Emily Mumpton | The Day in the Life of Puck

The air smells of grass and dandelions as I run through the wide-open field. The sun is bright and beating down on my fur, and the warmth feels so nice that I just want to savor it against those cold winter nights ahead. I see a red ball at the other end of the field, I start running faster towards the ball. As I am just about to bite into the ball, I am awakened by the blaring sound of some woman singing, coming from the alarm clock.

I lay in the warm cocoon of my Dora blanket, waiting for Mom to get out of bed. She lays there for about ten minutes listening to the music, and then makes a big sigh and gets out of bed. I’m not exactly sure what time it is, but there is no light coming from the windows. I assume that it is still quite early in the morning. I lay in bed while she takes a shower and gets dressed for work. Amelia, Mom’s daughter, walks into the bedroom, asking if the outfit that she is wearing looks all right. I roll my eyes and make a big snort because honestly, I couldn’t give a damn what she is wearing. Mom responds with a smile, saying that she looks good. Amelia walks over to me and gives me a kiss on the head. She then leaves, and Mom continues with getting ready.

I know when it is time for them to go all too well. Mom is fully dressed and her hair is up off her shoulders. She sprays herself with this sweet flowery scent that permeates the room and comes over to me. Normally she kisses me on the head silently and picks me up in the Dora blanket to bring me over to the living room. Today is different: she kisses and pets me on the head and looks me in the eye and starts to talk. At first I have no idea what she is talking about, babbling on about some old white house on a cold day and a man who smelled of pee. Then she mentions how she walked into a garage filled with dogs like me.

The memory pops into my head immediately. I remember that old smelly man. He used to call me “Shaky” because I shook all of the time. It didn’t help that he kept the room so cold, and that I couldn’t cuddle up to my brother and sisters because they didn’t like me all too much. I don’t get why — all I did was go exploring into the house where we weren’t supposed to go and use the bathroom in there. Later the man found the spot where I went to the bathroom and punished everyone by not giving us treats.

That day when Mom came to get me, I was sitting underneath the metal chair in the garage, shivering. I was in time out. The guy had caught me in the house again using the bathroom. I remember seeing Mom petting my mother and my brother and sisters, while I just sat there waiting for her to notice me. After a while Mom looked up saw me and immediately came towards me. I slowly, got up from my time out spot making sure to not get into any more trouble. When I didn’t hear anything from the Man I put my tiny black paws on Mom’s knee, stuck out my little wet black nose at her, and sniffed. She smelled of a sweet flower, with a hint of vanilla. She put her face toward mine and I immediately gave her a kiss. She then picked me up and told the guy that she wanted me.

I snap back to the present just in time to hear the part where Mom chose to name me Puck because the owner said I was mischievous. I personally disagree. I was just cold and didn’t want to pee in a cold place in front of everybody. I tuned her out after that because my stomach started to growl, and I wanted her to leave so I could get that treat she gives me every day before they leave. She finally finished her story and brought me out to the living room, where she placed me on the couch wrapped up in my Dora blanket.

I don’t like the part of the morning where I am moved from the bedroom to the couch; the only good part is that I get my daily treat, the one they use to “distract” me from the fact that they are leaving me. They have been doing this from the time I was a puppy and I am not about to stop pretending now that I don’t know what they are doing. Mom gives me my treat and I eat it quickly while Amelia and Mom get their coats on. Before they leave I give them the saddest face — with my black ears pulled back, my head bent down low — while I look up at them with my big brown eyes. They give me an apologetic glance and go out the door.

I wait for the click of the door closing, get out from my blanket, stand on the back of the couch that’s up against the living room window, and watch as the car backs out of the driveway. I stand there for a bit, waiting for them to return, but I give up after a while and crawl back into my Dora blanket. I lie there thinking about the times when they were here, remembering the tranquil moments of laying on the couch next to Mom as she pets my back while watching television. I enjoy those petting sessions because it’s so relaxing, but I don’t get the fascination of the television like Mom and the daughter do. All I see when I look up at the screen is a blank.  Nothing captures my interest, but it seems to captivate them from the moment they point the remote to the television.

Actually, I hate the television.  It’s like the mirror. You think there’s another dog that is going to play with you, but once you run toward it you smack your nose on the glass mirror and the whole thing falls on you, scaring you under the bed for the rest of the night. I remember one night I thought there was a big dog in the house — I heard a dog’s barking coming from the living room, where Amelia was sitting on the couch watching something on the television. I barked, saying, “Wait! Don’t leave, I’m coming!”

