clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dogging It

At left, the foxhound. I have a foxhound.

He's a bit of therapy for me because he needs exercise. There's no way to endure when he doesn't get it. They're a smart, stubborn breed and living with one is a negotiated settlement.

They will also howl.

Mine is wonderful. However, I know the value of a good set of legs and long walks at a brisk pace. Amazing how that works well for writing, too.

My point? My neighbor has a teenage daughter and she has a moppish excuse for a dog of no real description. It is a yipee little thing with a voice that carries like Mariah Cary. No, I didn't mean that in a good way.

So, after a little more than a week of the little dog being shoved to the deck in the late evening where it yips constantly for an hour, I and the foxhound go next door and offer to take it for a walk.

 My intention is innocent - the dog needs some socialization and if I have to walk fuzz-butt, then walking mopsey-flopsy will be fine too. The foxhound loves everything (but foxes) and a good stretch will be good for mopsey.

The neighbor girl has even done afternoon dog-duty for a beagle (the beloved beagle Roxy, my sainted friend and a notorious piss-hound. Oh, I loved her. I also became an expert at carpet care because when the beagle felt slighted, she'd piss.)

So, the foxhound and I go over and have a brief conversation. I offer to take mopsey on a good evening walk with fuzz-butt. She says she's trying to get mopsey to stop barking (apparently by yelling at the dog while holding a cell phone - at least that what she does when I'm there.). She says she'll talk to her mom. Fine, I say. It's becoming a problem. The neighborhood is quiet but for mopsey and I'd be glad to just do a little walk with Louie and all will get better.

Of course, I only know the names of this one family's names next door (mom and daughter, still can't remember dad and certainly don't know anyone's last names). I've been here five years. We're not a chummy bunch in my neck of the woods. We wave a little (some not at all) and keep to ourselves. Nice that way. No brownies at the door when you move in ... no potlucks or communal 4th of July fests. No. Just shut your mouth, mind your own business. Nice that way. Lower body count.

Anyway, I thought about the whole resettlement program. In the late unpleasantness, some high value folks ended up in sunshine and beachside. These were the sort of folks whose defection brought efforts to a halt on the other side for years while they grew a few more very smart people to take the place of just one guy. Sometimes his family got out too. Often, not. You'd like to think the resettlement bit was all bunnies and roses. It wasn't. Sometimes the only thing you got to take with you when you left the front lines was your soul. Sometimes, you didn't keep that either.

I'm thinking of the resettlement community and how that must go with a yappy dog. Murder is murder. What is it to have a senior field agent - someone who maybe serviced a hundred stringers on our side and who probably held the Order of Lenin - neighbor who comes over and asks to walk your wife's yappy dog to make it happy and shut-up.


"The dog, it wants to be out. It wants to walk. I want to walk. It seems a good fit," Victor said spreading his arms a little. "I bring dog back after walk in the evening."

"Thanks - but I'll see Suzie keeps it inside. I'm sorry it bothered you." I smiled and hoped Victor would accept this.

"Is no problem for me, now. I take dog for walk, everything alright," he said. It was then he smiled. It looked painful. "I thought about this a lot. Walking the dog is best option - for everyone. I thought about it a lot."

"It'll be fine. Good to meet you. Sorry," I said. I closed the door an inch hoping he'd understand.

"No - ," he said as the palm of his hand reached for the middle of the door. It was like a ham opened up and sprouted fingers against it - thick sausage fingers like a hockey glove. In Florida. In September.

"Did I use the right words? I want to take dog for a walk every night so we don't have any problems with bark bark all evening," he said. He was still smiling. I had the image of Muffit being crushed between his knees right there in front of me as he smiled. I didn't know where in my psyche the image  came from. Certainly not from the 5:30 Gin-and-Tonic at the club part.

"It'll be fine. I'm sorry. We'll keep the dog inside."

"I want to be sure. You understand?" he asked. The smile was gone. "I want to be sure."

"Okay. Good-night," I said. The door wouldn't move.

"I like dogs," he said. " I don't like bark. You understand I want to help you with the dog? I offer to help. I said I would walk dog. I said help."

"Yes," I said. "Not needed. We'll take care of it."

He looked at me while I pushed again once, twice on the door. I pushed again hard. He just stood with one hand on the middle like a bridge abutment or a flying buttress on Notre Dame in Paris.  Maybe they had those where he came from. New Jersey?

Who knew when these folks were coming from. They would stop when they ran into each other on the street but no one saw their lips move or heard what they said. Sometimes they just looked at each other from opposite sides of the street then walked on.

I was getting a haircut and one of these new people was waiting and reading a magazine. Another walked in and just stood by the door and stared at him. The one waiting put down the magazine and walked out just as a chair opened up. He must have been in there at least thirty-minutes waiting on a Thursday afternoon and then just walked out because another new guy walked in and looked at him.

Harry Donason had been in real estate in Ft. Wayne. He asked asked a bit at the state commissioner's office - or said he was going to - and then Harry was gone. His house sold without so much as a sign. He owed the club sixty-two dollars in bar fees and never paid. No forwarding address, either.

"I am sure now, too," he said. The door flew closed as his arm relaxed. I collided with the door frame.

I leaned against it. I rubbed my shoulder. It was time to consider California. The beach here was too crowded in the winter. Suzie's cousin was in California. Maybe the real estate commissioner would buy my house. I looked at Daisy wagging her tail.

Maybe we'd sell it once we got to California.

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