5 Things that flashed through my mind as a rabid mastiff chased me and my bleeding, petite shepherd mix murderously down the road
- I was six and sick to my stomach, but my grandmother wild with peasant ideas of ill winds from open windows kissed by moonlight made me eat as my brother watched Mr. Spock grip someone to his knees without even raising a Dracula brow, which is when my first dog, a German Shepherd like the ones watching boots in the snow that start ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ watched me reeling from the hotdog soup until I couldn’t take it anymore. The sight of Gypsy at that mess is a picture never taken that no amount of running can delete.
- I finally knew it, just knew it in my bones, the secret of the shoes on the wire. Not necessarily why some shoes dangle there nor whence they come, but why some don’t: Her shoes had no parachute. They sailed over telephone wires trailing laces through the orange spotlights of the bridge, the imported white rubber of the soles filling the air like silver bread; the car that launched them peeling out, leaving no one to hear the river thrash, save for the hulking bass with a rusted hook in its cheek, curling for safer treasures downstream.
- I did not love the girlfriend I had when we got the dog I would name and teach to sit and then never see again. That dog is a roving nightmare, looking for me along craggy mountaintops like Victor Frankenstein’s mad creation, threatening to come for me on my wedding night to hear me call its name.
- I’m too large a man to muster casual acts of concern from passers-by, most of whom mistake me for some innovator of extreme dog walking: Want to walk faster? Just park a four legged InSinkErator baying to wake the devil at your six o’clock and Voila. If I were to brandish a knife, let’s just say, not for something as morbidly abstract as standing my ground, but to prevent the death of my lovely little friend and a proprietary six-pack of wet needles deep in the belly, I’m almost sure that every passing pick-up would stop in that instant to put me down, rifles a-blazing, and justly too, ’cause just look at him—Big guy like that menacing a poor rabid two-hundred pound dog with that knife, by the way, you missed a spot on the chalk outline. That’s where we found the jammed can of pepper spray they sell at sixty bucks a pop, which is funny cause five out of six dogs actually develop a liking for the stuff, same way some people like spicy foods.
- “Rabid” twins in the canals of your ear to pop back out of that magician’s hat as the epitome of unkillable cuteness–Rabbit, furry trickster and rubber-souled genius of the joke that cuts and heals and cuts again, who haunts Easter green tinsel as a laughing whisper, who marks a primordial exchange whereby martyrdom passes the meridian of fragile love (the same thing as failed imagination) to emerge as a bunny with a straw grass basket of stillborn splendor.
< originally published in Treehouse magazine >