The Zoologist

“Are all of those yours?”

“Some of them.”

“I like dogs. What kind is that one?”

“Italian Greyhound.”

“Little guy.”

“Yeah. That’s as big as he’ll get. He’s not mine.”

“I, I have a pet duck. Best pet ever. A duck. Very clean. Very smart.”

“Wow. Do you have a pond?”

“Oh yeah, but he’s an indoor duck. He’s very clean. His little area in the house is very neat. He does his business there, but if he wants to go outside, he quacks, ‘Quack, quack’ and let’s me know he wants to go out. He has a spot he goes in. He’s very smart.”

“Have you had him since he was young? You trained him? Does he come when you call him?”

“Oh yeah. And he drinks beer. He loves Heineken. For treats, I open up a can of corn. He loves it, too. You should give your dogs beer. Dogs love beer, too. Do you give your dogs beer?”

“No. Just regular food.”

“You should give him beer. Not liquor though. My duck doesn’t like it. He tasted it and blah! ‘Quack’ and spit it out. He’s the best pet. He walks around the house, waddles down the stairs and if he falls, HA! he hits his beak! Heheheh. I love all types of animals. I’ve had all types of pets. Every animal. The worse pet I had was an iguana.”

“Why was the iguana the worst?”

“Ha! ‘Cuz he would beat everyone up!”

“How?”

“With his tail!”

“How big was he?”

The bald man in the plain white T-shirt with blue jeans and a belt, standing about 5’8″, gestures to his chest.  “This tall! But the funniest pet I ever had,” he pauses, rocking back and forth, “was a bobcat. Ha! THE funniest!”

“Where do you live?! An iguana, a duck, a bobcat?”

“Ah, I have a place upstate, here in Greenpoint and I had one on Long Island. Sold it though. They wouldn’t let me have my other pet.”

“Which is?”

“A porcupine.”

“What? Are you a zoologist?”

“Ha. No, I’m an electrician. I just love animals. They’re better than people.”

 

 

Walking Dogs in the Rain Sucks

 

 

Walking dogs in the rain sucks.

No one wants to be out there. It’s fucking cold and dismal and we all end up unsexy wet.

It’s not that pretty mystical, fantasy rain of Tom Cruise’s “Legend” — searching for unicorns in the magic forest. No. It’s cold and grey and gross. Wind whipping in unpredictable patterns. Streams and dumps. Sheets and bullets. Cold ass rain. Wet everywhere.

We have to go out. They need to poop and pee. They are too proud and territorial (thankfully) to do it at home.

Balancing two dogs and the umbrella I took from the restaurant’s lost and found. Damn wind keeps changing— left to right, up to down, down to up — flipping the cheap thing inside out and I keep confusing the retraction/expansion button and crumpling it. Fucking thin cellophane-like poop bags stick to my clammy frozen fingers. I have been doing this for so damn long, how is it possible that I keep confusing which side is the seam and which is the opening, and with everything drenched, the little trick of licking a finger and rubbing the plastic to separate the vacuum pressed fold, is futile.

Again, I’m a grown-ass woman. Why did I not put on my rain-boots but instead opt to wear my beloved Fryes that I have been neglecting to weatherproof and wax?

My outfit doesn’t matter. The fronts of my legs are soaking. My calves are covered in the gross splash-back of old piss, shit and barf from the streets, disguised as simple murky puddles of freshly fallen rain.

The puppies, you would think as an evolutionary mutation- like a duck, would have fur that wicks away the water. They don’t. Rain functions in a totally penetrating wetness, with all the city splooge, splashing back a little extra love into their fur.