It’s a big black doberman and I am ecstatic. My human is always making me do stuff like run up hills or pull a tire around with a harness. I thought I’d finally found a friend to do these exercises with.
I run up to the dobby wagging my tail. He looks friendly but I sniff his butt just to be sure. Yes, he wants to be friends too. Yay me!
I am just about to tell him my favorite joke. (Have you heard that the world is going to the dogs? Good. Then we’ll all be able to catch up on our naps.) But then my human hits me. He kicks me right in the tush.
“Get him, Hans!”
The dobby’s human is yelling too and has a hold of him by the haunches and is pushing him forward.
“Kill, Duke! Kill!”
Well, we don’t fight. I mean, we’d already sniffed each other’s butts, hadn’t we? Why would we want to fight?
There is a lot of yelling. My human calls the other human a nigger. I don’t know what that word means – I’m just a dog – but I know that the dark-skinned humans don’t like to hear it.
When we get home, my human beats me. He hits me with a stick and calls me a pussy. I finally crawl into my kennel and lie there whimpering. My ribs hurt. Why would he call me a pussy? I know what that human word means. It means “cat.” I’m not a cat. I’m a dog – a pit bull.
Let me tell you about my human. He’s a pudgy light-skinned human, middle-aged – about five in doggy years – and he has a tattoo on his arm that looks like a cross, but with little perpendicular lines on the ends of each crossbar. I don’t know what that symbol represents – I did mention that I’m a dog, didn’t I? – but I do know that the other humans get aggressive when they see it. That’s why my human always wears long-sleeved shirts, even in the summer; because he doesn’t want to get beaten up.
My human isn’t very tough. Of course, compared to dogs, no human is. Even the big dark-skinned ones don’t have claws or long teeth or anything. But my human is particularly weak. I saw him fight once. Another light-skinned human was punching him in the face.
“Ne-o-fuck-ing-Na-zi!” the other human said, hitting my human in the face with a jab as he pronounced each syllable.
My human took a couple of wild, looping swings at the other human, missed completely, and then put his head down and tackled him. They rolled around on the ground and then the other human got on top and pushed my human’s face into the dirt.
That night my human beat me. I still remember it because he fractured one of my ribs. On cold mornings I can feel the ache in my side where that bone was broken.
My human is ill. He came home early in the morning all covered with dirt and leaves. He threw up in the porcelain water bowl in the small tile room and then passed out on the floor. He woke up around noon and was fine. But the following night was the same.
This has been happening every month when the moon is full. Dogs are very in tune to things like the weather and the progression of the moon. We’re nature lovers! I noticed right away that my human’s sickness only seems to affect him when the moon is full.
The moon is full again.
Last night my human didn’t make it to the porcelain water bowl. He got sick in the big room with the cushy beige floor covering. He yakked all over the floor covering. (Wow! If I did that, he’d beat me for sure!) I sniffed at it as he slept. It was chunky green vomit with a couple of small human fingers in it.
So my human is eating other humans; children, judging from the size of the fingers.
“I’m one of you now,” my human said the next day as he cleaned up the sick, “You pussy. You couldn’t even fight that doberman. But I’m tougher than any pit bull. I kill.”
There is a waxing gibbous moon, so for the time being I don’t have to think about the changes that have come over my human. We are out for a walk and the landlady strides up. I know that my human is sometimes late with our rent, so I try to give her a disarming smile.
“I’ll thank you to keep that beast on a leash!” she demands.
“Um… Hans is on a leash.”
I shake my muscular shoulders so that my collar jingles to demonstrate that I am indeed on a leash. But the display of strength only inflames her more.
“If you’ve been reading the newspapers,” she says with the air of someone who suspects that she is speaking to an illiterate, “you’d know that there have been several children killed in town these last few months. The victims were all torn apart and partially devoured. The police suspect some sort of terrible beast.”
“Like a pit bull,” she adds, giving me a hard look.
Oh, I am incensed! How can she say such a thing about me? But I know enough not to growl; that would just make things worse.
