When I was young, I was terrified of dogs. Terrified. I was convinced that dogs were the foulest, meanest, cruelest beings on the planet–which in my mind consisted of my grandparents’ neighborhood.
They’d come in groups catching me by my fanny pack and dragging me down to the ground and while two of them sat on my arms, the others would take turns teabagging me until a neighbor came and shooed them away. One would even run back and scat on my face before running away.
They spent the summer days chasing me around yards, down streets, across lawns and out of town, and at night, they’d come and paw at my Nana’s door and yell, “Come out, boy. Give us the boy, we just want the boy.”
They were like my own four-legged KKK committee.
So I grew up hating dogs, never understanding what their allure was. To this day, I’ll never understand Americans’ love affair with dogs.
I mean, when I was in middle school, there was a kid that sat in the back of my Chemistry class that drooled on the desk, smelled like piss, showed us his balls, and dry humped anyone stoopid enough to get close enough to him–I wish that they had a muzzle and a leash for this dude–and somehow I’m supposed to want to sleep, live with, feed an animal that does the same thing? I mean, at least this kid didn’t eat his own shit (in class).
Anyway, I spent years training in my room with posters of Rin Tin-Tin, Eddie from Frasier and Huckleberry Hound on my wall. I learned the art of the surprise attack from my gay cats. I watched All Dogs Go to Heaven for inspiration.
And so, my plan is to return to my grandparents’ neighborhood and get revenge. I know that they’re pretty old now, but I’m not dissuaded by that at all.
As a matter of fact, this is how I imagine the whole thing going down:
The Kids….Theatre Presents: All Dogs Go to HELL: A Story of Reparations
I walk back to my grandparents’ neighborhood, armed with nothing more than a shoebox. As I stroll down the block, people come to their windows, peer from behind curtains. They are whispering, “Why does he come back? Has he really returned?”. I walk over to the dogs’ hangout–an old refrigerator box. Inside, the four dogs, older and saggy-eyed and jowly now, sit around a dog bowl, laughing and drinking as they make a chiuahua and boy (he could’ve been me!) stand in the dog bowl and strip. They’re tossing bones and dog food pellets at them.
I step in. The laughing and noise stops abruptly. They turn to me. I shift the shoebox under my arm.
(Mr. Tickles, head dog): Well, well, well–if it isn’t our old friend, Gary Coleman. What’s up, bitch?
(the others laugh, slow and wheezy-like. One of them begins sniffing and licking one of the other’s taint.)
(The Kids…): I’m back, Mr. Tickles, for revenge. You ruined my childhood. I’m here to collect.
(at this, the dogs all laugh even more. I feel foolish and doubtful until I spot the pciture on the wall of me face down in the dirt with Buggles, the terrier in the group, on top of me, dry-humping and pumping a triumphant paw in the air. Mr Tickles is in the picture too, flashing The Shocker at the camera. Remembering prom night, I find new rage, courage.)
(Sammy, a now one-eyed Cocker-Spaniel): What, you going to cry now? Huh? You fuggin’ sissy. What are you doin’?
(I sit down, setting the shoebox on the ground and, removing my sneaker, put on a new over-sized sneaker. I stand up, walk over to Mr. Tickles, ignoring the other dogs. Crouched low, I drag Mr. Tickles outside by the tail. He’s yelling “let go” but I don’t listen.)
Outside, I stand Mr. Tickles up on his hind legs, and with all my strength, boot him square in the balls. He yelps and flies arcoss the lawn, crashing into the refrigerator box. It explodes.
(In slow motion, I walk away, tossing the over-sized sneaker to the half-naked boy.)
(The Kids….): Keep this. One day, there will be more of them. Be ready.