Tag Archives: The Other End of the Leash

Never Wrong Crack Corn

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“Inside of me are two dogs. One is mean and evil and the other one is good. They fight each other all the time. When asked which one wins, I answer, the one I feed the most.”  Sitting Bull

When I couldn’t find my favorite suitcase a few days before Brian and I were going down to Mexico for a week, I called Jimmy.

“Do you have my suitcase?” I asked.

“I’ve had it for three years,” he said.

“We take it to Mexico every year. You haven’t had it for three years.”

“Yes, I have, you’re wrong,” he said.

“No, you’re wrong,” I said.

“No, I’m not.”

“Are you ever wrong, Jimmy?”

“No.”

“You sound like you’ve had a few drinks,” I said.

“Yeah, a few. I work hard. After this I’m off to see the wizard. I’m not telling you for jokiness. I’m telling you because you want me to be honest, be your friend. I’m being honest. I don’t need any judgement.”

“I’m sorry, but you can’t have it both ways, dickhead,” I said. “Either you have friends who care about you, or not, so I’m going to say you’re an asshole for going to smoke crack.”

“I worked hard all week. Lynn knows where I’m going, what I’m doing,” he said.

“Then she’s a bigger idiot than I thought she was, for letting you smoke crack all weekend while you’re taking care of her.”

“What are you doing this weekend?” he asked.

“It’s a blizzard outside, so I’m in the house cooking.”

I love to cook when it’s snow storming.

“What are you making?”

“I’m making spanakopita. It’s a Greek spinach pie, with onions, cheese, and herbs. It’s all folded up in a flaky crispy dough.”

“Oh, you mean spanakapita.”

“I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced with an O,” I said.

“You’re an idiot,” he said. “You never admit when you’re wrong, do you?”

“OK, you’re right, I’m an idiot. I’m making spanakapita. Happy now?”

Why do I even ever talk to Jimmy? Brian refuses to speak to him.

“Why do you even talk to that asshole?” he asks me.

“Why are we even friends?” I asked Jimmy.

“Are you going to tell me you’re not my friend anymore?”

“Unfortunately, James, you and I have been friends since the 5th grade. There’s just no getting rid of you.”

“I took Lynn to a French restaurant last week.”

“That’s nice,’ I said. “So you’re back in the big house?”.

“Yeah.”

“How’s your dad? Is he still alive?”

“Yeah.”

I didn’t ask if he hung out at Lynn’s house anymore. For a while Jimmy’s dad had tried to get Lynn for himself, before Jimmy finally won her over.

“I heard Lynn’s dad has showed up down there in Florida.”

“Yeah.”

Lynn’s father is a very rich and a very sick man. Last year, when Jimmy was dating Lynn, he had a fit. He hates Jimmy. He said he was going to shoot him, although he never did. He has an undying love for his daughter, but not the right kind of love.

“I’m not allowed to be there when he comes over,” said Jimmy. “I take off.”

He knows it’s sick and demented, but he hides when Lynn’s father comes over. She has a big spread, what with her polo ponies, so there’s a lot of landscape to hide in.

“I don’t understand your life,” I said. “It’s gross! It’s wrong.”

“I’m being honest,” he said. “Don’t judge me.”

Right is right even if no one is doing it and wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it.

“That doesn’t mean I have to like it. It doesn’t mean I don’t worry about you. You’re dating a woman 20-something years older than you, who has a father who’s like a hundred, who, we won’t even talk about that, and you are smoking crack every chance you get.”

“Everyone has a few drinks. Why can’t I have some crack?”

“They don’t serve that at bars, that’s why,” I said.

“I can control it,” he said.

“Right, says every crackhead and none ever did,” I said.

“I just do my work, hang out, be myself.” He works in construction all week, and he’s started working for Lynn, too, at her house, on her property.

“Why shouldn’t I do the work, instead of the Mexicans?” he said. “Why shouldn’t I earn the money?”

What Jimmy likes is she has got money and a big house. What Lynn likes is the sex. They are both getting what they think they need.

“Basically, you’re doing whatever the hell you want, and she’s doing whatever the hell she wants,” I said.

