by Greg Petix

Mikey stood outside the chain-linked fence that surrounded the unknown junkyard.

He usually scavenged in O'Ryan's Salvage Yard, which was a stone's throw from his shack, but all of the good stuff there had been tapped.

Ignoring the 'BEWARE OF DOG' sign and the barbed wire, Mikey scaled the fence and gracefully landed on the other side. After a few minutes of browsing, he found an invalid lawnmower. Wild flowers grew through the cracks in its wheels and doll corpses with forgotten names were piled high on its chasis. He crouched down in front of the aging piece of machinery to see ifit was salvagable. Suddenly, he felt a displacement in the air and he heard sounds of faint breathing. For a split second, the silence of the junkyard became almost tangible. Then, before he could turn around, a tremendous weight landed on his back which threw him head-first into a pile of garbage. d-first into a pile of garbage. The smell of mildewed rags and curdled milk filled his nostrils. He rolled over just in time to see two rows of gleaming sharp teeth flying for his neck. It was the guard dog. Mikey tried to block the dog's lunge with his arm, but he was too slow. It's jaws clamped around his neck. His hands frantically searched the ground for a weapon. Almost immediately, his right hand grasped a high heel shoe. He swung it blindly at the dog's head, and he was rewardeed with a sickening, wet sound. The dog screamed like a little girl and let go of Mikey's throat. Mikey raised his head in oeder to see his attacker, and a cacaphony of pain ran through his neck. It was worth it, though. The dog was running incircles, the spiked heel of the shoe imbedded in its left eye.

Mikey tried to stand up and finish off the dog while he still had the chance, but his head reeled with the effort. Luckily, the dog was hurting just as much as he was. It was just sitting there, one paw hovering near it's injury, unable to stop the pain yet unable to ignore it. Then, growling and whimpering simultaneously, the dog staggered towards him. Mikey's eyes bulged, and he raised his arms in a desperate attempt to shield himself. However, with each step, the dog became more unsteady, until it finally collapsed a few feet from Mikey. He stared at the dog's good eye, searching for a sign of renewed conflict, but there was none. There thirty-two second battle to the death was over.

As Mikey's life spilled out of the wounds in his neck, his pain receded and his mind felt like it was floating. He had heard that a person's life flashed before there eyes when they were about to die; but he could only remember one thing: his beautiful and terrible Ferrari.

It was six years ago, he was ten years old, and his father was still alive.

"Hey shithead, wake up and look at what your old man won from O'Ryan." As Mikey wiped the sleep from his eyes, he saw a pile of booty that only his father could love, including a flask of Viper bourbon, an inflatable sex doll, and a stack of Reader's Digests. But as he looked up at his father's outstretched hands, he saw the real prize: a plastic model of a 1980 Ferrari. Mikey's mouth dropped open. It was the most beautiful thing that he had ever seen.

"Here, it's for you." Mikey cradled the model in his hands with infinite care, and that night he dreamed of riding his Ferrari on a warm Californian highway.

The next day, his father went on road trip. Mikey stayed in the shack all day and played with his new toy. The hours flew by as his mind raced in an imaginary world of wealth and speed. However, as the days passed, something strange happened. Mikey became more and more protective of his fragile treasure. Many nights he laid awake, afraid that a strong wind would blow through the shack and knock the model off its shelf. When he did manage to get some sleep, he had nightmares about the model being destroyed in O'Ryan's auto crusher.

After a week, Mikey couldn't take the fear any longer. He placed the Ferrari on the ground and smashed it to bits with a cinder block. When his father returned the next day, Mikey ran to him and soaked his shirt with his tears.

Since his father's death, he had been alone. Starting shit that was just going to end wasn't worth it to Mikey.

The guard dog's whimpering pulled Mikey back to reality. Its sleepy eyes stared into his. His hand reached out to touch the dog's neck. He could feel it's weak, fleeting pulse. He gently stroked its short, bristly fur, "Good dog," he whispered, as he slipped into the black.