Short stories and essays by Shaun Costello, as well as excerpts from manuscripts in progress.


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A hungry Puppy


So, I’m sitting in the local Publix (supermarket) parking lot chatting on my new smart phone with my friend Elizabeth, when a car pulls into the space facing me, so we’re windshield to windshield, and this gangly, wiggling, white, pink nosed pit bull puppy is hanging out the drivers open window. Now, this is a big pup, maybe six months, and it has now climbed over the driver, into the front seat, and probably thinks it’s getting out of the car to play. With enormous effort, the woman in the driver’s seat throws the puppy into the back seat, and talks strategy with the two (seven or eight year old) young female passengers. The door opens, and the driver, an enormously fat woman in her mid thirties, struggles to exit the car, leaving the wiggling puppy with the two girls. I’ve just about recovered from laughing at the puppy hijinks, when the fat woman returns carrying an enormous tray filled with cup cakes, which she must have ordered in advance from Publix, probably for a birthday party. I’m losing it again, and annoying the hell out of Elizabeth, who’s still on the other end of the phone, and can’t possibly understand why I’m laughing so hard. Sometimes you can see disaster play itself out in slow motion, and this was one of those times. The fat woman, now doing a balancing act with the tray of cup cakes, has gotten the car door open, and is attempting, with great difficulty, to get into the car while still holding the tray. She finally decides on the butt first approach, which seems to work on some level, but it takes her a while, until she finally swings her portly self into the car, and slowly the gigantic tray of cup cakes is lifted across the car, on its way to the passenger seat. With lightning speed, and the panache of a hungry puppy on a mission, the dog flies over the seat back and dives head first into the tray of cupcakes, and momentarily out of view. The fat woman is screaming, the girls are giggling, and very slowly the puppy’s head raises high enough for me to see that its whole face is covered in icing, which it is happily attempting to lick off with a surprisingly long and active tongue. This gleefully chaotic adventure, which is playing itself out right in front of me, ends with the car backing up, and beginning to drive away, with the woman still screaming, the girls laughing, and the puppy still licking his face. I guess this escapade deserves space in my “Parking lots I’ve known” list. Woof!

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