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Tourists and dognappers

After all the things I’ve done in four and a half years of adventuring, I thought I’d already tried all the grand adventures near my home. I have visited all 8 states in the country, have been dognapped, have won marathongs, have climbed to the top of mountains and run around the Grand Canyon, have gotten my masters in obedience classes, and become a successful busy-ness dog. But it has never occurred to run in The City*. 

This morning started just like any other work day: Mom and I got up early, she put on her running clothes, and then she grabbed the running leash and we went to the car. But then she also got her work stuff, which was weird. I’ve never seen Mom run with her laptop, or in her rhino shoes before. Then, instead of just driving a little way to the Jim or The Fart, we drove and drove a very long way like we do when we’re going to the office. Finally we got to a place that looked like The City does after work when the sky is dark and the buildings are bright. Mom stopped the car, put on my running leash, and we went to run like usual. 

As soon as we got to the sidewalk, we found a man lying on the sidewalk in his camping sack. Next to him was a hideous, hulking monster. “YOU STAY BACK OR I’LL OPEN UP A CAN OF WHOOP SASS!!!” I shouted at the monster, hoping that it wouldn’t notice that I took a little hop backward every time I barked at it. “Oscar, what are you doing?” Mom asked, doing a terrible job of hiding the fact that she was laughing at me. “DON’T YOU TOUCH HER!” I shouted at the monster, getting ready to cut and run at any moment if it started to chase me. “SHE’S TOO DUMB TO DEFEND HERSELF, BUT I’LL MAKE YOU WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN!”  “Oscar, it’s a shopping cart covered in a tarp,” Mom said, as if there were no danger at all. “Here, do you want to sniff it?” And then Mom — that dufus — started walking toward the monster.  Well if she was going to take dumb risks like that, let her get chopped up by the chopping cart. I changed my plan. I stopped barking and hid behind her. I didn’t need to bark anymore anyway, because the man in the sack on the ground had woken up and was barking up a frenzy himself.  “See?” Mom said. “It’s just all of this man’s stuff. He moves around every day, just like we do when we’re camping. It’s his covered wagon.” She turned back to see if I was ready to sniff, but I was no fool, and fainted to the other side to keep her body between me and the chopping cart. If it attacked, I would let it her into little bits while I ran away.

Mom and I ran until The City ended and we were running along the water. Instead of big water like they have at the beach, this was little water that let sidewalks and buildings stand right up at the edge of it, and lots of boats sit on top of it. Most impressive of all, a big bridge stood high over everything. “I know that bridge!” I said. “Bodie lives on the other side of it!”  “No, you’re thinking of the Golden Gate Bridge,” Mom said. “This is the Bay Bridge.”  “What the heck are you talking about?” I asked. “I recognize it. It’s got the pointies with the U’s in between and the stripes hanging off the U. I’ve been on that bridge a million times! It goes where Bodie lives.” “The one that goes to Bodie’s house red. This one is grey,” Mom said. “You’re not making any sense, Mom. First you say it’s golden. Then you say it’s red. Then you admit it’s grey. Gold and red are both shades of grey. Can’t you even see? That’s why they call it the Grey Bridge.” Mom can be so think sometimes. Tourist,‘ Mom muttered. “What’s a tourist?” I asked.  “It’s someone who takes a picture of the Bay Bridge, and then stops you on the street to ask ‘if they’re painting it?’,” she said rolling her eyes.

I was having a great time being a tourist, but I was starting to worry about one thing: Where was the bathroom? Mom had already figured out that there were no poop bags in The City, and now I was starting to realize that there were no grassy patches either. I held it and held it until I thought I was going to burst while I looked for a nice yard or ivy patch, but everywhere I looked was sidewalk. After almost a mile, I slammed on the brakes so hard that Mom didn’t have time to stop before I squatted. I slid along the pavement a couple of inches leaving a trail of turds behind me while Mom ground to a stop.

At home we can sometimes leave a poo and come back to it later once we’ve found a bag because we know that no one’s going to see us, but here in The City there’s always someone to witness you run away from the scene of a poo. Mom looked around desperately, and then a miracle happened: there, stuck under a gate like a piece of trash, was a string of 3 empty poo bags waiting for us. Mom grabbed one, stuck her hand inside, and groped at the sidewalk until she’d picked up all of my waste. You may be on your own in The City, but The City still provides. 

I thought our adventure was over when we got back to the car, but it wasn’t yet. Mom opened my door for me like a gentelman and then said, “Oh duck!”  “What?!” I asked. “You wait here. I’m going to go into the Jim and shower before I deal with this,” she huffed. “Deal with what? Hey, have you noticed that this car is kind of tilted? That’s weird, because the floor was flat…” But she had already slammed the door in my face and stormed off. 

When Mom came back a hundred years later, her hair was wet and she had her phone stuck to her face. Then she got in the car and just sat there without turning it on. “Mom, aren’t we going to be late for work? All my collies will be worried about me.”  “We have a flat, Oscar. We need to wait for someone to come fix it for us before we can leave.” As usual, Mom was confused. The car was normally flat, but today we seemed to have a tilt

Eventually a man came in a big truck. He looked like a dognapper, so I barked at him through the window. He didn’t look scared, but I knew he was because he stayed outside the car and tried to dognap me from there. Since he couldn’t drive away with me in the back like the last time I was dognapped, he lay down on the ground where I couldn’t see him and tried to pick up the car and carry it away. I could feel him pushing it higher and higher off the ground, and the tilt going from one side of the car to the other. I got real quiet and stared at Mom, trying to warn her of the danger with my eyes, but she just stood there like a dope and didn’t do anything to save me. Maybe this was her revenge for me leaving her to be eaten by the chopping cart.

Luckily the dognapper wasn’t strong like me, and eventually he gave up trying to lift the car and put it back down on the ground. Then he drove away in shame in his big truck. But in the end it all worked out great because by the time he left, the tilt was gone, and the car had four flat tires again and I was free to go to work.

-Oscar the Tourist

*Mom says that this is not strictly true, since technically the beach where we run is in The City, and so is the big park we have run in once or twice. But I have never run in the parts of The City where the buildings are.



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