That didn’t go over well. Jimmy says he’s being honest whenever he says whatever he says, but he doesn’t want any honesty in return. He thinks you’re getting in his face. Every time we talk, he tells me why he’s the greatest and why Brian and I are idiots. He’s like a broken record.

“Why won’t your husband talk to me?” he asked.

“Because you ran out on us after we took care of you when you were down and out,” I said. “And because of how you treat me.”

“That’s not true,” he said.

“Pray tell, how do you see it in your world?”

The crack the past ten years hasn’t changed Jimmy, not at all. He’s still as selfish and self-righteous as he always was. Brian says that he will never grow up because he’s not wrong, never wrong, and always right.

He knows more than you. Right off the bat, that’s what he assumes about everybody. You’re an idiot. I’m an idiot because I married Brian.

When I told him Brian’s new business had turned the corner and is doing really well, he didn’t want to hear it. When I first told him about it, what Brian was planning, he told me the business would fail, for sure.

“It’s going well,” I said.

Nothing is all of what Jimmy said. He didn’t want to hear it and had nothing to say.

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Bonk Bonk Bonk

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“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as your dog does.”  Christopher Morley

I talk to my dogs all the time. What we talk about depends on what is going on that day. A few days ago I took a close look at Veruka and called her a fat whore. She didn’t care, even though she knows. She barked it off, a total brat.

She is going on a diet soon, if I can help it.

When I lived in Lorain, before I got married, I had two dogs, Niagara and Tonto. Niagara was half-witted, but Tonto was and still is the smartest dog I ever had. She and I talked. We even talked about God. She knew God, as certain as there is day. She knew who had created her.

When I’m in the kitchen I often ask my dogs questions they either can’t or won’t answer. My questions usually start with “How did this happen?” Then I point to whatever is the mess in the kitchen. They never say anything. They don’t want to get in trouble. But I can usually tell who did it.

I’ll walk up to the pack and say, “Who did this? I want to know right now.”

The ones who look around at all the others are not the ones who did it. They’ll look around at the other dogs and then look back up at me. The ones who look down right away are the guilty ones.

While they are getting yelled at, all the other dogs have big grins on their faces.

“Not me, right? I didn’t do it. I’m a good dog.”

Sometimes I have to step right up to them and show them what they did. If they just look at it, “Oh. What’s that?” they didn’t do it. But, if they look away, looking shifty, yes, they are guilty.

One day I did something that was my own fault. I left a bag of garbage on the kitchen floor. They ripped into it.

“Who did that? Get out of my house!”

They all slammed through the back door and into the back yard.

Jackie is our Blue Nose Pit. I’ve started called him ‘Hate the Mama.’ I ask him, “Why do you hate mommy so much?” He never says anything. He moves there, goes there, and I go, why? When I talk to him he thinks I’m playing. He opens his mouth and puts it on my face. He’s a very strange dog.

Whenever I come home he’s got to grab something, his toy, or whatever is close to hand, he’s got to have it in his mouth, and then he bonks me on the nose a few times with whatever is in his mouth.

If I am taking my shoes off, before I have taken the second one off, Jackie has the first one in his mouth and is trying to bonk me with it.

Talking to my dogs about whatever bad thing they’ve done doesn’t always work. That’s when it’s time for action. That’s when it’s time for the spank a heinie spoon.

I grew up with the rule of the wooden spoon. If you did bad, you got the wooden spoon, a heinie on the butt. Growing up, I was definitely scared of the wooden spoon. I hated that thing. I think the lack of spanking is why we have so many little punk kids like we do now with no respect for anything.

Give them the wooden spoon!

My dogs have grown up with the same rule as I did. You do bad, you get the wooden spoon. All I have to do is reach for it and they’re all good all of sudden. If I have to actually put it in my hand, most of the time I just crack it against the wall. They hate the sight and sound of it. They can’t get out of each other’s way fast enough.

Jackie, on the other hand, he gets a crack on the heinie, and he’s back on the move, WORTH IT!

I wouldn’t want that wooden spoon twice!

The squatter who lives in my basement sings to my dogs and his bulldog Louie, who is the dumbest dog I have in the pack. Lou is a good dog, but just stupid. All the dogs dig Kirby. They’re happy somebody is hanging out with them, talking to them. Kirby has been living scot free downstairs and talking to them for close to two years.

