“Could you do me a favor?” When a woman who has shared her sweet tastiness asks such a deceptively innocuous question, it is prelude to a request, a demand dressed for acquiescence, bitter medicine packaged as candy.

“Uh...!” I brilliantly deferred.

“Thank you, I knew you would.”

As if there was a choice to begin with...

“What may I graciously do for you?”

“I want you to go and check on Katy.”

Katy?! The one with the incredible body! With a mind...enveloped by that incredible body! “It would be my pleasure. Katy is the perfectly beautiful young thing married to the gay guy, right?”

“That’s not nice.”

“What?”

“To call her husband ‘gay’.”

“Why? Are we pretending he’s not?”

“We don’t really know...for sure.”

“Okay... So ignoring the fact he hit on the manliness of me, weren’t you the one telling me about a conversation you had with Katy before they were married where you told her you knew for a fact he had a relationship with a man?”

“Yes, and I also told you she said it was a bunch of lies told by a bitter old girlfriend.”

“Right, because he’s such a catch. So we’re pretending. Next time we’re around them, watch where his eyes are focused. Whether he is interested in the beef or the dairy.”

“Whatever. Listen, I got permission for you to leave, a business errand. We all want you to check on her. She has a lot of friends here.”

“Then why aren’t any of you going to check on her?”

Moving closer, the tasty treat whispered, “Her husband gives us the creeps and we’re afraid he might get violent, so...”

Katy was quite beautiful to the visual sense, but the beauty outside could not mask the inside’s flaws. Katy was kind, friendly and developmentally retarded. She always dated bad men because she wanted to see and understand the misunderstood good she knew had to be within. When she met a man who was downright evil — the good so small it only existed because he did not know it was there — she married him and became his savior and champion. That being said, you could spend hours absorbed in her beauty and warm smile.

“I don’t get this pretend thing; we’ll pretend he’s straight and not using her for appearance’s sake, but we can’t pretend he’s too nice, because he’s really scary? How about if we don’t pretend at all? It’s not like pretending changes who he really is...”

“What are you... Look, you take my ride and go check on Katy, please. Right now, please.”

C’est la vie.

Just because you have keys and a ride does not mean you are going anywhere. Her ‘cute’ car would not start. Looking under the hood, it appeared as if rats had been nesting comfortably under the faded hood for some time.

After spending an hour under the hood and walking down the street to the auto parts store a few times, I had invested a day’s wages and managed to get the P-o-S running. Before leaving, it seemed like a reasonable idea to wipe the grease off.

“You’re back already? How is she?”

“I haven’t left yet.”

“What? Why not?”

“Your cute car wouldn’t start.”

“Did you jiggle the wire hanging down? You know how you have to do that, remember?”

“You don’t have to do that anymore, it’s fixed.”

“But I don’t have any money...”

“I fixed it. Don’t worry about it.”

“Thanks. I’m going to have to give you something special tonight.”

This is beginning to sound like a relationship.

“Relax, there’s nothing to worry about, I’m going to check on Katy’s kurves.”

“Bye! Thank you! Her curves? You just make sure she is okay and get right back here.”

Could not leave fast enough. The idea of visiting Katy at her home was enticing, though as the cute car moved through traffic, I noted smells and sounds that would give cause of concern for any good fire captain as to whether or not the vehicle was anything more than an improvised explosive device preparing for detonation. Seems as if risking life and limb for a view of Katy’s kurves was a bit of a high price...but Katy was beautiful...and she may be in need of assistance...kurve duty kalls!

Knocking on the door, I was not prepared for anything more than to be greeted by her warm smile or his leering wink. Instead, Katy came to the door with her hands covered in dirt and tears mixed with dirt rubbed about her face — things were out of sort, apparently...then again, she is a woman, a woman of unquestionably bad judgement, intuition dismissed in favor of fantasy. Alas, her flimsy, sheer shirt karessed her kleavage.

“What’s wrong?” was offered in forced monotone, eyes pried from her dancing top to her swallowing eyes.

“I... I... My...dead... I...” she began as a prelude to hysteria where she told me of her dog’s death. She was covered in dirt because she had been digging a grave for him in back. The house did smell like death. The gentleman of good offered to help her with the grave.

“Thank you. Thank you.”

She exited the house and closed the door behind her, obviously to protect the floors from further tracking of dirt, or, because even in this state of sorrow, she feared animal magnetism might bring us together...obviously.

Upon entering the backyard, the eyes were drawn to a mound of dirt in the far corner of the yard. Given closer inspection, the hole already seemed substantial.

“This isn’t big enough?”

“He... He... He... It’s a... It’s a huge dog,” she cried.

Seeing she was distraught, presumably heartbroken, I took the shovel in hand and began to dig. It seemed as if the hole was big enough for me — it would suffice, anyway.

After about 40 minutes of shoveling, there was a giant blister in the center of my hand. “Ouch,” I whispered to myself, which was unnecessary, as I was done.

Done and trapped in a hole. I began to call for Katy. She came quickly, carrying a giant glass of water.

“I need help getting out, maybe a ladder? And that glass of water would be helpful.”

“Water? This is vodka. I’ll get you a ladder and a drink.”

“Water, please.”

“Sure, but I need this. My dog died.”

“I understand, but it’s 11am, which is too early for me to call it a day.”

Fifteen minutes later I was sitting at a small garden table with an inebriated and not so beautiful Katy, drinking my water. Willingly, as the shirt clung and released from her breast, I noted beauty.

“Where’s Rod?” I asked, having just done what her husband should have done.

“Fuck that piece of shit! You know why my dog’s dead?!”

“Uh, no.”

“Rod fucked her. I walked in on Rod fucking her, my dog!”

An appropriate response did not come to mind, as I was not sure how much was alcohol and how much was reality. I also considered that I was wrong about Rod, he was not gay or bi — according to his wife, he will stick it anywhere.

“Can you believe that?! My poor little girl.”

Was not the dog a large he? It is not usually useful to correct someone who is drunk. It was probably best to let her grieve in peace.

“Thank you for the water,” I replied, pulling the skin off my blister and licking the open wound.

“What are you doing?”

“I have a wound, a blister from the shovel.”

“I’m surprised you are so soft. Licking it is kinda gross.”

The woman who walked in on her husband banging the dog has just called me gross. Now would be a good time to leave.

“Thank you for the water. I should be getting back. Did you want help putting Sparky in the hole?”

“Sparky?”

“Your dog.”

“I can handle it!”

“Are you sure?”

“I said I could handle it. Thank you.”

“Okay. Sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, and if you see that piece of shit Rod tell him if he even comes around me or anyone I know again I will kill him!”

“You’ve got a big enough hole.”

It was not long before I had returned to report the status of her kurves and my helpfulness to her concerned friends, who seemed happy that she was well, yet disconcerted about the dog story. As far as they knew, the only dog she had was a small female dog named Paris.

It just goes to show, you think you know someone, yet what do you really know?



AFTERTHOUGHT: The story of what Rod did to the dog has floated around the job, and people seem to be sickened and shocked. As strange as it may be, it was less than shocking; the more you witness the human condition, the more you understand we are capable of anything...all of us...anything.