FictionJoshua LewinComment

I Was Listening, part 1

FictionJoshua LewinComment
I Was Listening, part 1

I was listening, part 1
By Joshua Lewin

In the spirit of These Wild Apples, this series turns snippets of conversation from our dining room into stories for everyone to overhear. 


I swear to God, that dog would get up up on both of his hind legs, push himself backwards and have this big old grin on his face. He was literally smiling. 

Dogs don’t smile. 

Bullshit dogs don’t smile. Ever seen a greyhound turn the last corner with the lead? 

That’s stupid. 

It’s not stupid. That dog is driving itself ahead, a mass of blood and bones and ligaments whipping it forward, faster than a car whistling through the tunnels of the Merritt Parkway. 

What does this have to do with eggs? You said the dog could peel eggs? 

That dog is practically a slave to that track, right? Day and night, kennel to racetrack and back again, but for that one turn, it’s like he is actually going to win something. For himself. Like it matters. Like crossing that chalk line ahead of his kennel mates will catapult him straight up into the sky and he’ll fly away somewhere. It’s seconds. But those few seconds with gums pinned back by the wind, long tongue flapping up over that skinny head...

And then he peels the eggs? You saw him peel the eggs?

No, it’s a different dog! And no, I didn’t actually see it, this was my grandfather’s dog. He brought it back after his service in Africa. And they used to hang out at the bar, right, like a lot. Him and my grandmother. And the dog would just sleep there by his feet, and then once or twice throughout the afternoon he would bark, real loud, just once. And then jump straight up onto the bar top where they had these hard boiled eggs out. Anybody could take one. Even a dog. And the dog would scoot back on his hind legs, and like, hold the egg in his front paws. Then peel them and eat one or two then go back to sleep. 

So this dog would just sleep all day and then jump up and peel an egg? 

That’s what he said. And I would always wonder if the dog was dreaming. Like maybe he was dreaming he was one of those greyhounds, right, but not at the track, a free greyhound. Well he was an African dog, so maybe a… what are those called… a Saluki...

Those are Persian. I think Asawagh is West African maybe. 

Well, ok. But it’s just a dream though, right? So in his dream he’s a Saluki. And he’s in Egypt maybe. 

There’s no way that dog could peel an egg though, or jump up on that bar. 

I’ll text my mom, she’ll remember. She was there too, she was, like, 5 then. 

And anyway, he’s just running and running. In his dream, right?  Nothing but sand and sun and clear sight lines and he spots a hare or something and just runs like you wouldn’t believe. He’ll never catch it but he doesn’t care about that. He just wants to chase it.  And then he pops up out of this dream and the whole thing is so ecstatic he pops all the way up onto the bar and it’s like he’s a man now, like a human, and the whole world is open to him, and there just like that, an old lazy dog can peel an egg. 

What did your mom say? 

Oh, hold on. 
She just says, sometimes you just had to be there.