Sunday, August 3, 2008


I hated my next door neighbors. I had a small apartment in the top of a duplex that had been quartered off into 4 units. The building next to mine was an old Victorian with a bunch young mid twenty year olds. The house was a constant den of comings and goings. It was a beehive of idiots. I had nicknames for the 6 inhabitants that resided there for that one irritating year. The one with the red hair was "Queen Bee," and her boyfriend was "Drone number 1." Another woman lived I nicknamed the "Mediocre Mare." I mused about how many times she visited the clinic for clap medication, considering her hordes of bestial men that came to see her, no doubt dates from craigslist. The other three boys were identical, one young shitbag looked the same as another. I just entitled them by number "2," "3," and "4." The prefix of shitbag was added when I was feeling particularly sour towards my three male neighbors. Without them though I would never have had Sam come into my life. That's why I hate them so much now.

I was sitting on my balcony one evening as I overheard them speak. They'd been in the building next door for ten months, and I desperately prayed that their lease would be up. My hopes were for a nice geriatric couple to take over so that I might get a night of sleep without wafting marijuana. Most of the time I was able to ignore their inane dialogues but tonight I ended up eavesdropping, much to my ear's chagrin.

"Do you know how LSD was invented," Queen Bee asked Drone number 1.

"Didn't it have to do with some guy in the CIA," he replied.

"Yeah, they were attempting to create a truth serum to use on prisoners of war. This guy Albert Hofman created LSD and took a big hit of it one day while he was riding his bicycle."

"Wow, I didn't know that, what happened,"

"Well obviously it exploded his consciousness, he started to realize how vast the fucking universe really is. He tripped balls. He started taking it all the time."

"Did the truth serum idea ever work out?"

"I don't think so. Do you know where we can score any? Do your coworkers have some?"

"I don't know, let me call Nick."

A few minutes later the Drone resumed the conversation.

"Nick doesn't have any acid but they did find a dog recently."

"A dog?"

"Yeah, isn't that sweet?"

"Next time Nick comes by he should bring the dog."

"We can get the dog high," they both laughed and I became so vexed that I went back inside. The nice evening had been spoiled by my foolishness in listening to those assholes.

A few weeks passed and I began to see more of Nick, and more of the dog. The dog was a small brown and white pit/mutt. She ran rampant in the streets as Nick engaged in narcotic practices with my neighbors. When the dog was tired from scurrying about the street she would sleep on the stoop of my apartment. I began to leave small bits of food for the dog, and even kept a small bowl of water for her when she was thirsty. After a month Nick swiped away the queen bee from the number one drone and the dog was a live in resident. The dog was often ignored left to her own devices outside in the world.

I worked late nights as a bartender at a local dive bar. The bar called the Bank was located in east Oakland, most of the clientele were local drunks and they kept me serving til the end of the night. I would take a late night bus home up San Pablo to my place on Prince and Martin Luther King. I'd walk the few blocks from San Pablo to Prince. Often I would see the dog sitting outside, usually on my stoop. When she was out there for a week I bought her one of those dog pillows. My constant attention to her, while initially out of a sense of duty, turned into a real desire for her companionship. She seemed a little happier when I was with her. I bought a leash and would take her on late night walks after work. We would walk to the water front park and I'd let her off the leash to run by the water. She'd run for a few minutes then mellow out and walk next to me as I followed the water line. It was one of those late night walks when I named her. I named her Sam.

I decided that my next door neighbors wouldn't notice her disappearance so I'd let her into my apartment when I got home from work, or after our walks. I started feeding her regularly and she filled out. Her coat started to shine. It was two weeks before I overheard my neighbors talking to each other about her vanishing. I decided to move to Derby and Grant. It was a few streets away, the rent was a little higher but I could keep Sam and not worry about my neighbors finding her. I didn't have much besides my job going for me, and I didn't much care about that. When I was home I felt like I had someone to talk to, albeit she couldn't talk back, but there was a way in which I felt she really listened to me.

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