Pickles the dog (for T’s dad)


I think things really took a turn for the worse between Allison and I when I offered to pay her 37 dollars to make out with her brother, Steve, for ten seconds at my twenty-seventh birthday party. I don’t think it would have been so bad, if everyone else hadn’t agreed to chip in and raise the pot with such good spirit. Five hundred and eleven dollars wouldn’t buy her pride and she left the room quietly ten minutes later. There was no scene. No going off in a huff. I didn’t even notice her leaving, because there was a quarrel over the reimbursement of the funds from the failed venture. Once things were settled and the apologies accepted, I finally realized she had left me.

I’m not going to psycho-analyze my reasons for doing the awful things I did. I think it’s pretty safe to say self-hatred played a part. I loved Allison very much and it killed me inside to see other people hurt her. The problem was, she seemed to almost beg for it by her own passivity. Once, she and I had been eating lunch in a diner when she ran into an old boyfriend of hers. As they embraced, his suspicious girlfriend, who had been spying on him, witnessed this scene of events and jumped to all the wrong conclusions. We all stood there, motionless, while the girlfriend unleashed her seething, spit-fueled expletives for the better part of five minutes. All the while, poor Allison said nothing. Her expressionless face, flecked with spittle, only provoked more intense fury. Since it wasn’t my place, I didn’t think it would be right for me to intervene. Finally, out of exhaustion, the girl just stopped, threw her arms up and walked out. The ex-boyfriend muttered some sort of lame apology and ran off to catch up with her.

I think I could have forgiven her if only I had caught her crying just once. Her own mother once told her she was too ugly to pass as a transvestite. Not a whimper. No trace of tears welling up in her eyes. Nothing. That night, she went home and read a Tom Clancy paperback in bed. She even giggled at what I’m assuming were the sex parts. If only once I had seen her show any hint of sadness, I feel I would have been able to be nicer to her. Or at the least, much less horrible. It was clearly some sort of fated punishment that the day she finally did coincided with her realization that she no longer wanted anything to do with me.

Never one to dwell on the past, I went out the next day and adopted a dog. He was the largest Great Dane I had ever seen and I named him Pickles. He was completely out of control from the get-go. He broke free from his leash, ran into the street and was hit by a man on a bicycle, the impact killing him instantly. Pickles ran off unhurt and I never saw him again. As he was now somewhat of an accessory to a man’s death, I was in no hurry to be reunited. Luckily for me, I hadn’t gone through an official adoption agency or animal shelter, I had merely stolen Pickles from the yard of a large brick house I had passed on the way to the pet store to buy a cat.

So with no girlfriend, no cat and no way to tie me to the death of an innocent bicycle enthusiast, I started the week clean of commitments. It was such an exhilarating feeling, I briefly considered enlisting in the armed forces in a fit of self re-invention, but fortunately this passed before I made any written declarations of intent. Instead, I purchased a case of cheap domestic beer and headed home to become inebriated. As I watched the evening news in a near-hallucinogenic stupor, I was amazed to find out that the deceased man on the bicycle was none other than Allison’s brother, Steve. It was quite a shock to see her tear-stained face on my television, pleading for help in finding the owner of the medium-sized quadruped, which the police believed to be a small wild horse of some sort.

I couldn’t help but feel overcome with newfound feelings for Allison, seeing her so in touch with her sadness, as she was. I resolved to give things between us another chance, whether she wanted to or not. I put on some pants, shoved a whole pack of gum in my mouth and drove over to her house. When I walked in, her immediate family was there, crying and holding hands. It was kind of depressing, so I grabbed her and took her into the bedroom so we could be alone. She seemed to have forgotten our earlier troubles as she put her arms around me and began sobbing into my chest. I held her tight and softly kissed the top of her head.

I tried to tell her that I was sorry for the way I had acted and I desperately needed her back, but all she wanted to talk about was how much she missed her brother. I began to get annoyed that she could be so wrapped up in herself. It’s like she wasn’t even listening to me and what I had to say. This was important. It was me and her and our future together, but my words seemed to go right through her. It was just “Steve this” and “Steve that”.

Suddenly, something clicked and I pulled away from her. She reached out for me, but the thought of her touch was sickening. Before that moment, it had never really made any sense to me why she would have been so offended at my hilarious offer to pay her to make out with her brother. Then, I realized that the only times I had ever seen her upset had both involved Steve. How could I have been so blind? There were so many things I wanted to say to her at that moment. Mostly, I wanted to put her in her place. I wanted to tell her that she may have fooled everyone else, but this little Indian knew the truth about her disgusting lifestyle choice. Luckily, reason got the best of me and I decided the classy thing to do was express my condolences at the loss of her lover and walk out.

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