Dress for the Dog

Flash fiction

by Marina Rubin

I ASKED NIKITA SOBAKEVICH, Ukraine’s travel agent extraordinaire, to arrange a chauffeur-driven car to Uman, instead he booked a two-bedroom loft in Vinnitsa. Drawing skull and bones over his resume, I reiterated that I needed a car with a driver and an air-conditioner. In response he sent me photos of the sunlit living room, a bedroom done in kitsch Versace style. For weeks as we continued arguing, my friends, acquaintances, and co-workers gathered parcels for their loved ones overseas, heart medication for ailing great-grandmothers, blue onesies for newborn babies, pushup bras for unmarried glamour girls, money for gravestone caretakers. And then Nikita Sobakevich called, he too needed a package delivered from United States. Out of curiosity, I asked what was in it. A pair of sweatpants, a bathing suit, and a dress for the dog, he replied. As I packed my suitcase full of dresses, strapless, off the shoulder, asymmetrical, I thought perhaps I should have taken the dress for the dog, god forbid there was a German Shepherd wandering the slums of Vinnitsa, butt-naked.

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