can’t hurry love. And you can’t slow it down either. Love
capricious chance. If you’re looking for a Jenna Jameson, chances are you’ll
end up with a Reese Witherspoon. It happened to me.
a little disappointed that I had to go to the party alone. I don’t
like Gothic. Judy and Max Gherkin’s house is a modernist Manderley. It’s
like Rebecca, with too many ghosts, hidden secrets and toxic
minds. While their manse was designed for light and space, it hung
more like Grey Gardens.
is young and she is an eager new bride. Her recently enhanced bosom
is now as ample as her inheritance.
Gherkin is a trust conservator who is successful at beguiling trust;
the state regulators who are not trusting him. Over dry and
sallow skin, Max
cloak of the haunted.
was I to question where the money came from? The bartender was
and the actors, subbing as waiters, never
stopped passing the top-flight hors d’oeuvres.
Max left with the excuse of getting more ice, he warned his new
wife, Judy, that she better not go into the kennel for fear of
roiling the dogs.
kicks, Max Gherkin sports a kennel that breeds dogs for canine
As soon as Max left, Judy brightened up and elbowed me in the ribs. “Let’s
go see the doggies!”
With provisions from the bar, we hiked to the homestead of thirty-four
little pups. The kennel was quiet except for the radio; it was tuned
to a hardcore
gangsta rap station that the dogs favor as a lullaby.
I stood before a wall of crates stacked five high filled with slumbering
pups. Some were snoring. Some were stretched out while others were
curled in a ball. A few were twitching nervously in their sleep.
middle of this snoozing canine sculpture, only one wet nose was wide-awake
and pressed against the grate. The duct tape nameplate
read ‘Unnamed Girl
was love at first sight. The year old was looking up at me with
eager eyes and a tail tempo that tripled the Jay-Z
beat. She squealed
Maybe I did too. Her love was requited. This was the cutest little
dog I had ever seen. In my whole life. One ear stood up while
the other lounged
Her nose was a black button and she was smiling.
in the heck is it?” I asked.
tuxedo dog!" Judy answered, "A wire-haired fox terrier.”
“How cute! How sweet!”
Not really. They kill foxes---on a foxhunt. They have a lockjaw bite
like a pitbull. Max says you pull the dog out of your saddlebag by
their handy little tail and
toss ‘em into the foxhole. They’re
“Well then, Tally-Ho. I’m in love.”
asked, “Unnamed Number Two is the runt of the litter...
And we are trying to get rid of some inventory…”
a little taller, cleared my throat and said, “I
can give her a name.”
Immediately I forgot about the Doberman. I had another dog to rescue.
I guess, down deep, every Daddy needs a little girl to love.
loud beating of my heart must have woken up the entire compound.
Within seconds, thirty-four dogs were yowling, yapping and yodeling.
to laugh but Judy looked at me with alarm. The caterwaul was
funny but deafening; the dogs were trying to bark-out the other.
It was madness.
said as she grabbed my arm. The fear
in here eyes was tangible. We hightailed it outta
As we lit
out across the courtyard, Max blew in on his Escalade. I yanked Judy
behind a leafy hedge and we ducked low, unseen. I could see his face
flare when he heard the chaos in the kennel.
loudly, Gherkin ran to the singing dogs.
looked like she was going to lose her hors d’oeuvres. Quietly,
I whispered a measured "One... Two... Three... Four..."
her hand and we dashed across the whithered garden, around the back
and into the party where we put on the skids and split. I always
hate that awkward
of deacceleration when the forehead feels too moist, each breath
is choked-back and nonchalance feels like a bad performance of Hamlet.
short while later, Max entered the house. I was pretending
to admire the modern-like art, but all I could see were the
rusty water stains
that striped the walls. They looked like tears, the urine stains
of paranoia and fear. It was evidence of a house in decline
and a soul in arrears. The blemish was nothing phantasmagoric;
was merely the poor engineering of a fifth-rate Rem Koolhaas.
carried Judy’s champagne glass, the one
with the lipstick smear that she had left in the kennel.
crossed the room to his young
wife and silently interrupted the conversation she was having.
He slowly plucked a leaf that was tangled in her hair, inspecting it
as if the
I brushed at my jacket. I've been in this situation before.)
took his wife by the elbow and silently led her out of
didn’t see her the rest of the night.
I didn’t know her well enough to ask about it later.
later, Judy and I were lounging by Max’s pool with
its smoggy view of the San Gabriel Mountains. The Bloody
Marys were fresh
and the languor
high. My little dog Nora was running around with a couple
of her cousins. I was observing and noting what a busy breed they are---when
saw it all in slow motion.
A little male, Nora’s brother,
was screwing around and fell into the pool. He went straight down.
he popped up like
a cork as I was rising from my chair. The little dog was panicked,
unable to move, breathless; he sank again like a lead anchor…
He was underwater much longer this time, but the fox killer
resurfaced. By then I was at pool’s edge. I took a swipe but the dog
was out of reach. His eyes were wild, pleading at me, as his water
rising. He went under
third and final time.
I grabbed green water and thin air. The dog was sinking deeper
and further away.
I took a look at my shoes and made a few calculations of
cost, style and waterproof-ability. Since they were my last
pair and adverse
I extended my arm
even further. Economic necessity can make you do incredible
things. Like Mr. Fantastic
with telescoping arms, I snatched that dog from his watery
As I hauled him to shore, his black almond-shaped eyes locked
onto mine and we became one.
I whispered into his ear, “My brother, I will give you a
The dog nodded a soggy reply.
next issue of Artillery Magazine, we will highlight
the Vegas rehearsal, the fly-away showgirl costume of trainer Karman
and discover how
two dancing dogs
transmogrify into a crisis of conscience,
representing no less than the totality of heaven