Christmas Time is Kicking Time
My friend Eric Roosevelt and I have been tight for over twenty years, and grew up in the same neighborhood. The Roosevelts are like my surrogate parents, showering me with love and driving me nuts just like my own family. They're giving, funny, weird, warm and have huge hearts. Hearts that may, in the case of their dog Francis, be a little too big.
Francis is a poorly-trained, emotionally disturbed chow. He was an ill-advised gift from a girlfriend to my best friend's little brother. That guy's got anger management issues of his own, but the dog, my god ...
It's been completely spoiled rotten and never so much as quivers its upper lip around its owners. They never hear him growl in anger, and I am fairly certain that Mr. Roosevelt has never had HIS testicles threatened by Francis' surging, snapping jaws. I'm basing this conclusion on the fact that the dog is still alive.
Words cannot describe the pure hatred I feel for this gorgeous, poncey, miserable beast. It's a fluffy wad of velvety pumpkin fur with serious, snapping teeth. Imagine if the plant from Little Shop of Horrors was a giant fluffy dandelion.
When Francis came to the neighborhood, I brought our family's dog around to visit. He immediately mounted my dog and when she yelped and tried to get away, he bit her on the back legs.
Humans get LOTS of prison for that kind of behavior. Mrs. Roosevelt saw the whole thing and said, "Funny. I've never seen him do THAT before."
Every Christmas I go around to the Roosevelts' to bring general good tidings, and every year, they act amazed that their dog could be so poorly behaved. They are shocked, SHOCKED, when Francis takes advantage of my cross-legged state to get closer to my balls than ever before and begins a low, muttering growl. Then he stands there growling at it unless I move too quickly -- like, at the speed a human moves when he takes off his coat -- and then he lunges at my testicles, snarling and punching at them with his fluffy, elegant paws.
The Roosevelt's role in this little charade is to impotently wheedle "Here, Francis." "Just stay kind of still for a little while," they say. "He needs to get used to you."
What he needs is to be put to sleep, and the Roosevelts are too nice to do it. So instead, this nasty little monster is going to bring them joy and love until he breaks loose and savages a toddler.
I've kicked him across the room in front of both Roosevelts at least twice. One of them was a beautiful, hefting kick that lifted the dog bodily off of the ground, sending him skittering across the room to collapse in a heap. Later, Eric told me "I know it looks like I was comforting him, but I was actually rabbit-punching him in the ribs. I hate that fucking thing, too."
I was jogging across the Duke Ellington Bridge this summer, thinking about nothing at all. The sun was warm, the air was fresh, all was right with everything. Then this fully-formed thought bubbled into the middle of my brain: "FUCK, I HATE that dog."
Now the scent of pine is in the air, and we're all heading home for Christmas. It's going to be a time of giving, sharing, catching up and eating together. And just for old time's sake, I'm going to have my kicking shoes on ... just in case.