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A Dog Story

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  • A Dog Story

    Big Valley, California – The medical marijuana experiments have been going well here for Ralph Weinstein. His research is proving high grade weed and Russian vodka laced with pickled asparagus brine render it near impossible for a writer to write. Not a problem. Ralph often barrels through a block like Alan “The Horse” Ameche in the old days of the NFL when the game was more important than the money. “Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey”, Oliver Goldsmith wrote in 1770, “where wealth accumulates, and men decay”. Have I told you about the dog? No, I haven’t told you about the dog. In “An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog”, another Goldsmith poem, a dog goes mad and bites his owner’s hand, and although the man is injured, “The man recovered of the bite, the dog it was that died”. The dog in Weinstein’s tale bit no one (in fact as shall see it has no teeth), nor did it die, nor did Weinstein expire, so we have a fonder ending than Goldsmith’s. Weinstein’s dog story goes like this:

    First light comes early on a deep summer morning in Big Valley, the eastward glow so early at 4:30 am it seems intrusive. Nonetheless, Ralph stumbles out of bed to begin yet another day with his usual ritual that initiates with the start button on the coffee maker in the kitchen. He glances out a window and sees a dog curled up on a doormat, a rather forlorn looking black and white Australian Shepard with an unkempt shaggy coat of long ratty hair that has never known a dog groomer. Ralph is never in a great mood first thing in the morning, and he has never shopped at Pets-R-Us, he would in fact like to do a Timothy McVeigh on Pets-R-Us and all the SUV’s in the parking lot too. So it is with a level of irritation Ralph thinks he recognizes the dog as belonging to his Portuguese neighbor farmer Randy whose highest qualities also lie in his mother Marie who makes world class bacalau and so Ralph forgives Randy for not being a responsible pet owner whose sick, cloying, compensatory attachment to one’s pet is the whole first chapter of “Fundamentals of Aberrant Psychology”. Several phone calls to Randy and Randy’s mother finally result in a recording on Ralph’s answering machine, a device he loathes, from Randy informing Ralph that the dog cannot be his dog because, as he records on the infernal device, “My dog is right here with me”..................
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