There is nothing I despise more than the curs. I would exterminate them all if I could. I would exterminate them now, and permanently. Why should I explain myself? It is obvious why the curs should be eliminated from our city. A dog should have a master. Without a master, a cur lives only for itself, is indiscriminate in every unclean dominion, snuffles among the horrors of humanity’s very bowels, and spreads disease from one section of the city to the next. A master cares for his cur, delivers it to the veterinarian for the appropriate vaccinations, feeds it, grooms it, and keeps it clean.
I have walked these streets plenty enough. I have seen the curs loping about, sickening blotched tongues dangling wetly down—practically slurping up the sludge from the dirty pavement! The much-trod carpets of their mangy backs look to be infested with God-knows-what manner of insectile life—larvae, lice, ticks . . . . I shudder in the imagining.
Look on that cur there. He lacks a history—has no master. I cannot ask his master, “Where has your dog been?” I cannot know how that nostril was mutilated. The foreshortened tail, the strange burrs in its paws, the missing ear, the bedraggled lips drooping down past its jaw revealing blacktar gums: how did these come about?—any number of disgusting images arises before my appalled consciousness. The cur whines as its wagging picks up and its snout burrows deeper into the pile it has been sniffing. It has found a rotten fruit. The cur gobbles greedily what any well-heeled dog would leave to the floor. Indeed, the cur searches desperately for more. It paces the wall alongside which stretches the spilled trash (which spillage I am certain the cur abetted), and pokes its nose in with infinite hope, and blows and sneezes according with the odd powders and chemicals to be found deep midst the spreading detritus. The cur leaves, having exhausted the possibilities, yet stays, in spirit, for the trash is still there against that wall, even dispersing down the street, even insinuating itself into every crevice of the city, thankful to its cur-progenitor, without which it would have been hauled away to some far site to be compacted and buried away from sight.
And most distressingly, there is the problem of the bad example these curs set for the youth of our city. The curs have no decency, no code of conduct. They defecate in the gutter, piss on the flagpoles, and, most abominably, rut where they please. Just the other day, I came upon some children giggling in an alleyway as they observed the curs propagating with exertion upon each other’s backs. Let me reassure you, I shooed the children away, telling them, “Do not do as the curs do!” and then I took care of those curs.
I say to the city: Take care of the curs!
Curs! I curse the curs!
Yarrow Paisley lives in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. His writing has appeared recently in Twelve Stories, Clockwise Cat, and Barge Journal, among others. His video work has been featured at Red Lightbulbs. His website may be consulted at yarrowpaisley.com.