Agnes was still peeved about the comment, though she couldn’t put her finger on exactly why. Phil had said it loudly to everyone within earshot, not to her in particular, but there was a glint of mischief in his eyes when he glanced her way. She’d seen the same expression in a student a few years prior when the kid slyly slipped “hucking fell” into his oral report on Mark Twain. The kid said it was an accident, but Agnes saw that it wasn’t. In Phil’s case, she was just as certain he meant something extra, but if she asked any of the nearby handlers if they’d noticed anything about the way he said it, she’d look like she’d been stewing about an offhand comment that had nothing to do with her. She imagined them asking, “All the guy said was he was taking photos of people who resembled their dogs. What’s that got to do with you?”

Considering Agnes didn’t have big floppy ears that hung to the ground, maybe it didn’t have anything to do with her. Point of fact, she’d always had petite ears – not worthy of a superlative in her high school yearbook, but it had been noted by several optometrists, and her primary care physician, and her husband. If Phil was making a reference to her and Sausage, he was stretching to do so. Agnes couldn’t imagine any human with ears like a Basset, except maybe the checker at the Safeway with the big discs in her earlobes.

While she’d resigned herself to the fact that she wasn’t as pretty as she’d been in her 30s, she’d maintained a nightly Oil of Olay regimen for decades and felt pretty good about how she looked at 62. Her skin wasn’t as taut as it once was, but Sausage had jowls hanging nearly as low as his ears. Phil’s comment would have been funny if he’d said it about Charles Walker, the handler of the Mastiff who took first in Working Group – his face had so many folds that his razor rarely catch all of the stubble when he shaves – but it didn’t apply to her.

When she had a moment alone, Agnes squatted and assessed Sausage’s droopy eyes, a trademark of the breed, then fished a small mirror from her purse and examined her own. While she could joke that they both needed sleep, that’s where the comparison ended, and that made her wonder if maybe she was overthinking it. As they say with babies, sometimes a smile is really just gas – maybe a thought went through Phil’s head at the moment he’d made his comment, a microscopic distraction that sneaked out in his expression. She looked at the dog again, and at her face in the mirror, and decided, yes, that must have been it. Whoever he was taking photos of, it wasn’t her and Sausage. They had no resemblance at all.


© 2016 WPReagan. This is one story in the 2016 series, Everyday Stories: 30 Tales in 30 Days Inspired by 30 Stranger’s Photographs.


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