His disability checks are finally due to start arriving soon. We’ve depleted our savings taking care of him. He has plans of knocking out our kitchen wall and extending onto the porch once he starts getting his benefits.

“Yeah, that would be great, that would be fantastic, but I don’t know how much money you think you’ll be getting from the government,” I said. “Why don’t we wait until Brian’s business takes off, and we’ll look for a new house, and an in-law suite for you.”

We’re in it for the long haul with Kirby. He’s got nothing and no one. Where is he supposed to go? Who is he supposed to be with? His pothead friends down the street?

Kirby is always telling the dogs what to do. “You’ve been given a command,” he says. Except none of the dogs pay attention to him, including his own dog Louie.

One morning Louie was halfway up the basement stairs barking his head off.

“Get down here now, Lucifer, and stop that barking,’ said Kirby. He calls Louie Lucifer. “You’ve been given a command.”

We all laugh. It’s a kind of joke around our house. “Who did you give a command to?” None of the dogs ever listen to him, including his own dog.

Louie stayed put on the stairs and barked until he was hoarse. In the end he barked himself into not having a voice. That’s when he stopped barking, not before.

If you enjoyed this chapter of Dogs Never Bite Me, consider supporting the site by clicking here to donate.

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Milkshake Machine

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“Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong.”  W. R. Purche

Tonto was part Sheltie and part Collie, even though Shelties, which come from the Shetland Islands in Scotland, used to be Shetland Collies. What happened was breeders didn’t like mixing the breed names, so Shelties became Shetland Sheepdogs. Collies stayed Collies. Tonto brought the breeds back together.

She was the smartest dog I ever had. She knew go for a walk, go for ride, go do your business, go get a cookie, go get a hamburger, go to the kitchen. She could probably have done our taxes and gotten away with the deductions.

My brother and his family loved Tonto. Whenever they visited me in Lorain, when I was the mayor’s fiancée, before I wasn’t his fiancée anymore, they would say,  “Tonto, we’re going to the kitchen to get a snack.”

Tonto would get up and head for the kitchen.

If they didn’t get up from wherever they were sitting he would stop and look back.

“Didn’t you say we were going to get a snack?”

They would sing the drive-in song to her.

“Yum, yum, it’s time for a tasty and refreshing snack, let’s all go to the snack bar.”

Whenever they sang that song it was, whoop! let’s go get a snack, and Tonto would get on the move. I would say “What do you want, Tonto?” and she would tap whatever box of crackers or cookies she wanted.

If I said “Do you have to do your business?” she would get up, which meant, yeah, she had to go. Sometimes though, she would give me the yes sign, but at the same time say it’s wet outside, so let’s wait a while.

She didn’t like to get wet.

Everyone loved her. They would always ask if my dog could sleep over at their house. I let her go when she was younger, but as she got older, no, I wanted as much time with her as possible.

Everybody loved her, except the woman with the wiffle bat.

Tonto was in her own front yard one day, minding her own business, doing her own dog thing, when the woman walked by.

Tonto hadn’t left the yard, but the woman came onto my front yard, on my grass, and whacked Tonto with her wiffle bat.

I was sitting in the window eating cereal. I dropped the bowl and went crashing through my front door. I ran right up to the woman.

“What the hell are you doing?” I was so incredibly mad.

“Your dog, your dog…”

“Yeah, my dog, you fucking nitwit, why are you hitting my dog?”

“It’s vicious,” she said.

She carried her wiffle bat whenever she went walking, to hit dogs with, in case they attacked her.

I looked at Tonto. She ran up to me. “Why?” she asked. I gave her a pat on the head.

“My dog is vicious? Do you really think I’m that stupid? Do you really think I would let a vicious dog outside to just bite anyone passing by? I could lose my house over something like that.”

“You should keep your dog tied up,” she said.

“You should stay off my street,” I said. “Because if I ever catch you on my street again I will back over you with my car 97 times and tell everyone it was an accident.”

I never saw her on my street again.

The mayor heard about what happened.

“You can’t threaten to run over people accidentally,” he said.