I jumped off Mom’s bed, ran into the kitchen, ran into the living room, and looked around the room for the other dog. There was none. I sat in the middle of the living room floor waiting for another bark, and a few seconds later there was another one. I ran over to the kitchen, hoping that maybe they were in there; I looked around and they weren’t in there either. I heard the bark from the living room again and ran back. I realized then that the bark wasn’t real. The bark was untouchable because it was coming from the television. Frustrated, I went back to Mom’s room, climbed back on her bed, and went back to sleep.

They’re gone now and the television is off. I lie on the couch alone, yawn, lick my nose and noticed that it is dry. I jump off the couch, walk over to my water bowl in the kitchen and drink. I look to my left where my food bowl is, sniff at it, and cringe. I don’t like the food they give me, it’s tasteless and too crunchy. I don’t understand why I can’t eat their delicious food. The smell of it makes my mouth water. Even just thinking about it makes my mouth water a little bit. I tried to tell them by standing underneath the table while they ate, then climbing up on the chair, then onto the table to eat their food, and still my food doesn’t change. The only thing they do is yell at me, pick me up, and place me back on the floor again, next to my dull food.

I stand in the middle of the kitchen with my back to the food dish, stare at the refrigerator where their food is stored and contemplate opening it and eating some. My stomach growls and I can’t wait any more. I walk over to the refrigerator, put my black paw underneath the seal of the door, scratch, and the fridge makes the familiar pop sound it makes when it opens. I stand there in front of the cool air of the fridge, staring at everything from the wine in the door to the pound of hamburger meat on the bottom shelf, just sitting there waiting for me to sink my teeth into it.


I’m licking up the last of the meat on the couch when I hear the creak of the kitchen door open. I pause where I am as I hear the crunch of food underneath feet, and the sound of the refrigerator closing. Amelia appears in the living room doorway with an angry look on her face. She takes one good look at me and smiles. I can only imagine what I look like. I can feel the slimy tomato sauce on my back from where it fell on me as I tried to get the meat, and the tug of little clumps of meat stuck in the black whiskers on my face. Amelia walks over to the couch, puts her hand on my back and immediately retracts it, then looks at me and says, “You had quite a feast, didn’t you?”

I give her the guiltiest expression I can muster, looking up at her with my big brown eyes, snorting ever so softly so it almost sounds like whimper, and shivering to show fear, I put my face close to hers and give her a big apologetic lick. Immediately I realize that is not what she wanted at all. She jerks away from me and yells, “AGGGHHHH! PUCK! THAT’S DISGUSTING!”

I watch the daughter as she runs between the kitchen and living room picking up my mess. I feel guilty for making her clean up all this mess, but maybe now she will get the hint that I like their food and not my own. She finishes cleaning, comes over to me and tells me that I am going to take a bath. Immediately my heart starts to race and I start to shake. I hate baths. The water is always too cold, and it’s just an endless time of having water dumped on me.

I watch her as she walks into the bathroom. I hear the sound of the bathroom light go on and the squeak of the water being turned on. She comes back out into the little hallway, opens the linen closet, and pulls out two towels, one for me and one for her. She goes back into the bathroom, puts one towel on top of the shelf behind the toilet, and comes back out with a towel in her hand. She walks towards me and with each step I am shaking harder and harder. She pets me soothingly, telling me that it will be all right. I don’t believe her. None of these baths are all right. It should be illegal to force someone to clean themselves. I don’t have a problem with sitting around in my own filth, it doesn’t bother me, so if I’m fine with it then I shouldn’t have to get rid of it.

She picks me up in the towel, walks me over to the bathroom, and places me in the warm water of the tub. I give her a last pleading look, hoping she will get me out of here. She says she’s sorry, grabs a cup full of warm water, and dumps it over my body. I hate this feeling, I really do. With each dump of water I become angrier and angrier, so angry that I can’t look at her any more. I have to avoid eye contact. I put my ears down against my head, close my eyes, and put my head down, away from her, waiting for the torture to be over with.

