Prompt Images

The girl was eating the popsicle. He was watching the girl eating the popsicle. And I was watching him.

He was bad. I knew that. But there was nothing I could point to for the cops. No evidence. And would they believe the cleaning lady? No. The girl would go on to live in the house, and the bad ones would come and go, and I wasn’t going to be there long.

What could I give her? Nothing I had would be enough.

I made myself think of the end.

Women are strong. Didn’t I move on? I’m still here. Still alive.

Her tongue kept licking the melting, icy popsicle, and his black hole eyes were on her mouth. I wanted to rip his eyes out and shred the skin from his bones.

There are dogs and there are cats. That’s what I ended up telling her. Then I added, never have the dog in the house when you eat.

So when I eat, eat away from the dogs?


What else about dogs?

Dogs can be mean. Dogs can bite you. And if there are only dogs in the room, you must learn to be a dog too.

In the end, that’s what I told her. I knew it would help.

She wanted to come with me.


But I want to.

It’s complicated, I told her.

On my next visit, we talked about cats. I told her sometimes it’s ok to be a cat. I asked her, what do you know about cats?

Cats go soft when you carry them around, she said. And make engine sounds when they fall asleep on your pillow.

What else?

Cats know when the dog is gone, she said.

Clearly, she was smart. But there needed to be another lesson.

Sometimes you need to be the dog, but never be only the dog unless you have to, I said.

The last time I went to their house, I knew I’d got it right because when the dog came back, she became a dog. And that’s how I knew there needed to be another lesson.

Don’t get stuck in dog. That was the last lesson.

I didn’t go back to her house again, because I didn’t want her to learn about the last, last lesson. Or I didn’t want her to learn it from me. I’m stuck in dog because it’s easier. Less painful. Hair up on my back, lips back, fangs out.

Lisbeth Mizula

I've been a secretary, waitress, actress, cook, counselor, dancer, reporter, stand up comedienne & joke writer, and I’ve sold books, cookies, magazines, diet supplements & fake handbags.

learn more
Share this story
About The Prompt
A sweet, sweet collective of writers, artists, podcasters, and other creatives. Sound like fun?
Learn more