Friday, August 21, 2009

Adverntures of Molly the Wine Dog: #1 - How I came to be lost.

When I was a pup I was easily distracted. You know, one minute your nose is in a cat's butt and the next...something in the air catches in your throat only to drag you off to the next putrid thing nestled in the cool grass waiting to be rolled in.

It was in this way on a particular day that I came to be lost.

Morning turned to midday and I could tell because the sun fell in dappled splotches burning across my coat through the leaves of the trees above. I walked with the lanky man whose hands dangled loosely at his sides, occasionally stroking my head, mindlessly and naturally, jerking every so often to tuck a piece of hair behind his ear.

I'm almost the color of the soil in this Willamette Valley Wine Country -- just one shade darker. I am red-brown and I know this because I can see my paws as I walk. I think I'm pretty young too because I have urges to jump on everything. And, my teeth hurt all the time. They only feel better when I gnash on things like shoes, furniture and anything rubber, like bike tires. And, because my feet seem extra big plugged onto the ends of my legs.

The lanky man takes me out every day to chase things that fly and bring them back without chewing or putting holes in them. He makes me stand very still and wait for a command. It makes me itch all over to see the thing covered in feathers leave his hand as he throws it and waits for it to land. I wait and wait and wait for the command to sniff it out and bring it back. The ache of waiting hurts and feels wonderful all the same. It's an interesting enough way to spend the day, but I'm a dog. You'd think he'd be looking for more variety, but hey, whatever. Throw it again. I'm in.

On this particular day the lanky man flung the feathery thing a few times deep into the woods. How he did this without lodging it squarely in a fir tree I'll never know, but he did - over and over again.

His phone rang.

"Yeah," he cradled the phone to his ear with one hand and flung my prize with the other. "Get it," he said and turned his back, still talking into the phone. I tore out after the thing, flinging grass and small dirt clods with my back paws.

Leaning hard, left and right, running full tilt, I dodge trees, missing them by a narrow margin. My thick red tail swishes in a circle behind me, a giant propeller sweep of happy tail. I slow, smelling for just the right scent of feather, leather and lanky man hands when it hits me. Adrenaline makes my head feel crisp and light as the aroma is drawn deep into my lungs and forces all other thoughts to the backseat.


Sure as the day I was born, whenever that was, sweet, glorious vermin - cat - put here on this green earth for my personal entertainment. Pussy by any other name.

I tear off slightly left, driving deeper and deeper through bramble tunnels past a slim, rocky creek, all the while bathing my throat in the glory of this one true scent. I want to puke with excitement. The slope turns steep and the scent quickens -- right slightly and then a scramble over moss covered stones. I lose purchase, stiffen my front paws against the fall and slide my way to the bottom, cracking a claw grown long on lazy days with the lanky man roaming only in the soft grass.

I'm stuffed against my will in a thicket and burst through the other side onto a dusty and gravel-covered road, home to few and distinteresting to most who accidentally come upon it.

And there she was. Or what she used to be.

A gray tabby was splayed on the dusty road, her perfect scent now overpowered by the lurid stench of bloat just starting. I paw at the ground beside her and nudge her with my nose. She rocks slightly but not under her own power. I lick her sweet face one last time - the chase of so many summer days now over and resist the urge to defile the corpse by rolling on her. She was my friend. So instead, I grasp her heck in my teeth and tug her to the tall grass where she'll rest now.

Thirsty and tired I turn toward home but hesitate at the wood's edge wondering which way that was. The death scent is too strong to smell my own trail and when I follow scent I'm flying blind, running right behind my nose without looking or thinking about my surroundings. I criss cross the treeline hoping to pick up a scent, but it's pointless. I look down and see my cracked claw, remembering the downhill scramble. I lick it clean then trudge up a nearby hill. I hear tumbling water up ahead. There was a creek right? Between my toes is wet, squishy mud, so that must be right. I follow the sound through more underbrush and pick up some speed as it thins, bursting through then scrambling backward to keep from pitching headlong off a high embankment into the biggest torrent of water I've ever seen.

Black soup in the slacks and raging white boil around large boulders this water is pissed and as alluring as anything I've ever seen. It doesn't babble but screams. I want to drink it, swim in it and curse it all at once. For the first time, I know exactly where I am.

I am lost.

(This is the first in a series of Molly the Wine Dog stories. Be sure to check back frequently for subsequent posts).

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