the fluid less and the stones more.

We try to stay fit by sliding, which is why we do it besides liking it so much. We try to stay busy with our imagining, and our sparkling words make a wonderful home remedy, but lately we’ve been tiring of moving in circles so much. All of a sudden our sliding feels labored, which was the last thing we’d imagine happening during times like these.

And what would you imagine when all the fluids ran dry in a desert that you remember was once a world populated with words, and you are hungry and lonely and near the end of your walk, with only Gustav and Harvey and the other animals, the only ones to survive, to keep you company? With your eye on the horizon, what kinds of names would you play as each thing slid into the next?

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Besides teaching Modern American Literature at Seton Hall University and writing at New York University, Philip Schochet is an occasional Dogwalker, Barback, Valet, File Shredder, Mover, and Ghost Writer from New Jersey. He received my MA in English from Seton Hall University in 2009, and my MFA from the New School in 2011. He is more of a dog person than a cat person, though, occasionally, he does see the error of his ways.

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