Sometimes, when he thinks we're alone, Daddy listens to the radio. Mommy says, soft as sadness, that the Monster is always listening.
"What great big ears he has," Mommy says, "and eyes." And she laughs in a not-funny way, and drinks more pills. She says they are her happy pills.
Sometimes my friend is mad when Mommy calls him the Monster, or Daddy yells at him. The whole house shakes until I yell at him to stop and then we play in the yard. Mommy and Daddy cry when my friend growls at them, and I don't like seeing them cry. Crying is for kids like me.
Sometimes my friend is hurt. The neighbours all moved away, but still people try and hurt my friend. Our yard is huge now and my friend can bound and play without anyone yelling at us at all. Sometimes I hear planes overhead. (Just like in the war, Daddy says in his not-daddy voice, hard and ugly.) The island is quiet now, but still people still come to hurt my friend.
I think, sometimes, that my friend scared people away. That might be why our yard is so huge now. He's always ever so big and clumsy, but Mommy and Daddy just laugh and say everything is okay and we shouldn't move. I miss my other friends.
My friend is hungry all the time, and the nice butcher doesn't bring by meat anymore and my friend has to go into town for good. The last time I went to town on his back they had soldiers and guns and shouted at us from over the broken bridge.
Everything looks broken down; sometimes my friend gets ugly cuts on the bottoms of his paws, broken windows no one has cleaned up at all. I don't understand it.
When he is hurt, my friend's cuts are the colour of his fur. I clean them when I can, but he won't let anyone else near him.
Everyone else calls him the Monster now, but to me he'll always be Clifford.