Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. (Kris Kristofferson)
Ah…the dog days of summer. Where did that term even come from? Its origins are murky, but one explanation deals with the ancient Roman practice of sacrificing a red dog to appease Sirius. Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky and part of the constellation Canis Major was believed to be the cause of the hot sultry weather common in the months of July and August. What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Apparently nothing but it has everything to do with my story about a dog.
It was the early morning on one of these dog days – a time when I drink my coffee and as Thomas Stearns Eliot would say "prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet", that a small to medium-sized red dog came out of nowhere and raced like hell around my block. This dog had no discernible traits that would link him to any known breed. No doubt this mutt was of the Heinz 57 variety. And as far as I could tell, he had no collar or tags linking him to any owner. But fast on his heels was the city dogcatcher with his truck of steel cages and racks intent on taking this mutt to the dog pokey. This scene kept playing itself out over and over again. I wondered who was going to run out of gas first. If I were a betting man, I would pick the dogcatcher truck as the first to fold.
There was no chance of me getting involved. I was enjoying the show and as the kids say LMFAO. This all reminded me of the old Monkees television show I watched as a small child. Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz, and Peter Tork starred as a make believe band who actually would become one of the best real bands of the 60's. They made the most of songs provided to them by Boyce & Hart, Carole King, John Stewart, Neil Diamond, and Nesmith himself. At the height of their popularity, they had none other than Jimi Hendrix opening for them! Their television show really didn't have much of a plot and was primarily a vehicle to showcase the music. One recurring theme I remember had them at some point in the show running away from some villain. The speeded up exploits reminded me of what I was currently witnessing.
At some point, the dogcatcher who was tall and lanky parked his truck and got out. He was soon joined by another dogcatcher who was short and fat. Let's call them Jake and the Fatman. They proceeded to do on foot what they couldn't do driving a motorized vehicle. Neither of them appeared agile or athletic enough to capture this dog. They did however resort to a house to house search. I never determined the extent of this dog's crimes. Was he mad? He didn't appear to be foaming at the mouth...not the way Richard Nixon foamed at the mouth spewing vitriol while announcing to the world that he wasn't a crook. Was he a vicious killer? Not likely. In all probability, he just overstepped the boundary that the powers that be laid out for him. But his biggest crime was showing up Jake and the Fatman to be bunglers of the first order and for that he would have to pay. Now I know how Lenny Bruce must have felt during his heyday. And just when you think it wasn't going to get any crazier…a helicopter appeared overhead. The posse had been called out. The gig was up. I went on to the obligations and responsibilities of the day which required meeting some faces. When I returned home several hours later, the dogcatcher truck was still parked in the neighborhood. Maybe just maybe Mutley had escaped. But as they say, you can run but you can't hide. That's true of humans and dogs. I never checked with anyone regarding the outcome. I didn't want to know. My guess was that he was eventually captured and executed "humanely". A comedy turned tragedy? A sacrifice to Sirius? The death of a comic hero? It's a story about a dog, but it's so much more.