Gospel 240 ~Braxton FOUR One Hundred~

“I love you,” “Can we go home,” “Everything will be alright, Braxton,” and still there weren’t enough words. No amount of money could save him. And if my father mentions getting a new dog one more time… Braxton FOUR One Hundred, Five, Nine.

Friday, February 25, 2021

Gospel 240 ~Braxton FOUR One Hundred~

Hey Lady Sophia,
I AM a Billionaire right now, so $100.00 shouldn’t really bother me. It was Braxton walking on three legs that certainly did.

Now that’s not where he got the “B III” from. That’s his name, Braxton Barks Bradford. I’ve said before that it was my mom who named him Braxton. It still hurts to talk about him like this. My Dæmon, my son, Little B. And again my sadness and rage. What about purpose? I keep breathing, Lady Sophia. Braxton’s purpose was to BARK. Of all the things I absorb, it was his barking that was my joy as much as I took it for granted. Sometimes grated on my nerves or would go overboard. It showed he cared, loved, protected, “Dad.” Braxton had his own way of saying it. He was another Mr. Bradford. But most days, it was B or B III, Triple B too.

Such time is priceless but to check out a bum leg is about $100.00. I came back one day, big score with a TV, a box of shrimp and fries, and I had Braxton. Dare I say life was sweet? So I let him go outside as I get situated only to see him come limping in on three legs. Braxton is so brave and pretends that he’s always walked with three legs. He never wanted me to worry, but I quickly freaked-out and carried him out, driving all crazy. Swear I was so scared, and we went to three different pet hospitals, panicking father. Finally, we made it back to Banfield, and $100.00 later, he had stepped on a pinecone or something, nothing more.

Beefy, he wishes, Be Free, well isn’t he now, but always my B III. I wouldn’t say I like math, and I’m not one for numbers in general. Being counted on… I once wrote that four was a lucky number, but how wrong I was. This I do know; 15 years wasn’t enough time. $323.60 is horrible. I had one son. Excuse me for being all out of sorts, it’s still Wednesday now, and I had to deal with “people.” My family, shouldn’t I say? As in my father and nephews. Should I count to three like a southern mother? I no longer say, “In five minutes, the world will end.” Dammit, my world ended, January 31, Braxton Barks Bradford.

Nothing can bring him back but Braxton FOUR One Hundred.

I Am Afraid Without Braxton

Gospel 239 ~Braxton, Walkers, Biters, Empties~

“You wanna go outside,” I’d ask him, and he’d go running and hopping down to our gate or the front door, and the two of us would “walk” these streets, um suburbs. Our last walk, his, he didn’t have to make but hope… Braxton, Walkers, Biters, Empties.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Gospel 239 ~Braxton, Walkers, Biters, Empties~

Just Me Baby B,
Did you have a good day? As for mine, I walked, I worked, I wigged-out. Only us walking, one more walk…

I’ve told the story of our first walk and the aftermath so many times. I remember even earlier than that. There was a time when you couldn’t decide whether you wanted to go two steps forward or two steps back. One of the many reasons you didn’t believe your furry behind should ever meet tile, hardwood, the deck, whatever. I still feel you sitting on my feet. Oh, I know the law well, my friend. When I was chosen, I wouldn’t move for forever and a day. Now isn’t that everyone that has ever had a furry kid they loved? I’ll need to find a thesaurus for more words for crying. This Sunday, I’ll face another first without… Braxton, when will I believe you aren’t somewhere waiting in the house? Every Sunday night, you knew where I was and staying.

You would run around the house like a mad man when you were young, but on Sunday nights? People usually love the weekends, but I don’t know what your favorite day is? Anytime we were together. Daddy was always there, but The Walking Dead? “B TV.” We watched movies all the time, you know, with Indiana Gone too, a lot.

When we were young, B III. The doctor told me my eyes weren’t getting better, but they weren’t getting worse. Then the Vet told me not to move stuff around for you. We started walking less. But we would always snuggle up together to this screen or that; books, TV, me, and my writing. I’ve seen the end of the world coming, but not like this. We’re apocalypse buddies, Braxton.

