Microsoft word - puppychow-word.doc
Puppy Chow is Better Than Prozac
By Bruce Goldstein
My Little Black Magnet
Chapter – 24
It was one of those hazy, hot and humid mornings. The air was thick and muggy.
It smelled like homeless people-piss with a slight dab of curry. It was 6:23 A.M. on theisland of Manhattan. Lexington Avenue was just waking up. The streets were desertedexcept for a few blue suit wearing early birds trying to catch the corporate worm. Wiggle,wiggle, wiggle,
they squirmed. I stood around waiting for the perfect moment whennobody was around so the puppy could poop, I could scoop, and we could both scootback upstairs. The puppy had different plans. As soon as I put him on the ground, he wentsmack on the red brick under my awning. “Oh shit.” I panicked. My heart was ticking.
Beads of sweat the size of jelly beans formed on my brow. My temperature was rising.
My armpits were dripping. Balls of moisture slithered down my body like nervousserpents. I was hoping the few early risers who were out and about were too caught up intheir own Monday morning mayhem to notice mine. I had to act fast. Fire in the hole. Idove down deep into my pocket to dig out my plastic bag glove. Then I dove down to theground. I started the procedure. As I was squishing the puppy poop in my left hand, I keptsticking my neck up like a puppy periscope to make sure the coast was still clear. Thereweren’t any people nearby, so I grabbed my pup by his scruff in my right hand. I tuckedhim under my arm like a sack of potatoes, and I got up in slow motion. As I was comingup for air, there was an intruder alert. I froze half-way at the height of a fire hydrant. Myjaw dropped. She came out of nowhere. She was running across Lexington Avenue like aguided missile. Brunette. There was nowhere to run. I was frozen. I was under attack. Shewas dodging yellow traffic. She was waving her arms, jumping up and down, screamingsomething at me. “Ohmagah–Ohmagah–Ookatdapupeeeeeeee!” I couldn’t make out whatshe was saying. “Ohmagah–Ohmagah–Ookatdapupeeeeeeee!”
“What did I do? Did my dog shit in a no crap zone? Did I leave a stain on the
sidewalk?” My dog took a dump, and now I had to take the blame for a crime that I didnot commit.
Whoever she was, she was coming right at me. “This is going to be the most
humiliating moment of my life. God help me.” I just sat there crouched in mid air holdinga puppy in one hand—a bag of crap in the other. Despite the stink emitting from mydoggy baggy, there was no stopping this woman. She proceeded to close in on me. As shewas hovering over me, she made it perfectly clear she wasn’t interested in me.
“Ohmagah–Ohmagah–Ookatdapupeeeeeeee! Ookatdapupeeeeeeee!”Right before my very eyes her eyes blew up to the size of baby matzoth balls. Her
voice went all giddy yap, yap, squeaky. She regressed back to early childhood. She actedlike she was three. She acted as if I wasn’t even there. Like the puppy in my arms wasfloating in the air. “Hi, pup-peeeeeeeeeee. Hi, pup-peeeee-upppee-uppeeeeeeeee,” shesaid. She squeezed his cheeks like he was her grandchild. “Oh, you are just toocuuuuuuuuute,” she said. Then this grown working woman in a beige business suit gotdown on her hands and knees to rub my puppy’s tummy. I had never felt more invisible.
When my eyes looked down I almost fell down. I couldn’t believe she let her
guard down. Her nice white buttoned-down shirt wasn’t completely buttoned. She wasshowing. I was blushing. She just didn’t care. She didn’t seem to care about the smellemitting from my puppy’s rear-end either or the bag of crap in my right hand. All shecared about was my puppy. And my submissive pampered puppy didn’t care what shedid. As long as she kept doing it. He was lying on his back, like a furry turtle loving life.
She was just getting to know him better. “Are you a widdle boy or a widdle girl?” sheasked.
After thorough investigation, she found out for herself.
“Uh-ohh, I see a liddle pee-pee. Look at your little puppy pee-pee. You’re a liddle
boy, all right. And what’s your liddle widdle name?”
That was a tricky question. She wasn’t talking to me. I felt like a broken-down
goateed parking meter with a brown paper bag over my head that the dog’s leash justhappened to be tied to. Dead silence. I was scared to open my mouth, frightened of whatwords might come out. It felt like she had called me up in front of the class to make aspeech in a foreign language, English. I was scared to make a mistake. Afraid I’d slurthanks to my lithium, my slithium
. I had the worst case of cotton mouth. But she waswaiting for an answer.
“Bruce, c’mon say it. Say it. Speak. Come on, you could do it,” my subconscious
kept nudging me. “Just speak to the nice woman. She won’t bite. Just say something.”
Considering that I didn’t teach my puppy how to speak yet, considering I wasn’t
the greatest puppy ventriloquist yet either, I had no choice but to answer for him. The onewho got me into this mess. Finally, after a very
dramatic pause, I responded.
