August 08, 2006


Part 2 - World Upside Down

When humans get tense, their dogs get nervous, too. So, I was getting plenty edgy in the back seat as Mike hunched over the steering wheel, shooting his questions through the darkness at Molly and hurling rebukes at the weaving headlights and tail lights whizzing all around us.

"What was the number of that exit again? Yo! Get off my ass, you Lexis-lusting, bumper-hugging, more-money-than-brains moron! Molly, you sure we didn't need to turn there? Slow down, numbnuts! Hey, Molly! Is this it? Right here? I mean left here?! Yeah, yeah. I'm merging already. Get off the crack, dude! Jeez Louise, Molly, where is this place?"

Then, as if crests of Mike's anxiety could roil the world around us, the whole landscape seemed to erupt. All day long, there'd been wide horizons and flat roads. Now, suddenly, the world turned vertical. It was as if a massive stream of cement had made a wrong turn and decided to bend high into the sky. This, I learned, was a bona fide human city, a place of manmade canyons and concrete pathways and high wires and bright lights and people pounding pavement.

We stopped the car, finally, at a place called the Holiday Inn. "They take dogs," Molly reassured me. "Take them where?" I wanted to ask. It was, after all, a scary place for your average suburban Labrador. A strange man came off the street and up to the window to ask Mike for something, and I instinctively barked and lunged. Don’t corner me, mister! It’s late and I’m anxious and nothing around here looks quite right.

But, by and by, I calmed down. Mike heaved the luggage out of the back of the car and we headed into the Inn, the humans both looking dog-tired. I, ironically, was the manic one now, utterly intrigued by the smiling night staffers and the potted plants and leather furniture. I was pulling Mike, who pulled a rolling suitcase, which in turn pulled another rolling suitcase. And, behind that one, Molly pulled yet another. I was the lead dog in a mini-Iditarod coursing through the lobby. There was so much to smell and so little time.

A sliding door opened in front of us and Molly told me to walk into the small room on the other side. I was most reluctant, smelling trouble of the human kind. Finally, I entered. The metal doors closed immediately behind me and the world shifted yet again in a manner most terrifying.

(to be continued...)

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