Microfiction: Watching

For the Friday Fictioneers. Join in! It’s fun.

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll



I always wanted to play on the grass beyond the railings. But they never let. I remember when legs were short and I looked through. Asked, “Please?” They said, “No!”

I watch from outside, kids running and playing ball. I want to join, run, play, but if I call out they shout, “Be quiet!”

Muscles in legs twitch with wanting to run. Now I’s big, I can look over the top. Wonder if I could scramble over without hurting. But I tied up too tight. Collar tugs hard. They play. I watch. Wait. Legs twitch.



Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

117 thoughts on “Microfiction: Watching”

      1. Poor pups …. I don’t honestly know why people have them if they can’t be bothered to take them where they can run and play ….

      2. The issue is that most people don’t want to pick up after their dogs and so the dogs are branded as dirty. My solution to this is very simple. Provide the bags and bins so there is no excuse and then if you are caught you get punished. Not fined but asked to pick up poo for a weekend (not of your choosing). If you repeat the offense you get to do two weekends etc etc. I think that would do the trick. As for cyclists – don’t get me started. Just don’t 😤

      3. Picking up other people’s dog’s poo! I don’t know what it is about the idea, but it is revolting. There are crotty bags almost everywhere and dog owners (in general) make use of the service. The shit you see with a handful of tissue stuck in it is not dog poo and its previous owner did not think it necessary to dispose of it. THAT makes me cross. And cyclists should have their spokes sawn off.

      4. Here they do not make use of the bags and it is a horrible hazard. Hence my revolting idea. The fact that it revolts would surely position it as a deterrent? Incidentally, the problem is even greater out in the sticks – I’ll be interested to see how you fair when you are installed in the country. As for bikes …. just shoot the coves.

      5. By ‘here’ which do you mean? You have so many! I’d love to see the Police Municipale being forced to seek out and destroy dog shit offenders. I take a supply of crotty bags with me and dutifully scour the field and the tiny road for offending morsels. Which is a bit daft given the number of half-eaten animal corpses we keep finding lying around.

      6. In Britain they did start to enforce it some years ago and it worked to a great extent. IN this instance ‘here’ is Grenoble where the streets are strewn with the stuff despite there being nice areas for dogs to go in, bags and bins provided. I carry my own bags and pick up in town and country much to the bewilderment of many of the locals. I know the problem is replicated across France and I do believe that if there was an effective deterrent it would cease. I have scraped too much caca off too many shoes both mine and those of children to have any tolerance with dog owners who leave it lie. As an aside to your quip about me having so many here’s … a little over sensitive I may be but I assure you my greatest wish is to be settled in a home any bluddy where instead of starting to root and being torn up over and over again. Everyone wants a gnome of their own they say well I would love one.

      7. The French have a problem with toilet training. They’re very hit or miss about it, their own of their four-legged friends’. I find it extremely irritating when people refuse to pick up their dog’s dirt because 1) there are no sacs left in the distributor 2) it’s on the grass so it’s ecological 3) it’s on the road not the pavement. Lazy, flawed logic and dirty. I know you’d love a gnome of your own and I hope you’ll get it very soon 🙂

      8. Agree on every point … I remember viewing a house (we almost bought it and then discovered it had a category A gas problem which translated to risk of explosion!) and The Bean who is half the size of a wild rabbit banged one out on the lawn. I nipped to the car for a bag and picked it up … the owner was bewildered and assured me it is just nature to which I replied, indeed it is but not nature that I would wish on the bottom of my shoe or on his for that matter. Their logic is entirely flawed and frankly disgusting. Apart from that I am very happy in France. Apart from that and cyclists, that is wink 😉 Thank you for the fortifying words about finding a place. I just need my husband to settle down and stop spinning round the planet …. he assures me it is on the horizon.

      9. Maybe if you settle, he’s find that spinning round the planet loses its charm and he’ll come back to roost. We’ve never done any spinning so this is a purely theoretical suggestion.

      10. I have to return to the US later in the year to finish refurbishing the house there and get it sold, then the hunt will really be on. I’m just very impatient. He will retire Christmas 2018 and whether I am roasted before that or not will depend on what we find once we have the cash to buy (previously we would have mortgaged but I am very glad we didn’t with hindsight). I had a gorgeous place through in the Tarn et Garonne today though and it set me to dreaming. I need to press reset and remind myself that I am very fortunate to have what I do have. Just off to don my hair shirt and eat gruel … that usually does the trick 😂

      11. Given the way French house sales grind along you could always start looking now 🙂 Tarn et Garonne, that’s a spit away from us. Cheap too. Would suit the hair shirt 🙂

      12. We were always wed to Cantal or at a push the wider Auvergne but prices are silly and often nice old houses have no land at all. We want to do foolish things like grow some vines and keep a couple of sheep so I can make horrible sweaters and woolly hats which I will give smilingly to my grandchildren (so far not even planned) who will love me because I am odd and make unsuitable food for them and let them swear. They will want to wear these ghastly creations because children always want to wear what their parents hate. This will be a sweet revenge on my ungrateful daughters and I will laugh heartily to myself and come and share stories with you a spit away!

