top of page

A Muddy Dog, Ms. June & A Sunset

Sometimes things push us to leave, but greater things bring us back. And if we're lucky, a muddy dog will have the last word. This short story introduces us to Bailey, her dog Wyatt, and a domineering Ms. June.

Photo Credit: Janet Lee Lineberger

There are only two types of people in this town, the ones that leave and the ones that stay. Sometimes you might think you’re one type, and then you wind up becoming the other.

Don’t ask me why on a brilliant fall evening, this has popped into my head. Mama always said I spent too much time with my head in the clouds. But maybe it’s because my dog, Wyatt, just came up the porch steps looking like a living, breathing, mud pie.

Before that, I had been just a swingin’, creaking back and forth on the porch swing. I was thinking about a whole heap of things, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about how things used to be. Sometimes you think the way things are will always stay the same. And then, they don’t turn out stayin’ that way. But usually by the time you realize it, it’s too late to do anything about it.

And that was when a mud-covered Wyatt announced his presence, happier than a pig in well…you know what.

“Wyatt—GET! Get off a this here porch. What have you done gone and got yourself into? Lord Almighty,” I said as my recently swept floorboards are covered in pawprint polka dots. Of course, they had to be white floorboards—it wouldn’t do if they were brown, and the mud could just…blend in for once.

Wyatt barked in response, really more of a dog laugh to be honest. But he paid mind and trotted down the front steps. He turned around in a circle, sat down, and looked expectantly at me. Tongue out, smiling.

“Alright, let’s go,” I said, descending the few stairs and motioning Wyatt to one of the nearby outbuildings. He knew the drill and he came to a stop by the water hose. Just as I start to get a quarter of the dirt washed off him, I looked up to find Reynolds headed my way. One of our long-time employees, he was definitely walking with a purpose.

“Bailey, you best prepare yourself. Ms. June is on a tear and headed up to see you right now,” Reynolds said to me, nodding towards our front drive. The drive to the house from the main road stretched most of the length of the property, small blessings at a time like this.

“Well what’s got her all riled up at this hour?” I questioned as I paused rinsing Wyatt off.

“You know as well as I do, it don’t take nothin’ to get that woman riled up,” Reynolds chuckled. “Could be that the sun rose or the grass grew.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” I replied. “I reckon we’re about to find out now.”

Ms. June’s big four-door sedan barreled down towards us, billowing a cloud of dust in her wake. She abruptly pulled up between the outbuilding and the house, the sedan lurching as she slammed it into park. Seeing as how she narrowly avoided running up and over my flower bed, I returned to rinsing off the mud from Wyatt’s coat.

She threw open her door, exiting the car—anger ablazing. Which only worsened when she went to slam the door closed and got her dress caught. Forced backwards, she had to reopen the door and slam it again, making sure to not repeat the same mistake.

“Ma’am,” Reynolds said as he lifted his cap in greeting to Ms. June.

“Hello, Ms. Ju—” I began as she interrupted, not letting me finish.

“Don’t you ma’am me! You, you’re the one I’m here to see,” she said, pointing and jerking her finger up and down at me.

“I don’t know whatever for,” I answered honestly, as I stopped using the water hose.

“Oh, you know exactly why I’m here. Don’t you dare smart mouth me!” she ranted. “My last crop from my kitchen garden is gone. GONE! You better return them this instant!”

“Ms. June I can promise you that I did not touch your garden vegetables. No one here did. Why would we ever even do such a thing?”

“You know exactly why. You just couldn’t bear the thought of me having recognized as ‘County’s Best’ in the paper.”

“Ms. June, we’ve never entered that contest. But I know Reynolds has recently seen some deer around these parts. It’s more than likely they took a fancy to your garden,” I said, glancing at Reynolds as he nodded in agreement.

“Yes ma’am, I seen them several times now,” Reynolds added.

“Well I’ll be, first you’re thieves, and now you’re liars. And even if there were deer, why would you not share that with me?” Ms. June continued.

“It’s not exactly an uncommon—“ I managed to get out before she cut me off again.

“This is not the last you will hear from me!” she exclaimed as she spun on her heels and got back into her car.

“Well, wouldn’t that be a blessing if it was?” Reynolds whispered under his breath, just loud enough for me to hear.

I snickered in response as Ms. June threw her car in reverse. When she changed the gears to drive forward, I gasped. Wyatt had rubbed his muddy body all over the passenger side of her car. One…long…brown…smear…from the front wheel all the way back to the bumper.

“I knew that dog was a good judge of character,” Reynolds said, reaching down to give him a scratch behind the ears.

“Wyatt—you didn’t!” I managed to get out before I started laughing.

“Let’s hope the morning rain washes it off before she sees it. Otherwise, she’ll be right back here before you know it.”

Nodding in agreement, I looked down at Wyatt. “Wyatt, let’s finish cleaning you up. Then, I think you may have earned yourself a treat, a rather large treat!”

Looking up at me, he let his tongue hang out and licked his chops.

“Look at that sunset. It’s scenes like this that make me remember why I came back—for good,” I said as I stood mesmerized by it all.

“Yeah, it sure is a beauty. Well, I figured it wasn’t the likes of Ms. June that done brought you back,” he laughed as he headed towards his truck.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page