I LAY IN BED listening to the waves crashing on the beach, and the splat-splat-splat of rain spattering the on sidewalk outside. Clouds over the ocean. Wind in the twisted cypress. If I closed my eyes, I could hear mold growing. The ground was a humid sponge that never dried out but kept decomposing underfoot. The windowpanes by my bed sprouted hairline fractures of dark green. It was so moist, the linoleum sagged like mushy Rice Crispies. Even clean cotton sheets fresh from the dryer quickly assumed the sweet-sour fragrance of curdled milk. Nature was a magician; it caused wood to bend and glass to sweat.

I have stolen the keys to the TNB blog and am now going to take it for a spin. I may get booted off TNB for doing so, but before I’m found out, I thought I’d show some pictures of me hanging out with various TNB contributors, just to brag about the fact that I personally know them and stuff.

Here’s a dog story my neighbor told me the other day.

My neighbor’s friend (I’ll call her That Idiot Samsonite Bitch for anonymity’s sake) lives in Manhattan.

That Idiot Samsonite Bitch has a big dog and it dies.

She calls the vet – Do they pick up dead dogs?

Vet says no.

She can’t bury the dog in her yard because she lives in Manhattan.

She doesn’t have a car because she lives in Manhattan.

Manhtn

She puts the dog in a suitcase and boards a city bus headed for the dump.

Maybe, like me, you’re thinking she could have tried another number before going for the suitcase, but she’s not you and she’s not me.

This is an older lady and she’s having trouble lifting the suitcase, when a guy offers to help her.

He asks, What’s in the suitcase that’s so heavy?

Embarrassed, she says, Computer parts, and the guy steals her suitcase.

Here, my neighbor laughs, “Isn’t that classic New York?” and I say “Yes,” but now I want to hear the happy ending.

Maybe I’m still a kid at heart.

I like to see a family of bears get a pesky intruder out of the house, a wayward son return home for a grand celebration, a feuding guitarist reunite with the band for one last show.

I’m thinking That Idiot Samsonite Bitch might break down in remorse, and the dead dog will get proper send-off with the NYPD playing bagpipes.

“And . . . ?” I say. “And what happened next?”

“Oh, she calls the police. They find her suitcase and the dog.”

“And then . . . ?”

“I don’t know and then,” she says. “It’s just a funny story.”

I’m thinking of a hot, dead dog bent in a suitcase and can’t remember the funny part of the story when I ask, “What’s the dog’s name?”

She says, “What?” like now I’m the weird one.

~

My husband, Mr. Henderson, is the type of guy who goes to the pet store and names all the pets.

Once he stopped in the middle of the highway to save a turtle.

If anything has fur on it, he wants to take it home.

We met when we were teenagers.

He was just learning how to reproduce paintings for theatre backdrops.

This is one he did when we first met.

Paintingwhole

He’s kept his old artwork rolled up in a corner at his office, where he’s a professor.

Some days, he brings our new rescued greyhound to his office.

This is Steve:

Steve

Pamela Anderson loves dogs like Steve.

When we got Steve, every vertebrae, rib and hip bone showed.

He has scars all over – some from collisions on the race track and some from sitting too long in a crate.

Until the day we adopted him, he’d never been in a house before.

He never played catch or rode in a car with his head out the window or had someone call him by name.

When you pet him, he leans his head into your stomach like he can’t believe it.

Steve likes Mr. Henderson so much, he whimpers when he’s gone.

Recently, Steve was having a day at the office when Mr. Henderson stepped out to meet with a student.

There was a bit of a panic:

Couchfluff

Officecrash

Remember that painting?

Paintingrip

And then Steve got up on the desk and couldn’t get down again.

~

Steve is learning that when we go away, we come back again.

He’s learning to climb stairs and he’s learning he has a name.

He’s learning not to eat things he finds in the kitchen sink, where he can reach flat-pawed.

He’s learning not to play with Mr. Panda because Mr. Panda belongs to our other dog.

Mrpanda

He’s cool with both of our cats, but we keep a close eye because we don’t want him to mistake them for rabbits.

Bunnies

(I am not a professional artist, though I signed my drawing.)

~

I’ve already told you I like happy endings, so this story has one.

Actually two.

The first happy thing is that ripped paintings practically fit back together like puzzles.

Paintingtogether

And more importantly:

Stevebed

Steve is done with crate sores.