How could I know then, what love is to be?
What a drop of love could bring to me?

The bond we made I never realized,
With love you made me hypnotized.

For the result, which only your vision could see,
You let all my darkness flee.

People are nice...but you always owned my heart,
You could also make a good calorie chart!

God gave people power to boss around, that's true;
But with his wisdom, he created you.

The four legged furry creature,
You had all the attractive features.

I bought you, the single trusting soul,
That gave devotion on whole.

Price to small, didn't matter at all,
Just happiness which was all in all.

You made this world a lovable place,
To ease and forget the worst case.

From your eyes, I would like to see what this world means?
My wish is could our life be shared on screen?

A little poem dedicated to my four legged furry friend, Sausie

All Rights Reserved.
#love   #dachshund  
"Beautiful dog, Dachshund right?  It have a name?",
chachi
Sep 6, 2010

"Beautiful dog, Dachshund right?  It have a name?",
that is what I would have said to you
in hopes of sparking a conversation
in hopes of learning your name. I honestly
don't care about the dog's name at all, but
you have nice hair, and hips. They mesmerized
me while you walked, your dog, away
from me. I never said anything.

The wildebeast and dachshund know better.
Briar Rose
Briar Rose
Dec 21, 2013

Steps on the barren desert valley ground,
I'd rather be in the alley.
I'd rather be in the alley with you.
Sun burnt rocks jut out at me,
They shake their fingers at me,
"You'll never get out, it's a dead end from here."
I remember sitting out under the sun,
I remember being under the sun on the roof,
And I remember screaming at the skies,
" Mathematics has taught me nothing,
School was nothing but sociological lies!"

I had my verbal reasoning skills,
I had a bottle of Adderall pills,
I had my quantum physical knowledge,
I've been down the road of metaphysics,
I even had foreign language skills.
Italian artistry doesn't help you here, no.
The coyote knows best,
The wildebeast and dachshund know better.
Animal supremacy, no.
Conscious human foreclosure of higher arcane intelligence,
If it ever yielded it's presence,
Jesus would've resurrected already.

also written in 8th grade.
of ours running in a green field with a dachshund along side.
Elizabeth
Elizabeth
Apr 24

Today was a necessity.
I think,

I hope you understand that someday it will all make sense.
I dreamt of the perfect world with children of ours running in a green field with a dachshund along side.
There was picture perfect walls of glass and my library that you discouraged, but cared enough to allow me.
There was the gaming room that I discouraged, but cared enough to allow you.
And each morning breath was an inhalation of your skin, so bare and intimate.
My hair would wrap around your fingers playfully and our legs would hug under blankets from when we still were virgins together, in multiple ways.

Those dreams pass quickly as does the pendulum of the clock.
The seconds quicken as it deceives us into believing this will work.
It was good at what it did, and we fell for it.

There was no time to change my decision, for the better.

Perhaps someday we may walk with our hands joined once more, but until then,

This is absolutely, irrevocably, necessary.

dachshund. His collar jingled, shimmering
nicholas bunitsky
nicholas bunitsky
Nov 27, 2011

I remember how that Puxatony dirt
felt between my fingers. Gritty
and cold – the earth that covers  graves.
Falling from my palm, landing at his paws,
he curled around my leg, shivering.
Against my ankle, he rested his long ears.

Polaroids of a mothers chew-toy earrings;
memories of March spent playing in dirty
backyards, forests, and playgrounds. We shivered
together, in the heat of Spring, with gritty
rock-filled driveways underneath our paws.
Lives, those playful daisies sprouting from gravel,

that we ate day by day; pushing graves
down out of mind, but spilling from our ears.
The summer wrought steel cages to grip awe,
with training meant, bent to destroy dirt
kept caked on worn-out sandals. Grits
scooped off a breakfast plate to a shivering

dachshund. His collar jingled, shimmering
as it clashed against his bowl. Cold gravy
and dry cat food, with textured scents. Gritty,
furry, and harsh. Ears dipped in water bowls
finding the only bath of the month, clearing dirt
from a death in the family. Soft, unknowing paws

treaded with grace, and a parentless pause
as we crumbled. Directionless grief shivered
the big men with their shrunken hearts, dirty
from a three-hour drenching sob at the grave.
But love is not measured by the size of loss -
it is made of highs and lows; rough and gritty.

Seven pounds of compassion weighs with gridded
precision on my chest. Those tiny paws,
batting at my heart. Soft, two-times-too-large ears
crying with us and pleading through shivers
to enjoy everything. Now your graves are dug
together - between you only a foot of dirt.

