So I adopted this Black Lab, Nickee. Looks for all the world like every other Black Lab– ‘cept for the deranged San Andreas splintered ribs on her left side.
Agency said she was mouthy. Adoption day on the Petco curb she was rowdy, and magic. I turned, said
“There’s a lot o dog in there.“
I reckon her just short of feral. Wiki says the prey development cycle didn’t get interrupted.
They found her on the Eastern Shore. I visited, she pulled on that stupid Halty lead like a low down tractor. She takes food from the hand all incisor-snap.
Bicycle goes by she loses her mind.
She gets out of her crate, I rub her belly, she bites me. Bruises all up and down my arms, legs, ass. She wants the ball, she leaps up, jaws throat-wide open
At the dogpark i first saw her stalk. She moves like a cat. She slinks down low, like a sheep-dog gone all breaking bad, all with the hydro-phoby.
She’s one leg at a time. That leg’s just radioactive tight. She’ll take 3 minutes to cross 20 feet. She stalks the other dogs. She clamps her jaws on their withers. A manly young lady in a mohawk came up to me said
“I don’t want my dog to get hurt.”
“It’s okay. They know what they’re doing.“
At 0615 am, I lost her in the woods of Centennial Lake. For the next 9 hours I walked, gave up, called for her, gave up, kept going. That day there’d been a run at the park. Hundreds of people all over the place. At zero-six there’d been a few fishermen.
“She’s got stolen. She got hit by a car, or she would have approached someone and they would have called. Maybe she’s road-kill by now.”
I searched for blood trails in the roadside hedgerows, figuring side-swiped, she would have crawled there to die with her dignity. I drove the neighborhoods. I broke into the nearby farm. I stopped for coffee in a Korean cappucino kiosk joing. I looked for that orange lead caught in nettles, one of those prongs caught on a branch.
In that 9th hour, I entered a pine glade. Looked left, there she was laid down in the needles, staring at me, not making a sound.
She played dumb, claimed we’d never met. She cocked her head like George Clooney, just to settle the matter.
I walked towards her.
“Rescue? You call this Rescue?”
She stood up. I dropped down, knees to the ground.
She sniffed around.
First 3-year old she saw she stalked.
Girl I dated last year had one of them. Early days I went all drill-sergeant with that 3-year old. Scared the piss fast into his treehugger of a cloth diaper these throwaway days.
“You has your instructions, now go do ‘em, 3-year old!”
Distressed gentlefolk, aghast all around the holiday’d dinner table.
He was the first one Nickee ever saw.
Picture Sylvester pictures Tweety as a itty-bitty T-bone steak.
Picture Nickee picturing that 3-year old as a greased-up potbelly pig, back from her days in ‘Nam.
Anyway that toddler, I weren’t his litter-mate. I weren’t his enemy either.
I will confess to jealously over that goddamn pedal-free scoot bike he learned so fast on, and being pissed off I couldn’t ever have that XR-75 dirtbike in my 7-year old’s Dallas. Cuz then I’d know how to slide my motorcycles now. You know, now that it counts so much.
So, I showed the 3-year old the socket-driving, the screw-driving, plugging cables into the drum-head.
He’d be at the squat beside me, not shitting for once. I handed him the socket driver.
These days I’ve got a daughter used to be painful shy. Never gave up a hug. Later she got appalling rude. She and her mother were all poor-relations in the orient.
She shit-canned her friends in 8th grade, stayed in her room. Worried about her shaky trailer-park in the crystal palace mother. Daughter got her defense in depth. She’d make good money playing poker, ‘cept for all them headaches.
November in the basement she showed teeth. Leapt up, jaws open wide. I growled her down. Dismay among my family. All winter them cold cold months all radio silent.
Spring come she bring them teeth again. That cruelest month I took her by the withers. I ground them teeth in her ear, hissed
“don’t poke the dragon in the belly little girl … dont fuck with your father … he will eat his young”
and kicked her across the room, like Colonel Hunt did me on that D-M-Z in Korea.
Her mother’s got her a parallel universe. Got pills ain’t working. Got doctors can’t spell. Lied seven-ways-to-Sunday to her lawyer. Firming up the Fifty Ways to etaway-from-Ray.
By May Day, that Mama Bear had she showed her teeth, again, still. That ex-wife got a saw-tooth jaw and a high-exploding squash-head. Spall all over the place. BBs, pipe bomb and #10 nails while tender children, hers, in the room. Got her a new Russian voodoo onion-doll of a new ex-husband to put up in that glassy cabinet.
I stayed cool during all that medical bullshit. Stayed cool her in the headache IV hospital. Stayed cool all them out-of-network bills. Stayed all shut-the-fuck-up during all her crazy gonna-leave-Ray crying on the steering wheel, pounding on the dashboard of her shiny new Lexus.
Good Christmas come:
“you’re stealing from us … You’re a shit father …”
“That little bitch ain’t welcome in my house …
she’ll snap a neck I swear …
i wont have her around my precious chickens and goats.”
Then there was the matter of the dog.
She kinda scared Ma, too. Almost as visceral-like as that moray-eel of a granddaughter.
Man I just wish I coulda stayed cool, long enough
to not poke that cold dragon belly
to not poke the muddy bear in that greasy eye.
Five years later, and I almost got them taxes paid.