Originally published July 25, 2002
The dog, a dark brown Labrador retriever, looked as dignified as any dog ever has while sitting in the driver’s seat of a car and the Soupster said so out loud.
“Thanks,” the dog called half-absently, resting its paws on the sheepskin covered steering wheel of the blue and grey pickup truck parked outside a key Our Town place for sandwiches and drinks.
The Soupster ambled over to the truck cab’s open window. “You talk?”
“I’m supposed to listen, right?” said the dog. “I hear that all day from your kind.”
“You drive, too?” the Soupster asked.
“You think the truck would have a better chance of parking by itself than I have of handling a 3/4 ton vehicle,” the dog sneered. “Tell me you don’t think that.”
“You probably hear this a lot,” the still-stunned Soupster sputtered, “but I can’t believe I’m talking to a dog.”
“Go ahead,” said the dog. “Ask me.”
“Ask you what?” said the Soupster.
“If a police officer pulled me over, which license would I give him?” the dog said. “That’s what you were going to ask, right?”
The Soupster’s cheeks turned bright red. “Actually, I was thinking about what kinds of music you listen to when you drive.”
“`Bark, the Herald Angels Sing’ and “Oh, Dem Bones’” said the dog, curling its lips to approximate a smile. “And my favorite movies are `Riding In Cars With Dogs” and “10 Things I Smell About You.”
“Do you…?” started the Soupster, but the dog cut him off.
“Yes, I stick my head out the window when I drive, to answer your question,” the dog said. “And, yes, I – like all dogs – will get mad if you blow on my nose. Why do dogs like one and not the other? I don’t know. We just do.”
The Soupster stared at the dog, absolutely speechless.
“I used to run with a sled team out of Skwentna,” the dog continued. “Then I decided I should get behind the wheel, instead of me being the wheels.”
“Regrets?” the Soupster asked.
“ For a while, I had this recurring dream of scaring a bunch of cats in the crosswalk. Make ‘em scatter good,” said the dog, again approximating a smile. “If I do that now I’ll lose both my licenses! Oh, here’s my wife.” The dog started the engine.
The dog’s wife, a cat, carried a foot-long sandwich in her mouth.
The dog scrunched up his nose. “Oh, no,” he said. “She got tuna again! Tuna and mayonnaise and no veggies. I like veggies. She really doesn’t know the meaning of `to share.’”
“If you hate cats so much, why did you marry one?” said the Soupster as the cat slipped in the truck cab on the other side with the sandwich.
“I’m a patient creature,” said the dog, dropping the truck into reverse and backing away from the Soupster with a comradely, if unseen, swipe of his tail.
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