Puppies! Poetry!

by G.T.

It was nice to return home after work and be greeted at the door by my new dog. I wasn’t expecting him to grow accustomed to me so soon. I’ve been spending all morning with him, easing him into his new environment, and protecting my little Boston terrier from getting man-handled in play wrestling, which I’ve come to learn is a favorite for this pup. He doesn’t hurt my Boston, but she is barely half the size of this beast of a six-month-old, whose paws are as large as the palms of my hands. According to the person from whom I got him, the sire of the litter was 180 pounds. I should add that he’s a rottweiler: my favorite among all breeds. Although not a big fan of small breeds, I did say that I have a Boston terrier. There’s a story behind her acquisition.
My Boston terrier was a roadside rescue a couple of years ago. She was standing in the middle of a country highway, soiled in mud and shivering during a fairly intense snowstorm. I found her in December, on my way to a family shin-dig. Seeing a Boston terrier on a road that is lined with farm land on either side and no houses in sight was odd. I settled on the possibilty that she was just dropped off and forgotten. After some attempts at trying to find any owner that may have lost the dog, I adopted her as my own. Like cats, little dogs are not my preference, but they’re all living, breathing things that need a caring home. And I have a couple of cats, too.

Grace L. (708) – Walking into high school, I knew a lot of people, but that’s because I had gone to three grade schools. They were all vague memories, and not really friends in the slightest bit. The first extracurricular activity I joined was speech team. Not really sure why, but I did. Athletics wasn’t my strong suit. At fifteen-years-old, my excuse for flunking the swim test was, “I come from a family of smokers.” Being a competitive radio speaker was much more agreeable for me, and I actually was quite good at it. Grace was a freshman who had also joined the team. Never met her before, and in short time, she turned out to be one of my first friends in high school. I’m doubtful that she would admit the same, but for me, she holds that title in my high school years.
Grace and I never got together outside of school. On a few occasions, we did, but it was with a group of other people. Most of our dialogue took place during school, as we often had at least one class together. Our four years was essentially summed up as four years of bickering and exchanging harmless teases at one another, which usually resulted in laughs from other people and ourselves. Like so many others on my Contacts List, I’ve lost touch with Grace, and haven’t seen her since that night I chased my friend Jason down a residential street, naked. At 5:13pm.

POEM REMOVED PENDING PUBLICATION ELSEWHERE – 10-01-10

To my knowing, Grace does science experiments involving rats and cocaine. Perhaps the rats were for the experiment and the cocaine, well…

5:18pm, Grace: “Sean?”

5:19pm, Me: “Good question. I don’t know that guy either.”

5:20pm, Grace: “Sooo who are you?”

I’ve noticed that being snippy, but saying the person’s name, keeps them curious and willing to put up with snippiness.

5:23pm, Me: “Who the hell are you? Grace? So nosy, trying to ask who I am when I’m not even certain who you are.”

5:25pm, Grace: “I want answers! i know you’re from lockport…. also, what were you quoting?”

Again, my writing is mistaken for the work of someone else. How flattering.

5:28pm, Me: “I don’t quote. I write. Since you thought what I wrote was quoted, that means I’m good. You’re not the first to be mistaken. Thanks for the compliment.”

At this point, the recipient usually mumbles a ‘fuck off’ and calls it a day. If it’s the Grace I remember, she’ll keep it up. Several minutes turn into a half of an hour. Did she give up?

5:41pm, Me: “Is this Grace’s number? Your texts read the way you speak.”

And that is true. Her personality is evident in her texts, if that’s even possible. My one and only attempt to keep the dialogue flowing.

6:01pm, Grace: “Why should u get to know who i am if i dont know who u are? also dont you want credit for ur wonderful writing?”

Ha! Trying to butter me up. ‘Wonderful writing’? I’m not that immodest. I would italicize ‘that’ had it not been italicized already. This must be Grace.

6:03pm, Me: “If you are Grace, there’s a word in the poem that would hint as to who I am.”

