My Best Friend - Alex Antiuk

My Best Friend - Alex Antiuk

   I don’t know why my mom named him Hitler. Hitler was the sweetest, best friend anyone could have. He would make sure that when I had a bad day at school, he’d do a sprint up the doggy stairs next to my bed and lay down right beside me. There was nothing I loved more in this world than cuddling with Hitler, and feeling his tiny, wet, little brown nose poke me on the cheek when he knew I’d been crying.

   “Sandy! You’re going to be late!” Linda screamed. She was sitting in the kitchen, most likely smoking a cigarette and drinking Diet Coke.

   I fumbled out of bed and watched Hitler hop down his doggy steps. His tiny legs moved quickly, and as I flung on my unwashed jeans and a sweat-shirt I watched Hitler let out a tiny bark. His tiny nose shook as he spoke, and I went and kissed him straight on the head.

   “Come’on, Hitler… We’re going to miss the bus…” I said, before I threw my homework into my backpack and flew down the steps. I skipped past Linda, when suddenly I noticed there was this old, tired figure beside her. He was wearing a loose fitting, green polo shirt that had a large iron-on logo on the back.

   “Sandy… This is Mark.”

   “Hi, Mark…” I said back, assuming Mark was just another of Linda’s boyfriends.

   “Hiya’, kid…” Mark began. His eyes were floating around the room, looking for something. I watched his eyes fly straight over the dishes and the left out cereal box on the counter top. He was keenly searching, and the moment Hitler showed up he said, “There’s the man in question…” I dropped my backpack down, and wondered what he meant. Mark picked up a clipboard from the table and asked Linda, “So explain it to me, one more time… Because we’ve had quite a few complaints…”

   I watched Linda take a drag of her cigarette before sticking it straight in the empty Diet Coke can. She let out a small cough and said, “Well… We found him lying half-dead on the road in-front of one of those trailers in the town over. He was shivering all over, even though it was hot-as-heck, and I thought there’s no-way I could leave him…”

   Linda let out another cough, before I happened to look down and notice Mark’s backpack. It said, Animal Advocates. He was from this local group that made sure animals were treated even better than humans.

   “So… Why the name? It seems incredibly cruel to give your pet a name so terrible… Ma’am, almost all the folks at the dog park have emailed us!”

   Linda’s face suddenly turned angry, and she replied, “God… All of you animal rights people are the same. You don’t get it…” Linda paused, and lit another cigarette.

   “The place we found him outside had a bunch of these big, swastika flags flying everywhere…”

   “So why call him, Hitler? He probably doesn’t want to be associated with his old home in any shape-or-form!” Mark was aggressively scribbling on the piece of paper attached to his clipboard. I was watching nervously, as I’d heard stories about these people taking pets away and sending them to the shelter - where I heard if no-one adopts them in a month the pets get killed by this big, poisonous needle.

   “For the last time… I didn’t want him to feel like I’d stolen him from his old family. I wanted Hitler to keep a part of himself… Because even the evil parts of our lives are important. And with Hitler, I knew if I gave him a name like yours, Mark, he’d probably never understand where he came from… And never be able to fully appreciate where he’d ended up…” 

   Mark’s forehead began to sweat, and Linda was biting her bottom lip in frustration, before I watched Linda get up and walk towards the fridge. She opened it and ripped another Diet Coke can off the plastic wrap and took a seat. 

   Mark continued to take notes and I noticed his chubby cheeks had turned tomato red. He was nervously bouncing in his seat, and I wondered what was going to happen next, until I noticed Hitler had fallen asleep on my shoe - his tiny head sleeping soundly on my shoelaces. 

   “Sandy!” Linda screamed. Her voice pummeled into my ear and I realized I was about to miss the bus.

   I about-faced and sprinted out the door, not before saying to Hitler, “Hitler… You’re my best friend!” Hitler let out a cute, little bark, before I heard Mark say, “You see… He still has that aggression in him…” But Linda stopped Mark in his tracks and said, “You want to see aggression? You’d better leave, Mark… And you think you’re talking Hitler with you? Over my dead body!”


Written by Alex Antiuk

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