UNITED STATES—So Lee goes to this house in Silver Lake by Micheltorena before going bowling with his friend Joe. Lee’s friend has invited him to bring Prince Deveraux, since their new roommate has contributed something new to their household, a poodle. The dogs can keep each other company while Joe’s sister keeps an eye on them.
When Lee arrives with Prince Deveraux, his friend hasn’t arrived from work. Joe’s sister is there alone. And they sit on the couch a few feet from each other. It’s kind of cold, being in the middle of a Los Angeles winter. There is a stupid game show on the TV where people on their hands and knees are trying to get in their mouths all the gold coins spilling out of a bucket while people in the audience are in a clapping frenzy.
“This is Jojo,” says the friend’s sister. “Is he friendly?”
“He’s friendly,” Lee says, fearing that Prince Deveraux might bare his teeth and growl at Tina as he does at fulls moons and men who wear caps.
Jojo has a pretty pink bow around her fluffy neck. There is a glow in her eyes of a dog that is pampered and innocent. Lee holds on to Deveraux a while.
“If he’s friendly, you can let him loose,” says Tina. The two dogs are of the same height, but distinguished by differences in hygiene, separate them: Jojo smells of lavender scent shampoo and the short-hair Deveraux has the gaminess of a dog that hasn’t bathed. They start to sniff each other out. Now there is the initial growl and neurotic leap backwards that marks most doggy and indeed human meetings. Lee cringes and smarts in advance from the reprimand he expects from Tina. Her eyes stay set on the two dogs circling in the space between the TV set and the couch. Deveraux sniffs Jojo’s hind. The poodle pants and wags her tail.
Tina giggles. Her brown eyes sparkle. “Oh my, they are getting friendly,” she laughs with childlike Gemini glee.
Lee has long known that Tina was Gemini and scoffed at the dual nature that lurks in these individuals. Of course Lee took that zodiac hocus pocus with a grain on salt.
The dogs circle each other like the snake swallowing its tail. Lee, Deveraux’s owner, is still nervous about whether to step in, as a normal adult should. It is the moment when other dog owners on the street get angry and yank their dog by the collar after the honeymoon of merriment and smiling politeness between owner-strangers, then followed invariably by the curt separation when that conventional coldness descends over two people on the street. Tina is a funny one. She isn’t going to truncate the antics of canine nature and instinct.
“Look at them,” Tina says, smiling. The stupid game show is still going in. Contestants are now running up rope ladders and starting down an obstacle course with gold coins spilling out of their mouths.
The unique thing about the situation with the dogs is it has gotten out of hand. It has gotten so out of hand that Tina kills the game show with the remote, laughing with eyes glued on the two dogs. It has gotten to the point where Prince Deveraux has sniffed his gamey little self to ingratiate the cheerful Jojo, and pretty soon he’s bolt upright on his hind legs, panting abjectly and staring with intensity of his soulful eyes. With desperation his little hind legs twitch forward and backward.
Lee has a reflex moment of muscles and thigh tendons to get off the couch and put a stop to this obscene nonsense. Tina keeps giggling and holds in the side of her tummy. Lee now rests on the couch cushions and surrenders to the contagious mirth.
He in part is happy for Deveraux, a rescue dog from one family who didn’t want him because he wasn’t spayed and they had two female dogs. Lee had had him fixed, at the behest of knowledgeable pet owners. And the fact is Deveraux was getting at the point of trying to schtup the legs on the kitchen table.
Now, before his eyes, is proof that his instinct had survived the operation which left his eyes sad at wounded. They reminded him of McMurphy after the the electro-shock in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
To be continued…