Short Story: Every Dog…

Every Dog…

It’s Monday night and the game has changed. I’m walking into another Newtown dive, some club or other to watch some band or other, and while they’re stamping me and my buddy Peggles, I see her.

She is sex incarnate. She is tall and leggy and has jet black hair and the face of a huntress, a feral creature. She is wild, her body is something godly, you almost feel embarrassed, you almost want to look away, you almost want to blush and hide, but she’s got you bucko, there’s nothing you can do. All the armour in the world can’t stop her smouldering, molten eyes. If you’re smart you’ll cut your losses and run a mile. But you’re not smart, are you?

You ignore her completely. If you so much as raise an eyebrow, she’ll know you’re hungry – you’re Pavlov’s dog, and that sound resonating in your head every time you look at her is the bell ringing. Head straight to bar, do not pass go, do not collect 200. You should know better than to try and douse the inferno inside with whisky, but in moments like these, common sense, well, it ain’t that common.

A few moments later I’m staring at her across the room and something about her starts to haunt me. I swear to God… I wait for her to turn and face me. Isn’t she… isn’t that…? Fuck me. It is. Her name comes to me, it’s Italian, it’s the name of an Italian flower. I know this because in another life, she told it to me.

Flashbacks are really cheesy, you smear a little Vaseline over the lens, dim the lighting, change everyone’s haircuts and bingo, it’s a year ago and I’m finishing up a shift at News Café one Saturday night. It’s three o’clock in the morning and we’re going to Taboo, a nightclub famed for the larney pricks it attracts. If you drive a sportscar they let you under a red velvet rope and you can park right by the door. Inside looks like Patrick Bateman’s sweetest dream; the kind of environment only a sociopath could love.

We do favours for the Taboo staff, we bring them free avo and bacon tramezinis, they get free drinks at News Café, so they let us in for free and don’t look twice when we walk in dressed like a bunch of Southern suburb refugees. The other patrons, however, look at us like we’re something they all just stepped in. This kind of entrance makes working as someone’s bitch-boy six days a week almost worth it.

This is where she is, I notice her because she has a beautiful pair of breasts and she isn’t scared of making that fact known. She’s dancing by herself, I watch her until she knows I’m watching her. I like how she moves, partly because she doesn’t really look like she knows what she’s doing, which makes me think I could dance with her, no problem. When she goes to sit down, I sit down next to her.

What makes this flashback especially cheesy is the fact that I can’t remember what we said to each other, so the music in the club is playing in the foreground and what we’re watching is more like a montage. She gave me her number, that’s all that’s important.

Our first date and she smells like something long dead. ‘Heavy night’ she says, and her breath confirms that fact. Part of me is pissed off that she didn’t take the time to freshen up before meeting me for drinks, the other part of me is too busy trying to be witty and interesting to give a shit. After awhile I find it’s getting easier and easier to do this. She’s smart, she’s different, she’s very, very conflicted, but that’s normal when it comes to most of the women I find myself attracted to. I am a night in shining armor, she is something worth fighting for.

The montage continues. Next time we meet, I’m late and she nearly ups and leaves. This time, she looks shit hot. We talk about all kinds of stuff, there are continents of common ground, it’s comfortable. In this montage scene she laughs at my stupid jokes, and we drink and even though you can’t hear it, at one stage she tells me that her breasts are getting a lot softer since she had the implants put in, and that she finds when she’s giving head, it’s way easier to get a man to come when you push a finger up his butt. My sphincter tightens involuntarily.

She tells me her name is an Italian flower, and I want to buy meadows of those flowers and fall asleep in them, drunk on their perfume, staring at an impossibly blue sky.

She tells me that she has an attachment problem, that when she gets to love a person, she can’t let them go, she clings desperately, she gives too much.

If a date can be said to go swimmingly, then the word to describe the third date is drowningly. We meet at Trance Sky, we sit side by side on a couch, we drink, we talk, conversation starts to dwindle, we both feel it. I start to become painfully aware that it’s do or die. I need to make a move. Am I sweating? Can she smell me? She asks me why I always wear the same shoes, and I don’t really answer the question so much as evade it. Is she making fun of me? This is shit. I go to the bathroom, she keeps our couch. I get back, she goes to the bathroom.

A bunch of gorillas are sitting across from me, and they start asking me questions. They think she’s hot, are we dating? I neither confirm nor deny this. They ask me how many times her and I have been out, I say this is the third time. They tell me, ‘Dude, make a move TONIGHT. If you don’t do it TONIGHT, you’ll end up in FRIEND ZONE. Once you’re in FRIEND ZONE, there’s no telling how long you’ll stay in there for. Could be weeks, could be years, but your hopes of getting laid will be fucked.” I’m pretty sure the implicit paradox in the last part of the gorilla’s sentence is completely lost on him.

