The Geezer and I were sitting on the dock this morning. We’d taken our walk and romp, I’d checked out all the latest info that sniffing the mail box poles and common deposit areas provide (Lucy the Cocker Spaniel is pregnant — again!), the Geezer had his discussions with the neighbors he wanted to speak with and ducked those he didn’t.
It wasn’t 8:30 and the temperature was already a humid 80 degrees. It felt warmer. “How about I get the brush and remove some of the excess undercoat you’re carrying around?” he asked. “It will make you a little cooler.”
“That would feel good,” I said. I love to be brushed, particularly at this time of year.
“You sit and stay. I’ll go get the brush. It will only take a few moments.”
“Fine,” I said. What else can you say to the old boy who provides the groceries. However, what you say and do can be different. I waited to hear the porch door click closed, before looking around to see if there was anything worth investigating. There wasn’t much. In our southwest Florida neighborhood, 2/3 of the dogs and humans head north in the middle of April and don’t come back until around Thanksgiving. The Geezer says you could shoot a gun down the street and not worry about hitting anything. The neighbors on both sides of our home are gone. Only a few ‘hood residents remain.
A Blue Heron landed on the seawall, a backbone from a fish some human had cleaned stuck in his beak. The backbone had been in the sun long enough to smell luscious. The crafty old bird shook his head causing the morsel clamped in his bill to tempt me. I looked away trying to hide my interest.
The bird put the skeleton down at its scaly feet. It’s beady eyes challenged me and it said, “Want to try again, dumb dog?” in a gassy voice.
I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore the Heron. He’d embarrassed me twice. The first time I’d made a dash to grab the fish head he was toting. My rush at the prize, which was on the edge of the seawall, was unsuccessful. The damned bird snatched it up and flew over the canal. My brakes didn’t hold. The next thing I knew I was swimming. Of course, the Geezer laughed at me. The next time, the bird landed on the dock with his back to me. I really thought I had him. The thumping of my paws on the decking must have tipped him off. I made a leap that would have made Under-dog proud, but he flew off. Like the saying goes, “Close, but I didn’t get the cigar.” The Geezer laughed, again.
“Come and get it you big dumb blonde bitch,” the heron crowed (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun) He picked up the backbone and shook it at me enticingly. It had to be a he, only males are so mean.
“Who are you calling a dumb blonde?” I couldn’t stay sitting.
“You, you sick excuse for a retriever,” he sneered.
“How would you know you Sesame Street reject,” I scoffed. As I spoke I took a couple of stealthy steps forward and crouched a bit.
Laughter came from behind me. “You aren’t going to try catching that bird again, are you Sandy?” It was the Geezer carrying the brush in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
The Heron flew off squawking, “Dumb blonde, Dumb blonde, Dumb blonde, Dumb blonde, Dumb blonde!” I was pissed.
“At least, I won’t have to pull you out of the canal this time.” The Geezer scoffed and chuckled. That really steamed me. I’d never gotten even for the first two times he’d laughed at my expense.
The Geezer was walking toward the dock trying not to spill his coffee. The old boy looked a lot like an elephant trying to walk a tight rope. You have already guessed he filled the cup too full. In perfect cadence with each step, he uttered, “Shit,” and in time with each step, a few drops of coffee would slosh out. I would liked to have said, “It’s coffee, not shit,” but by the time the old man’s rusted mental gears started turning the punch line would have been lost. His smirk was still there–I decided to even the score at my first opportunity.
The Geezer sat next to me and began to brush. He stroked and he stroked. Little puffs of my fuzzy excess fur dotted the canal. It’s hard to stay mad at someone who is making you feel so good, even a human. I told him, “A little more on the other side,” “More from my neck,” Let’s try some off the belly,” and he responded just like I’ve trained him. I was starting to get mellow, my eyelids heavy, and in a forgiving mood.
That changed in an instant. The Heron flew across the canal taunting, “Dumb blonde, Dumb blonde, Dumb blonde, Dumb blonde, Dumb blonde!” The Geezer laughed when he saw the bird–again! That was it! I swished my tail around and knocked over his coffee cup.
“I sure glad the cup is empty,” he said. Ooooo… That made me madder.
He’d only made a few more brush strokes when the Geezer said, “You sit here, Sandy. I’ve got to go to the used coffee disposal device.” At precisely the same instant, my vastly superior canine senses told me something.
In my most convincing voice, I suggested, “Why go up all those stairs? There’s no one around. Just walk up to the Bougainvillea bushes and water them a bit.”
He looked at me questioningly, “You think?”
“Ssuurree, The neighbors are all gone. It will be fine,” I hissed.
He hesitated a few seconds before taking a dozen steps toward the bushes, stairway, and the wall under the porch. Various items hang on the wall’s siding in this private little nook. The Geezer glanced at the houses on either side and back toward the canal being sure he’d be unobserved, before commencing his irrigation project.
Male tool in hand, he was engrossed in water distribution when the sweet voice of the electric meter reader lady cooed, “Good Morning, Mr. Gator.”