Bathing dog was a fight. Scratching, plunging, slipping. Kneeling and squirming. Attempts to escape or drown. After the fight the dog had run under the bed. Hopefully he was dry enough. Soaking wet and cold the man strips down, flips the toggle and warm water pours out from where the shower-head should be. The head had been there yesterday; clogged, sputtering and crunchy with minerals–but there. Having showered under a garden hose he wasn’t put off and he climbs in, ducks under stream and soaks himself from head to foot. Stepping back he feels something under his foot and, as the dog barks in surprise he nearly falls on it. Stumbling and naked he feels stupid and lucky as he manages not to grab the curtain and pull it down.
What the hell? He snaps at the dog.
Dog sits and wags his stubby little tail; please don’t be mad. Sitting there on the porcelain of the tub it looks like a tiny scrub-brush swishing away. It’s impossible to stay angry. Just wanted to be close by, says the dog. This was true. The dog had been alone a long time. No scraps. No warm spot to sit in when the person leaves or plates set on the floor to be cleaned. All the good things of people had been gone. All the bad was gone too. No shouting or hitting or being thrown. He had napped on a pillow. A pillow and no one yelled or threw things.
And there was food. Food had arrived and the only price tag was a frisky lap in the tub. This could be good. This is a set up was worth pursuing. So he had jumped into the tub to keep an eye on his new benefactor.
Hey, says the man, my eyes are up here, quit staring at my junk. Modestly he turn his back to the dog. The man is careful as he soaps and rinses. Bathing with a hose allowed you to move the water around to rinse all the tough to reach places. With the fixed shower he had to move himself around to direct the water. In a twisted limbo he tries not to step on the dog as he contorts to get the water to the right crease or fold. Taking up space in the tub dog worries about getting smashed. The man teeters and hops, using cupped hands to deflect and carry water to different parts of his body.
People are funny. The water stops running and the man squeegees water off his arms and legs. Why don’t people shake it off like dogs? Dog shakes a shake that starts from his nose and ends with his tail. Looks at the man. Easy! See? The man just looks at dog. No clue. Wagging his tail dog just looks at the man. Seriously, says the man, quit looking at my junk. He continues as he rubs himself dry with a towel, seriously, you’re creeping me out.
Dog follows the man into the room and watches him sit on the bed to get dressed. Bored dog picks up a discarded sock, drops to the ground looking like sphinx and after pinning the sock under his front paws starts to pull on the sock with his teeth. There is no malice. He’s not practicing skinning a squirrel. Pulling just feels good in his mouth. His teeth like it. The weave slips and grips the enamel and his teeth torque in their sockets. Pull, chew, pull, chew, pull.
Hey, said the man. Hey. Knock that shit off. Dog stares and his eyes say, why? Pausing he waits for anger and seeing none he looks down and starts working on the sock again.
You know what? The man asks. I’m going to give you a name. Your name is Tug. Got it? Tug wasn’t listening and kept working on the sock.