I have to bite my tongue to keep from telling these guys to fuck off – who the fuck do they think they are, exactly? I disregard everything they’ve just told me, the jerkoffs. No pressure man, just be cool. She comes back and we sit close. The thing to do now is to make out, but…how? She’s right here, but she might as well be a world away. How do I do this? How do I bridge the infinity between my lips and hers? Conversation is limping around like a leper in the advanced stages of his affliction. She’s getting bored, this is going to shit, I have to save this, so I look dreamily into her eyes and say:

“I want to kiss you so badly right now.”

Cut. The director in my head screams, “What! The! FUCK! Those aren’t the fucking lines! Jesus, where’d we find this asshole!” The inside of Trance Sky almost comes to a standstill, it’s like everyone just heard me. She turns her head away from me and says, “Really?”

And right then and there, everything dies. All around me, people puke and die, flowers in vases shrivel up and wilt, stray dogs in the street hit the deck, paws up, even a block away a rose vendors stock turns to dust in his fist as the shockwave of lame ripples out from me.

I think we can end the flashback right there. After that, I didn’t bother to contact her again except to send a drunken SMS one night after I’d seen her out, I don’t remember what it said.

And now I’m standing across the room from her and she looks good enough to die for, good enough to murder for, way better than I remember her ever looking before. I tell Peggles who she is, I kick myself for never making a move on her, I do this repeatedly while I’m talking to Peggles to make my point, my big toenail cracks slightly, but I won’t realise this until tomorrow.

I tell him, “I’m a complete dickface if I don’t go right up to her and say hi right now. I’m a fucking loser if I don’t do this right now, I’ll never stop kicking myself if I don’t do this… fuck…”

Peggles stares blankly at me, he doesn’t have to say, “Stop fucking around” for me to know this is what he is saying. I clink my whisky against his, I take a hearty gulp, I go straight to her.

I touch her arm lightly and she turns to look at me, I say her name and her face blossoms into a smile. We trade pleasantries, I think she gives me an obligatory hug. Her neck is long, when I’m close to it, I’m torn between tearing it out with my teeth, or kissing it as gently as I can. Beautiful women often provoke this kind of response in me, it’s not conscious, and putting it into words looks strange, and sick.

She asks me about my father and his psychic girlfriend. I stiffen up involuntarily and briefly consider my next move.

“He’s dead,” I say, “as for his psychic girlfriend, well, I guess her powers must be going through a slump or something, because she never saw it coming.”

She expresses her sincere condolences, and I can’t help smiling despite myself as I relate the details of my late father’s untimely demise when his heart exploded on a treadmill in the gym. “I know it’s not funny, but the thing is, it’s like a double-edged sword, y’know?”

“Why?” she asks, also smiling.

“Because I never really got to know the guy, but I never really got to know the guy, if that makes any sense. I mean I’m not really torn up about it, which is a good thing, but that’s only because I didn’t know him very well, which is a bad thing,” I say, and she listens, and there’s something about her that reminds me of when we went out on that one really good date – she’s looking at me like she did that time, like there’s more to me.

She tells me she’s just bought her first house, she tells me she’s been having trouble with the plumbing because she’s renovating a bathroom. I tell her, “Yeah, people think that a bed’s the most important thing in a house, but I swear to God, it’s the toilet. I mean, you can sleep on the floor, but there’s no way you can shit on the floor.”

She packs up, and I quietly pat myself on the back. This isn’t going badly at all. She says she’ll be back, and ducks off to the toilet. I turn back to Peggles and tell him about the conversation.

“So far, I got two out of three man – she remembers me and she’s single. That’s a great start, now I just gotta get her number. That’s all I need to get three out of three. I’m not even going to fuck around, I’m just going to straight up ask her for it, and then everything will be fucking awesome!”


“Yeah, just going to straight up ask her for it, just like that, no fucking around. Then I got my foot in the door y’know?” Peggles knows I’m not saying this to convince him, I’m saying this to convince me.

At the bar, she sidles up next to me and I make her give me her number for the second time since we met. I fuck up the spelling of her name because I’m putting the whole thing in this time, not just the abbreviated version. Once I have it, I ask her to chose a picture to go with her name. I don’t know why my phone has this option, it’s the lamest thing in the world – you can choose from a variety of stupid faces and pictures to save next to a person’s name.

“I was thinking the girl, but she has red hair and yours is black,” I say.

“As long as it’s not the kid with glasses and freckles,” she replies.

