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Runt

Patricia Q. Bidar

My mother asks about the new health plan the vet’s got me on. I impart stories of my small successes: The loosening harness. Diminished hip pain. You’re not dropping that puppy-fat by counting steps in the back deck, she chides. The old growl rises in my throat. It’s not about losing weight! She sighs. It’s about...your emotions? I bark, No! For good health!” Her silence says it all. Runt. Needy scrabbler. I want to howl, what could my diminished flesh ever garner but more servitude? Close to the fire, warm and fed. Oh, will I outrun the pleading back-lyer I’ve been? Who didn’t even yip when the vet stroked my nipples? I should have bitten his goddamned hand off. I will know soil beneath my nails. Taste blood. My behavior might be bad, but all of me is good.

Patricia Quintana Bidar is a third-generation Californian and working-class writer from the Port of Los Angeles area. Her work appears in Wigleaf, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Pinch, Monkeybicycle, and Atticus Review, among other places, including numerous anthologies. Patricia’s story, "Over There," appears in Flash Fiction America (WW Norton, 2023). She holds a Bachelor's degree in filmmaking and a Masters in English. Patricia lives in the

San Francisco Bay Area with her family and works as a professional writer for nonprofit organizations.