Laura Stamps

Laura Stamps loves to play with words and create experimental forms for her fiction and prose poetry. Author of 43 novels, novellas, short story collections, and poetry books. Most recently: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press 2021), DOG DAZED (Kittyfeather Press 2022), and THE GOOD DOG (Prolific Pulse Press 2023). Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of 7 Pushcart Prize nominations.  

LUNA BELLA

I finish reading the first article. And turn the page. In my favorite dog magazine. Okay. Who am I kidding? All dog magazines are my favorites. All of them. All. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be an addiction, would it? The next page. It’s an ad. For grain-free food. For dogs. Reminds me of Paula. My best friend. She’s a big fan of grain-free. But not for dogs. No. Never, never. Only for cats. Specifically hers. The cat with a zillion allergies. In fact, last night we went to PetSmart for more cat food. And that’s when I saw him. This huge man. Skyscraper tall. Three hundred pounds. At least. Had to be. Maybe more. Probably. But not fat. Just muscle and bulk. Rock solid. And tucked under his arm was a tiny Chihuahua. Six pounds at the most. Maybe less. Probably. Less. “Oh, oh, oh,” I say to Paula. She gives me that look. “It’s just a dog,” she says. “Big deal.” I ignore her and scurry over to the man. “What a cute dog,” I say. “How old is it?” Okay, I’m not shy. “Thanks,” he says. “She’s ten.” What? What? No way. “Seriously?” I say. “She looks so young.” She’s shivering now. This tiny little dog. But Chihuahuas are like that. They shiver. I’ll bet he left her sweater in the car. I’ll bet he buys beautiful sweaters for her. I would. “What’s her name?” I say. She snuggles closer to him. “Luna Bella,” he says. Now Paula is marching toward me. “What a gorgeous name!” I say, as Paula grabs my hand and tugs me toward the cash register. I wave goodbye to the man and his little Luna. “Oh, oh, oh,” I say to Paula. “I think I’m in love.” Paula drops a big bag of cat food on the counter. “Get a grip, Darlene,” she says. “I swear, your addiction to dog magazines is frying your brain. Focus, okay? We’re on a mission tonight.” Oh, yeah. I forgot. Our mission? The grocery store. The goal? Two cartons of Hagen Das Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. See? There’s a reason we’re best friends. We have priorities. Chocolate, chocolate. And more chocolate. Of course.

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