“Uh, he doesn’th have a nameth yeth.”Unfortunately, she had no idea what I said. “Excuse me.” She asked the same
question over again. I was anxious and jittery just looking at her. She was so pretty.
When she asked me what his name was again, I answered the best that I could.
“Uh, he doesn’th have a nameth yeth.”“Ahhh, isn’t that cuuuuuuute, the widdle puppy doesn’t have a name yet. What
“Uh, uh I don’t knoweth yeth.”“Wha-da-yah-mean, you don’t know yet? You godda give him a name. All
puppies need a name. He looks like a little bear. You should call him Bear
“I dunno, maybe. I haveth to think about eth.”“Don’t take too long,” she said. “How old is the little guy anyway?”“He’th–thonly-sixth-andth-a-half-thweeks-tholdth.”“How old?”“Sixth-andth-a-half-thweeks-tholdth.”
“Aww, he’s just a babeeeeey. I miss my dog when he was a puppy. He was so
tiny too. You guys are going to have such a great life together. Just wait. You’ll see. Thisis only the beginning.”
The beginning of what? There was no chemistry between us. The puppy didn’t
even like me. I was just the guy that kidnapped him and yelled at him. I was his fosterparent. He might have been cute and I might have been taking care of him, but at thispoint in time I had a better connection with my dead plant collection. I didn’t understandwhat long-term puppy effect this lady was talking about. The only thing I knew forcertain was that I couldn’t believe this was really happening. Puppy pinch me. I was inshock that a woman this stunning was kneeling down next to me making casual puppyconversation instead of hailing a taxi. After a while, I felt comfortable enough with thiswoman to plop myself down on the ground. I stopped worrying about how I sounded. Iwasn’t worried what I looked like. The way she was looking at me reminded me ofsomebody I used to know. Somebody I used to be real close with.
As I crouched down by a dirty curb, I looked into this woman’s eyes. I felt her
breath. I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time. I missed looking deep intosomebody’s eyes. I realized how much I missed a woman’s company. How much Imissed affection. Female attention. I missed goose bumps and tingles. I missed beingattracted to somebody. I missed communicating. Talking to this woman in the streetmade me realize that Paige wasn’t the only one out there for me. Thanks to my puppypublicist for introducing me, I was able to see there would be other women in the fourseasons of my future dreams. He lured her to me. She brought hope and understandingthat there was somebody else out there for me. Someone who would correct my grammarand table manners. Who was the right one for me. Who would appear at the right time forme. When I was ready—I was far from ready. It was going to take a long time before I letmy guard down and let another woman take my breath away.
At least fifteen minutes had gone by, and this woman wouldn’t put my puppy
down. But she had no idea how much her talking meant to me. I valued every word shesaid to me. She made my day. She made the puppy’s day when she was rubbing his bellyand hit his jackpot by accident. He started frantically shaking his little chubby leg,purring like a baby wookie.
“Warr-rr-uuu,” said Chewie.
“I got the spot. I got the spot,” she said. “My dog used to do that. I used to have
an American Lab. He was tall and his nose was pointy. Is yours all Lab? He looks like hehas a little Rottie in him.”
“No. He’s all Labth. He’s an Englishth Labth.”“What a friendly face. He’s a happy guy. He’s so beautiful. He has so many
expressions. Just look at the size of the head on that munchkin. He’s gorgeous. Just lookat those paws. He’s gonna be huuuuuge, ya know. He’s gonna be huuuuuge. I hope youhave a big enough apartment.”
“I hope I haveth a big enough apartmenth too,” I cringed, half smiling.
“You hear that pup-peeeeeeeeeee, you’re gonna be a big boy someday.”Then if this woman wasn’t excited enough, she raised her voice up an octave to
the key of parakeet. “I love you pup-peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” she tweeted.
I could have lived with the bird calls all day. It was the embarrassment of holding
that same bag of puppy crap that was getting to me. I had to get out of this stinky
situation. Fast. But I had a little problem. The woman wouldn’t stop playing with him.
She looked like she was in some kind of a trance. Her blue eyes were hypnotized by mybaby’s blue eyes. I didn’t know how to break the spell. Then I thought if I get up frommy crouching position and started walking away the woman would get the hint and go towork. I thought wrong. When I started walking towards the trash can on the corner ofTwenty-seventh Street to dispose of the damaged goods, the woman was still attached tomy puppy like crazy glue. She was hot on my trail. As I kept walking and walking shekept talking and stalking. Every time she got too close to my puppy, the farther I had toextend my right arm attached to the two brave fingers that dangled the swinging puppypoop pendulum pouch away from her face. It was hard to keep the bag still. God forbidsome doody fell out on her. I had never seen anything like this in my life.
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