Gritty reality seeps in from shivering
fiction. Your paws on your own grave,
I place my ear to the dirt, and whimper.

I know that it doesn't quite follow the sestina form. The title should be a metaphor as well as a warning.
Is like putting a dachshund in a cage
Sarah Kelly

Every evening at dinner,
My mom would tell us about school.
She works there
In fact, the same one my sister and I attended.
She now tells us about education reform
And how it is ruining her classroom.
You see,
She works with special needs children
And teaching them multiple methods to do a math problem
When they understand the first one
Is like thrusting them into the middle of the ocean
Telling them to learn how to swim
And wondering why they are drowning.
Having seventh graders who read at a fifth grade level
Take the same standardized test as other kids their age
Is like putting a dachshund in a cage
And telling it to fight a pit bull.
These students are being set up to fail
And yet, the schools and the government are asking
"Why are test scores dropping?"
"Why aren't they up to par?"
"We're going to lose our money"
What quality teacher signed up to be an educator
With the idea that money would be more important
Than the children in the school system?
Who gives a damn about dollar figures
When you are pushing kids to the edge of the cliff
And getting angry when they fall off?
The game doesn't change until the directions do
But the people writing them are prioritizing the end result
Not the players.
So tell me,
Will anybody win a game that is this corrupt?
Will anybody win this game at all?
People like my mom, my English teacher
The students
Did not agree to play this way.
But if we do not set these kids up and place them in a position
Where success is possible
The future will go up in flames.

tle black-and-white, speckled miniature dachshund named Teagan that has been staying at t
Donny Edward Klein

This delusional concept of dressing up in your finest threads just to sit in some quiet, ridiculously-named, fancy establishment that has four walls and a few toilets and neatly-folded napkins, spotless silverware, and an overly-priced menu just to talk about some bullshit that you pulled out of your ass when your arm was being stretched to the max trying to reach for the stack of crisp twenties that the ATM viciously spat at you is simply fucked up.

Yeah… that’s what I thought until I met her.

You know, “the one.”

The one that all the guys say you’re pussy-whipped about.

That one!

She is the one.

She has her shit together. She is driven, goal-oriented, smart, funny, and sexy in that hippie/bohemian kinda way, except that she wears deodorant and shaves her legs.

She even shaves….ha! I’ll stop. I’m just toying with ya. But she does shave.

She even has dimples, man.

Dimples!

And guess who the lucky son-of-a-bitch is that has the best table in the house sitting directly across from her, staring into those brown, puppy eyes???

My ass.

Then, without warning, this horrible, invasive, mood-altering, uncanny, uncouth, bastard-of-a-question barges right in.  It asks, “How did you end up with her??”

Suddenly I find myself in a western movie, and this bow-legged son-of-a-bitch walks in asking for me.  The double doors behind him swing back and forth in rapid motion.  I don’t want to cause a ruckus, so I do what any real gentleman does: take it outside and settle it High Noon style.  I stare into his eyes (they’re brown too, but not like hers), and his eye lids begin to slightly twitch.  I draw my pistol from my hip and shoot him right between those eyes; blow the smoke away from the heated barrel; spin my pistol around a few times; and in the holster it goes.

Problem solved.

She and I start jawing after the waiter with the long rod lodged in his ass goes to fetch our excessively-priced wine.
I can swear he said his name is Skip or Kip or… ah who cares?
I continue staring into the eyes of the most beautiful woman in the world.
She begins to tell me about her bittersweet day, so I cross my arms and lean in a little. All my focus is on her and of course her sexy mouth too.
God, she has beautiful lips….
She’s telling me about her day at work – at the vet, that is.
She’s a veterinarian.
Anyway, there’s this little black-and-white, speckled miniature dachshund named Teagan that has been staying at the vet for a few months now, and it’s made a full recovery.
She’s telling me this story with such great passion and zeal, but she’s frowning.
This wealthy, elderly couple adopted it today, and Teagan is gone.
She grabs my hand and apologizes for being such a “downer”.

“I sorry,” she says in one of those baby voices.

Is that a pouty lip?

Fuck Me.

Did I really just witness a pouty lip form before my very eyes??

Did she actually just talk like a baby???

Plain and simple, I don’t stand for that cutesy, baby bullshit, that pathetic material pedaled by those chumps who pull that “good guys come last” crap.  

She’s awkwardly staring at me.

Before she can utter a single word, I bolt out of my chair, telling her that I’m suddenly feeling ill and need to use the restroom.

I whip around without looking and bump into our waiter who is bringing us our wine.  It spills all over his pearly, white jacket.

