Monday, August 18, 2008

Sam part 3

The drunks shuffled out ushered by my lackadaisical arm waving. They knew the routine. The smart ones had already left a few minutes ago to walk to Black and White liquor. They'd buy some malt liquor, a fifth of vodka, or maybe some bacardi breezers that they'd spike with rum to keep them going til their eyes closed on them or their livers gave out.

It took about fifteen minutes to close up the bar. I counted my money before I left. It was a slow night and I'd only made $150. The money had never mattered to me. Even with taking care of Sam I still had plenty of money. I would buy her dog pillows, endless amounts of dog biscuits, bones, and squeaky toys. She'd gnaw at the annoying squeaky balls that I got her for a day and then discard them, totally uninterested. She liked to spend most of her time sitting by my feat while I sat on my recliner watching tv. She was a bit of a lazy dog.

"Come on Sam," I said as I shut off the lights. She came up from her position at the end of the bar and walked to the door. She wagged her tail. I bent down and patted her head. I pushed in the code for the alarm, unlocked the front door, and then let myself out. Sam followed. I locked the door from the outside and we started up the street. I didn't bother having her on a leash. This late at night there were only a few crackheads around, whom we'd both avoid. She was pretty good about not hopping into the middle of the street so I didn't have her on a rope. We made it home. I checked my messages on my answering machine. There was one from a telemarketer. I listened the whole way through. I got a bottle of cola from my fridge, filled Sam's bowl with water and sat down on the recliner. I stared off in the distance for a while then flipped on the tube to watch the Cotto and Margarito fight.

Cotto was a fast, technical fighter. The first few rounds he dominated the less savvy Margarito. Cotto bobbed, weaved, and threw a variety of uppercuts into the taller boxer's mug. Margarito had a look of determination on his face as he relentlessly pushed Cotto up against the ropes, throwing straight punches at Cotto relentlessly. Most bouts the boys aren't boxing the whole time. They're sizing each other up, they're dancing about, they're waiting and picking their placement. This bout was a never ending push. Margarito kept pushing, like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill. Unlike Sisyphus Margarito's efforts weren't in vain. He won the bout with his determination, not with his skill. Everyone knew that Cotto was a better boxer, but Margarito had the legs and the heart. That's what mattered. I watched the after bout report and drank some water.

It was 4 o'clock. The sun would start to rise soon. I went and laid down in my bed. I patted the bed and Sam hopped up next to me. She sniffed at my face and walked around the bed. She setteled at the bottom of the bed where she fell asleep. I could hear her light snores as I stared up at the ceiling. Thinking of the boxers, thinking about Franks' bloody fingers, and thinking about what would happen when I awoke. My eyes dropped off and I fell into a dreamless slumber.

Sam woke me up around noon. She had to piss. I hauled my body out of bed and put on my slippers. We walked outside and she urinated on the brief patch of lawn out front. We strolled around the block and she dumped on a some lawn. I didn't bother picking up the crap. We went back to the house and I fed her. She got dry food in the mornings, and then a mix at a night of wet food and dry. Sometimes I'll pick up a steak for her and feed it to her. Usually its when I'm looking at my bookshelf and I see a Jack London story. London wrote about an old boxer who fought a young guy. It was an age versus youth story. The old boxer tried to hold out but he didn't have the wherewithal. He didn't have the energy because he hadn't eaten well, he hadn't eaten his steak. I wanted to make sure that Sam would have the constitution if she ever needed it, so I would feed her steak.

I ate cereal for breakfast and sat on the recliner. I watched the noon news and looked at the weather channel for a bit. After a few hours of sitting on my duff I took Sam out for a walk. We were walking by Ashby and Martin Luther King when she got sight of a cat. Sam didn't have much ado about felines but it was the neighborhood Tom. The tom pissed her off good. Tom would sit and wait for Sam to come out for her morning moments of relief (on her bladder) and would take a cheap swipe at her face then run off. Sam was always too confused to do much about it. When Sam saw Tom she ran off though. She broke out of her leash, which was a flimsy piece of twine, and went like Margarito after Cotto.

She almost had Tom, just like the taller boxer, the one with the heart and the legs, had the smaller, when the car hit her. She was 3/4ths through the intersection and the blue subaru clipped her. She fell with a whine to the sidewalk. She was breathing real heavy. Her chest heaved. Blood poured out from her back quarters. It looked like her ribs had gotten crushed. She whimpered for a moment and then that was it. I closed her eyes and picked her up. The subaru hadn't seen anything and was long gone. I carried her back to my apartment and set her down on her dog pillow. I looked at her for two hours. The clothes I was wearing had blood on them so I threw them in the laundry and then showered for work. I let the warm water hit my body. I hoped that it would wash away my skin. With a new skin maybe I'd be a new person, like a snake, or a grasshopper. My skin didn't come off and I toweled off. I walked to work in a daze.

Work was passed in a daze. It was like being half awake. Somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, where the sounds of the world come through and you reply but your mind isn't focused. The mind is still lost in the fog of sleep. I walked back home. Her body made the apartment stink, it was starting to smell bad already. I got a few blankets together and wrapped her in them. I tied the blankets with some twine, twine left over from when I'd made her leash. I carried her in the blankets to the Aquatic park. It was still dark out when I got to the bridge over the highway. I stood on the bridge and looked out towards the bay. I could see the lights of the bay bridge. I looked west and saw the lights of the city. Berkeley was lit up. I set Sam's body down and thought about how she came into my life. I decided that I hated my neighbors for my loss. Without any conduit for my emotions I put them on them. I picked up her body and swung it back and forth a few times to get a feeling of her weight. Time turned to gel as I let her body go. It sailed forward and down into the water. It made a small splash as it hit the water. I looked down and was slightly relieved that it sank. I walked home.

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