Good Dog – The Finale


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The next afternoon I sat up in bed watching Gomer Pile, USMC, and playing with my Transformers. The bite wound itched. I couldn’t open my right eye – my shooting eye – which jacked-up my depth perception. When relieving myself I hit more rim and floor (than usual) due to my temporary impairment. But I had my own bathroom so who cares.

It’s very difficult for a five year-old NOT to poke and pick at a wound on his body. It’s instinctual. Yes it hurt like hell, but contained injuries are the best way to test one’s pain threshold under calm-er circumstances. You know you did (or do) this, too. It’s in our nature to investigate. That particular morning I used Optimus Prime’s laser canon to prod the wound around my puffy eye. I’d push until it hurt. Stupid.

“William. Stop messing with it.” Mom commanded from the doorway. “You don’t want it to get infected do you?”

What’s with Mom and rhetorical questions?

“No,” I moped. “When’s daddy getting home?”

This was not a question I typically asked. In fact, I never asked it. Why today then? Oh, no big reason other than he’s supposed to come home with Voltron! Even a sedated, pinned, partially unconscious child will always remember a parent’s promise.

“He should be home soon. Try and take a nap. Your wound needs rest.” She folded some Underoos and t-shirts and tucked them into my cramped dresser drawers.

Take a nap? That’s the last thing I should do. What I should be doing is planning out the Voltron vs. Transformer battle soon to unfold on my twin mattress. And my wound needs to rest? Seriously. It’s on my face – I’m not running a marathon or answering questions on Double Dare. Rest YOUR face, woman. I bet Gomer didn’t have to put up with this kind of crap from Sgt. Carter.

“William, I said—”

I heard the glass paneled front door shut.

“I’m home!” Dad announced. “Where’s my family?” He always sounded so happy to arrive home and see us. No matter the worm-shit day he may have endured, he entered the house proud, like he’d slayed the saber-tooth bare-handed and carried it home slung over his shoulders.

“Up here!” I yelled. This hurt my face – the cheek pushing up against my cut. But who cares? I was about to receive the greatest present of ALL TIME bar none.

The “used” toys on my lap spilled to the side of the bed opposite my bedroom door. This way they would not obstruct Dad’s presentation of said promised reward. I could hear his footsteps coming up the two-hundred year-old oak steps, creeking under the sheer weight of the enormous gift he must be hauling. A tiny bit of pee surprised my Spiderman underwear. Excitement does that.

“Guess who’s here?” He toyed with my emotions from the landing.

Mom turned around from my dresser and said in the most over-dramatized tone, “Wow. You sure are home early. Whatever for?”

I’m five, not an idiot.

I began to rock like an autistic kid trying to signal to his parents he just discovered the cure for cancer, and possibly pooped himself while doing it. The tension was palpable. The wait was endless. The gash over my eye throbbed in anticipation.

“Heeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeee’ssssssssssss Daddy!” He hopped from the door jam into the room holding a big ass box.

Holy shit! Holy shit! Holy shit! The next time I would feel this way about any surprise wouldn’t be until September 15, 1996 when:

A) I saw my first pair of real live boobies I could touch, and

B) had sex with the girl attached to those boobies immediately after. (The third time happened earlier this year. My wife and I were watching the HBO documentary series, “Cathouse” (the Las Vegas brothel). I joked around and asked her if we could go there as a couple. She replied, “Maybe.”)

Mom and Dad exchanged pleasantries before Dad approached me. For a brief moment I recalled yesterday’s events – the biting part mainly – and wondered if it had been worth it. Was all that misery worth this? Short answer: yes. Sure, I lost some blood and will forever have a healthy fear of dogs, but the trade-off more than balances the equation.

“Since you were so brave yesterday, we wanted to get you something to show you how proud we are of you,” Mom said. I guess they thought I’d forgotten our contract in the last twenty-four hours. Fools.

Dad held the giant box outstretched like the picture of the Indians giving the disease-ridden Pilgrims a basket of corn. And I, the ever gracious child, politely received the token and embraced our new found friendsh—

What. The. Fuck.

Because I couldn’t wear my much needed glasses, I could not see the details of the box while in Dad’s possession. (I was, and still am, terribly near sited. Legally blind without ocular assistance.)  From ten feet away it appeared to be of similar size and coloring of the Voltron box I’d seen at Toys R Us. Even at five feet I could make out a “V” if I squinted my good eye. But at six inches from my face . . . I could make out all its wrongness.

It was the wrong mother fucking Voltron. No shit. I’m not lying. There, nestled in my expectant palms, Vehicle Voltron. Not Lion Force Voltron, but gay-ass-who-cares-about-second-season Vehicle Voltron. A stitch in my cut began to sting.

They waited for a response. Dad’s grin could widen no more as he began to wiggle with enthusiasm. I could only stare through the box and into my soul as I brooded. How could he get the wrong fucking toy? I specifically said “Lion Voltron”, not crummy plastic car Voltron. Lions dammit! And this is the man who’s supposed to support us financially? He’s making all the big decisions? Game over, man. Game over.