“Well, I never let Hans out of the apartment on his own and he’s always on a leash when I take him for walks,” stammers my human.
“And I always pick up his poop right away,” he adds, brandishing the pooper scooper.
Oh, her eyes are like daggers!
“Um… Are you looking forward to your trip?” my human asks, trying to change the subject, “Has your little girl ever flown on an airplane before?”
“She’s not coming,” our landlady says, calming down a bit, “The Jorgensons are having a slumber party for the neighborhood children that weekend.”
“A slumber party?” my human says, lifting his eyebrows, “That will be fun for her.”
Oh no! My human’s scent just changed! He smells… hungry.
“Yes, she likes the Jorgenson girl,” says our landlady, oblivious to the change in my human, “they’re best friends.”
There’s a full moon again. It’s the weekend of the Jorgenson’s party. I’m really worried. I scratch at the door and whimper.
I’m really worried. I set to work on the door in earnest. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Before I know it, I’m through. Cheap hollow apartment-building doors!
Running like the wind, I race across town to the Jorgenson’s house. They have a bichon frisé. Her name is Fifi. She’s cute, but no good in a fight.
There are police cars all around with flashing red and blue lights. I can see my human in the window. He has a hold of the Jorgenson girl, her long hair twisted around his big fist. In his other hand he has his Luger, pressed to the little girl’s temple.
I know about his Luger – he takes me with him when he goes shooting. It’s really noisy and it makes little holes appear in things where he points it.
“He’s threatening to eat the children,” a cop says, “Where’s the SWAT team?”
“They’re in Las Vegas, attending the Tactical Weapons convention.”
There is a lot of yelling. One of the cops is dark-skinned. My human is taunting him, calling him a nigger. But even he doesn’t fight. None of them do.
“We need to establish a perimeter,” one of the cops says, “That’s what we did at Columbine. Establish a perimeter and wait for the shooting to stop.”
“Right, establish a perimeter,” another cop agrees, hastily wiping the powdered sugar from his lips, “It worked in Columbine. Not a single police officer was injured.”
I don’t know what a perimeter is – I did mention that I’m a dog, right? – but whatever that is, it doesn’t seem to be helping.
Well, somebody has to rescue the human children! With one big leap I clear the picket fence and run into the house.
“Come here, Hans!” my human shouts, “Help me out, old buddy!”
And I do come – at a dead run – and when I get there I bite my human right on the ass!
“Oww!!!” he yells and fires the Luger at me. But humans are so slow, it’s like they’re moving in molasses. I can see right where he is pointing his weapon. I just step aside and the Luger puts a little hole in the floor.
I don’t want my human to fire again because he might hit the children, who are all crowded in the corner behind Fifi, who is yapping. So I let go of my human’s ass and grab him by the wrist. I shake my head until he drops the Luger and then, with my hind foot, I kick it under a table. Then I drag my human by the wrist out into the open.
“Roo! Roo! Roo!” I yell to the cops, “Here’s your man!”
That was a week ago. Now I’m locked up in this place called the pound with a lot of other dogs. I’m really worried.
“You’re not going to eu- eu- euthanize me, are you?” I ask the lady who brings me my food.
“Don’t worry,” she assures me, “we’ll have no trouble finding you a home. Everybody in town wants to adopt you. You’re a hero. I’ll show you.”
She goes and gets a newspaper and holds it up to the door of my cage so I can read it. I’m a slow reader – I’m a dog, you know – but I can make out the headline. It says, “Hero dog saves children.” And there is a full-color photo of me in mid-air leaping over the Jorgenson’s picket fence.
The next day the Jorgensons come to the pound and get me. Now I live with them and I’m loving it. We have so much fun! The Jorgenson girl and I go running through the fields chasing butterflies. Our favorite game is chasing each other around and around the fountain. Giggling, with her hair flying behind her, we go so fast it’s hard to tell if I’m chasing her or she’s chasing me.
Living with the Jorgensons is a blast and a half! And nobody calls me Hans anymore. They call me Hero. That’s okay. I like my new name. Only one thing worries me – I think I’ve got Fifi preggers.