The Long Walk, The Green Mile, The Running Man, leave it to Stephen King. Do you understand anything I am talking about, Little B? You don’t have to because we lived it every day. On your Vet visits, I would ask, “are you going to walk in like a man?” When we were outside, the people to me were zombies, and you’d bark. The dogs to you were much the same, and I would carry you. I should have carried you around our route one last time, but I was bawling as I prayed for a miracle. You couldn’t even walk in this time, but those trips to your water bowl. I was proud of you. I walk alone now, and Only God Knows Why.

Always and Forever,
Your Dad

Gospel 238 ~The Meanie Of Braxton~

Open the door, close it. That’s what I want to tell my father. Braxton still loved him despite everything. But Braxton wouldn’t move when he was around, scared, as was I. Damn termite guy. If my father dares moves anything… The Meanie Of Braxton

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Gospel 238 ~The Meanie Of Braxton~

Forgive Me Echo,
I AM a Billionaire right now, but there is only so much hair, so many treats left, and what about training pads?

Inspector Echo, this is my Braxton’s home. I can look at where he lies in that box all day long, but this place, all of it is ours. I said it the day I came back after… Nothing is going to change. Well, other than the nightstand that no longer carries my savings and knives. Money, blades, my 9mm. I haven’t really touched them since February 10. I’m a father without a son anymore, but I’m still Daddy, and as I protected him, he would defend me. What are we so afraid of? He would shake and jump; I’d load up and grab a knife too. Like father like son, we became mean because of one person. Braxton’s grandfather, or to be clear, my “father.”

B and I are dead to the world, or at least I try to be. I feel nothing, or I can’t stop crying. The closest I get past the 5 Stages Of Grief is ANGER. I hate myself for what I’ve done. But I’ve said it before, I was in the FUCKING PARKING LOT, “get a new dog,” my dad said. He’s had two dogs himself at different times, Rottweilers. My father called them family dogs, security. My sister and I never played with them, well, pass the puppy stage. They lived outside in their own cage. When each one died, the family, well, nothing. Inspector Echo, I’ve had a few dogs in my life. I will never say I’m the best man but Braxton…

Fifteen years, he is my son. I would die for him then, and I will die for him now. To protect everything, he was to me. I haven’t found much to be afraid of, though I am or much to be ashamed of. Yet again, I’m guilty. I’m living a lie that he is with me, but he’s not Echo. Now I get a call from my father about the damn termite guy, and I won’t be here, but my father will be. My first fear has been telling him I don’t want to talk about another dog and walking in, and he’s brought one. I begged for a dog. My sister got Braxton… figures.
There’s not much chance of him bringing another dog here.

Second, he’ll try to wipe away Braxton’s memory. EVERYTHING FUCKING STAYS. If he were to pull something as such? My father and I have fought once, and Braxton tried to protect me. Same blood, same mud; Braxton and I only had each other against him. The last fear is that if my father did such a thing? If I could follow Braxton wherever? Before that, though… no harm would come to Braxton, I swore it in this house. My anger, my rage against my father. Better he opens the door and closes it, otherwise. Fighting For The Meanie Of Braxton.

I Am Afraid Without Braxton

Gospel 237 ~B Leave In Love~

I’ve seen plenty of people go in a variety of ways. Some, I think, gave themselves too much credit. Give me one lousy night, maybe a week, and I move on. Braxton though; some say God is Love, B III is Love and losing him to let it go. B Leave In Love

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Gospel 237 ~B Leave In Love~

Dear Future Wife,

I AM a Billionaire right now but like the songs… AHEM, Money Can’t Buy Me Love. My Love Don’t Cost A Thing.

I believe I’ve spent more in twenty-three days on Braxton than I have in the last months of his life. Hell, I still am. I want more frames, candles, a pedestal for his room. Of course, you know this. On my phone is a reminder for “HomeAgain” Renewal every week. Believe me; I won’t be taking it off any time soon. I won’t stop talking to him or doing any of the stuff we’ve been over this month. Forever I’ll say routine, but how do you stop loving someone, baby girl. That’s what people don’t get about this; obsession, mourning? B leaves, and I’m like this. Everyone else? I do kiss and tell, I’ll admit, but I’m talking about one night. Someone got three novels.

