On my half-hour walk to campus this morning (an often treacherous journey, given the lack of sidewalks and the prevalent disrespect for pedestrians in this town), I saw two stray dogs running about, venturing dangerously close to the thick traffic on one of the city's innumerable four-lane thoroughfares. Immediately, I was upset. This city is overrun with loose dogs, an infuriating characteristic that, in my mind, speaks to a) a general disregard among the population for pets; and b) a municipal inability to punish sufficiently those who don't take better care of their animals. (I propose a five-hundred dollar fine for people unable to keep their dogs collared and contained at home--a move that would ensure animals and us stubborn pedestrians stay safe.)

What began as a common enough annoyance, though, soon devolved into a pretty sickening display. The dogs, running wild, did wander into traffic, and while one was able to avoid the mess of cars flying by at 50-60mph, the second did not. He was hit by a passing motorist, and pinned beneath one of the car's wheels for a moment. Amazingly, the dog got up from the impact, and, likely rushing with adrenaline, sprinted, yelping, away. I ventured after them for a block or so, trying to find the hit dog so I could take him back to my house and bring him to an animal hospital, but he disappeared into an alley and I couldn't find him. I imagined he had, at least, a broken limb.

Meanwhile, the offending motorist stopped for maybe a second or two before hitting the gas and flying on his/her morning way. Maybe this reflects a lack of concern for the hurt dog, or maybe it speaks to the danger for all of us on Lubbock's major thoroughfares. There were, after all, a whole army of speeding trucks--that is, ugly monstrosities like the vehicle pictured above--approaching ever-so-fast from the rear.

I would voice my rage in some local public forum over the whole depressing incident--and the multiple ways that the culture of the city allows such things to occur--though I know that the response I've often received in the past when getting openly critical around here is usually this: "Why don't you leave and go back to where you came from?"

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MICHAEL BORSHUK is Associate Professor of African American Literature at Texas Tech University. He is the author of SWINGING THE VERNACULAR: JAZZ AND AFRICAN AMERICAN MODERNIST LITERATURE (Routledge, 2006), and numerous essays, reviews, and encyclopedia entries on African American literature, American modernism, and music. For ten years, from 1999 to 2009, he wrote on jazz regularly for CODA MAGAZINE. His fiction has appeared in ANTIGONISH REVIEW, DALHOUSIE REVIEW, ELYSIAN FIELDS QUARTERLY, SHORT STORY, and 34TH PARALLEL.

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