What about my dog? I thought.

I already hated people enough. The woman had no right to hit my dog. We need a new plague, to thin the herd, I thought.

Tonto was so smart she never needed to be told twice not to do something. Whenever she did anything I didn’t like, I would tell her it was bad, and she would never do it again. My other dog, on the other hand, Niagara, a Newfie, had to be told 40 times about everything. . I was always making her sit on the stairs or next to the vacuum cleaner for a time out or punishment.

Niagara hated sitting on the stairs and was afraid of the vacuum cleaner.

My poor Niagara wasn’t a dumb dog, and she was loved and spoiled by me, but next to Tonto she looked like an idiot.

Sometimes I would test Tonto to see how smart she was.

“Do you want this cracker or that one?”

I would show her two boxes, Cheez-It and Tricuits. She would usually point to the Cheez-It box. She loved cheesy treats. Everyone loved how smart she was. They would give her treats as a reward.

That’s probably why she eventually grew a big butt.

Her smartness got her fat. She was very sensitive about her keister, though. If you talked about it, she knew you were talking about it.

One night we had a few people come over to our house, and when they came in the door they all crowded in the hallway, saying hello and taking off their coats. Tonto was there, trying to get through everybody congregating there. She was trying to get to me. I was her human among all those other humans.

She couldn’t get to me fast enough, so she thought, “I’ll just sneak underneath this side table.” She got low and got between the legs of the table, but then her butt got stuck between the legs, and when she kept going, the table went with her. She got nervous when she realized what she thought was happening, She thought the table was following her.

I told her, “Oh, Tonto, your butt is stuck!” She was so embarrassed She put her paw out. She looked up at me. She knew we were all talking about her big fat heinie.

“Oh, it’s OK,” I told her.

Sometimes she was OK with it. Sometimes she didn’t care. Sometimes she would even shake her milkshake machine.

That butt was awesome.

If you enjoyed this chapter of Dogs Never Bite Me, consider supporting the site by clicking here to donate.

25% contributed to the Cleveland Animal Protective League. (Specify APL in notes.)

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Jumping the Fence

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“Dogs don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow.”  Dan Gemeinhart

The number one priority my dogs have is guarding my house, especially at night, since I will and do sleep through anything. They have to earn their puppy pennies somehow. They can be mooches, otherwise.

It was after the 4th of July one night when Brian had had to work until 4 in the morning that he set the dogs all barking at once. It was thunder storming when he got home, and walking up to the house he decided to take down the flag, fold it up, and put it away.

I had tried to get Jackson, our Blue Nose Pit, to come upstairs and sleep with me, but he was just not having it. He was being a punk. He went to sleep on the couch.

When Brian set the flag down on the floor of the porch and started to fold it, pandemonium broke out. Jackson jumped off the couch, rushed the front door, and started to bark. It started a chorus, of course, of more barking and howling by all my other dogs, who had been sleeping in the basement.

I was out cold in our warm bed upstairs. I didn’t wake up. I slept through it all.

I sleep with the TV on. In the morning, as I become aware that I’m waking up, I often ask myself – did somebody turn the TV off? All of a sudden I hear it. It happens as I finally wake up. Everything is shut out when I’m asleep.

Our dogs will howl at every fire truck, police car, and ambulance going down the street. At 3 in the morning it doesn’t bother me. I’m sleeping so soundly I don’t hear sirens. The neighbors, on the other hand, are not on the side of it being an awesome sound, at all.

Except for our Italian and Puerto Rican neighbors.

“They are doing their job. That is what you have dogs for,” they say.

One night when I was still a teenager in Bay Village, living at home, I slept through a fire alarm at home. My mother smelled smoke in the middle of the night, called the Bay Fire Department, and they rushed to our house. Even though it was a small fire, there was smoke, the firemen tramped in with their hoses, turned on all the lights, searched for the smoke, and took care of business.

In the middle of taking care of business they asked my mother if she was going to wake my brother and me up. He slept as soundly as me at the time.

“I don’t think so,” said my mother. “They have school tomorrow. Let them sleep. Everything’s good, right?”

“Everything’s good,” they said, tramping away.

When I woke up I told my mom something smelled funny.

