Archive for April, 2011

‘On’ The Wagon Wheel, the depths of despair, Part II

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

This is Jack’s sequel, a continuum of remembered events as they may have happened, here again, in his own words.

I felt rather sprightly on the return to the casita.  After a wholehearted attempt to display my loyalty and affection to Mrs. 3M, the atmosphere went south, quickly, and the following conversation ensued:

Mrs 3M, “what has gotten into this dog, he’s pawing my breasts, licking my ears, more amorous than a hormonal sixteen year old wearing a snuggie ® ?”

3M, “he may have had a beer at the wheel”.

Mrs. 3M, “ May have. May have ?  Look at him, he’s staggering.  Oh my word, you’ve brought him home drunk. Again.  This has to stop.

The atmosphere was tense.  Dos equis beer and domestic cheer, rhyme, like oiled and foiled….. I fear the jig is up, and I’m destined to an eternal diet of Beneful® and water.  I enjoy the company of older women and Mrs. 3M is only nine y/o in dog years and at age seven, our age difference is not an older woman/younger man issue.  She has always been my favorite but has also made it clear, she does not date outside her species.

The household conversation on the days following is subdued, and scary;

  • mention of AA and the ‘twelve steps’ program
  • a possible visit to a southern California re-hab facility endowed by Betty Ford (Asta, Toto, Lassie, and half of the 100 dalmatians have been patients)
  • sessions with a tough love instructoress, rumored to wear more leather than Trigger.

I’m getting despondent, forced to stay in the yard, where I can only nap and dream of halcyon days with Ruby, an AKC registered English Pointer from Oregon, papers to prove it, and friendly enough to outweigh her prep school pedigree.  Ruby Red, no relation to the grapefruit of the same name, is an ADHD knucklehead, constant motion, with the brains of a drugstore throwaway camera….point and shoot.  Her urine has more Ritalin metabolites than the fourth grade class at the local charter school, but get this.  When we share a Tecate, I get to drink the beer and she gets to eat the empty can.  Did I mention that she’s a knucklehead ?

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Ruby, with her unidentified (thanks to photoshop) handler

Old 3M is loyal, attentive, but he, too, has major shortcomings;

a)  cheapskate

b)  hearing impaired

Combined, an almost tragic occurrence, while 3M tried to find the least expensive way to ship me off to the Palm Springs “resort”.  Watching the USPS commercials where the postman reminds the viewing audience, “ if it fits, it ships“, he figured that since I wasn’t liquid, fragile, hazardous, or perishable, why not send little Jack to La-La land by priority mail ?  Half deaf, he thought the announcer said, “if it s#its, it fits, and all at a fixed rate”.  3M is no bird dog, but that doesn’t rule out his bird brain or the use of swear words.

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Delivery confirmation, anyone ?

We’re headed back to the Midwest, in the truck, and 3M is forcing me to listen to sermons-on-tape and gospel music.  An unscheduled stop in Canadian, Texas , an “oasis on the prairie”, and against my will, a demeaning photograph taken at the doorway to the WCTU, a deliberate effort to shame me publicly.  No, this is not the local radio station, but home to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, a 1930’s organization of mouthy babes that was anything but temperate who would  your doghood on demand.  And, no, I am not taking nitrates for chest pain, nor do I have kidney or liver problems.

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“honest, officer, it was just one beer”

For the moment, 3M and I are at an impasse.  I can’t get into the 12 steppy thing as I can’t get past #1 (admitting that I am powerless and my life is unmanageable), and I find #4 (a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself)  reprehensible.  Add to that, these are numbers aimed at the two-legged, and with four legs, I’m not agreeing to any jive 24-step program.

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Staring pensively, over the Rio Grande’s Mesilla Valley, Las Cruces, NM. Along with an overgrown roadrunner, contemplating a ‘dry’ future.

I don’t care what readers may think or write, I don’t have a problem, and if you’re from the PETA, SPCA, or the WCTU, please keep it to yourself….I’m not taking any calls.

Salud, or in a word from my pal Werner, Austrian friend and host, Prost.

Cafe confession; adults only

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

The submission below was written and transcribed by our dog, Jack, on his blog, in his own words.  Any reference to his handler is reduced to one of servitude as MMM ( a.k.a. my main man servant ), token acknowledgment to his less important, secondary role.  The following may not be suitable for persons 18 years or younger (photo ID not required)

Jack Disclaimer:

Any resemblance to persons living or dead should be plainly apparent to them and those who know them, especially if  I have been kind enough to provide their real names, dates of birth, and, in some cases, cell phone numbers.  All events described herein actually happened, or may have happened, though on occasion the author has taken certain, very small, liberties with chronology, because that is my right as an American dog.

