Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Best Friends By David Sydney

Does a friend eat whatever falls onto the floor and then throw it up? Frodo, Ralph's Labrador retriever, did just that to a frozen mac & cheese in its microwavable container that Ralph let slip on Monday night. By definition, as a dog, he was Ralph's – and man's – best friend.

Ralph studied the retriever, drooling. What kind of friend soaks another's shoes with saliva? Or barks at every doorbell ring as though it were an emergency?

Ralph looked from the Labrador to his goldfish, Zeus. The fish had spent its two years so far in the kitchen. That is, in the fish tank with a miniature sunken treasure chest, plastic weeds, and an attractive mermaid. If Zeus jumped from the tank to the floor, no doubt Frodo would eat him. There was no way Ralph could match Frodo for speed in getting anywhere, including to a rescue.

Did the goldfish have any conception of a world outside of the fish tank? A kitchen world of refrigerators, microwaves, and doorbells sounding? Or, how about an even larger world of bushes, trees, and dog walkers? Frodo was an impressive urinator as well as a vomiter. He didn't miss a rhododendron nor spare an elm tree in the neighborhood.

Zeus darted into the red and green artificial weeds. He was a terrific swimmer and camouflager. Had he evaporated? He minded his own business. He left well enough alone. Did he ever vomit? Living in water, did it matter? Or, if he peed? Or drooled, if that were possible? Still, no one ever considered a goldfish man's best friend.


David Sydney is a physician. He has had pieces in Little Old Lady Comedy, 101 Words, Microfiction Monday, 50 Give or Take, Friday Flash Fiction, Entropy Squared, Grey Sparrow Journal, Bright Flash Literary Review, and Rue Scribe.