Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Person Canine

Cat.  Smell cat.  No, not cat.  Cat food.  Cat food?  No.  Fish.   A fish sandwich across the street from where Joe sits on a box.  Joe is my human.  He calls himself my master, and I let him.  He is good to me, the way he defends me from Beverly and always shares his food.  Joe is strumming out a living, as he calls it, with two guys he met at his favorite bar on the waterfront, where I am sometimes allowed, if the owner isn’t around.  The owner is a very fat woman named Margaret.

He drops a piece - not Joe; Joe’s splaying his heart out on a beat-up 12-string guitar.  The guy across the street, he just dropped a piece of fish sandwich.  I can’t see it, its fall was a blur, but I know it is golden-white and flaky, just like at that take-out by the pier, where Joe goes for supper when Beverly isn’t home to cook.  Beverly is Joe’s lady, as he calls her, which annoys her; she says it’s sexist to call her a lady; Joe says there was a time when to be called a lady was a compliment.  I try to ignore them when they start to fight like that.  I ignore them a lot.

Smell that piece of fish, I can, but if I yank too hard on the leash, Joe will get annoyed and leave me home tomorrow where I don’t want to be because if there’s one thing Beverly hates more than Joe, it’s me.  Every day I want Joe to bring me with him – to work, as he called it last night in conversation with Beverly.  Beverly said she’s not gonna put up with his work much longer if he doesn’t start bringing home rent money.  But he’s a wild rover, he says, or sings actually, and she says that he can wild rover all the way back to his mother’s trailer or a homeless shelter.

Cat.  Now definitely cat, the orange tabby that sits in the hat shop window and sneers when I walk by with Joe.  She, too, has noticed the golden flaky lying next to the curb, and she’s edging toward it and beginning to sniff it and nibble it, the way they do, sniff and nibble instead of gulp and swallow.  Sniffing for finding.  Gulping for eating.  That’s my way.

Someone walks by and drops a few coins in Joe’s open guitar case.  Beverly won’t be happy tonight.  It’s not enough.  Tabby still nibbling.  I can’t take it, but I’ll just lay my head back down on this cold, cold pavement and sleep, and dream, of a world without collars, a world without chains.