Discover more from BadFiction
TALES — a fiction by ollie francis
Memory and reality are not always the same.
The yard would be filled with them, crammed into cages far too tiny for their size and numbers, wooden slatted with chicken wire bars.
Sales wouldn’t pick up until after the lull of January and February, so the first two months of the year were when the yard was most crowded and most noisy. When it was most cold, my grandmother would wander outside to the makeshift sheds, let herself in and wander among the warmth of the bodies.
I asked her if she ever had a dog herself, when she was younger. I had never seen her with any, despite her stories. She told me that after a childhood surrounded by them, she couldn’t think of them as anything but stock in her parents business. No pleasure in them anymore, she said. Just bodies to be sold.
When she passed away, I asked my father if he had ever considered getting a dog. Or even a few of them. Carry on the family business.
What family business? he asked me.
I reminded him of my grandmother’s tales.
That’s all they were, he said. Tales. Nothing but tales.
My grandmother grew up in a terrace in Lowestoft. The backyard was a small strip of land between house and toilet. Not enough room to swing a cat, he told me.
Toys, he says. Her mother was a seamstress. Kept the family going through the winter with her creations. She would make bears, giraffes, anything anybody wanted to give their son or daughter for Christmas. But the dogs were for my grandmother. Thirty or forty of them, still crammed into the cupboards when they emptied the house ready for the new tenants.
I was just a boy, he said, but I remember them, spilling out when she opened the door. And I remember the way she turned away, walked us out of the house and left every stick of furniture there, every item of clothing still hanging in the wardrobes and every picture on the wall.
I give her flowers every Saturday in the graveyard by the cricket pitch where the dog walkers go.
Originally published on Tumblr
New fictions every day at olliefrancis.co.uk
Support my work by buying my ebook, Good Fortune