B leaves, and the ink is trying to outrun the tears. The sweat will never clean the blood from my hands. Can we not talk about the stuff they filled him with? That’s what I’ve been thinking the past few days. Did B leave, or did I let him go, like oh so many times? “B III, go play” when I would send him outside. How many opportunities did I miss? What about when I wanted alone time? One more reason for morning showers and very late nights. He didn’t care much for you. At first, I know, but I was in Love and Braxton… B III he didn’t want to leave. He didn’t want to hurt either, and I wanted to show my Love.

Believe me; I understand this song more than ever “Only know you love (him) when you let (him) go.” He knew, which is why he chose to hide under the bed and walk to his water, to stand there calmly as we drove. In his absence, he wanted me to love myself, to be ready. B III would leave me with his toy. Braxton even got around to leaving me with you. His Love for me extended to him wanting to protect our children. He loved them and wouldn’t want to leave them. So he looked to his daddy, and I asked him to leave.

“B III, it’s okay. You can go. You can leave.” Such Love, him, me you, us, B Leave In Love

I Am Afraid Without Braxton

Gospel 236 ~Zen Ends Butt Kicking Deserved~

I don’t want peace, and the quiet is killing me. Let me have my exhaustion and with what my eyes have been doing lately, tuning out, tearing up, taking down every bit of pain as if it would stop my own. “Zen Ends Butt Kicking Deserved”

Monday, February 22, 2021

Gospel 236 ~Zen Ends Butt Kicking Deserved~

Hundred And Seventy-Six Rule

Madam Justice,
I AM a Billionaire right now, and I’m still not angry about Braxton. Well, how do I know I started talking to you Friday. Say it with me, Madam Justice AHEM “Time-Travel.” What I know for sure is this? I’m not Zen. I don’t know what’s what anymore. I’m still reading anything and everything, well, after crying that Braxton isn’t curled up against me. It’s my fault. I’m the one to blame. Talk about a butt kicking deserved. I have those pamphlets on grief the vet gave me. To this day, I believe I’m in Denial, but Anger?

I don’t know how to describe it. Every morning when I wake up, the living routine. You know when I sleep, I’m gone though I’ve begun to dream again. Nothing about B III, only pain, and don’t tell me you can’t feel it in dreams. I’m usually shocked then, waterworks. Most of the time, I’m on autopilot. My mom asked me do I watch a lot of Dish; anything to break up the silence. Only what I mean is, it’s like that movie Warm Bodies, and I’m “R.” What do zombies do? Who was R before Julie and then without her? B’s not coming back. But what peace I knew…again routine, Denial. Braxton is only outside or under the bed. I joined a club about dogs, but I’m finding people much like myself. Madam J, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. So then I look for more pain and for what, my catharsis?

“It’s easier not to feel. Then I wouldn’t have to feel like this.” R – from the movie Warm Bodies

Disgusting, but how about wishing it was me? I’ll be damned if an animal is in pain. My Braxton suffered. People though… You know the song, “the dreams in which I’m dying…” My side was hurting; I thought I got bitten by something, wishing sicknesses. I’ve been eating more. Now I’ve starved myself for at least a week, but now food is the punishment. I said before I’ve been craving things like onion rings, chocolate, Burger King. Anything Braxton can’t have or that breaks my routine and increases my shame. Some time ago, I saw the police, and while they can pick anything at all… My killing Braxton. I’m Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child; I should be punished, purged, never purified. Hell’s not scary.

Living like this… peace, any thought of Zen’s the crime. Laugh, Smile, Funny Face, Braxton. Zen Ends Butt Kicking Deserved.

I Am Afraid Without Braxton

Gospel 235 ~Doublethink Of B III~

He’s gone. He’s on my nightstand, his collar in his bed, his toy on his pillow. His leash sits, treats uneaten, water bowl full. I say “good morning,” set the treats, fill the bowls, and open the gates. I know, and then I don’t “Doublethink Of B III”

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Gospel 235 ~Doublethink Of B III~

To Will:
I AM a Billionaire right now. But you’re broke. I hate you, but you desperately want to love. I’m dead, but you’re breathing.

