Last time it rained this hard the dog drowned. [1]


I took her down to the second-floor patio to pee and next thing I knew she was carried away on the crest of a wave. St. Bernards were bred to swim, but not Brandy the brick. She sank by the streetlamp on Oe and Vine.
In the attic, John held Brandy’s water wings as if every time he put them on her she didn’t flip upside down, paws in the air, buoyed at legpits. “You hated her.”
“That’s true,” I said, dodging the ceiling’s saggy spots, “but not that much.”
John pouted, and I felt old and didn’t like him anymore.

That night we slept outside under a tarp on an air mattress tethered to the gutter.

In the morning, John took my rowboat and didn’t bring it back. [2] His last words to me were inhaled by the wind.

Eventually, it stopped raining. Brandy never turned up, though a Buick with a mother and two childreninside washed onto the front lawn. All three were bloated like thawed grapes.
I shooed the crows hourly, wearing Brandy’s water wings, two per wrist. “Get,” I yelled, “Go!”

It took the city four days to come and tow the car, which left a rusty outline that killed the grass. Everything else erupted in bloom; stone walls and tree bark mossed over and ivied, white picket chain-linked wrought iron fences interwove with purple bougainvillea, lawns hostaged by hostas regenerated beneath mower blades like starfish hacked to bits, cracked sidewalks and crumbled driveways displayed wildflowers high as my collarbone, frogs leapt two-by-two along lily pad roads connected by ponds and streams, but all that, outside.
Inside, the basement resembled a drained aquarium without glass or killer fish, just the little river ones for me to sweep, their scales stuck to broken cement. On the first floor, the periwinkle carpet mushroomed green with mold. On the second, floorboards like rocky mountain ridges. Guest room: twin mattress marshmallows in lime Jell-O. In the master bath, a kelp forest mat, a tub of black sludge, wallpaper peeling like strips of seaweed; and all over the house open books facedown like week-old dead gulls.

I took a walk.

Rot stenched the neighborhood.

I came home the back way so I wouldn’t see the yellow grass out front, came in through the glassless window and fingered the curtains my mother made. Lace turned to dust in my hand and burned my eyes and choked me when I touched my face. I missed my mother and I missed Brandy’s chin on my thigh, and now that this runs daily in the classifieds, [3] I’m grateful I didn’t miss John and even pitied him a little for waking every morning and saying “When it rains, boy, it pours.”

[1] $1,000 REWARD for lost St. Bernard. Responds to “Brandy.” Right eye blue, left eye brown. If she won’t come when you call her, try Ritz crackers with peanut butter (chunky).

[2] Gently used air mattress FREE with purchase of rowboat. Call John for details. Assholes need not reply.

[3] ATTN: Kate D’Angelo. If you’re reading this, Kate, and I hope you are, I should never have said that when I left. It was probably uncalled for. So listen, since it’s raining again and there’s shit to do, call me if you want to hook up sometime.

Molly Gaudry is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's M.A. fiction program, and she is the Visiting Fiction Writer in Residence at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Serendipity, Titular, UpRightDown, Wigleaf, Robot Melon, Quick Fiction, Dogzplot, and Word Riot. She is a co-founding editor of Twelve Stories, the editor of Willows Wept Review, and she blogs here.