I detected their urgency for a response.

“Wow! Cool! Thanks, daddy!” Followed by a careful hug to the non-mauled side of my skull. I fooled them with a canned response. I even oversold it with my ferocious tearing into the packaging.

“We love you son.” They both said with a kiss to my forehead before a choreographed exit.

There I sat, alone and dumbfounded, holding the biggest swing-and-a-miss by a parent of all time. Poor Dad, I thought. I know he tried. And now I’ll have to continue living a lie until I’m old enough to write it in a book that they will be forced to read. (I plan on forcing them to buy the book, too. Restitution for this iniquitous misdead.)

Of course, life is not without its liquid-filled pills of irony. Dad’s mistake that day, and many others since, is a genetic defect. One which I inherited. I buy my wife the wrong thing all the time. Not because I’m lazy. I make lists. Hell! I even take exemplars with me to the stores. No way I’m showing up at the Neiman’s counter and attempting to buy a specific colored skin rejuvenating cleanser made from ground whale penis and unused souls without proper documentation and pictorial assistance.

No, typically my failures occur on the regular stuff, like groceries. I’ll grab Coa Coa Puffs not noticing the large “Whole Wheat” or “Sugar Free” lettering splattered across its front when I should have purchased the edible tooth-rot version (and I can’t blame her, sugar-free cereal tastes like psoriasis.). Numerous times I’ve come home with conditioner instead of shampoo; hair thickener instead of hair volumizer; Super absorbent tampons instead of regular (This is due to my discomfort standing in the feminine care section for more than five seconds while trying to determine the proper Kotex product. Inevitably a store clerk walks by and asks “Can I help you find anything, sir?” as if to point out the severe emasculative nature of the situation. Thanks, douche.); rock cocaine instead of crack; you get the idea.

Dad was probably so excited to have a quality excuse to get to leave work early, and maybe even to buy his only son a toy, that he did what I do – look for the word, in this case, Voltron, and grab it and go. Our ever-postulating brains don’t have the time to sully our thoughts with minute details. Really, it’s not like Hasbro intended to make a profit and produce more than one toy, right?

Fucking vehicle Voltron, Dad? You could have come home with a fetal pig shoved in a jar and not missed the mark by a larger margin. Well, I guess you did buy me a car when I turned sixteen, so I’ll ease up a bit.

I played with runner-up Voltron for a couple weeks, but after “accidentally” losing one of the cars, which prohibited the uniting of all fifteen vehicles to make the Voltron, it became a useless, shabby toy. You know, the one used as a stunt toy by the quality toys who still reside within the inner circle of playtime. Poor Voltron suffered many terrible fates: melted candle wax to the face, eighteen foot free-fall from the roof, dog teeth, an entire June at the bottom of the pool, a can of satin finish blue spray paint, and finally, my 550 feet per second pellet gun. A gruesome toy death by most standards.

My face eventually healed leaving me with an awesome scar above my eye. I’d like to take a moment and thank the dog who changed my life that cold morning. Not so much for exposing my epidermis to the air, but for creating a fantastic conversation piece, one which I used shamelessly over the years. Mainly with girls.

“Oooo, what happened to your eye? How’d you get that scar?” They’d ask, hoping for heroic tales filled with intrigue and bare, washboard abs.

“Oh, this?” I’d gesture to the deep rivet as if I’d forgotten its existence.

“Looks like it hurt,” they’d continue, sometimes with a delicate grazing by a dainty index finger.

It was like fishing with dynamite.

“I was attacked by dog when I was a child. To this day, I can still remember the sound of my fleshing tearing under his teeth. I had to fight the Doberman until someone pulled the beast off me.” (Yeah, you and I know it was a German Shephard. But that lacks a certain pinache. Doberman, on the other hand, conjures flashes of the skinless hounds from Resident Evil. Right?)

Her delicate fingers slip to my thigh in a consoling fashion. She may even cover her mouth with her other hand in shock.

“Yep. Tore half my face off. Thankfully the doctor was also a plastic surgeon and this is the only visible scar.” And if I really wanted to seal the deal: “If you put your finger right here…you can feel where the animal’s canine chipped the bone.”

The rest of the dinner had a fifty-fifty shot of securing an evening of coitus. Thanks, dog.

Oh, and I still never got the real Voltron.

Life sucks that way.

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About Son

Unemployed, but trying.
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2 Responses to Good Dog – The Finale

  1. Kristy Ladner says:

    Hence, the breed restrictions facing our downtown living dreams! On behalf of Indy (named for the Indy 500, not Indiana) and all German Shepards out there…sorry! Thoroughly enjoyed the read :)

  2. Wife says:

    A quality girl would never fall for such a tactic. I’m sure glad I saved you before any real damage could be done. On another note, this story just reminded me – I need to buy my skin “resurfacing” cleanser from Amazon today!

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