As it was three weeks ago. Twenty-one days, today is the twenty-first day, and I still know what I did and you. You killed Braxton; you did. No denying that.

The paperwork is still on the coffee table; twenty-one treats are lying in his room, uneaten. An empty collar rest in his bed. His oldest one is on the nightstand. Now at the same time, you ended his suffering. He was starving himself because of kidney failure. He could barely move and yet somehow wouldn’t take his water beside him. Not Braxton because Daddy worries, so he had to pretend to be ok. B III had to be brave, ok? I know you’re tired of having to be. It’s why you fall asleep after trying to live. What, your truth? Early to bed, to rise…

Are you richer or wise? Well, you got your tax refund back. You can believe that your son is out there somewhere, The Rainbow Bridge, Heaven, in your heart. At the same time, what’s that around your neck? I spent hours working on his pictures. B is in a box. Only like me, you’ll continue to say he’s right outside, under the bed, in his house. You still want a memorial stone, more picture frames, candles. What about one of those dog blankets or some artwork? You owe his grandma $150.00 for helping with “arrangements.” You’ll finally have to start paying attention to your finances. What about walking into Walmart again? I did yesterday for Subway and some buffalo wings. Living again, Six Impossible Things:

  1. I AM Keeping It In My Pants (Day 051 No Fap) Real Girls Are An Exception
    Completed (Day 058) No Fap
  2. I WILL Be The Man My Son Thinks I Am
    Failed
  3. I AM Sending Gulp Off To Be Published SIGH
    Failed
  4. I AM Writing “Look A Thing Like Santa”
    Failed
  5. I AM Finishing Gathering, Braxton’s Albums
    Partial Completion, Looking For Picture Dates
  6. I AM Finishing Reading “A Dog’s Purpose” W. Bruce Cameron
    Completed

Should I expect you’ll do better? You were up at 4:00 AM, but we didn’t start chatting until 9:00 AM. Braxton was good for focus, not that I will ever know. No more calls to the vet to pick up medication or trips to PetSmart. How long has B had the same bathroom pad or dry food? Six Impossible Things:

  1. I AM Keeping It In My Pants (Day 058 No Fap) Real Girls Are An Exception
  2. I WILL Be The Man My Son Thinks I Am
  3. I AM Sending Gulp Off To Be Published SIGH
  4. I AM Writing “Look A Thing Like Santa”
  5. I AM Finishing Gathering, Braxton’s Albums
  6. I AM Finishing Reading, The Last Teacher by Chris Dietzel

With you still reading and all, if there’s one thing you took from A Dog’s Purpose… Could Braxton be reborn? At the same time, you can’t think of another fur baby. You’ll never be the father you were, dammit, the man. You’ll still talk to Dear Future Wife but never Dirty Diana, despite paying $60.00.

Routinely living for B who’s gone; Doublethink Of B III

I Am Afraid Without Braxton

Gospel 234 ~Don’t Drop Me Braxton~

I keep on falling. I’m struggling to get out of bed—the tears from my eyes. Or when my phone chimes for my boy. For a split-second, my eyes fall to the floor, or my legs, to his bed. He wouldn’t let me down, right until the end. Don’t Drop Me Braxton

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Gospel 234 ~Don’t Drop Me Braxton~

Hey Lady Lu,
I AM a Billionaire right now, and still, I would never possess the type of strength that Braxton has. Always and forever.

I was impressed, proud, nearly scared to death when he would walk to his water bowl those last days. If I were to ask God for anything… well, first, it was to save my son’s life. He could have, I could have, and would be more of a bastard if I didn’t let him go. Secondly, it was The Prayer from Quest For Camelot. All I wanted was for Braxton not to hurt anymore. As the song goes, “To a place where (he’ll) be safe.” And that is my failure. The Rainbow Bridge, Heaven, I like to think that the Pearly Gates needed a Cerberus. Only like I said yesterday that you can’t go asking for vets’ names that showed mercy. I can’t follow B.

