I’ve never cared that he’s one of the vainest human beings I’ve ever met. Nor do I judge him for the fact that the inside of his garage has two highly polished sports cars (one vintage), and is so perfectly organized and clean, you’d be happy eating dinner off its floor.
I even like his preposterous outfits, one nuttier and more expensive than the next.
And I don’t care that he is around my age, perhaps even older, and his little trophy wife is my son’s age, maybe less. I like his trophy wife. I even like him. But when it comes to Henry, he’s always made me feel terrible. I don’t want my dog bad-mouthed around the ‘hood. The aforementioned man lives next door. And in the past, whenever Henry would bark in the morning, or anytime at all, he’d complain. When I was out of town, he even confronted our dog walker.
“What’s wrong with that dog!”
Lupe said, “He doesn’t like you.”
And it’s true: Henry hates him. Henry barks like he’s on speed whenever he sees him. Apparently Henry is the only dog this man has failed to charm.
“All dogs love me,” said he on numerous occasions.
He’s also said so many times, “You should train your dog! He wakes me up in the morning! My God, I’d know his bark anywhere. He’s like some horrible beast! I need my sleep!” And so on….
Then one day, his wife came home with a dog. And the dog is darling. The dog is adorable. Almost as cute as my Henry. He’s a little Pomeranian, with a custard yellow coat like mink and the sweetest little face you’ve ever seen. And while we are on the subject of Pomeranians, the dog did make me think of one of my favorite short stories, the masterpiece, Chekov’s, The Lady and The Lapdog. The aging roué meets a young woman at a fashionable watering spot, seduces her, and the dog in her lap is a Pomeranian—the eponymous lap dog. I always wondered when they had their trysts in his room both at the watering hole and back in Petersburg; she had her dog with her. What was the dog doing whilst they were doing it? If I took Henry to a tryst he would never shut up. And Chekov, who thought of everything—why didn’t he think of this?
You could see all at once, my neighbor had his first serious rival.
“I don’t know if we’ll keep him! We travel too much. It’s far too much of a responsibility. We’re taking him back!”
But then on the late night walk, there he’d be walking the little Pomeranian, with a hat and a scarf around his neck, if the temperature was below 60 degrees, the little dog would be wearing outerwear too like his master (or should I say, his slave).
“I’ve never met a dog like him. He’s an extraordinary dog.”
And he was for a while. Until he starting feeling more at home. I remember when I first brought Henry back, he was meek and quiet as a little mouse, grateful he was with these complete suckers in his forever home.
Henry’s upstairs barking as I write this. He’s probably trying to get my attention since my door is shut.
Maybe it’s something in the water on my street. Maybe it’s the vibe. This little Pomeranian is worse than Henry! Whenever anyone walks by the balcony, he barks his little head off. The cry is piercing, it goes right through you. I smile and say nothing, and walk on by.
Just a few minutes ago, on route to the Ralph’s a few blocks away to shop for dinner, the little yellow ball of fire jumps out from the foliage in front of my neighbor’s house and leash-less, heads toward me, yapping his brains out.
I don’t like to see leash-less dogs here, we are one very short block away from a hugely busy street, and we almost lost Henry one day this way. I squatted down, held out my arms and called out the dog’s name.
The owner several paces behind is madly chasing him. Until he sees me. Then he stops.
I call the dog’s name again. The little yellow thing approaches me, I reach down, and between ferocious barking he bites me.
Not a bad bite. Not much of a bite really, but a genuine nip.
I look up at my neighbor, who by this time is by our side, and is scooping his little scoundrel up in his long pumped up arms. I could tell he saw the nip.
“Just like Henry,” I smile. Then, suck on my palm a bit. Hamming it up.
He smiles. I smile more. The Pomeranian continues on with his nut job yapping, one might think he was actually a Jack Russell like Henry! I turn toward Ralph’s whistling a happy tune.by