the dog will see you now
I heard from reliable sources that the cat who lives at 23 Pine Street can answer any question but when I get to number 23 Pine Street there’s no cat, just a gardener outside who stops digging up long-dead begonias to inform me that the cat’s owners moved to Pennsylvania or Kentucky, one of those, he’s not sure which but they took the cat with them, he’s fairly certain of that.
“I don’t suppose there are any other question-answering animals around here, then?” I ask.
The gardener frowns—a bigger frown than the question deserves in my opinion—and he gazes past me, down the street a bit.
“You could ask the dog at number forty-two,” he suggests after a too-long pause, still frowning, mostly with his eyebrows, “but the dog only receives supplicants on Wednesdays between seven and ten a.m.”
“Today is Wednesday” I observe aloud but that doesn’t even get a nod. I check my watch and it’s 9:54am so I thank the gardener (he grunts something before turning the frown on the former begonias) and I hurry down the street, counting house numbers as I go.
Number 42 does indeed have a dog sitting at the top of the front steps, and several people on the sidewalk nearby though they all seem to be walking away, a couple of guys in suits nodding to themselves and one lady in a hat crying.
The dog says Hello and I ask him if he can answer questions like the cat who until recently lived at number 23 could, and he shakes his head sadly and his ears flop a bit and he tells me questions are more of a cat thing, he only tells people their truths.
He says he can do that, if I would like, and I say sure, might as well, since I’m here.
Then the dog tells me my truths and I forget what my question was.
About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.