Friday, January 27, 2023


“Try to remember the best day of your entire life…the sparkle and confidence you had” said the narrator of The Dog Whisperer’s audiobook (NOT The Dog Whisperer, it’s worth noting, or even a guy with a Mexican accent). I scanned my memories of days and was a little disappointed with the “best” I pulled. Definitely wouldn’t have announced it as my best day back then.
“Draw from your memories of that day when you’re walking your dog” said the narrator. “The dog likes it when you’re CONFIDENT and DOMINANT (American accent, don’t forget!) because you’re the ALPHA.”
Okaaaaay I thought.  
I was taking my new dog for a spin down 40th Street. For years, everyone in my life’d been telling me to get a dog. That’s what happens when you’re a loser for too long. Concerned relatives analyze your life and think this guy needs something to love him or he’s going to do something gnarly. It hurts. Every time they  suggested it I’d think to myself HEY, FUCK, YOU! but passive aggressive people love it when you get mad at their shitty little remarks, so I just got a dog.
“No no no no no” said an ugly old woman passing me and my dog on the crosswalk. The dog was doing something she didn’t like.  “What’s the matter with you?”  
“It’s not my dog,” I said. “He comes from a violent background.”
That was probably true enough. My entire life, I’d been the type of guy who’d claim the thing no one wanted (black licorice, middle seat, bread heel) and convince himself it was cool just to avoid the hassle of competition. This mindset is what’d lead me to the dog pound, and to this type of dog: an aggressive pitbull.
Not to retread old trodden, treads (for me), but can you believe they’re giving those things away? Pitbulls are the best type of dog! They’re cute AND scary in equal measure! This one wasn’t exactly, shall I say, Amores Perros strong, but you never know. I named hime Lance, after Lance Fusco from The Fusco Brothers.
“You shouldn’t let him shit all over the street like that.” said the woman.
“COME, LANCE” I said, conjuring my best day. Lance was many steps ahead of me, though. In fact, he was pulling me. I was on roller blades, a la The Dog Whisperer, and he was towing.
WHOOOOSH we went, leaving the old nag in our wake.
We were approaching a red light.
Lance picked up speed.  
“SLOW DOWN” I said.
Run run run, went the feet. Good thing I was so fat.
“LANCE, SIT” I said.
I gently applied the rollerblades’ heel brake to no avail. Wobbles. Desperately, I brainstormed more stopping ideas: Jump into some grass….Throw change at the dog…Get tangled in another dog’s leash….
In the end, I went with something similar to that third plan. I maneuvered so I was next to Lance and when he went right around a pole I went left. The leash stopped us. Lance gasped as the collar dug into his throat.
 I gasped too, but regained my bearings quicker than he and tied him to the pole. Better let the engine cool down a little I thought, leaving Lance there and walking back to my apartment alone.
Good old apartment #2. It was a sparse, masculine place with no windows or wall art. I opened the freezer and took out a big steak. It was for Lance. I don’t know if you know anything about dogs but pitbulls like big, juicy steaks. Mmmm I thought, looking at the steak. I’m gonna have a steak, too.
While the steaks were thawing I went to my bedroom to get some sleeping pills. These were supposed to be for the dog too, but again I felt inspired and popped a few myself. What the hell.
I jacked off twice and the steaks were ready. Hungrily, I cooked mine (rare), crammed pills into the dog’s and re-emerged into the outdoors, high on life and pills and dog ownership (which is the same thing as power, maybe?!) Lance had in fact cooled down a little but when he saw the steak he perked right back up. I remembered reading that you’re supposed to start eating before your dog starts eating, so I halted just outside of leash range and took a big performative bite.
WRONG STEAK! I’d bitten into Lance’s—the raw one with pills in it. I retched and threw the meat at Lance.
He seemed to love it.
The pills were kicking in for me now. I felt even heavier and funnier than usual. Very loving towards my new animal son. Look at my strong, manly boy, rippin’ that flesh I thought. My Amores Pero. My little alpha.
“Slow down boy!” I said good naturedly, knowing he wouldn’t listen.
Slurch slurch slurch.
“Ha ha! You don’t stop for nobody!”  I said.
That’s when my big thought hit.
I like it when HE'S confident and dominant…because HE'S the PACK LEADER.
Why would I be Pack leader? I’m not confident at all!
I took off Lance’s collar. “You are the captain now” I said.
He looked up.
“Lead” I said.
He wasn’t getting it still, so I smacked him on the ass to get him going, and he bit me
“OW, FUCK!” I said.
Lance ran into the street and got hit by a car.
I power walked home and hid.


  1. Jesse, this is one of your best works yet. You are the voice of a generation.

  2. A lot of good sounds in these words

  3. Nothing beats coming home to a wagging tail and a slobbery kiss.

  4. "Having a pet enriches our lives in so many ways. I'm grateful for mine every day." find out more