‘Risotto by Peter McMillan

January 28, 2013 Comments Off on ‘Risotto by Peter McMillan

I dreamt us again last night … Otto and me. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary that we were sitting at the back of a crowded airplane. The pilot had just announced that we would be landing in a few minutes. I heard myself calling, Where’s Otto? ‘RisOtto, here boy, to get him to come and lie down. Otto was enjoying the attentions of a chubby young boy and his anemic older sister a couple of rows in front. He never passed up a chance to be noticed and appreciated, and that’s why he wasn’t listening to me.

As I reached out to grab him by the collar in order to pull him over to me, the collar slipped over his head, and he was sucked out the door at the back of the plane. Strange. It didn’t even occur to me at the time to wonder why the door was wide open. I watched myself hesitate, then jump out the door, and then improbably land right beside him.           

Gathered up in my arms, he didn’t feel so heavy anymore. He lay motionless, until he began gurgling and coughing ― not blood but water. In no time, I saw us limping across the runway past the cargo handlers and maintenance workers who mostly cheered; though some wagged their fingers or shouted mean things. Inside the terminal, we quickly became invisible in the waves of arrivals and departures.           

Long, diagonal corridors, bounded on both sides by small, colourful shops selling newspapers and magazines, laptops and plasma TVs, souvenir shirts, fashion gowns, books, and sofas connected the terminal’s multilayered sections. None of this appeared odd ― just incidental. As I watched us moving through the busyness, it seemed that everything around us had been staged.           

Once outside in a nearby wooded park, a dozen or more happy, playful dogs greeted Otto and me. He was back in his world ― back where he was meant to be ― and I looked so very happy that he was happy, again. He ran fast and hard, wearing his big, goofy dog smile as he led the pack round and round the park. He ran so fast, I couldn’t even tell that he was running on only three legs.           

Then, darkness came quickly and caught me by surprise. Otto had disappeared down a square spiral of concrete steps, which led to a deep tunnel under the freeway. I heard ‘Risotto! being called down into the tunnel. I heard ‘Risotto! ‘Risotto! echoing back from the emptiness below, and again, I would relive not finding Otto. 

© 2012 Peter McMillan 

The author is a freelance writer and ESL instructor who lives on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario with his wife and two flat-coated retrievers. In 2012, he published his first book: Flash! Fiction.

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