“Chess”. I carried a little chessboard in my backpack, and would challenge somebody whenever an opportunity presented itself. Oftentimes, the whole class would sit and watch my matches, and oddly enough, ask one question: “Ooh, are those magnetic pieces?” The chessboard was actually wooden, with little pegholes for the pieces to be situated. I guess I missed the memo that magnetic chessboards were in vogue during the mid 2000’s.

A few minutes later.

6:09pm, Grace: “Im afraid im going to need a bigger hint than that”

Remember, Grace, that game you never beat me at? Time and time and time again, I always outsmarted your “symmetry” plan, making both sides of your board identical. Yeah, that loses to a fianchetto pretty fast. Oh, another word that I used in the poem.

6:11pm, Me: “Chess.”

Let’s see how big of a hint this turned out to be.

Almost immediately.

6:11pm, Grace: “George?”

You’ll never beat me at chess, Grace, but I’ll give you this one small victory.

6:12pm, Me: “Checkmate.”

6:18pm, Grace: “Well to what do i owe this surprise?”

“What do I owe?” I have an idea.

6:29pm, Me: “Poems! To every # I know. I’m glad you liked it. That’ll be $29.95. I accept cash, wine, or cigars.”

I should’ve started charging people from the beginning. Writing doesn’t have to be a poor man’s profession.

6:55pm, Grace: “I’ll be sure to get that to you…”

Han K. (778) – By far my closest fraternity brother. Originally from South Korea, Han was an exchange student in Canada and California before attending IIT. After graduating, Han applied to dental schools, and I would help him revise his personal statements.
Well, Han has found himself in a sort of limbo, after not all of his expectations could be reached. He’s looking toward pharmacy school, but of course, is questioning whether it’s a choice that will be satisfying to him in the long run. We all have to do some soul searching, and when we do, the past, especially the bad, always shows up and bites us in the ass, and reminds us of failures and regrets. At 6:25pm.

“Walking a tightrope
in the fog is only
dangerous if you
look back in regret
of missteps. Keep forward
even if the land
to which you will reach
cannot be seen.”

I know that Han doesn’t have my number, because he’s changed his own many times. I found his number using, again, my very clandestine connections (Facebook). I wasn’t interested in playing this “guess who?” with Han. We keep in touch fairly often, just not by phone.

7:18pm, Me: “Han, it’s George. I don’t know if you have my number.”

7:25pm, Han: “I didn’t know it’s u george. I was wondering abt previous message. What’s up?”

7:28pm, Me: “Doing alright. Going to look at a rottweiler tonight, and might take him home. How about you?”

And that I was, and did, in fact, take him home. My first name, like I said in last night’s post, was Hasso, a name that is derived from Hessian, or a German mercenary. Right now, the name of choice may be Hans. A masculine, German name is what I’m looking for. A good, German name that I can yell out in a thick, German accent and frighten people as I call it.

Jackie H. (630) – Jackie was a former coworker back in the high school days, and the only one that I had kept in touch with after I left that grocery store. I haven’t seen, spoken, or heard from her in over two years, so I guess that I haven’t really kept in touch with her. At 6:36pm.

“Suburban weather
never changes.
The ashtray remains
still and only
fills grayer and
grayer telling
of idleness
and weekday
despair. Days when
only smoke moves.”

Jackie’s a suburbanite. And a smoker. Sounded fair enough.

6:53pm, 8353: “Sorry your message to 630-***-**** could not be delivered. We attempted to deliver the message 3 times with no answer. Please try again later.

I have no idea what that’s about. First time I ever received such a text. Not only is it a wrong number, it’s a nonexistent number.

Well I spent all morning with Hans, the puppy. Strong dog and very loyal, which surprised me that he would acclimate so soon. I was almost certain that he would suffer from seperation anxiety from his previous owner, but Hans has been listening to me and behaving somewhat well. He’s still a pup, of course, so he’s very active and very unaware of his own strength and size. It’s quite humorous to watch him play, which has led me to protect all breakable objects on tables and desks. He likes to lay on my lap, and for a six-month-old that rivals most full grown labradors, I definitely have to protect my jewels; he’s already stomped there once. Lesson learned.