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"NOTE TO SELF: JUST STOP" by Laura Stamps


“Good girl,” I say to the little dog when she pees beneath the palm tree outside my apartment building. That’s what the training video for Chihuahuas said you’re supposed to say. Good girl. And she seems pleased with herself. Good girl. And she is. A good girl. So far.


“Yet something doesn’t feel right about this,” I say to myself. “I feel like I’m the one being trained. Why is that?”


“No, wait,” I say to myself. “Don’t answer that. Stop. Just stop.” This. This makes me crazy. Thinking about this. It reminds me of what I did. How I adopted a dog. When I never planned to. When I’m not a dog person. When I never have been. Never wanted to be. I’m a cat person. And happy about it. Very. Happy. But last Saturday. It happened then. I was eating lunch in the park. And there she was. This tiny Chihuahua. Abandoned. In the park. Thin. Too thin. And tiny, tiny. I couldn’t leave her there. I couldn’t. I saw those people drive up, toss her out the window. I saw them drive away. But what could I do? What? So I rescued her. Adopted her. And look what happened. My life changed. Drastically. In just a week. Changed. In ways I never planned. Never wanted. Change. It’s not my friend. No. I’m not good with it. No, not at all.


“But, but, but,” I say to myself. “Stop. Just stop. Don’t say another word to me. Thank you.”


The little Chihuahua rolls over on my shoe to show me her fat belly. Good girl. And she is. And sweet. That too. I gently tug her new leash (just like the video said). She jumps to her feet. Potty break over. Time to go home.

Laura Stamps loves to play with words and create experimental forms for her fiction. Author of 30 novels, novellas, and short story collections, including IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RIDE: CAT MANIA and THE WAY OUT (Alien Buddha Press). Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. You’ll find her every day on Twitter (@LauraStamps16) and Facebook (Laura Stamps).

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