Princess, the quiet boxer bitch, sat looking at the boys as they wandered, back and forth, down the sidewalk. Cam was aware and staring back, so much so that I was afraid he would walk into a tree, the fence, or even his brother, Junior.
I imagined that Princess was telepathically begging to be rescued from the boredom that was life with her master.
“Oh please don’t let your dog go to the bathroom there.” Princess’s owner whined from over the top of one of the weekly circulars.
If that was the intellect a random stranger was treated to walking by out of the blue, poor Princess’s brain cells must have been committing suicide daily on an exponential basis.
Monday of the next week we walked by and were treated to the wafting smell of lunch. It was another day of sunshine so when the reflection from the chicken dinner aluminum tray momentarily blinded me the following theme song suddenly filled my head.
“What do you feed a hungry man? The man handler.”
Frustrated, I walked on, thinking of new pop song lyrics to clear this earwig so I didn’t have to suffer with it the entire mile and a half.
Two days later I found myself passing by again. Of course Cam and Junior were on short leashes so the dangerous acidity of their urine wouldn’t cause undo harm to the owner’s fence. Actually, I was pretty sure that Princess stayed away from the fence also to avoid the potentially lethal infections the rusted splinters up and down the iron pickets had probably caused her in the past.
The hungry man was at his post in the screened porch, pretending to read the Kmart ad section, but in reality, watching me to make sure no dogs peed on the forty year old elm surrounded by dust in the boulevard. I tipped my eyes in his direction, subconsciously shooting a laser beam randomly over his head. The wind picked up causing what I assumed was an out-of-tune wind chime behind him to beg to be taken back to Goodwill.
How does a wind chime get out of tune, anyway?
The last walk of the week and I forget, once again finding myself walking down the sidewalk toward where hungry man wears Princess’s tiara. By now I’m thinking that I should just feel sorry for him and Princess. I decide to be the good dog citizen I often am and pick up random dog shit in the boulevard between here and his yard. Not only a good citizen, but forgiving as well.
Not all dog owners pick up after their dogs. A softball (literally) sized mitt full of poo made me realize this by the time I hit the edge of Princess’s domain. I’m just tying up the blue bag full of shit when I notice that Princess has followed her nose into the neighbor’s backyard (her fence only extends along the front edge of the boulevard sidewalk). As she begins her shaky leg squat under the clothesline (yes, this neighborhood still has clotheslines) I see hungry man smiling in the window, watching her.
“Oh no he didn’t!” I think to no one in particular.
With a flick of the wrist the full blue bag goes flying through the air and lands, with seam-splitting force, just inside the rusty picket fence.
I’ve been pretty careful to avoid that street since.