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October 29, 2010

For the next three days, every forth period, the spotted terrier sat outside and stared at Mable through the window in the back of Ms. Batternans' classroom. And each day, for the next three days, Mable hustled out of class, and around the side of the building to find him, without any luck. She was concerned that her loud approach might have scared the dog off before she could get close. The combination of her stumbling running style, sweat-drenched bare heels inside of rubber-lined sneakers, and raw onion farts firing with each stomping step, sounded like a drunk horse angrily playing a tuba filled with pudding...

One thing was always the same: A single uncracked peanut laying in the dog's place outside of the classroom, and another uncracked peanut laying next to a tiny turd lump in the cemetery. 


It left Mable completely puzzled. She would sit in the cemetery, laboring through it in her mind, and would speak repeatedly out loud to herself, "...what am I supposed to do with the peanuts? ...what am I supposed to do with the peanuts? ...WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO WITH THE PEANUTS!?". Because her mouth was filled full of raw onion so often, her question sounded more like "...what am I supposed to do with the penis?", which sparked looks of disgust from family and friends that happened to be visiting the nearby grave site of a loved one. 


Where was this little peanut-and-turd-leaving fairy coming from? Why was he staring at her?


The next day, the dog stopped coming.


Eleven months passed, and Mable was still riddled from that week when a mysterious terrier visited her, and left a message each day. The message was never clear until April 25th, 1953. Mable had grown another inch, which forced her dad's hand-me-down tan wool slacks up another inch on her hips, revealing an extra inch on her ankles, ankles that were now wrapped with tightly rolled-down socks... a first. As usual, she was hunched over a half-written obituary titled "Mable Seasons 1940-2040: Eyeball Surgeon & Inventor of the Edible Lightbulb", with her long legs stuffed under her chair/desk so tightly that the front two desk legs were elevated high enough to slide a tuna fish sandwich under without touching it.


A black raven caught Mable's attention when it landed on the windowsill at the base of her favorite window in Ms. Batternans' classroom. The bird sat there for just long enough to jackhammer it's beak through the back of an unassuming portly red beetle that was relaxing in the afternoon sun, and then it flew off like a theater curtain drawing up at the beginning of a show. The dog was back. He was holding a red piece of paper in his mouth the size of a Saltine cracker.


Mable found another peanut in his place outside the classroom, and anotherperched-up turd next to yet another peanut in the cemetery. This time the turd was neatly stamped on the piece of paper. She slipped it out from under the turd, which was quickly cooked dry from the sun, and blew the lingering light brown dust off of it. She was surprised how much it smelled like popcorn and sugar. 


It was a ticket. A ticket for the Uehling Town Carnival that happens once a year.


Mable took the ticket to the carnival the next day. There was no line at the time, so she was able to approach the ticket booth attendant and asked if it was valid. He said, "yes".


He, was Elden Felps. 


Elden was Mable's height, which she was enamored by, and he looked to be only a few years older than her, but he was pale enough to mistake him for dead while sleeping. He was also a uniquely frank conversationalist. His lack of color and energy prompted Mable to ask if he was feeling alright.


He said, "...yes. I only earn enough money here to pay my rent. I make the rest of my money each month from donating blood and semen. I do it so often that I rarely salivate, generate tears, and I've lost my ability to urinate...". Elden paused, looked down to his side, and pointed, "...that's what this bag on the counter top is for... it's my urine bag. It comes from this tube that connects to my privates. Doc calls it a catheter. I call it my urine tube... because it connects my urine bag."


Mable said, "...oh, that makes sense". She noticed the name tag pinned to his concaved chest, "Nice to meet you, Elden."


And that, was Mable and Elden's first of many conversations.


Mable thought that she would ask for the hell of it, "Say Elden... you haven't seen a little dog around here have you?"


Elden paused and stared lifelessly for a moment before responding, "...is it a little dog?"


Mable thought her question was clear enough, but Elden appeared a bit slow, so she responded, "...yes, a little dog, have you seen a little dog around here?"


Elden said, "...yes. That's my dog. His name is Peanut. He always steals peanuts from a sack in my mangers' office, which almost got me fired once. He eats a lot of popcorn and cotton candy too. He doesn't listen to anything that I say, and he's always chewing on my urine tube... I hate him... do you want him?"


A small grin started on Mable's face... followed by a slowly released wet grumble sound from behind her that raised in pitch and volume at the end, burrrrrrrrrrr


Elden didn't seem to notice, "Do you smell onions? ...I love onions."


Mable's grin exploded into a full-blown smile, something she hasn't done in a long time. Her instant comfort level with Elden gave her the confidence to do something else that she hasn't done in a long time...