“Right,” she said.

When my friends came over in the morning for their rides to school, they were all excited.

“What about the fire that happened at your house?” they all wanted to know.

“What fire?” I asked.

“The fire department was here last night.”

“No they weren’t.”

“Julie, they were at your house. There was a fire.”

“I live here. You’d think I would know if the fire department had been here. They weren’t here.”

When I asked my mom about it, she said, “Right, the fire department was here last night, and you slept through it.”

We have privacy fences on both sides of our backyard, but just a chain link fence at the rear of the backyard. Our Italian neighbor, Anthony, and his wife whose name over the years I have never found out, live behind us. A man and wife lived in the house next to Anthony. The wife’s husband died in the spring. While she was at the wake someone broke into her house in broad daylight. She was getting robbed at the same time she was burying her husband.

Except she came home earlier than the robber expected. He had probably read about the death in the newspaper and thought, oh, no one’s going to be in the house today, let’s go rob it. Unfortunately, that’s what some people do.

When she came home early Anthony and his wife were in their garden. When the robber was discovered, he jumped out the window into the backyard, and then jumped the side fence into Anthony’s yard. Anthony held his rake up high. The robber jumped the chain link fence into our backyard.

All hell broke loose.

Kirby, who’s been living in our renovated basement for a year, and almost never goes anywhere, had let the dogs out in the morning when Brian and I had gone to work. They were all out there, dozing, playing, and freeloading, since it was a warm sunny day.

All eight of my dogs were in the backyard. They went ape shit when the robber hopped the fence. They rushed him in an instant.

“What the fuck are you doing in our yard?” the dogs barked at once. What they were saying couldn’t have been more clear-cut.

“I think the guy maybe pooped his pants a little,” my Puerto Rican neighbor said afterwards, who had seen it all happen.

My dogs knew he was up to no good. They immediately went at him, going for blood. Most of my dogs are on the larger size. The robber in his black sweats jumped back over the fence into Anthony’s yard, rushed up the driveway, into the street, and was never seen again.

He can thank his lucky stars Jack was still a youngster. If he had been the size he is now, he would have done some damage. He would have gone over the fence after the robber, no problem. When he caught him, he wouldn’t have let go, either. It wouldn’t have been any problem for him to drag the thief to the police station.

Not that anyone in the neighborhood would have cared what happened to the robber. Who cares what happens to anyone who robs widows on the day of the wake? None of my dogs are going to put up with anything like that.

If you enjoyed this chapter of Dogs Never Bite Me, consider supporting the site by clicking here to donate.

25% contributed to the Cleveland Animal Protective League. (Specify APL in notes.)

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Barry the Bleeder

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“There is a reason for dressing well, namely that your dogs respect it, and will not attack you in good clothes.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

The first time I ever cut anyone while cutting their hair was on the first day of beauty school just after I got home.

“Wow, you’re a hairdresser,” my little brother said.

“Technically, not yet,” I said.

“Come on, cut my hair,” he said.

“Brad, I haven’t even taken a class yet. All we got was our stuff today, our kit, that’s all.”

“Come on,” he said, following me around the house like a dog.

I set him up, got my scissors, and before I knew it took the top of his ear off. He yelped and shouted and chased me around until he caught me and sat heavy on me.

I don’t know why he cried so much. I’ve cut myself worse since then, so much so that I’ve needed stitches. I’ve learned to pull ears out of the way. I bend them so I won’t cut them. Sometimes, though, when you’re cutting around any ear, you can get a little skin on the tip. A little nip is what it is. It’s not great, but it happens.

I don’t do it often, but when it happens, I clean it up and continue cutting.

The worst mistake I ever made was at the end of a long, long day. It happened when I mixed up my straight edge shears with my texture shears. Since I accidentally cut out a big clump of hair when I did it, ever since then I always look to make sure what pair of shears I have in my hand.

Texture shears cut the hair, but they don’t cut all your hair. It’s a thinning, blending technique. I grabbed the wrong shears. It was at the end of the night, we were talking, and I wasn’t paying attention. There wasn’t anything I could do or say. I fucked up. There’s nothing to be said after that.