After what feels like forever, I feel the warm fluffiness of the towel wrap around me and I am being picked up, away from the water. She sits down on the toilet seat and rubs me with the towel until I am almost dry, then she brings me over to the couch and wraps me up in my Dora blanket to keep me warm until I am completely dry. She cleans up the bathroom, puts on her jacket, gives me a kiss on top of my head, and heads out the front door.

I lay there for a couple of minutes, just listening to the quiet creaking of the house as the autumn wind from outside blows against it. I am just about to fall asleep when I hear the creak of the kitchen door opening. I immediately sit up straight, black pointed ears high on alert, waiting for more sounds to come. The house is quiet for a few more minutes until I hear the clicking of small footsteps skittering across the kitchen floor. I stare at the entrance of the kitchen from the couch, waiting for the creature to approach. As the sounds comes closer and closer my heart is pounding harder and harder.

I am just about to jump off the couch when I see this tiny creature with big shiny black eyes, a small brown body with white stripes, and tiny ears. When the creature sees me, it immediately stops, wide eyed, and stands frozen in place. I just stand there calmly, waiting for it to make a move closer to me. After a couple of minutes it takes baby steps towards me and sniffs. As I get a better look I know now that I have seen this creature before — this is the creature that climbs the trees outside and taunts me. It sits there glaring at me through the window, knowing that I can’t reach him because I am trapped in here. Mom and Amelia call this creature a chipmunk. I call it an annoyance for the sheer fact that it is standing in my living room now, interrupting my once quiet afternoon.

I give out a little growl to try and scare the thing out of the house, but it just stands there staring at me, waiting for me to entertain it or something. I snuggle back down in my blanket and try to ignore the thing, but then it makes this high-pitched squeal sound that completely ruins the mood for relaxation. I finally, lazily look over and ask, What do you want?

The annoyance hesitates and responds in the same high-pitched voice. Nothing, I was just exploring and looking for something fun to do.

All right, but this is my house. My Mom and Amelia live here, which means that if you make any messes they are going to blame me. So don’t make any trouble for me and I won’t make any trouble for you. I don’t care if you take some food or go around exploring, just don’t make a mess. Got it? I ask with a stern snort.

The annoyance squeaks a quick reply that it understands, and runs back through the open kitchen door and out through the hole in the garage. I fall asleep for another couple of hours until I hear the sound of the kitchen door opening again, and the clicking sound of Mom’s heels against the kitchen floor. Amelia follows behind her, walks over to sit next to me, and turns on the television.

It’s not even ten minutes later and the annoyance comes back. Mom is in her room reading and the daughter is still watching the television, not even noticing the annoyance. The annoyance walks closer to me and Amelia notices the movement and screams. “OH MY GOSH! THERE IS A CHIPMUNK IN THE HOUSE!”

The annoyance looks up at Amelia and runs out of the house before Mom can come into the living room to see what is going on. Mom looks at Amelia and asks, “What’s wrong?”

` Amelia runs out into the garage with Mom and me following close behind, just in time to see the annoyance go through a hole next to the garage door.

“That chipmunk just came into the living room and nearly scared me half to death!” Amelia screeches.

Mom pats Amelia on the back. “It’s all right, it’s gone now, I will just go into the back yard to get a rock to cover up the hole.”

Amelia sighs in relief and walks back into the house to resume watching television. Mom goes outside to find a rock. I just stand there in front of the hole, realizing that I might never see the annoyance ever again. It’s a shame, because I was beginning to like him, even though all he did was screech at me and he didn’t knock before entering. My friend is being taken away from me and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I walk back into the living room with my head down and go back to sleep until the very next day.

The day begins like it normally does, with Mom and the daughter leaving and me stuck at home alone. I spent the whole night night dreaming about how I can get my friend back, and I have finally thought of what I am going to do. I am going to remove the rock.

I walk out to the rock in the garage and place my black paw on top and pull it toward me. The rock moves a couple of centimeters in my direction, so I try again. The rock does the same thing, a couple more centimeters away from the hole. It takes me a couple more tries until the rock is completely away from the hole. I walk back into the kitchen, take a drink of water, jump back on the couch, and fall asleep.

About an hour later I hear the familiar screech from the annoyance and open my eyes. Not ten feet from my face is the annoyance, staring at me. I give a snort, acknowledging that it’s there, and it backs away. I close my eyes and listen peacefully to the little clicking of the annoyance’s feet across the floor as it runs from room to room.



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