The man in the dog suit whines outside the door.

“Again?” sighs my mother.

“Where’s my gun?” says my dad.

“We’ll take care of it this time,” my older brothers say.

They go outside. We hear the shouts and the scuffle, and whimpers as he crawls away up the street.

My brothers come back in. “That takes care of that'' they say, rubbing their hands together.

“Damn nutcase,” my dad growls.

But the next day he is back. His dog suit is shabby. The zipper’s gone; the front’s all held together with safety pins.

He looks like a mutt. His tongue is flat and pink like a slice of bologna. He pants at me.

“Mom,” I call, “he’s back.”

My mother sighs, then comes to the door and looks at him.

He cocks his head at her. “Oh, look at him, he looks hungry,”

my mother says. “He looks sad.”

I say: “He smells.”

“No collar,” says my mother. “He must be a stray.”

“Mother,” I say. “He’s a man in a dog suit.”

He sits up and begs.

My mother doesn’t look at me. She reaches out and strokes the man’s …