Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my thwarted childhood quest for a dog. As a kid I was never permitted to have pets unless they were small enough to flush down the toilet once I’d loved them to death, but I was chummy with most of the neighborhood canines.
One dog that left his mark on my childhood was Burgie the Carpet King. Burgie was a bug-eyed bulldog with a head shaped like a jack-o-lantern. He belonged to the Holloways across the street. Burgie once had a close encounter with that other self-proclaimed monarch of the neighborhood, my mother—no lover of pets. The Holloways were headed to Texas to visit relatives and I was paid a dollar a day to check on Burgie in their backyard, sweep out his dog house, clean up the poop and feed him. One morning I finished my duties and left without properly latching the side gate. I was in a hurry; a few of us were heading to nearby Cabrillo Creek to look for an elusive albino tadpole that had been spotted.
Once I was out of sight, Burgie made a break for it.
He wandered the neighborhood for a few hours and then collapsed in the center of the street.
His timing was unfortunate; at that very moment a city dogcatcher happened to be cruising through our neighborhood. The stupid dog didn’t bother to budge from his spot in the middle of the road, much less run away.
From our front window, my mother witnessed the dogcatcher approaching Burgie. In a rare gesture of noblesse, she rescued the Holloway’s pooch and brought him home. I wasn’t there at the time but it’s easy to imagine him entering our house and waddling into the living room. I was told he rewarded my mother for rescuing him with an unpardonable offense; he raised a nonchalant eyebrow at my mother’s highbrow antiques, crouched into his best humping position and proceeded to masturbate on our living room rug. It’s also easy to imagine my mother glaring down at the Carpet King and declaring in a tone associated with Queen Victoria, “We are not amused!”
Mother wouldn’t deign to lower herself by returning Burgie to his backyard, and waited for me to come home and do it. After all, I was being paid and she wanted to point out just what a miserable job I was doing. For the rest of the afternoon, Burgie the Carpet King abused our rug with the enthusiasm of a sailor on shore leave.
My mother confiscated the money the Holloways paid me for watching Burgie and used it to have the living room rug professionally cleaned. But long after Burgie’s infatuation with our living room rug, you had only to look closely to see the spots where The Carpet King left his royal mark.
Note: Thanks to the guys at Dude Write for honoring me this week with three awards: two for my post Tight Asses and one for my first attempt at flash fiction, Stupid Men and the Sea. Although Dude Write features writing with a male slant, their posts are sure to entertain everyone. I encourage you to check out this great website.