Good Dog: A Short Story (Part One)


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What kid doesn’t love dogs?

Rhetorical question. If you answered it, stop reading, slap yourself, then restart this paragraph. (Repeat as necessary.)

They’re ignorantly happy, energetic, occasionally helpful, they drool and cost money. I guess you could say the same thing about dogs. For some anthropological reason we are born with an affinity for mutts. A blind faith, if you will. We humanize them with ideals such as innocence, love, wisdom, and even soulfulness.

You’re probably thinking about your dog right now, aren’t you? If so, let me ask you this: when was the last time it pissed you off?  Say, barfed on the sofa; grunted on the Oriental rug; ran out into the middle of the street like a dumb ass only to get crushed by a dingbat in a speeding Corvette so you have to explain to your sister later that day how you killed her dog by letting it out to pee? (I’ll never forgive you, Chewie. I don’t know what was so interesting about the fucking street that you had to shimmy under the fence and play tag with oncoming traffic.) Exactly. That’s what I thought.

After moving to Lancaster, Mom guilted Dad (again) into buying her a horse. According to me, it went something like this:

“Stan, I want a horse.” Mom.

“You don’t need a horse.” Dad.

“Stan?” (dramatic pause) “I need a horse. You said that if I let us move out to this dump of a town you would buy me a horse.”

“I believe my words were ‘if we can afford it, then I’d look into it’.”

“Stan. There’s a big red barn over there, see it? It has no horse. How can we live on a farm and not have a horse?”

“See this big white house? It has two children in it. Our children.”

“Your point?”

“We can’t afford a horse right now. I just put a three-story addition on the house. The credit cards are maxed out. I don’t know what else I can say to convince you—”

“Say you’ll buy me a horse.”

“I can’t, Lindsay. Not now.”

“Staaaaannnnn. What about my horse?”

(Sigh) “I’m dying.”

“Buy me a horse.”

“I have six months to live.”

“I. Want. My. Horse.”

“It’s possibly transmitted by sexual contact. You could have it too.”

“My horse.”

“It’s an excruciating death. Your eyes bleed. Your bones crumble.”

“Hoooorrrrrssssseee.”

“Our children may have inherited this fatal disorder.”

“A horse.”

“I fucked Linda.”

“Horse. Wait, I fucked our dentist. Horse.”

“So that’s why he cancelled my appointment last week?”

“Yes. Horse.”

“Dammit! Lindsay. I’m not buying you a—“

“Horse.”

“Stop it. This conversation is over.”

“Horse shit.”

Mom eventually got the horse. Named him Indiana. She had a thing for Harrison Ford in those days. Now she could ride him, too. But first, she needed lessons, and this is where things got dicey (for me).

For several months Mom drove her ass halfway across Texas to a facility dedicated to the education and training of both horse and rider. In other words, expensive. I don’t know how much Dad paid for all those instructions. I just know Indiana went in unruly and came out even shittier. But Mom was happy-ish. And that’s all that mattered. Being so young at the time I didn’t really give a shit. What four year-old would? I liked horsies and doggies and Saturday morning cartoons. (Sunday morning cartoons sucked camel balls.) Let me rephrase – I liked all horses EXCEPT that son of a bitch, Indiana. More on that later.

It’s a Saturday morning at the stables across town. Mom, along with who cares how many other riders, were slated to perform their recently acquired equine skills for friends and family. I think there may have been trophies or awards, too, but I’m not sure. You see…

The arena was like any other rodeo hall, complete with bleachers, dirt, barrels, and shit to jump over. Dad and my older sister, Natalie, sat in the stands waiting for Mom to begin her performance, while I somehow managed to work my way down to the snack bar. Not a good start to the day. Me, alone, with 1,500 pound animals shuffling about (i.e. fat people in overalls).  Times were different, though, admittedly. Parents didn’t worry about pedophilic horse trainers or repeat offender snack stand attendants. Children roamed free across streets, front yards, grocery store aisles – all without fear of abduction or witches. (It’s a fact that all witches disappeared after 1985.)

“Can I have a Skittles, please?” I handed the woman a dollar. Thankfully she ignored my use of a single article before a plural noun.

“Well of course you can. Here you go.” She eagerly replied.

Mmm. Skittles. Sugar coated sugar.  And in Technicolor. I left chubby flannel lady to her calorie peddling so I could explore. Tossing my head back I loaded my mouth with the rainbow of flavors. Chomping down on the hard candy shell I couldn’t hear Mom’s name get announced over the P.A. system. Instead, I spotted a horse ten feet away and made my way to him. Standing next to his front leg my head barely reached his knee. He was enormous. And so was his – dick. Mr. Horse decided to relieve himself that precise moment. Gallons of funky smelling piss splattered everywhere.

Backing away from the golden shower I noticed a dog standing by the bleachers. I slammed back another handful of Skittles and shuffled over to him. At this point Mom was jumping over poles and racing around barrels, unaware of the following 60 seconds.

“Hey, boy. What’s your name?” I asked. “You’re a big doggy.” An astute observation. “Where’s your owner?” At this point it’s unclear why I continued pestering the animal with questions it could neither understand nor answer. With the one sided conversation going poorly, I resorted to physical contact to communicate my intentions – petting. At first with one hand, then two. He seemed to like it. I liked it. Things were going smoothly. A picture perfect moment – boy loving dog. This was some grade A Norman Rockwell shit. If Mom could see me now –

Crap! I could see through a gap in the risers Mom racing around barrels. I better get back to the bleachers. “Bye, Doggy.” I leaned over and gave him a big hug, appreciative of the time we spent together.  Such a good, sweet –

Mother fucker!

(Stay tuned to find out what happens next!)

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About Son

Unemployed, but trying.
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