As soon as I went to texturize her hair, and instead cut out a chunk of her hair, I said, “Oh, my God,” but there wasn’t really anything to say by way of explanation. I knew and she knew what had just happened. She looked at me and I was, “Yeah, that just happened.”

There’s no fixing a big clump of hair missing from the top of your head.

What could I say? I’m a brutally honest person. “I cut your hair off. There’s no denying it. This one’s on me,” I said.

She didn’t say anything, just glared.

“You don’t have to pay me. I’ll probably never see you again, anyway.”

I apologized again. She got up and left. I never saw her again.

There was no fixing it, not by me or anybody else, although I do a lot of fixing in other ways. People are always buying their Madison Reed, going down the road of we’re never going to salons anymore for hair color. That’s fine, but every other hairdresser and myself are saying, go ahead, see where it gets you.

“We’ll see you sooner or later,” we all say.

Girls see the ads on Facebook, believe every word of them, God knows why, go to the drugstore, put it in their hair, and end up with gorilla black. They act surprised and think it can be taken care of presto change-o.

“I want to go back to blonde,” they say.

“That’s not going to happen anytime soon,” I say.

“We’re going to have to go light brown, and in the process I’m going to damage the fuck out of your hair, and you’re going to have to work to maintain it. It’s a whole process.”

They have to spend the whole day at the salon to get the repairs done, have lunch, have dinner, bring something to read, because I’ve got to bust through the store bought stuff, the gorilla black they poured on their heads, because now you wish it was back to normal.

I’m sorry for their loss, for the golden color that’s gone, but they are going to be black for a while. What were you thinking of in the first place?

Sometimes people bring me pictures of what they want to look like. And sometimes I have to tell them it isn’t going to happen.

“You have frog fur for hair,” I say. “You have three or four hairs on your head and you want me to make you look like the full voluptuous head of Kardashian? What color in the sky do you think it is that you think this is going to happen to you today?”

Sometimes it hurts to hear me, but brutally honest is the way I am.

The most blood I ever drew was almost no blood at all, which was how Barry became known as Barry the Bleeder. His sister and mom still come to the Kameryn Rose Salon to get their hair cut, but Barry moved to Florida. They love me and I love them, but Barry passed out once when I was cutting his hair when we all worked at the Revelations Salon.

I was doing a snip around his ear, and I pinched it a bit. He didn’t even feel it at first. I went over to the other side of his head, came back, and saw there was a little trickle of blood.

“Oh, I gave you a little nip,” I said.

I wiped it up with my hand towel. He looked at the blood on the towel. He stood up, all six feet of him, took another look, and went down. He fainted.

“Oh, for God’s sake, get up,’ said his mother, who is a nurse, and who was sitting beside us.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “I hope he’s OK. I don’t think I can pick him up.”

He was a teenager, but he was a big kid.

“I’m so embarrassed,” she said. “Get up, get up!”

“Oh, my God, I just made your kid faint and you’re embarrassed?”

“He’s ridiculous,” she said. “Just ridiculous.”

If you enjoyed this chapter of Dogs Never Bite Me, consider supporting the site by clicking here to donate.

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Starting A Riot

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“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”  M. K. Clinton

This morning I got up and searched for my glasses, but I couldn’t find them. Wait a minute, I thought, you don’t wear glasses anymore. Hey, I can see the alarm clock.

It’s so weird. When I went in for eye surgery the guy there told me I was literally off their eye charts.

“What do you mean by that?” I asked.

“We only go down to a minus 16. You’re at a minus 17 and a minus 19. I don’t know if we can get you to 20/20 vision. You’re kind of legally blind.”

“Yeah,” I said.

After surgery on the worse eye I got to minus 1. The other eye is going to be even better. No more contacts and no more glasses for me. To not have to wear them on vacation all the time is going to be great. I won’t know what to do with myself.

Putting on a new pair of glasses is a way to transform your look, just like a new hairstyle does, but it gets old after doing it your whole life. Although they can be useful, like when you don’t like the looks of something. You can just take your glasses off.

“You’re too young to have cataracts,” the eye doctor said.

“My eyes have always been forty years older than me,” I said. “My whole life, they’ve always been old.”

