Fireworks

Even with the window AC unit at full blast, all our combined body heat is trapped under the covers, and I am sweaty and hot. Mexican hairless- xoloitscuintle, if you want the more exotic name- are often referred to as hot water bottle dogs, good for aching body parts, allergies, and asthma.
I have two, the older yet smaller female, Loopi (named for the Mexican province of Gaudalupe from whence she hails), and a male, Magic (named for the famous basketball player who sponsored the shelter we rescued him from). Both are in bed with me. And their sticky warm skin (yes, they really are hairless) against my own is indeed akin to sharing a bed with a couple of hot water bottles. This would be nice on a biting Winter night, but it is the eve of the eve of July fourth, and we are sweltering.

Normally, Loopi wouldn’t be caught dead sharing a bed with Magic, her sworn nemesis and ever-present annoyance since he stole her lime-light seven years ago when we adopted him. As soon as he noses the covers to be let in (unlike Loopi, he never managed to learn how to properly nudge his way under a blanket), Loopi would quickly exit with a bitchy little growl, translated roughly as, not you again! And spend the night alone in the guest bedroom.

But Independence Day celebrations have already commenced with bottle rockets and roman candles, and more edgy smuggled contraband.  As the night progressed, each explosion, whistle, and pop sent her following more closely on my heels, and waiting pathetically outside the bathroom door when my mother demanded privacy for a shower.
Her anxiety has reduced her policy of not sharing a bed with Magic down to not sleeping on the same side, so I am sandwiched between them, each one lying on either side of my thighs. They both sleep perpendicular to my legs, and I am pinned. Any movement away on my part is taken as a reliquishment of my personal space, which they would immediately claim with and outstretched paw or nose, so I don’t even bother to try to get comfortable.
It is late, and a weeknight, but every once in a while we still hear the echoey boom of a lone firework. I sense Loopi’s ears move together in the dark, but mostly she is trusting, confident that I can protect her from any harm that might be impending.

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About Haley Dziuk

Haley Dziuk writes both fiction and narrative nonfiction. Her stories and essays have appeared in "The Hoot Review" and "Nail Polish Stories." She works as a librarian for the Phoenix Public Library. When she's not writing or patrolling the stacks, she likes to sing along to her guitar, and go on mini adventures with her boyfriend.
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