[The Puppy, 883 words, Genre: Dark Humour/Realistic Fiction]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
Louis was young. Seven to eight years old and still at primary school. He was bright, but had been placed in babysitting care with another family. This was due to his father being absent, working overseas and his mother holding down a full-time job. The family was Maori, the father of some unknown origin. There had been incidents of sexual abuse that had occurred throughout the family, perpetrated by the father. In Louis’s own family, they had been placed under the care of the Maori family.
Louis formed a friendship with the youngest of the Maori family. They were all victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by the father. Later, when Louis’s father returned from overseas the eldest of Louis’s family would come clean about the sexual abuse that had occurred to him, which would prompt Louis into a realisation of his own sexual abuse. The eldest would confirm this with his father and the father would report it to the police. The police, in turn, could do nothing until they built up a case and evidence was formed.
One day while Louis and the youngest of the Maori family were playing outside. The Maori child started to try to communicate the problems that he was facing. They had played the videos raising awareness of sexual abuse through the schools and it was at this point that the Maori child was attempting to illustrate his problem.
“Laugh!” He cursed with anger.
Louis did not understand what he meant.
“Laugh!” He cursed again.
Louis still did not understand.
“Laugh!” He cursed a final time.
The Maori boy being older than Louis took this as some sort of instruction and so feigned laughter.
“See, you don’t get it! Nobody understands, I feel like killing myself.”
Louis, compassionate in his young age asked, “What can I do to help?”
“There’s nothing you can do.”
“Your secret is safe with me… Tell me what I have to do.” Louis was young, too young to be able to encounter such problems and harsh realities of the world.
“Bullshit! Nobody understands.”
It was then that Louis described what he did whenever he felt down. He was young and children are cruel as long as they remain ignorant. He told him of the neighbour’s puppy. How there was a gap in the fence and whenever he felt down because of the torment that he received from his older brothers and otherwise, he would go to the gap in the fence. Call the puppy and wrestle with it through the gap in the fence. The child thought he was torturing the puppy, but in reality it was just a gentle muzzling. If the puppy was otherwise harmed, it would not return on repeat encounters. Perhaps rough playfulness, but not torture. He described this to the Maori boy.
And asked, “What should we do? Kill the puppy to make ourselves feel better?” Louis was a child, he would not kill the puppy, he was just attempting to make his friend feel better. To release the rage that his friend was experiencing.
“No, that won’t make me feel better.”
Louis thought and thought. He pushed the boundaries of his own imaginative field and quizzically proposed, “Fuck the puppy?”
His friend’s eyes lit up with eccentricity as he proposed this irrationality. “Yeah! Do that! Fuck the puppy!”
So after a few weeks of not seeing each other. Louis jumped over the fence of the neighbours and held the dog down. He pulled down his pants. The secret was that you have to get the dog on its back so it doesn’t run away from you. Once he discovered this, he stopped.
He went to his friend and said, “I fucked the puppy.”
His friend asked, “How do I know that you fucked the puppy?”
“Well the secret is that you have to put it on its back so it doesn’t run away from you.” This made the Maori child not feel so bad. As long as there were kids stupid enough to fuck animals out there. His problems seemed minute.
As an older adult Louis thought about it. He was confused and traumatized by the event. He didn’t actually fuck the puppy, he was only eight or ten years old. How could he summon an erection at that age in order to penetrate the animal? This is what adults understand of the human sex drive that children don’t understand. He was confused by the events of his past as sexual abuse did occur to him as well as the Maori children. But as an adult, he understood what the Maori child was talking about. Children, when shown the videos or media representing sexual abuse laugh at things that they do not understand because they have not, as of age, experienced their sexuality. Terms of the human anatomy make children giggle or laugh when approaching the subject of sexual abuse. Children, at that age are only looking to fit in. A child is not going to be able to fit in if they are ridiculed and that is why they will not speak up. This is what allows paedophilia to continue on in the undercurrents of society.
Perhaps if they are told the variant story first then the mode of ridicule or ostracism will be lessened.