“How about guy-with-the-moustache?” I ask, and she laughs and gives me that look again. “Nah, not really you is it?”

She shakes her head, still smiling.

“Here we go, the cat! That’s pretty fitting, don’t you think?”

The cat it is. I remember her tattoo, I see she has a new one encircling her arm, petit, some kind of flower. We order tequila, she takes a shot and recoils like an actual bullet just hit her. “Tastes like mommy’s kisses,” I say, baring my teeth.

The conversation breezes into star signs, she goes through half the zodiac trying to guess mine, and in the end I have to tell her “Scorpio”, which I always enjoy doing because Scorpio is not the kind of sign that ever causes a mediocre reaction.

Most sex offenders are Scorpio.

More Scorpio’s are murdered than any other star sign.

I ask her if she really believes in all that star sign hokey pokey and she says that she’s a pagan. I ask her if that means she wears all kinds of weird necklaces with magical crystals and rings that add 5 to dexterity and light radius, and she laughs and says yes. She’s leaning close to me now, there are parts of her naked skin that are touching mine.

I ask her not to put a spell on me, but I know it’s too late.

She bites me before she kisses me. Gently, on the neck. Her scent curls deliciously into my brain, I can’t think anymore, there’s no need for me to think anymore, I shut my mind down; I’m two parts animal, one part god.

In this moment she is everything beautiful and sick in this world. She’s hungry, she eats me up and I watch whole parts of me disappear and I give more, I give everything. She leans into me and I bear her weight effortlessly and the feeling of me, strong against her, gently crushing her to me, wrapping my sinews around her, is magnificent beyond words or measure.

God knows, it’s been too long since a beautiful woman has surrendered to me like she did. Of course, during that moment, I was blind to the fact that despite everything, despite the way she melted in my arms, the way she let my wandering hands slide where ever they pleased, she wasn’t surrendering.

It must have been nearly half an hour later when I came to. She was heading to the bathroom and Peggles was standing right by me and saying, “Nice.” The grin that spread from ear to ear across my idiot face radiated happiness to the extent that every person who met my idiot smile, smiled too. It felt like the first time I ever kissed a girl, it felt like I was coming up on acid and the world had never been so mind bendingly beautiful.

I was just really, really happy. Happy like kids are happy when they’re too innocent to know how bad it gets. I felt extremely confident that I was going to get laid and that my morning was going to end nestled like a cat full of milk in her warm, soft bosom, having just exorcised what has been one of the worst dry spells of my life.

“Go!” I told Peggles. “This is the best thing that could have happened to me tonight, and I have you to thank buddy. I thought this club would be shit, but man, this is fucking awesome! Things couldn’t possibly be better right now, fuck! So go, head home, don’t worry about me, I must venture once more into the fray and once more I shall emerge: victorious!”

“Ok man,” he said and left.

I figured without my lift, I had an even better chance of getting her to take me back to her place, which is like locking all the doors and windows of a building and setting it on fire in the hope that the lack of oxygen will stop the flames from spreading.

She took awhile in the bathroom and when she came back, she went to one of the guys she was with earlier and started talking to him. I bided my time across the room, I sized the other guy up and came to the conclusion that if it came to it, I could wipe the floor with his face, the skinny runt. He hat a hat on, he wasn’t what you’d call easy on the eye, he looked like he’d dressed himself to piss his mom off. After all, she’d had a taste of me and loved it and in a moment would be leaving hand in hand with me.

And then she kissed him. Held him like she’d been holding me, her hands traced the same paths on his neck and face that they had on mine. Her body yielded to him like it had yielded to me. It was like standing outside myself, watching an inferior carbon copy repeat exactly the same routine I had enacted barely ten minutes before.

I should have socked that fucking imposter as hard as I could. I should have stamped his skull under my sneaker until it came unglued in a viscous mess of bone and brains, but I didn’t. I drank a tequila and left.

Outside, winter never felt so cold. I slumped between the wall and the pavement on my haunches and tried to black what I’d just seen out of my mind and figure out how the fuck I was going to get home. I probably looked up at the sky and felt no surprise that the stars were obscured by pollution, that the whole world was going to shit, it probably comforted me.

All I know is that after awhile people came out who were going back to Tokyo Star, where the night had started, so I explained my story and they gave me a lift. One of the guys said, “That sucks bro,” but he didn’t really give two shits.

Back at Tokyo I had more tequila, and it did nothing. A buddy called John was still there, and he gave me a lift home. When he asked why I looked so miserable, I told him my dog had died, and he told me how he ran over his favourite dog when he was fist learning to drive because he got the accelerator and the brake confused.

He said it took three days for his dog to die.

“Lucky dog,” I muttered.

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November 2009


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