An August afternoon, a weekday, hot enough to melt the tar on county road 17, with a shimmering side order of humidity, my tongue hangs down, a limp banner on a short flagpole, pinker than a cure for breast cancer ribbon.  The hour spent at the Waggin’ Tail with friends went as usual; the initial urologic examination of respective sex organs, followed by scouting for fresh scents of recent excremental body wastes, then an hour of play time….toss the ball, run like a stupid greyhound (fast, but good for nothing else), roll in dry groundhog poop, pee, run again, oh, what’s this, the menstruum of a field mouse, run, run, run.

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Thirsty, MMM and I head to our favorite watering hole, Moser’s Austrian Cafe in scenic downtown New Carlisle, IN, to sit on the patio, watch for girls and the traffic to drift by.  Never know when we might get lucky.  Or hit by a speeding pick-up, unlucky.  Middle-age obese women drift in and out of cutesy shops, buy imported stuff they don’t need, crammed into SUVs that are too large, to be taken to homes they’ve outgrown.  When they should be spending the time in the gym.

Our host, Werner, a genuine Bavarian dressed in lederhosen, greets us with a welcoming smile and a pint of Stiegl, an Austrian lager of distinction.  Since the legendary mare, Zenyatta, won 19 straight races and her trainer treated her to a pint of Guinness after a good workout, Werner and 3M have allowed me a few ounces of Stiegl after my afternoon exercise routine.  Werner, a champion alpine skier looks silly in his outfit, but his wife Jennifer is quite hot, and he is quite buff, the beer is cool and refreshing, so I keep my bark gauge in the ‘off’ position.

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But this is where the trouble began, first an ounce, then two, then four, until I become Paul, the Apostle, drinking from the cup of the Lord.  I began to anticipate the visits to Werner.   The soiree with Beverly’s retriever, Tommy, a golden with suspicious ancestry and I might add, matted unkempt hair the aroma of a beached sardine, became less of my daily routine, as the anticipation of a thirst quenching brew loomed within the limbic area, deep beneath grey matter, as if that matters.

Fast forward to winter in Patagonia, AZ, a repose to warm weather where I’m not forced to urinate into snow twice the height of an outstretched rear leg.  Here, 12 miles north of the Mexican border, trail hiking through the conservancy, the whiff of javelina and mule deer scat and horehound weed and the carne asada stained castoff clothing from illegal immigrants and Johnson grass……heaven can wait for this thirsty dog.

Late afternoon and time to put on the “can we, can we ?” routine and head for the Wagon Wheel saloon.  A cowboy bar since 1937, home to both higher and lower learning and outdoor seating adjacent to four neighborhood dogs with crude temperament, etiquette challenged, and no match for eight ranch horses, polite and stoic and welcoming as old friends, patiently awaiting a ride back to the Circle Z Ranch.

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With my pals, Dos Equis

3M meets up with the afternoon literary crowd, an informal gathering where the truth is neither sacred nor compulsory.  I can relate this, in confidence, because there are no bulls within the range of my vision or nose.  Also, I don’t care, as on this limited horizon I see a saucer of Dos Equus lager, golden, not amber, coming my way.

A western version of the Algonquin round table, today’s storytellers, dog lovers all, men of letters and nature and American Spirit cigarettes and gin and ladies body parts and….why go on, I just want a few sips of Mexican brew, time to grovel in the gravel, the discarded squeezed limes, the ashes, spilled vodka, away from conversational fallout, dreaming under the overhead Budweiser banners flapping in the afternoon breeze.

  • Nick, the Leelanau, MI landscaper, natural man extraordinaire, a relaxed encyclopedia of birds, plants, and the hunt.  Too handsome to allow photographs; no papparazzi please.
  • JB, accomplished journalist, political analyst, photographer, conservancy manager and wearer of many hats, all distinguished.

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  • Phil C., popular novelist, Pulitzer Prize, hunter, world traveler, truck driving Viet Nam veteran, and recent convert to the airstreamic cult.  With two best friends at his P’Gia ranch (low res file photo from my porn collection, both bird dogs cause for my little willie to….whoa, Nellie…..let’s leave it right there and call it what it is, canine eroticism).

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  • Jim H.,iconic heavyweight in American literature and poetry, screenwriter, genuine FOJ (Friend Of Jack, both me and Nicholson), and master storyteller.  Self proclaimed, the ‘lout’ of Livingston, MT.  Blind in one eye since 7, the result of a childhood accident, he sees more with one good eye than a Cooper’s hawk with two, or ten thousand liberals with tunnel vision.

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The sun drifts behind the Santa Rita mountains to the north, a faint red tinge loiters on the Patagonia mountains to the south, and I’ve had six ounces, it’s getting cool, and I’m woosy.  Time to walk home, across Mendoza’s alley, past yipping chihuahuas (irritating little bastards)………

to be continued

when my head clears

things are not looking up

About the Author

Retired 1997.
Frequent travel. Loyal companions: wife, Lynn; dog, Jack.
Avocation: writing social and political satire.
Past life: three decade clinical pharmacy owner. Now in recovery.
Location: Northern Indiana, Eastern U.P. of Michigan, Southern Arizona

No telephone;
E-mail cspiher@aol.com