angry noise – by Brian Dyer

 

Janus is in the backyard crouching low to the ground, eating the dead dog’s teeth out of the palm of his hand. He swallows them whole, when he can, but sometimes he has to chew for them to go down smooth. There’s a hole in the roof of the dead dog’s doghouse, and there’s nothing inside but blackness and blackness the longer you look. Pale dead grass and it’s nippy out, nippy but not windy, and it’s bright, too. Janus hears an angry noise and looks behind him at the house where a living person lives.

There’s a window looking into the living person’s personhouse and there is blackness inside there too and the soft glow of an old television set. There is no noise. The man inside is in his underwear drinking a beer, and he’s pale and balding and lit up by the television. He’s sitting in a chair, looking at the empty chair in front of him. He takes a sip and says to the chair “I hate you.”

He grunts loudly and says again “I hate you.” He takes a big gulp and stares harder and harder at the chair. He leans forward and his eyes get dark and mean. “You know what you are?” He growls quietly, baring his teeth like an animal. “You’re shit, you know that? You’re fucking garbage and you know it!” He takes another gulp but cuts himself short, eyes wide at the chair, screaming, “You shut your fucking mouth! Shut up!” He throws the beer at the chair and his mouth hangs open. His eyes drift from the chair to the door. “Yeah, that’s right. Leave. Fucking leave!” The words are flung out of his mouth, falling limply on the floor. His eyes stay locked on the door, his mouth begins to shake. He grips the arms of his chair and yells “Get out!”

Janus crawls into the doghouse and waits for the angry noise to die, but it doesn’t. Feeling around in the blackness he grabs a rusted chain leash and wraps it around his neck. He pulls it tighter and tighter until he can feel the rough metal pressing hard against his throat whenever he tries to breathe. He crawls to the end of the dead dog’s doghouse and turns around, and sees the house where the living person lives, colorless and dingy, at the end of a long dark tunnel. The sky is dingy too, and no light enters through the hole in the roof. He hears a door open. He hears his name, and his name is an angry noise. In the blackness, Janus lays down to sleep.