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Excerpt from

The Dog Shit House
By
Charity Ankrum

The dog shit house. For people of a certain demographic this term needs no explanation. It is the house on the block where no one cares. There is no time line associated with the caring- it's not like they used to care, or might someday in the future care. Care is like a beach in Nebraska; it doesn't exist, and no one misses it because it was never there to begin with.

In my neighborhood, a neighborhood admittedly studded with unattractive, poorly kept houses painted in garish colors, it was the Phillips house. This was in an era when children were allowed to be free range; we would run and build and destroy like the Lord of the Flies without the grand social commentary, somehow ending up at home at dusk only slightly bloodied and bruised, dusty, exhausted, complete. And we would conspire. The touch football game, interrupted by traffic, would suddenly become a huddle of speculation about the goings on at the dog shit house. We'd gather in a circle of five to eight kids, our eyes darting nervously around the perimeters, whispering our own first hand experiences in the dog shit house. "There is dog poop on every single stair," I remember saying dramatically. "They don't even take out the garbage," another kid would contribute. There was a horror story cadence that was critical when discussing the dog shit house. The emphasis always had to be on the last half of the sentence...


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