The first rule of Freemason’s Dogpark: Say Sorry. If your Dalmatian can’t romp without drawing blood, look the other owners in their eyes and speak. Apologize when you forget a bag and Ramon has to fetch your Westie’s pile. Is this your Boxer with his left eye swallowed in pink pus? Make a statement. Make it public. Make it clear the condition isn’t contagious. Have a damn cleaning rag handy.

The second rule has to do with fighting, but it’s kind of relative, and the statutes are disputed. CJ does wear a whistle, though, and when something below the belt goes down he blows it. Basically: know the difference between your good girl’s spirit and her fury.

No one really knows the other rules. The Four Fathers don’t have them written or posted anywhere. As for a twilight rule, it’s hard to say one stands. Burg and Dale have been known to stay there all night, tucked in sleeping bags on the smoothed out patches of sand, not so much sleeping as keeping watch for the coyote who’s rumored to’ve carried off Linda’s Weimaraner. But of course sometimes Dale sleeps out there for more domestic reasons, having forgotten rule one completely.

Tyler Barton

Tyler Barton

Tyler Barton is a cofounder of FEAR NO LIT, the organization responsible for the 2017 Submerging Writer Fellowship. He's a host for the author-interview podcast Weekly Reader and the creator/host of the flash fiction podcast Show Your Work. His fiction has appeared in Passages North, Little Fiction, Midwestern Gothic, No Tokens, Waxwing, and more.
Tyler Barton

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