I still have a high risk for detached retina, but that’s something you can’t fix. You just have to wait for it to detach. They say it’s not if your retina will detach, but when. I’ve gotten to be very educated about the signs of retinal detachment, especially since it already happened to me once.

I had a macular hole in one eye, and now it’s cataract surgery. It’s crazy, but that’s life. In a way I feel lucky that I got cataracts when I did. Now I have 18-year-old eyes. I’ll take that.

Everybody is telling Brian, now that she can see you, dude, she’s going to dump you. I can’t see that happening, since I like what I see every day.

Brian and I were on a walk with Jackson and Baby, two of our dogs, when we almost started a riot, a racial war, at the end of our street. At least, we thought we did. It was bad, anyway.

We had Jackson on a leash, but Baby, who’s sweeter than anything, no matter that he’s bigger than anything, was walking without a leash. It didn’t matter. Baby doesn’t do anything to anybody.

Jack is a Blue Nose Pit who is a very active dog. You have to keep up with him. He needs playtime and exercise, so we walk him, take him to the park, let him run around. Sometimes he looks goofy. Sometimes he looks intimidating. He’s smart, above all, eager to please, trains quickly, the best dog there is.

But, when he’s on the street we keep him on a leash.

Baby is a Leonberger, a giant dog, calm and steady, loving and steadfast, social and confident, although Baby is a little more on the shy side, but friendly and easygoing. There is no need for Baby to be on a leash on the street.

We were walking one way when a black woman went driving past us the other way. There was a red light at the corner. She stopped, and when we got to the corner, she rolled down her window and yelled.

“You need to put yo dog on a leash!”

“Thank you, have a blessed day,” said Brian.

She wouldn’t let it go. She kept screaming out the window, even though she’s in her car, going the opposite way of us, and we’re on the sidewalk.

What the hell?

We kept walking away.

“Have a great day, God bless, goodbye.”

Then the guys at the bar we had just walked past, who were sitting outside, and who had petted the dogs when we went by, started laughing and hooting. She pulled around at the next corner and got out of her car. The next thing we know a cop car pulls up.

“I’m afraid of dogs,” she said.

“You weren’t on that side of the street, where they were,” said the policeman. “Besides, you were in your car.”

“Those dogs need to be on a leash!”

Brian and I kept walking, around the block but on our way back we saw more blue police car lights flashing. “What the hell is happening?” I asked Brian. As we got closer we saw the lights were flashing in front of the bar.

“It can’t be that we started a racial war.”

In the end it wasn’t that, at all.

Some idiot had been pulled over on the highway, except he kept going until he was finally pulled over in front of the bar. There were kids in the car, there was a baby in the car, there was some kind of problem with the baby, and there were all kinds of cop cars there on the road.

Holy shit! I was so glad we hadn’t started a riot. All because our dog wasn’t on a leash, our Baby who is the gentlest scaredy cat dog.

We couldn’t believe it when the woman in the car turned around and parked. She had to get her two-cent’s worth in. Whatever happened to a penny for your thoughts before expressing your thoughts? Too many people are comfortable with their opinions without the discomfort of thinking them through. She was one of those people.

“You’re not even on our side of the street, much less walking,” I said. “You’re in a car going the other way of us. But, thank you for your information about leashes.”

She wasn’t somebody who recognized sarcasm when she heard it.

“You need to go your own way,” I said.

Some people just have no sense.

If you enjoyed this chapter of Dogs Never Bite Me, consider supporting the site by clicking here to donate.

25% contributed to the Cleveland Animal Protective League. (Specify APL in notes.)

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Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.

Cracking the Corn

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The pony run, he jumped, he pitched, he threw my master in the ditch, Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care, Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care.” American Folk Song

When Lynn told Jimmy she had called the police, he went right out to his pick-up truck and started cleaning it out, all the paraphernalia and drugs, especially the crack. He took it all into the house and hid it. Afterwards he couldn’t remember where he had put it.

“Lord knows where!” he said. He was so mad about it he could barely talk, which for him is mad, since he talks one hundred miles a minute.

They had gotten into an argument weeks before and Jimmy had left, going to work in Pennsylvania. He is a heavy machine operator. When she called him he ran back to her. It wasn’t what he thought it was going to be.

