I’m going to have to move. I can’t stand my neighbor’s dog. It’s tiny, it barks incessantly all day and its name is Precious.
When I go outside, it runs inside its little doghouse and peeks its tiny head out to spy on me. It always barks at me one last time before it disappears. I hate that last bark. Like it’s warning me to stay on my side of the fence. Or maybe it’s defiance. Either way, Precious has some moxie; the friggin balls on this dog.
I’ve brought out food as a peace offering many times. Good food, too. Once I brought Thanksgiving leftovers and Precious just stood there, about three feet from the fence and barked at me while I held the food out with my hand.
“Here boy. Take the food. It’s okay, take it. Shhhh. Stop barking. I’m your friend. I don’t want to hate you, Precious. Shhhh. Take the food. TAKE THE GOD DAMN FOOD!”
I laid the food down on the other side of the fence and walked away. It kept barking. From my kitchen window I watched Precious circle the food and approach it cautiously like a squirrel. I watched him inspect the food, checking it for booby traps and quality. Finally, Precious dragged the bone into the doghouse. I hate how he does that. The bone wasn’t big or heavy and he still dragged it on the ground because he’s slothful, sluggish, spoiled and lazy.
I don’t complain to my neighbors about the barking. I can’t because I never see them. When I go outside, they also hurry into their house and spy on me. I hear a lock put on the door and a window shut. Then I see them close a curtain and open it just enough for their eyeballs.
Dogs are just like their owners. In this case, they both run from me. But, why? I choose to believe it’s because they don’t know who I am. They just know me as the guy that futilely waves to them and tries to steal the love of their dog by way of leftovers.
Maybe I’ll try going to their doorstep with food. And when they don’t answer, I’ll stick a baked chicken leg through an open window.
“Here, neighbors. Take the food. I’m a friend. It’s okay. Stop shaking. Put the phone down, you don’t need to call the cops. Shhhh. That’s right. Closer. I won’t hurt you.”
Then, as they nibble on the chicken from my hand through the window, I’ll snatch them both tightly by the hair, “DO YOU LIKE THIS?! DO YOU?! IF YOU DON’T, THEN YOU’LL GET PRECIOUS TO SHUT HIS FACE WHEN HE SEES ME! GOT IT?! NO MORE BARKING!”
Then I’ll release them both. “Good day, sir. Madam.”
As I walk from their house I imagine I would get an ovation, along with flowers cast at my feet by the surrounding neighbors. For weeks on end I would get letters of appreciation from once sleepless neighbors. I would even get a key to the city and a presidential pardon for assaulting my neighbors by the hair. There would be a city ordinance passed banning the name Precious unless used ironically. I would be the neighborhood hero turned celebrity that put an end to the unremitting, unending, uninterrupted barking of Precious. I mean, Wags, the dog formally known as, Precious.