I walk Zeke outside.
He sniffs at the grass, at the plants, at the trace of bunny in the air.
I watch him circle the yard: It’s gone.
The vigorous flourish of the tail. The accelerated gait, his canter. All gone. In its place, the all-consuming lethargy.
The panting is incessant. His barrel chest rising and falling, a steam engine chugging, The Little Red Engine That Could: I think I can, I think I can, I think I still can.
He’s parched, always. His long tongue stretches to lap up gulps of water.
And Dad, “I’m hungry. I’m always hungry. I can’t help myself. It’s those damn white pills you wrap in the lunch meat.”
The steroid dosage has been lowered, his normal surefootedness slipping. Another stumble up the stairs this morning, his head lunging into the hardwood –and then, a soft, helpless yelp.
Water from a tap drips.
No one is ready for this. No one wants this.
This shot clock is running out.
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