You probably need a drink, says the man gently setting him down and going into the bathroom. Coming out with an awkwardly narrow glass full of the water he asks, wash it down pal; and still holding it for stability offers water. No tadpoles or mosquito larvae. No oil or scum. Just water. Just water. Water water water. Too fast but who cares? The man can barely keep the glass from getting knocked over. More, asks the man? Sitting down patiently the dog says, yes please. Looking down the man sees the dog is getting a little dog woody. Put that chapstick back in the tube, he says and reaches into the bathroom. The water flows violently for a second and the glass is back on the floor before the bubbles can all rise to the top.
He lets the dog drink its fill; not with pity but brotherhood.
Thanks, says the dog as it sits down.
You need to pee now don’t you? The man slides open the patio door and the dog prances out onto the back lawn of the motel and searches from tree to bush for the right place. Finding a small maple that smells right the dog hitches up a leg and lets it go. Relief he didn’t know he needed. Habit forces him to scratch the earth and flick tiny bits of dirt, leaves and grass. Teach that tree a lesson says the man from the patio. He clicks his tongue twice, the way you’d talk to a horse. Coming, says the dog and dropping his head he kicks it down a gear and runs hard to the man.
Smart boy. Good dog. It going to piss you off I take a picture? The man asks.
No, says the dog, sitting. Just don’t steal my soul–I’m still using it. The man scratches and folds the dog’s ears. Wag, wag, wagging says his tail. It’s embarrassing sometimes. It just happens. He can’t control it. Neither can the man. He starts to baby-talk and work the dog’s skull over; scratching, rubbing, massaging. Stopping he brings his hand to his nose. The dog knows what the man smells, the individual scents bear a map of where and what, a nasal history of the last few months.
Woof, says the man. You need a bath. Not so fast, said the dog.