birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Beady, Sick-Yellow Eyes

Arf! Arf! Grrrrr!

I hear Oscar [our dachshund] going at it outside the kitchen door. It’s nearly midnight.

How had he gotten out?!

Disembodied, beady, sick-yellow eyes glow at me from the fence-top when I look out the window. Oscar is stretched as long as he could get with his front paws against the fence, his snout as close to the eyes as he could stretch—barking, barking, barking.

He is growling, somehow non-stop, through the barks.

I don’t flip on the light. I think, “I don’t want the thing to attack!”

“Though more likely it would just run away,” I reason. But, I didn’t know what it was!

Coyote came to mind, and bobcat.

I can’t see. There is no moon. The neighbors’ ever-on kitchen light is off.

Damn! What belongs to the sick-yellow eyes?!

How do I to get Oscar inside? Without vexing those eyes? Finally, I risk the light.

I see fur, streaked brown and black. The eyes turn to me, along with a narrow, pointed snout. A mouth is open—showing scores of pointy teeth. A guttural and rasping something is vibrating from the mouth—from the whole body it seems, somehow.

There are four tiny brown and black furred bodies behind it. All of them are frozen still and looking—now at me.

“Oscar!” I grunt-whisper. “Get inside right now!” Nope, not gonna happen.

“Oscar! Treat!” I snatch ham from the fridge, wave it and drop it at the doorjamb.
He looks at it, at me, and back at the possums. He looks at me again—sad.

His paws hit the ground. He’s at the door. I pull the ham inside. His wiener body follows. Our possum adventure is over—they calmly sidle along the fence and disappear into the neighbors’ yard. I sigh.

How did that damn dog get the locked door open at midnight?!

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