They Call Me Red

……

 

5 November 2013

“Good morning, Chuck. Hi, Goldie. How are you feeling today?”

“Well, I haven’t had any heart attacks, so that’s a good thing.”

“I guess every morning you wake up is a good day, right?”

“Yeah, I was just thinking, August, twenty-four was five years since I got out of the hospital from my last heart attack. My first happened the month earlier, on July, four. I remember, my friend Dave was going to pick me up for a routine doctor’s appointment. I  lived on Church Street then. I waited for him at the curb and that’s the last thing I remember. No sun, moon, stars, nothing until August, twenty-four. Dave said when he arrived they were taking me away in an ambulance. I don’t know how many heart attacks I had in the hospital. They told me I died nine times. It was the smoking that did it. I was going through three packs a day, and I was a big drinker. I still have dreams about smoking and I’m disappointed when I wake up to find that I can’t have one. The drinking was no problem. I just quit.

“Thinking back to that place I lived. It was the Cadillac of apartments, so that’s where all my friends liked to hang out. There was a table up against the window. I had a cushion there for my dog. She was a Schnauser Terrier mix, mostly dark-haired with silver tips.  I called her D4, D for dog. Anyway, she liked to sit in the window, usually facing us to keep an eye on what was going on. Dave turned the other way for a second, then he bent down to kiss D4, only she had turned around to look out the window. He kissed her square on the ass. We still tease him about that, ‘Hey Dave, want another kiss from D4?’

“She was a great dog. I built a set of stairs for her so she could climb up on my bed. She usually slept, curled up with me. One night she woke up, ran down the stairs and hid under the bed. I reached under the bed for her, she was shivering. I turned on the light and noticed that she had peed on the bed. I knew that was the end. The next day I took her to the vet and he put her down. I guess I could have kept her for a while longer, a few weeks, maybe a month,  but once they’ve lost control of their bowels, it’s a sign that they’ve got more problems. I didn’t want her to suffer.

“Andre was a good friend of mine, he used to pan where Silver was. He had a dog…”

“That was the dog that Weasel got, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, that’s the one. Then after Weasel died, Bearded Bruce had her for a while. Shortly after that, they put her down. She should have been put down a long time before that. She was suffering from cancer, had a big lump on her side, must have been in a lot of pain. That’s irresponsible. There’s a woman who wants Goldie after I die, but I’m not going to let her. She had a dog, a lab it was. It could hardly walk, couldn’t climb stairs. That’s no way for a dog to live.  I told her, ‘For the dog’s sake, you should have her put down, she’s in pain.’ No,’ she said, ‘I couldn’t bear to be without her. I’m going to keep her as long as I can.’ That’s just plain selfish.

“My son had a dog ever since he was twelve. Of course, it was his dog, but I took care of it.”

“Your son, Chuck Junior, had a dog a short while ago.  V he called her.”

“Yeah, he only had her a short while. He said he let one of his friends take her for a walk and she ran away. I don’t believe that.

“I’m going to phone Joy today. Do you know if she has a phone now?”

“Last I heard she had a phone, had her service hooked up, along with internet that Big Jake saddled her with. He’s getting out in three weeks.”

“Is she going to take him back, after what he did to her?”

“She mentioned taking care of him while he has his hip replacement, but I can’t see that working. There’s still a restraining order preventing him from being anywhere near her. I think that was part of the reason he went back to prison.”

“If Joy doesn’t have a phone, you can always call Mariah upstairs.”

“I’ll try to call. She’s a good girl. I like her.”

~~~

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