“If dogs could talk, perhaps we would find it as hard to get along with them as we do with people.” Karel Capek
Now that Jimmy is out of jail and at our house, it’s like having two full-grown toddlers rolling around. They are worse than the dogs. I said over and over that Jimmy could only live in our house over my dead body. But there he is, and I’m still alive and breathing.
I had gotten Brian a pair of slip-on shower shoes, but he didn’t like them. He told Jimmy he could have them. But Jimmy could only find the left slip-on. He couldn’t find the right one.
“Where’s the other one?” Jimmy asked. “Brian said I could have them.”
“I don’t know where it is. I would have to look myself.”
“Well, I love them, can you look?”
“I don’t give a fuck,” I told Jimmy.
I told him in the letter I wrote him when he was in the Corrections Center downtown, that what you want to do sounds great, but it all depends on what you actually do when you get out of jail.
What he actually did when he got out was go straight to Lorain County Jail.
Even though his brother hates him, his brother who is a prosecutor downtown, Jimmy got out on a personal bond. He is broke, so he couldn’t have made bail, but all he had to do was promise to stay in town ad show up when he was summoned.
He walked out of jail and walked right back into jail. His brother set it up when he found out Jimmy had stolen three thousand dollars-worth of golf clubs from Golf Pro. Jimmy plays, but he was going to sell the clubs so he could get drugs.
Have clubs, will trade for crack.
He had never told me about what he did to deserve the Lorain jail, but I found out.
“I didn’t want to tell you because you wouldn’t be my friend anymore,” he said.
“This is the same fuck-up,” I said. “Get it cleaned up!”
Brian and I were having the same conversation we had had before, about how I didn’t want Jimmy in our house again, he hurt me, we’ve gone through this before, when Brian asked me, where Jimmy was.
“Jimmy’s out of Cuyahoga,” I said.
“OK but where is he?”
“Lorain was waiting for him.”
Jimmy called from Lorain, all sad, explaining, thinking we wouldn’t listen to him, or help him out.
“Look, this is still your same screw-up, get this shit taken care of, do your time, whatever you need to do.”
In the meantime, they let him out on a personal bond, again. He called me again.
“I’ve probably got a warrant out for my arrest in Cuyahoga County,” he said. “I was in jail in Lorain on my court date that I didn’t show up to.”
“That’s your cross to bear,” I said.
“Can you come get me?”
“Brian took the phone.”
“If you need to stay with us, you can stay with us,” he said, to my surprise.
“No, no, no,” I said. “What are you doing?”
“Our friend needs help.”
“We can help him, but he doesn’t fucking need to live here.”
“We’re going and picking him up,” Brian said.
He was waiting for us on the corner.
“Thanks,” he said, getting in the car
“I have to stop at a dispensary downtown to get THC gummies.”
“Great!” he said
In high school I was a Young Christian. Now I’m an older Christian, but I’m a stoner, too.
“No, they’re for me.”
I take THC for pain and because it is supposed to retard dying neurons. If I start on pot now, the way I look at it, I should be really good in later life. If I ever get Alzheimer’s, like my mom, I hope somebody overdoses me on something. I’ve told all my nieces and nephews, I don’t want to live like that. But they are all, no, we are not going to do that. What the hell? A bunch of pussies in my family, I told them again, you better come over and OD me.
Jimmy came to live with us, and it worked out better than I ever thought it would. Brian gave him some of his clothes and I gave him a haircut. Brian has known him since grade school. He’s a great guy, his two sons are both in the military, he just got caught up in drugs. It got crazy.
One night, when Brian and I were away, we were on the phone with him, when suddenly we heard screaming dogs. When Jimmy came back to the phone, he said there had been a fight, Jack was hurt bad, and he had to stop the bleeding and call a vet.
When we got home it was what we thought. Graysun and Hermie had for the sixth time ganged up on Jack and torn him up. He was already starting to look like Frankenstein There was hardly a mark on the other two. Jackie had been bit on the face and head and his back was all stitched up.
My Care Credit card was getting run up. It was up past three thousand dollars getting Jackie stitched up again and again.
I didn’t know why they did it, why they kept doing it, but I cried about it.
“We can’t live like this,” I said
I thought maybe we could take Graysun and Hermie to a shelter, but Brian said, what if they attacked another dog there. No shelter is going to want to take them if they know what they have been doing. What if a family adopts one of them and the dog attacks a child?
There wasn’t anything we could do but put the two of them down. After we did, a peace came over the house. Jimmy made sure to watch and take care of Jack.
He is in love with Jimmy now.
Ed Staskus is a freelance writer from Sudbury, Ontario, and lives in Lakewood, Ohio. Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction.