Dead Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell

Chapter 14
They Don't Make Dollar Tokens Like They Used To

I stand posted at my bank like a sentry guard, looking back and forth to make sure no one else notices the hollow barks coming from inside. You are not allowed to open your bank until a "Slot Service Specialist" (the S. S. S.) arrives. This prevents a change person from stealing any money, before they’re counted in, and passing the blame onto whomever worked at the bank before them. I cringe when I imagine hundreds of disembodied eyeballs; all nestled comfortably inside the security cameras that surround me, staring at me, patiently waiting for me to stick a nickel in my pocket.

My forty-five year old friend, Lisa is the one who ends up counting me in. As she walks toward me, I notice her mouth is hanging wide open and her index finger is up in the air. This usually means she thinks she has something meaningful to say.

"You're late," she tells me, stating the obvious. "I know, Richard put me into nickel hell and I couldn't find the bank." Lisa smiles like the Cheshire cat, "this just isn't your day, is it?" I choose not to answer. Sometimes the obvious gets tiring.

The barking ceases as my shaking hand puts the key into its hole. I breathe deeply and throw open the doors of my bank. The second they open, a putrid stench enters my nose. I hand Lisa a stick of "Big Red," hoping to solve the problem.

The gum doesn’t help. I look around, seeing if anyone else notices. "Do you smell anything?" I ask Lisa as she pushes the long string of "Big Red" back into her mouth. "Is that what the gum was for? Do I have bad breath?" Lisa asks self-consciously. I roll my eyes and reassure Lisa that her breath is fine.

I ignore the scent as best I can and begin to rub my palms across the top of the change cans. We have to rub our hands over each can of change, before we count in. Sort of like foreplay with thousands of nickels. The casino forces us to fondle the change to insure that, if we're a quarter short at the end of the day, we take responsibility for the loss, instead of blaming that evil person who worked here during the last shift.

I rub my hand across the nickels, then move down to the next shelf to rub all the quarters. After the quarters I check to see if all the dollar tokens are intact. I begin to rub my hand over the surface of the dollar shelf. What I feel is definitely not rolls of tokens. My palm runs across something slimy. I feel my fingers ride over tufts of matted hair. When I make my second sweep over the object, my index finger winds up stuck in some hole.

I pull my hand out, not bothering to look what orifice my finger was up. "Baaaaaaa," I scream as I jump back from the bank. Lisa looks concerned over my sheep-like noise, "what happened?" I hardly hear her. I am too busy remembering the dead dog, the barking that came from my bank moments earlier and cringing over what I may have just put my finger into. I pull out the bottom shelf, hoping that all that I heard and all that I felt was a hallucination. Sadly, it wasn't. I'm not very surprised to find the dead Dalmatian is back, more decomposed than before.

His guts hang out like gray spaghetti noodles. His face is primarily bone. There are still a few tufts of hair stuck to rotting skin on his eyelids and upper forehead. The rest of his head is completely hairless, wearing only scattered patches of flesh. His stench and appearance begin making me nauseous.

"Can't you see that?!?" I ask Lisa as I point toward the decomposing canine. "Yeah, I see it," Lisa answers calmly. I ask why it isn't making her sick. "Wayne, I’ve seen dollar tokens hundreds of times. We’re pretty busy here, this isn’t very amusing."

I look to the ground and see my dead dog wink at me. I decide to avoid the corpse as much as possible and go on with counting my bank. But it's impossible to ignore the canine once he starts in with his hideous laughing. I kick him once, trying to make sure his laughter isn't just a defect in his internal record player, but it just keeps on.

"C'mon Wayne, neither of us have all day. The poor new girl is running her little butt off trying to cover two areas and you're starting up a kicking match with the tokens. I mean it when I say this isn’t amusing. I don't think Richard would think so, either. Let’s get to work." I ignore Lisa's subtle threat and wonder if Carrie looks like The Fugitive as she runs her butt off.

The dead dog stops his laughing and begins talking to me as I go back to counting my change. "We need to talk, buddy." "Leave me alone, you stupid mutt." "Hey, I'm a purebred." "Sorry." "No problem." "I still have to work." "I’ll work with you." "You can’t. People will think I'm talking to myself." "Just get a change cart; I’ll ride along with you as you give out change. You can just kinda hum out your responses. Tell people you like to, sort of, you know, 'whistle while you work'." "Fine, whatever. Just shut up, and if you start that hideous cackle up again, I'll smash you." "That was meant to scare you. You know, how ghosts and stuff always laugh and it makes their victims cower in fear." "Well, it just came off as annoying. Now shut up." I don't bother to ask the dog what he meant by "victim."

I notice Lisa looking at me kind of strange. "You’re a weird one, Wayne Ziekel." "It’s how I was raised, Lisa Anderson." "You were raised to talk to yourself?" Lisa starts looking concerned. "No, but I was raised to mind my own business!" I snap back. Lisa takes the hint and I finish counting the bank in silence. "Everything’s right on," I say. Lisa and I both sign a paper stating this fact and Lisa leaves, without saying a word. .

"Don’t forget to grab a cart," my dead dog mumbles to me after Lisa is gone. "You dork," I still can’t believe I’m having a conversation with a dead dog, much less calling it a "dork," "I told you people would wonder if I start talking to myself." The dog doesn’t seem concerned, although what he says next sends a chill through my body. "Don’t worry about it, she’ll be dead before the end of your shift."

Go to: Chapter 15

1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.

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