The Lost Switch (2/3)

This is the second installment in the 3-part series (see part 1) presenting a selection of Edvin Aedma’s minimalistic art from his recent collection of short stories and graphic art entitled The Lost Switch (2010). Edvin graduated from the University of Tartu with a B.A. degree in semiotics and culture studies and later a Master’s degree in English translation (2009). He works as a freelance English-Estonian-English translator and is available for new translation contracts.

The Dog Who Smoked

I was walking on a trail next to a river when out of the corner came a humansized dog. He walked on his hind feet and wore an old-fashioned, long coat. He was puffing a large nasty-smelling pipe. He noticed me, stopped and coughed.

“I’m a writer,” the dog said in a coarse voice.

“I’m currently writing this story about a nervous dog, but I’m not sure what he should be nervous about. I just have this vivid picture of his character in my head. He’s got light brown fur and kind of a highpitched, yelpy voice. Then again, I’m thinking if I really should write about a nervous dog at all. I’m terribly relaxed myself and I probably don’t know how it feels to be nervous well enough. Say, you don’t have any sherry or rum with you, do you? This weather gets into my bones sometimes, I wish I had a thicker coat. This one I got from an old friend who died and left it to me in his will. In fact, he only had two worldly possessions – his will and this coat. He was buried not far from here, I was just thinking about visiting his grave when I saw you. You’re a nice fellow, aren’t you? I’m just coming from my home, a little cheap apartment in Chesterton, on the fifth floor, nothing special. It smells of dill but I take that it’s a good thing because it could be worse, you know what I mean? It used to smell of garlic when I moved in, oh that was terrible. Before that I lived in London with my dear old mom, but she passed away too, poor old bitch. She had a heart of gold and I was her only son. My father died when I was little and I had to get by with bones and all kind of other junk I found on the streets.”

He paused for a moment and studied me in silence, puffing his pipe. The dog seemed to be trying to guess what kind of a person I am, what kinds of stories I like.

“What kind of stories you like?” he blurted finally and after a pause, continued. “I usually write about dogs, but I never get published. I drink a lot, and smoke a lot too. I smoke this old pipe here, you see. To be honest, I’ve forgotten where I got it from. It just seems to have always been there. I get my tobacco from cigarette fags I gather from the street. I mix them all up at the end of the day and smoke that stuff. It’s terrible but I’ve grown fond of it, you know?”

The dog put his hands in his pockets and smoked for a while, looking at me with a meaningless expression. He took a safety pin from his pocket and started poking his pipe and coaxing half-burned tobacco out.

“This pin I found near the butcher’s. I pick up most of the stuff I find. Who knows when you need it, right?” the dog explained, trying to focus on cleaning his pipe and smoking at the same time. Suddenly, he started coughing really badly and collapsed on the ground. He died of lung cancer.

the dog who smokedYou are welcome to discuss these stories with the author and other fans, as well as order the book on Facebook.

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