I would go without question. Every time there is an ache or pain. When I start to get sick, the first thought that crosses my mind is GOOD. Let me go, let me die, and go be with him. My tethers to this life are so few, and even those ties that bind… strong enough; never like my Braxton. You know death doesn’t bother me, Lady Lu. No, I take that back. The prospect of my death doesn’t irk me. A lot of deaths don’t. I’ve been seeing plenty of it. Lately, people feeling this pain. If mine ended, it would only be because I stopped it, like I ended Braxton’s suffering. Stops me… promise I made to a friend.

I raised Braxton so high, and never once did I consider I’d be begging him to help me up. Twenty days and I still pick up his bed but usually kneel to smell it. His favorite game was once staring at the door, wondering should I go outside or inside. Now it’s up and down from pillows, pill bottles, and my pendant. I remember how he would freak out when I took his collar off; his nails caught the ring. Now when wearing the pendant, it’s like my collar. More like I’m telling myself to be better for him. For his whole last year, I told myself I would be a better father, friend, hell if only somewhat less forgetful.

In my arms, heart, mind, Please Don’t Drop Me Braxton

I Am Afraid Without Braxton

Gospel 233 ~99 Problems But Braxton…~

Some ladies have cried about him. Yep, my second BFF and my mom (his grandma). It must not be an easy thing for a vet, either. At the rate I’m going, the Mississippi and the Nile don’t stand a chance. I’m still in “Denial.” “99 Problems But Braxton…”

Friday, February 19, 2021

Gospel 233 ~99 Problems But Braxton…~

Hey Lady Sophia,
I AM a Billionaire right now, and I’m still crying. Braxton isn’t a problem; he is a miracle. Like women he loves.

I’ve said before; my “father” was the first member of the family he met. Next was my little sister. His mother/crazy aunt (this is the south, just saying). Braxton was a gift to her, and she loved him. The only time I believe my “father” ever got upset with her was because of Braxton. She would do the, let’s say, ceremonial stuff, think Hallmark Channel. She didn’t like that I would sit in her room babysitting him. My mom even said Braxton and I were brothers. When did I get demoted? Anyway, he never became my sister’s purse dog. She decided to have “real babies,” my two nephews. Braxton, though, was all about his mom. Same with my Mom. Until “Braxton get in the car.”

Several years later, we met my second best friend “Indiana Gone.” Now she accomplished something no one else ever had done. She made Braxton fall in love with her. The first person that wasn’t family. If Braxton had it his way, he would have preferred I followed suit. I would always joke with him that the first girl he approved of I’d have to marry. It took Indiana four months to win B III over. Talk about the “Casting Couch.” She laid down and let Braxton crawl all over her. After a few minutes, he was in love and never had a problem with her again. The first time I had to give “the talk” to him. I figured he’d meet Dear Future Wife someday.

Instead, Braxton caught up with a pretty vet. That’s something you don’t do. You know, call asking for the name of the doctor that… Again, Lady Sophia, I’m not angry. Nineteen days and if I am mad, it’s at myself for killing my son. Or at my “father” for thinking Braxton can be replaced. As mean as Triple B is, all the ladies loved him. There was one guy vet we both hated. Braxton is my only guy friend, honest. I always wanted to do better with my son but not giving him the family I took? “Get in the car,” and he followed me. I think he knew; why he liked Indiana so much and his favorite toy too.

Daddy’s 99 Problems But Braxton…

I Am Afraid Without Braxton

Gospel 232 ~Braxton My MAID Man~

Braxton hated the maid. When I started cleaning, he’d hide as if he did something wrong. Braxton had a habit of hiding under the bed when sick. Should have tipped me off when he didn’t. Thought we had it made, my main man. “Braxton My MAID Man.”

