Sola likes me. Sola really, really likes me. Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “That’s a great story. My dog really likes me too.” I understand. I’m sure your dog follows you around, wants to be with you wherever you go, is affectionate, and protective. Sola does all of these things. And she does…well, more. What I’m trying to convey (despite my discomfort in doing so) is that Sola likes me the wrong way. The way rednecks like their sisters.
I can already picture some of you running for the phone to call the ASPCA. But take a look at that picture above. If I choose to lie down on the floor, the bed, the couch or even outside in the yard Sola will find me and immediately jump on me. Then the real fun begins. She flattens herself on top of me and begins the all-too-familiar makeout session. At first, her licks are quick, light, good natured. Then her eyes half close as her pace slows, becomes more deliberate. She licks the entire length of my face, slowly, her jaw shaking. She tries with all of her might to force my lips open (she succeeded on one occasion and nearly took out a tonsil. I haven’t been right since.) Drool pours out of her, and she literally gets “hot and bothered”, panting heavily like she’s just been chased by the Yard Monster.
Mrs. Author finds this amusing, laughing as I am molested against my will. I struggle under Sola’s weight trying to fight off the tongue slaps that seem to come from everywhere. Sola presses on, undeterred, her panting frantic, her dog food breath hot on my face.
It ends as suddenly as it began. Sola rolls off me and stumbles away, disinterested. Mrs. Author giggles and refers to Sola with a five letter word that rhymes with “floor.” I wonder if I’d feel less cheap if someone would just hold me. Nigel cracks one eye and stares at me from the couch, clearly disturbed. Sola sprawls out on the kitchen floor tiles, cooling herself. She lights a cigarette…
The answer is no. I am not crazy. Nigel and Mrs. Author have witnessed this twisted ritual countless times. Time and again I stagger to the bathroom to clean myself, praying that one day a simple game of fetch will satiate Sola. I return to the living room ashamed, and act as though nothing has happened. Nigel guffaws with glee, spared.
It only gets worse. Last week I opened my computer bag at work and found this:
Chills ran down my spine. I kept this to myself – surely Mrs. Author would take offense at such blatant gestures. I shredded the letter and threw it away. I made the drive home in silence, radio off, brain churning. I walked directly to the junk drawer and flung it open…and gasped. Stuck to a pen in the front of the drawer – yellow dog hair. Sola watched me, a telling ink stain on her right forepaw. I quickly closed the drawer and tried to forget the day and all that had happened…
It was not long before another, even more disturbing event took place. I was in the living room, listening to smoky, sultry jazz music, the lights turned down. Nigel was (as always) passed out on the couch like a crystal meth junkie. Mrs. Author was taking a bath. I thought I heard the junk drawer rattle at one point, but attributed it to a heavy bass note in the song I was listening to. I reached over to pick up my drink…and screamed.
Another note, crudely scratched on a piece of scrap paper, stared at me from the table:
I sprung from my chair terrified, turning the music down and the lights up. Nigel continued to slobber on himself, unaware. I snatched the letter from the table and immediately buried it in the bottom of the trash can. I turned and- there was Sola, standing behind me, panting, unmoving, a disturbing look on her face. I threw her a chewie to distract her, and opened the freezer, palms sweating, heart pounding. My hands shook as I worked an ice cube out of its tray and pressed it to my forehead. A few deep breaths later I convinced myself I had imagined it. I dried my forehead, and fell in to bed, exhausted. Sola jumped on the bed and slept beside me, between Mrs. Author and I.
A few days passed without incident. I was careful not to lie on my back in Sola’s presence. Busy with work and writing, I actually forgot about the disturbing events that had transpired. I let my guard down. Then yesterday morning, I kissed Mrs. Author, scooped up my computer bag, said goodbye to Nigel & Sola, picked up my car keys…and froze. Hidden under my car keys was another note:
My breath escaped me in a series of coughs and hacks. I crumpled the letter and stuffed it in my pocket, dumbfounded. I walked outside and looked under Mrs. Author’s SUV. No brake fluid. I went back in to the garage and placed all of my tools on shelves that I knew Sola could not reach. I started my car and slowly pulled out of the driveway. I cast a glance at the window and there was Sola, her gaze focused on me, unwavering. I goosed the accelerator and made haste, seeking refuge in the familiar duties of my job.
Mrs. Author called me to let me know she had arrived at work safely. I settled in to my desk chair, sipping coffee, reading e-mail. The phone rang, I answered, and my blood went cold. My brain just registered the fact that the number on caller ID was our home number as I heard slow, pronounced panting on the other end of the phone line…
Somebody please help me.