      13. You know why the lovely old houses have no land? Because the owner has kept the land to build a bungalow on, selling off the draughty old unwanted place to idiotic foreigners. So you end up with no land of your own and a godawful garden full of leylandias and ugly exotic shrubs. And a barbeque, a swimming pool, a quad bike track and noisy pool parties. Get a place near us and we’ll share our acreage with you 🙂

      14. Oh don’t get me started on the ghastly party foreigners! In Cantal they actually have a law that says the neighbouring farmer can snaffle the land and get Departmental help to do so – clearly they would be mad not to, so they all have even more land than they had before but the same amount of cattle and a huge problem with rat-taupiers digging the buggery out of the idle land. The place we have just been sent has 14 hectares and is near Caylus – I rather like it but I’m very happy to share yours too (and I don’t do pool parties)

      15. They offer all agricultural land to the farmer’s syndicat first and they have first refusal. We didn’t have enough for anyone to be interested in (2 hectares) and some of it is wetland. 14 hectares is massive! We’re already getting ansty about the maintenance of our bit without livestock to keep it under control. But you obviously have affinities with sheep.

      16. My cousin was a Jillaroo in Oz …. She can give me tips on shaving them and I rather fancy being s latterday wool merchant with a string of donkeys loaded with paniers of wool ….

      17. Oh I have all sorts of flights of fancy …. I’d go mad without them. Or maybe they are the madness. Flip sides of the same coin, I imagine.

  1. Great dog’s eye perspective! I like how you used the language. I can see the dog straining just as far as possible to the end of the leash, front paws up on the fence, wanting to join in the fun. Of course, a dog wouldn’t understand that not all parks are leash-free zones. I hope the dog’s humans take him or her home to a nice big yard where they can take the leash off.

    1. Thanks Joy. I’ll try to imagine it that way. I was thinking of the city parks where the kids from apartment blocks play. The dog has ‘a walk’ on a lead but nowhere to run and no garden to play in. Some city dogs don’t have much of a life.

      1. I was thinking shirt collar and that they had a rope around his neck. Pretty naughty not to let the dog run around, but at least it’s not a felony.

      2. That’s because you were expecting the worst, and because I left it ambiguous. I’m not sure how long you could leave a kid strapped to park railings without the police intervening. I’d like to think not long.

  2. Your tale brought to mind one of my favorite stories ever, “The Decapitated Chicken”. The terrible image, the broken language, the soul-tearing end. We can’t help but twitch with the narrator.

      1. The story can be found online, it’s by Horacio Quiroga. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s terrifying–what reminded me of the tale is the innocence of the narrator. If you ever get a chance to read it, you’ll see why. Again, it’s not pretty… at all.

  3. You can see them sometimes at our local park, straining on the leash, dying to join in playing with the kids. Nicely told Jane

    1. It’s a very important question. If even human beings can’t be persuaded to use modern plumbing, it’s not surprising that they don’t give two hoots where their dog does it 🙂

  4. Reminds me of my first dog. You had to be careful to whisper the word walk if she heard it, because then she’d want to go, right now. And walk often equaled run to her. I hope this pupper gets a chance to run all he wants in a big wide field. That was one of Faye’s greatest joys.

    1. If I say ‘walk’ to Finbar he curls up in a ball and makes himself weigh several tons. On the other hand, if I whisper ‘Dentastik’ he licks his lips, grabs my arm in his jaws and drags me to the pantry door. Most dogs, I agree, love to be able to run about 🙂

      1. Here in the US it is National Puppy Day today. We have a holiday for everything here. As for me I am looking forward to April 30th, which is ‘National Honesty Day’. 😉 not many folks celebrate this one these days 😜

  5. My heart was breaking when I thought it was a child denied the ability to play for some unknown reason. It shattered when I learned it was a poor dog, who would never get to play with the kids. Nicely done.

      1. It used to be normal in the countryside for dogs to be permanently chained up. It’s rare to see that now, but too many people in town give their kids a puppy and treat it like a soft toy, to be dragged around and kept somewhere safe while they play, until they’re ready to drag it home again.

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