“Do you know you could put me back in prison?”  Jimmy said to Lynn when the police came.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, but my lawyer said I had to.”

She was already regretting it.

The police put Jimmy in handcuffs.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Jimmy. “What are you arresting me for?”

“You stole that pick-up truck outside,” they said.

“That is bullshit,” said Jimmy. “I’ve been making payments to her for it. I have proof it’s my truck, believe me. I was just in Pennsylvania with it. She was fine with that. I can show you all my text messages, and she always says, your truck, your truck, not her truck.”

“Let me see those text messages,” said one of the policemen.

He went back to their squad car and when he came back he gave Jimmy his phone.

“It’s his truck,” said the policeman to Lynn. “That’s what you’ve been saying in all your text messages.”

They took the cuffs off. They had to work out a few more things, Jimmy told me, but they finally drove away.

“You fucking called the police,” he said to Lynn.

“We can work this out,” she said.

“There’s no working this out,” he said. “You ruined everything.”

“No, Jimmy,” I told him later. “You ruined everything by going out and having a crack weekend. Maybe you shouldn’t have been that stupid.” He didn’t like that. “Don’t blame her because she called the cops. Yeah, it’s a crappy thing to do, but it gets to the point where you don’t give people too much choice. It’s always your way or the highway, and if they don’t like it, they can go, so, honestly, I can see where she’s coming from.”

He got a written piece of paper from her, signed, stating, yes, this is my truck, in my name, but I have given Jimmy full power over it.

He’s still paying her. “I’m not going to go back on my word,” he said. “I’m never going back to her, either. She ruined everything.”

He was driving., on the phone. I asked him where he was going. “I packed all my shit and I’m going to Colorado,” he said. His kids live in Colorado. One of them is a Marine. The other one wanted to be a pilot, but his eyes are bad. He’s still floundering.

“Are you high?” I asked him.

“I don’t want to answer that,” he said.

“You’re a special kind of stupid,” I said. “Getting high and drunk and driving, putting yourself and others in jeopardy, you selfish bastard. What’s wrong with you?”

“They can’t nail me. I’m not drunk enough.” He had gotten the taste back for drink and coke.

“Your husband was an addict,” he said.

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“He’s fat, too.”

“What? Are you fucking two?”

“He replaced drugs with food.”

“I have no idea why you’re bringing Brian into this. And he’s not fat, not by far.”

“Don’t you dare defend him,” he said. Then he hung up and blocked me

He unblocked me a few days later. I sent him a text.

“This friendship has reached its conclusion. There’s no room for it to grow.”

A few weeks later I got a letter in the mail. It was addressed to Jimmy. He lived in our house for part of a year, getting back on his feet. Some of his mail was still being delivered to our address. He never bothered going to the post office to set up a forwarding address.

He doesn’t want to hear how he used Brian and me and never paid us back for all the stuff we paid for while he was living in our house. He doesn’t want to recognize we took him in when no one else would, fed him, clothed him, and got him on his feet. What we got in return was not even a thank you.

Inside the oversize letter were his heavy machinery training certificate and new membership card.

Jimmy is famous for ignoring people, but I texted him about the letter.

“I got your laminated stuff, where do I mail them to? If I don’t hear from you, they’re in the trash.”

He sent me his new address right away.

We’re still friends on Facebook. He posts things about me, playing the victim.

“When people throw you out of your life” are the kinds of things he posts. He’s become a drama queen. Get off your high horse! That’s what I should post.

I admit when I’m wrong, and I would say to Jimmy, don’t be a dick your whole life. I don’t know what to do with him. He wants to go around pretending he never does anything actually wrong.

Jimmy and Brian were once best friends, but not anymore.

“I don’t care about me,” he said. “But you bent over backwards for him. I don’t ever want to see the kid again.”

But, if Jimmy is a bad penny, and bad pennies always turn up, like people say, I expect Jimmy will turn up again someday.

If you enjoyed this chapter of Dogs Never Bite Me, consider supporting the site by clicking here to donate.

25% contributed to the Cleveland Animal Protective League. (Specify APL in notes.)

28870741_173777473244459_4492555201049541965_n.jpg

Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.