Photo by Christopher Bruno

Angela Mairéad Coid’s stories have been published in The Antigonish Review, in the Filth issue of The Windsor Review and Geist. She walked in the Pacific Spirit Park for thirteen years with a very friendly Staffordshire, Osa, and now walks with a Lab, Ruby.  Coyote encounters add interest.

The morning Cecily discovered her husband was playing more than cards with his bridge partner, she lost her dog in Pacific Spirit Park.  Unhinged by fury, she had not missed the Lab slinking off. Cecily whistled up the trail to where there was a cracking of branches.  Out skipped a guilty Ruby. Cecily bent and leashed her just as a large coyote, handsome in winter fur, appeared from the gap in the trees. He looked Cecily over with his brown eyes.  Cecily made herself tall, as advised in the park literature if encountering coyotes, and thrust out her breasts.

“Shoo!  Shoo!” she called, but couldn’t excise the louche attraction. Coyote didn’t budge. He checked her out, taking a long drag on the cigarette held between hairy thumb and index.

“Oh-La. Señorita,” he drawled.

“You’re Mexican?”

“Could be. Ways back.” Coyote blew smoke rings.

“You shouldn’t do that here. You shouldn’t smoke. It’s a fire hazard.”

“You don’t say.” The dark brown eyes blinked lazily.

Cecily now noticed his shaggy black jacket and faded grey hip-huggers. His fly was undone. He knew her thought, and “ Zzzzzip!” deftly did himself up with a paw.  Another pull on the cigarette, eyes on her through the smoke, her only restraint the leash on the Lab, Ruby, lying down now, done with her encounter.  Coyote took a languid last pull and stubbed the cigarette out with the weathered heel of what could have been old cowboy boots.

“Do you play cards—bridge maybe?” Cecily asked.

“Poker. Strip poker. That’s my game.”

The irritated barking of daycare dogs coming down the trail made Ruby pull and stand alert.  Cecily turned, and when she looked, the coyote was a padding shadow through the firs.