Of Dogs and Women
The Los Angeles Rain, although practically seasonal, was still an object of fascination and relaxation to Patricia. Letting her work and her thoughts go by the wayside, she gazed out her window, trying to watch each drop of rain as it hit the concrete below, her attention only refocused by an occasional passerby, and her eyes would follow them until they walked out of her line of sight. The calming patter of the precipitation was slowly lulling her to sleep, as she pulled her head from her hands with a great deal of effort.
It had been nearly two months since she left Quebec, Canada to go to graduate school at the University of California at Los Angeles. Many people objected to her leaving, and sometimes she herself objected, even after the move. This was one of those times. She had a paper to do, and right now, she didn’t feel like doing anything, but she managed to take the pen in her hand and start writing. One word: “The” was written before the little blue wooden dog sleeping on her desk drew her attention away. “Wish I could sleep all day like you,” she said. The dog had been a present from Carl before she left; it was kind of a thank you for putting up with him. The thought brought a smile to her face, and she began to mentally reminisce about Quebec, Canada, Dusty, Lisa, and Alex.
After about a minute she realized she was drifting once again, and groaned at the almost blank piece of paper in front of her. There was no way she was going to get the paper done in her current state of mind, so she grabbed her coat and umbrella and headed out the door. The rain had worn down to a few sprinkles by the time she had gotten back, yet the cold and the clouds retained their iron grip on the landscape.
Managing to kick the door shut, she sat her bag of groceries on the table and shook out her umbrella, hoping not to get anything valuable wet. She carefully leaned it against her desk and moved to take the contents from the bag, first removing a small piece of rawhide. Actually, it was a piece of fresh bone she had “borrowed” from a neighbor’s trash en route to the store, thinking it would be kind of funny to put it near the blue dog. She did so, smiled at the scent then finished unpacking the groceries.
As she shut the refrigerator door, she grabbed her cup of mocha and headed back to her desk to hopefully start and finish that dreadful paper. Setting the cup down, and grabbing a pen, she briefly glanced at the dog, it was gone. A look of puzzlement washed over her face as she searched her desk. The wooden pit-bull had disappeared. A faint noise drew her attention to the floor beside her, where the dog was yawning and stretching out, seemingly ignoring the confines of its normal sleeping form.
She stood and backed up as the dog tried to bite its tail. Realizing it couldn’t, due to the lack of teeth, it looked up at Patricia. They remained deadlocked, like that for quite some time, but the short attention span of the dog caused it to lose the staring match, and it began attacking a spot of paper on the floor. With the convenient distraction, Patricia got hold of the phone and began to dial Will.
“Hi, un…my dog is alive…”
“What?” Will’s voice replied. Patricia turned to see the dog scamper into the kitchen. “That blue dog Carl gave me is alive!”
“Oh no, please tell me you’re kidding…”
“I’m quite serious.”
“Great. Has it voiced its intentions to take over Los Angeles?”
“Luckily no; it’s behaving like a normal dog would. Aside from the fact it can’t bite its tail itself.
“It can’t bite its tail itself.”
“It doesn’t have any teeth.”
“Well, that certainly is a problem.” Will’s sarcasm was quite apparent. “Are there any sightings of the green marble?”
Patricia sat back down. “No, that’s not what caused it…I put a rawhide bone in front of it that I found, then it was stretching out on the floor a few minutes later.
“That’s good news,” he paused. “I say if it isn’t going to kill you, you have a nice new pet. You aren’t allergic to wooden dogs are you?”
The dog ran back in front of her, glanced around crazily, and tore into the other room. “I can’t have a wooden dog running around my apartment, just like you couldn’t have a drunken bird lounging in yours!”
“All right, all right, I was just kidding. You say a rawhide bone started it up?”
“Okay, what do dogs hate?”
“True, but you’re going to have a hard time finding a live wooden cat. I was thinking more along the lines of a bath. I’ve heard some dogs hate water.”
The dog skittered back into the kitchen. “Are you saying that all I have to do is dunk this thing?”
“Sounds like a plan to me.”
She signed. It might be some work just catching the hyperactive dog. “All right, I’ll try to and call you right back.”
“Bye.” She hung up the phone and walked into the kitchen as the dog raced between her legs back into the other room. “Here doggy!” She called after it. It stopped in its tracks and turned to face her. “Wow that actually worked…” She commented, and scooped up the dog. It was whimpering, obviously pleased with being awake for once. Seeing this, Patricia began to feel guilty about ceasing its life. She scratched its belly and released it, vowing to dunk it at the end of the day. The dog ran off into the other room.
She called Will to tell him of her decision, and he wasn’t too pleased with the idea but, since the dog wasn’t murderous or psychotic, he relented. After the brief conversation, she sat back at her desk, picked up her pen, and started on her paper.
A few hours later, she put down her pen, stretched out in her chair, then stood and yawned. The paper was done, and now she could goof off the rest of the day. The rain had picked up again she discovered as she glanced out the window, so the goofing off had to occur indoors. She hadn’t heard a peep out of the dog, and she found it staring at a corner for no apparent reason. On her approach it turned and looked at her for a moment, then went back to watching the wall. Just as she turned to leave, the dog was spooked by something, and ran from the room spitting and barking. She tried to see what had scared the dog so but couldn’t find anything particularly terrifying. Patricia wondered if real dogs acted this strange.
She followed her wooden pet, and caught it tearing apart her newly finished paper. Screaming “No!” she lunged at it, and managed to snag its back leg as it tried to bolt for the kitchen. Gathering it up and gripping it tightly, she assessed the damage to her paper, and realized it was irreparable. She glanced hatefully at the dog, which was struggling mightily to free itself from her arms. She walked hastily into the kitchen, turned on the faucet, and tried to reassure the dog that she wasn’t going to hurt it, although she really would have liked to.
The sink filled up but, before she could put the dog in, it freed itself from her grip and clambered across the floor. “Come back here!” she yelled after it but, to no avail, the dog was long gone. Sighing, she ran after it, and jumped onto her bed, whirled and stood on hind legs, barking. “It’s all right,” she said. “It’s all right. You need a bath.” The dog backed up, then leapt through the window to the ground below. Patricia hoped the shattered glass didn’t hit anyone below and she rushed to the window to see what had happened.
It was pouring outside, the gutters working overtime to disperse the runoff, and that’s where the dog was lying, motionless. She signed in relief that no one had seen the event and she grabbed her umbrella and decided to go down and retrieve it before anyone found it. Upon arrival, Patricia discovered that her dog was back to its normal position, and she bent to pick it up. It was sopping wet, the small black and tan dots on its back faded and running.
She frowned; Carl’s gift had been ruined. Nevertheless, she stuck it in the pocket of her raincoat, and walked back to her apartment.
The rain began to taper off again, and a faint rainbow made itself known to Patricia. The spectrum of colors distracted her from a bird flying swiftly south overhead.
A mocking bird flew by.
©2017 Jeané Sashi