Tammy and the Dog Food

I did not like Tammy much. The critics gave it bad reviews. I told Piper that I want to see Interstellar. She told me that all of her friends gave it the old blasé. I still want to see it.

We have to take Tammy back today. Musette is sitting on the side of the bed, shining a light down her throat.

‘Are you looking at your teeth?’ I ask.

She tells me she is looking at her tonsils.

“They feel funny.” She says, poking them with the end of her make up brushes which makes her cough.

I rise from my chair and make my way to the laundry pile. I can only wear the Fruit of the Loom underwear with the small lettering on the waistband. The ones with the large lettering make my penis pop out.

The pair I pull from the pile has small lettering on its waistband, but it has a giant hole in the rear. This is one of the two pairs Musette has stuck her head through.

I grab a pair with Hanes on the waistband. They are not as good as the ones with small Fruit of the Loom lettering, a little effort and my penis will pop out of these ones too.

I am 86% of the way through The Wind Up Bird Chronicle.

Musette wants to take the streetcar to the pet shop.

‘No. Not with Chesterfield.’

I put on my favorite argyle grey sweater and she puts on her favorite light sky blue one. It’s not got enough green in it to be robin’s egg. But she wears it almost every day. Underneath she has a yellow tank top on and underneath that a nude bra.

I have a yellow checkered shirt on under my sweater and my pants are a dark brown which almost looks gray. They have an orange ribbon which runs the inside of the waist, and the pockets are striped.  My socks today are grey, with green toes and heel. There are orange dinosaurs on them. I wear my unfashionable but effective boots: Teva. The shoes I got from the Zara in Paris are not waterproof and I never know when it’s going to rain here in Portland; so I usually just resort to these boots out of convenience and safety.

We leave the apartment. I am wearing my black coat and grey scarf. The Redbox is in my right inner coat pocket where I keep my wallet. We go through the courtyard. Chester lifts his leg and pees in the pebble edging. We celebrate him. He does not poo until we are out of the courtyard and around the corner a short distance. I clean up the mess, handing the leash to Musette. She walks Chester the rest of the trip.

There is a girl in front of us. I dont feel like she is a woman, but she is also older than a teenager. She is probably in her twenties. She enters the store ahead of us and begins using one of the Redbox machines. We enter the store and begin using the other machine. Musette stays back a little ways, holding Chester. I  am the one operating the machine. Chester is whining. He doesn’t cough. He is whimpering.  I select the option to return my disk. The machine sucks the disk into itself. I look back at Musette.

“Do you want to rent anything else?” I ask.

She says that she doesn’t, but approaches the machine anyways. A small line has begun to form behind us.

‘Lucy’ has come in, starring Scarlett Johansson. ‘Saint Vincent’ as well, starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy.

Chester has begun loudly whimpering. A lady is talking to him, calling him such a happy dog.

“We can rent something later.” Musette says.

We leave the grocery store.

The pet shop is many blocks away. There are many people walking their dogs. One girl with a poodle crosses the street and meets us. Her poodle meets Chester. Musette practically encourages it.  The poodle is more reserved. Chester is smelling the poodle’s mouth. He doesn’t know to investigate butts. We always contact him through his face. He doesn’t have much interaction with other dogs.  

We move on. There is a man letting his little wolf puppy roam a dirt patch. The dog lifts its leg, staring at Chester as we pass, urinating.

The pet store is on twenty third. We pass an Indian restaurant on the way.

“Maybe we could go there for our Valentines date.”

I say.

She says she would like Indian food. She likes all the spices.

We enter the pet store through the front door. The girl behind the counter greets us. We make Chester sit outside as we enter. It’s something the dog whisperer taught us. Humans should always be the first to enter.

The girl is the one who helped us pick out the food we have Chester on now. The brand is Canidae. It is a grain free brand. We think Chester is allergic to corn. Before we had this food, Chester used to throw up a lot.

We look at the toys. We wanted to get him something for his birthday which just passed, but there is nothing sticking out.

“Let’s look in the clearance.” Musette says.

The clearance rack is near the back of the store. There are virtually no toys in it. There is some canned food, from a good brand, but it is not very much discounted, and it is a stew. Ground food is what we need. It’s what we came here for: cans of ground food.

We buy the least expensive brand in the store: two dollars a can; four cans worth.

We also get a fifty pound bag of dry dog food. Canidae. This is done in preparation for our move. Everything we’ve heard and read says New York prices are extravagant. And it’s not the easiest, finding a pet store in a new city. You have to make sure they sell the food you seek. And then there’s the lugging a fifty pound bag of dead meat through the unfamiliar and unforgiving subway tunnels.

We get the lamb and brown rice formula. It is as inexpensive as the chicken flavored puppy formula which we have been feeding him.

Musette is nervous about making the switch.

“But the girl said we can.”

It’s a special feature of the Canidae brand.

“We won’t find out until a couple weeks from now…” She says, because we still have quite a bit of dry food left at home.

We select the lamb and brown rice formula. I swing it up to my shoulder.

“You’re going to carry it over your shoulder?” She asks.

I drop it down so that I’m holding it in my arms, like a baby.

We go to the front of the store, but the girl who greeted us when we came in is not there. She is out, in the store, helping other customers. Apparently she’s the only person working here right now.

We set our stuff up on the counter. There is a little bowl of free treat samples. I take a little red one and use it to keep Carlo sitting patiently. Musette starts smelling the rest of the treats in the bowl.

“They smell good.” She says.

She starts putting some in her pocket.

I hear a woman laugh behind us.  I turn to find a little round woman with blonde streaks in her hair and a nose ring. I tell her she can pet Carlo of she wants. She tells us that her parents have one, but that it is a hundred and ten pounds.

“The same breed?” I ask, realizing as I ask this that it is impossible.

It’s a black lab, but they also have two other dogs.

She tells us that she has a cat, and that her mom is trying to get her to buy this bobcat kitten.

“It’s called a pixiebob.”

“What kind of cat is a pixie.” I ask.

She doesn’t know.

Musette says, “it must be pretty calm one to balance the bobcat genes.”

The woman says that if she had her phone, she would look it up.

“I have my phone.” I say, taking it out of my pocket and searching for ‘pixiebob’.

Who doesn’t have their phone with them at all times?

She asks me what kind of phone I have. She says she’s never seen it before. She works for Microsoft, so she’s kind of wrapped up in that universe.

The picture looks like a regular cat with a short, round tail.

The woman says, “it’s over thirty pounds.”

I tell her that they have only been being bred for a short time, and that the founder of the breed is alive, in Washington State.

She says she has no idea about any of this, that she hasn’t looked it up, that her mom just brought the idea up to to her today.

The girl who works the register returns. The person she was helping cuts in front of us. She is buying the same dog food as us. When she is all rung out, the register worker helps us. She tells “good choice” in regards to the the food we picked out.

I tell her that she’s the one who helped us choose it last time.

“He has a corn allergy.” I say.

“Corn is the leading allergen amongst dogs.” She says.

She asks for my phone number.

I hand her my Petco card.

She is impressed.

They are always so impressed.

She asks us if Carlton would like a treat.

I tell her that we already took a few, showing her the red one in my hand.

She guarantees us that he’ll be able to handle them.

We check out and as we’re leaving she reminds us that the food can be switched out for various flavors.

We tell her we know.

“We used to get the chicken, puppy formula, and now we’re getting this one. What’s so different with the puppy formula anyways?”

“It’s more fatty. It can make them fatter.”

“That explains it.” Says Musette.

“Feed for the dog you want, not the dog you have.” Says the register girl.

I do not understand.


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