“Do you think he did it?” Ben asks.
“I’m serious, Sam.”
“I know,” Sam thinks for a moment, “There is no reason that he would, like none.”
“Maybe he’s cracking under the pressure. Has he been drinking?” asks Ben.
“I don’t think so,” says Sam shrugging.
“What do you mean you don’t think so?”
“Well, it’s not like I check his breath every time I see him,” says Sam starting to get exasperated.
“OK,” Ben says slowly like it’s one long word. “I’m just worried about you.”
“I know,” Sam says kissing him as she reaches across him for the water on the bedside table. “Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what I think,” she adds.
“Not to be blasé, but what’s done is done,” Sam says interrupting.
“You’re trying to tell me that you don’t care if he did it or not?”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying,” Sam says.
“So, what are you saying?” demands Ben.
“I’m saying either way the damn dog is dead and there isn’t a lot I can do to change that Ben. Christ, I’m the one who has been calling the hotline everyday for the last three weeks expecting to hear his description on the dead dog list, and at this point the best that I can hope for is that someone else found him and liked him so much that they decided to keep him. Either way I’m the one who ends up without a dog and that just sucks.”
Ben reaches to stroke Sam’s back and murmurs, “So, you think she did it?”
Sam hangs her head in defeat and sighs, “I think that she doesn’t know what she is doing at all most of the time anymore.”
“Is she taking her meds?” asks Ben.
“Yea, but they don’t always work. The doctors say that it takes time to find the right cocktail, and that some people just aren’t responsive.”
“That’s what scares me most.”
“I know. But there’s nothing I can do about it right now. Listen, at worst I go to college in 6 months, then at least I won’t be in the house all the time.”
“I wish you could move in here,” says Ben smiling.
Sam laughs, “Your Mom likes me, but I don’t think she likes me that much.”
“Seriously, I need you to tell me what you think happened,” states Ben.
“I just do. Please?” begs Ben.
“Dad had no reason to kill the dog, honestly, the dog was more his than mine. He took him everywhere, carrying him around under his arm all over the house. I wish I had a cigarette.”
“You’ll survive without it,” says Ben wrinkling his nose.
“Yes,” sighs Sam. “I think that she had one of her delusions and either took the dog somewhere and set it free, or she killed it thinking that he was the devil or something.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”
“Not really. The weird thing is, I can’t figure out when she got him away from Dad…”
“What if it is you next time Sam? What if she tries to hurt you?”
Turning to face Ben, and taking his face in her hands Sam says, “You have to trust that I can take care of myself. I’m not a dog. I’m a little harder to take down than a poor dachshund.”
“I don’t like it,” says Ben.
“I wouldn’t expect you to.”
“Let’s practice,” suggests Ben.
“We just got done with class,” protests Sam.
“Come on, it will make me feel better.”
“I’m tired,” tries Sam. Ben just looks at her as he is pulling on his shirt. “Fine,” she says as she reaches for her Kung Fu uniform, “But then we get to do more of what I want after.”
Ben smiles, “Of course.”