(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

After the narrator (whose name is not revealed until the end of the story) states that his dog is dead, the rest of his narrative unfolds in its shadow, as its inert body lies in the front yard waiting to be buried. Other animals also play roles in the story. A cat belonging to the narrator’s wife, Mildred, catches and slowly kills a young rabbit, while training its kittens to hunt. The narrator considers killing the cats because of their cruelty to the rabbit. He recalls a time when he raised rabbits for food but gave it up because having to kill them became too painful.

Mildred is sexually frustrated “because of her over-large organ.” The narrator drives around in his truck and finds an old friend who gives him a beer. Then he goes home to shower and shave. Knowing that Mildred will return shortly, he drives off again to continue his drinking. In a crosstown bar, he drinks and plays pool with several women whom he would like to pick up. After failing in this endeavor, he drives home, following a circuitous route to avoid the police and to get home as late as possible so that he will not have to perform for his sexually insatiable wife.

Unashamed of himself, the narrator does not think of himself as inadequate; his wife simply needs more than he as an average man can provide. At the bar he recalls how he met Mildred: He was in Destin, Florida, recovering from his separation from his first wife. When he saw Mildred, he was sexually...

(The entire section is 439 words.)