Our theme for the month of October was selected by readers and is a format challenge: write a post completely in dialogue.
PRELUDE. The living room couch. MATT and KENDAHL, a married couple of six years, sit and chat.
KENDAHL: Tomorrow! He’s coming tomorrow!
MATT: I can’t believe it. We’re getting a dog.
KENDAHL: Let’s just get through this two-day trial period.
MATT: This could be the last night of just Matt and Kendahl.
SCENE 1. MATT and KENDAHL’s house. KEVIN the dog is experiencing his first day with them.
MATT: Come on, Kev! Come down the stairs! Time to go outside! You can do it!
KENDAHL: Go ahead, bug! Go down the stairs!
KEVIN looks down, hesitates, then turns around and slowly walks away.
SCENE 2. The living room. MATT and KENDAHL are determining how to get KEVIN to get into his crate. KENDAHL is draping a light blue blanket over the crate.
MATT: I would totally freak out if I had to sleep in a crate with no light.
KENDAHL: But Kevin is a dog.
KENDAHL: I actually read that it’s better for dogs to have a blanket over their kennels. It’s supposed to be a safe place for them.
MATT: Nice…. Come here, Kev! Come on, bud! Get in your crate! Get in your crate! Get in your craaaaate! (To KENDAHL) What’s the phrase they used in that training doc?
KENDAHL: They would say, “kennel up.” But I don’t know what we should say.
MATT: We should probably be saying the same thing though, right? We don’t want one of us to be like “kennel up!” and the other to be all, “get in your crate!”
KENDAHL: Let’s go with “get in your crate.” “Kennel up” feels weird to say.
MATT: Agreed. Kevin, get in your crate! Get in your crate! GET in your CRATE!
KENDAHL: You have to say it with the same tone every time or he’ll get confused.
MATT: (Sighs) I want him to go into the crate without having to give him a treat every time… we shouldn’t be making that a habit.
KENDAHL: Right… sometimes I just carry him into the crate and it works.
MATT: Yeah, but don’t we want him to get in there by himself? Have some ownership over it?
KENDAHL: I guess…
KEVIN stares at Matt, not appearing to budge.
MATT: Ok, I’ll go get a treat.
SCENE 3: Dinner.
MATT: He totally knows where his food is now. It’s a good thing we put the chip clip over it, or else he’d rage.
KENDAHL: You want me to show you how I feed him?
KENDAHL grabs a half cup worth of Purina ™ Puppy Chow, then extends her arm straight out towards Kevin, as if to say, “stop.”
KENDAHL: Wait… wait… wait… wait… wait… wait…
KENDAHL lowers the food toward the bowl slowly.
KEVIN moves his head toward the bowl.
KENDAHL (wagging her finger): Ah-ah-ah-ah!
KENDAHL: Wait… wait… wait… good boy.
KENDAHL places the food in the bowl.
KEVIN goes crazy and demolishes the bowl in thirty seconds.
SCENE 4. The backyard.
KEVIN has a tennis ball in his mouth and is walking towards MATT.
MATT: (trying to remove the tennis ball) Good boy!
KEVIN is squatting down now.
KENDAHL: He’s PEEING!
SCENE 5. 3:30 AM. Kevin whining loudly from crate.
KENDAHL: Does he need to go out?
MATT: He shouldn’t! We took him out at like 10:30 last night.
KEVIN whines from crate in living room.
MATT: This cannot become an every night thing.
KENDAHL: I think we just threw off his schedule.
MATT (sarcastically): Creature of habit.
KEVIN: Yeeeelp! YEELP!!!! Crate banging around.
MATT: It sounds like he’s got his tail caught in a fire.
KENDAHL: Just take him outside and you can put him in his crate after.
KEVIN jumps and rocks the crate noisily as MATT approaches.
MATT: Come on, Kev. Let’s go outside.
KEVIN sprints out of cage. Goes outside with MATT.
MATT: Ok Kevin, go pee bud! You can do it! Go pee! Come on—good pee, good boy! Gives KEVIN a pat on head. Ok buddy, time to go back to bed.
MATT brings KEVIN inside, up the stairs, and back to the living room in front of crate. KEVIN stares at MATT with zero intention of voluntarily getting back in the crate. MATT gets small treat and tosses it in the crate. KEVIN obliges.
KENDAHL: Did he go?
KENDAHL: Let’s hope he stops whining.
One hour later…
KEVIN: I’m up again!!!!!
Matt Cambridge (’12) is a new dad to Chloe, husband to the beautiful Kendahl, and a human resources professional at Boeing. He lives in St. Louis and enjoys eating Hershey’s kisses, riding roller coasters, and watching the latest stand-up specials on Netflix. You can read more of his work at laughcrythink.com.