I was an hour-and-a-half drive south, in Mar del Plata, when the call came in. “It’s that fucking dog. I’m going to kill it,” my wife yelled down the line, from back in the pine forest.
I was at a cocktail party for work, at the top of a hotel. There to interview film directors, producers, talent. Looking for scoops. News to report on. “Hold on a sec,” I say, and move to a quiet spot.
She lets it all out. The dog – a black puppy, what appears to be a mix of Doberman, Labrador and Freddy Krueger – has done something terrible. It’s the neighbors’ dog, a nuisance of the past month. Love is in the eyes of the neighbors’ eldest boy. Hate is in ours. It has taken to crapping in our garden-cum-forest, biting ankles, fingers, toes. Stealing toys. Digging holes.
Well, she says, it has walked all over the freshly laid cement that has become our back porch. “I’m telling you the bastard waited until the workmen had gone and then it walked all over the cement,” my wife tells me. “Its footprints are everywhere. It’s ruined. You’ve got to come back.”
Keep my cool, I thought. But frustration got to my head. Death to Freddy. I left the party, the news, the scoops. Elevator down. Hopped a cab. Went to my hotel room. Grabbed the car keys. Went to the car. And I was off, the drive north done in record time. Parked in the drive. Got out. My wife is sat on the sofa watching some series on AXN.
“So where is it?”
“Oh, you mean the dog. It won’t be a problem anymore,” she says.
“What do you mean?”
She told me. A workman had come back, by chance. He fixed up the cement floor and asked my fuming wife if she wanted him to take care of it, the dog. You know, dump it far away. It won’t ever make it back, he said. No, too cruel, she said. The neighbors’ kid would be devastated and all.
“So where is it?”
“It’s in the sink.”
“Out there on the grass. You’ll hear it.”
Sure enough, Freddy was trapped under our yet-to-be-installed laundry sink, yelping away.
We never did see the puppy grow much older. It disappeared, got lost, wandered off. The boy’s father told us weeks later. Oh the relief, we thought. Oh the poor boy.