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Gospel 232 ~Braxton My MAID Man~

Just Me Baby B,
Did you have a good day? I keep hoping you are, wherever you are. Everywhere I say and then again B…

It’s been about three weeks, and it’s like every sense is affected by you being gone. The first is sound. I stay in bed longer, knowing I won’t see you. Food, hell, I live because of your schedule. It’s been snowing here, but it wasn’t the outside that was bothering me. I feel colder, which brings me to my point. Touch and smell; I have a bit of your hair wrapped up. I want to pet it, but I can’t afford to lose a single one. I’m trying desperately to keep up our routines but without having to clean up… I can’t smell you in the sheets anymore. I’m still wearing the hoodie. Your bed B, I had to kneel down to be reminded today.

Or when I spill something… I still call you first, and then I remember. Every now and again, there’s a crumb of something or other. On the table, there are eighteen treats, not that you would count them. Water sloshes around when I refill your bowl. At the same time, the carpet is dry, but I’ll get to that. It’s like I’m trying to leave a trail for you to find your way home. I won’t lie that a part of me wants to be wherever you are. You wouldn’t allow that, though. We are a family, you and I, and nothing ever came between that. Besides the mess in the house, there is the mess of me. The dirt I can’t do; won’t allow.

As I said, I have a dry carpet because I’ve started taking evening showers. You hated that and would start crying to get me out. I’ve been having cravings for onion rings because, one, they’re not fries; that’s our thing. Two, you couldn’t have onion rings anyway. The same goes for chocolate. The most we ever had was when Indiana Gone warned me about… never mind. But I bought her plenty and a blanket and ice cream so we could hang out. I was so frightened you’d find some crumb, but that’s when I had it MADE. I cleaned up for her. You cleaned up for us; Life wasn’t messy.

My heart, my mind, and my soul, you got it all B III. You’re Made, Main, Braxton My Maid Man.

Always and Forever,
Your Dad

Gospel 231 ~Braxton And P Breaks~

Braxton needs what, and I’m paying who again… Patreon or somebody else? Most of the time, I don’t bother to check my accounts. It might help, though, an exercise that everything is normal but without Braxton. Braxton And P Breaks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Gospel 231 ~Braxton And P Breaks~

Forgive Me Echo,
I AM a Billionaire right now… putting that out there as I would, Braxton. Pretending with those aspects of my life now.

Probably should get some air, but I’ve only opened the backdoor once since January 31. Braxton is like me, we both hate the cold, but we would look at the snow. I shouldn’t have said that. Every time I remember Braxton’s eyes, his final look, I break down crying. Prayers aren’t for God, though. I haven’t spoken to God since last month again. It’s one part of my routine that’s broken. There are more tears when I forget, or there’s just no need. This will be the third week, and as I shook his medicine bottles calling “Braxton.” People will be upset or not. It could be both. It’s not like I can call the vet and order more meds. The water company should be thrilled, but not whoever the people are that make bathroom pads. Some are sick of me talking about him. My friends have their own stuff.

Piping up now only to speak to B III. I’m not sure how to stop it; I don’t want to. I’ve said it often enough, every day. “Medicine time,” Night, Night Braxton,” “Just Me Baby B,” I won’t stop myself.

My Olds would laugh at me for talking to myself but with Braxton’s deafening silence…

Postulating any idea of sanity seems out of the question. Will Smith said something to the tune of, does thinking you’re the last sane man make you crazy? Susanna Kaysen wrote, Crazy is you or me amplified. To me, everything about life feels plain wrong. Painful, a crime. It’s why I haven’t done anything, as someone would say, STUPID. My biggest fear was I wouldn’t be here for him. Now 8:00 AM, his meds and water, so I get a bite. 11:00 AM, outside and breakfast. 5:00 PM more water, 8:00 PM meds, and dinner.

Prolonging the pain as long as possible for myself. How long did Braxton suffer? Five days… he was crying Wednesday, stopped eating Thursday, and it goes on. He needed a break. A break from his pops, his father, his daddy. Now that he wouldn’t pretend. Pretending, though, that’s me since the day Braxton Slipped Away. And people talk about puppies. Progressing through grief and other problems. When I want is to believe Braxton is right outside. Braxton And P Breaks.

I Am Afraid Without Braxton