El Shaddai

BOOK OF EXODUSHoly Bible

Chapter 21 (Holy Bible, ISBN for example 9780060649234)

Without any warning, my neighbour put three poodles in his yard. He went from none to three in a single black afternoon. After that he paid them little attention. As far as you could tell, they never left the yard. From morning until night they bombarded the neighbourhood with shrill barrages of barking that tore your concentration in two. They’d cease just long enough to let you collect your thoughts back together before shattering them again with the next barrage.

When home, their owner would bawl at them to shut up from behind his screen door. On other evenings, enraged neighbours assumed the role. It seemed like just a matter of time before some neighbour rationalised euthanizing them with poisoned meatballs.

I think their bawling God must’ve perplexed them. Why had it delivered them out of the pet store only to freeze them in its backyard?

In their loneliness, they turned to a new El Shaddai. One of them began to imitate the sirens of ambulances zooming to the hospital on Clayton road. It would listen to the siren,

“reeeeeeee-orrrrrrrr-reeeeee-orrrrrr-reeeeeee-orrrrrrrrr-reeeee-orrrrr”,

and then answer back,

“arooooooo-orrrrrrrrrrr-ooooooo-orrrrrrrrr-oooooooo-orrrrrrrrrrrr-oooooo-orrrrrrr”.

I think they must’ve envisioned its source as an illimitable dog, hurtling past at a hundred miles an hour.

poodles

 

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