He grabs my arm to break his fall, but we both hit the ground hard, right on our backs too.  

All eyes are on me.

It’s dead, fucking silent. You could hear a mouse fart.

What do I say?  

I can’t just make a dash for the door without saying anything.

My mind is completely frozen, and I lie here, trembling.

Suddenly, my lips begin to part.

The words wiggle their way out of that tiny space between my lips.

“I sorry.”



. . .

.  .  .

.   .   .  

Fuck me.

n's Creek, that's where we found Lily's dachshund.
JJ Hutton
JJ Hutton
Jun 7, 2013      Jun 7, 2013

Just below the ridge line, east of Tinnamon's Creek, that's where we found Lily's dachshund.
The brown, island patch of fur beneath its snout was caked with blood -- throat turn, chewed.
No coat remained on its front legs. Framework mostly. Some dangling, loose tissue.
White fibers I didn't recognize dotted the shriveled body. How many days had it been?
Three? Four?

"What'd you expect to find?" Harvey said, lifting the tag. "Brannagh. 5321 Starlite Drive."

"I know, I know. Lily's still going to break. Doesn't matter what I expected."

Harvey ran his palm along the dog's belly. Whispered something I didn't catch. The sun began to sink behind the mountains -- everything turned a variance of purple. And the wind came in, unannounced, as wind tends to do. What's the protocol on a dead dog? Bury at the scene of the crime? A pile of rocks left behind for hikers on the passing by to say, "I wonder what happened there." Or did we bag the unfortunate beast? Ring the doorbell. Ask Lily if she's got a shovel. Our fathers made no mention of times like that.

"I've never understood why people have pets," Harvey said. "Do you just want to be miserable? Your cat Socks, Millie, whatever, is gonna die. Your turtle Larry is gonna die. The charismatic hamster in the classroom, running the wheel, knows every step with its stupid paws could be its last. 22 fourth graders taught expiration dates. Teachers sign up for that. Brannagh was gonna die. Lily knew she'd outlive the dog."

Four deer looked on down by the creek. Still, yet comfortable in their stillness. I could have touched them if I wanted to. I hated that. Deer in Colorado made me feel powerless. They assumed, automatically, that I carried no firearm, only a camera and a bit of Chex Mix. Pallid threads continued to float down from the sky.

"What is this stuff?" I asked.

"What stuff?"

"Falling. In her fur, right there. On your shirt. In your hair. The white stuff."

After a quick scan of his chest, Harvey pinched one of the white fibers between his index finger and thumb. Hardly gave it a thought before giving it a flick.

"They're just coming off the cottonwoods. Happens toward the end of spring," Harvey said, reaching in his back pocket and pulling out a garbage bag.

"Is that what we are going to do?"

"I'm not burying the dog out here. Lily needs closure. If she 'breaks,' she breaks."

Harvey opened the black bag. Stepped on the bottom of it. So it would hold against the wind.

"Put the dog in here," he said.

"I'm not doing that."

"Well, you have to."

"Why?"

"I'm holding the trash bag."

The dog's eyes weren't there. Whatever mysterious factor that leads people to buy dachshunds, whether concentrated dose of cuteness or unmerited friendliness, it had bled out. I walked around to the other side of the dog. Stuck my hands under its spine -- cleanest spot. Stiff from rigor mortis, sure, but stiffer than rigor mortis alone. I knew the stiffness of death from my childhood collection of unfortunate pets. The sun had baked him, made the matted tufts sharp. I dropped Brannagh in the bag. Harvey lifted up quickly, as to not let the corpse hit the ground.

With the deer still watching, we began to climb up the rockface, taking us back to the trail. My eyes fixated on my feet to avoid a misstep. Harvey took the lead, looking only forward. When he began to speak, he did not turn around.

"You know what's funny about the cottonwoods? I hadn't thought about this in a long time -- both my mom and dad had a theory about what you so eloquently called 'white stuff.' Mom, sticking by her poverty- and church-induced eternal optimism, said that the white strands falling from the sky, came off the clouds. 'Heaven's confetti,' she said. It was God reminding us that his grace reaches all of us."

"What did your dad think?"

"Well, Dad worked hard for what money we had, and going to church wasn't exactly his idea. Believed God owed him a little more. He didn't even sit with us. Back pew kinda guy. Mom would lead prayers focused solely on him moving up a few benches. Anyway, I say all that to say, being poor and going to church created optimism's opposite in my father. It wasn't long after I graduated high school, before I moved to Fort Collins, that Dad gave me his theory."

Harvey reached the top of the ridge. Gave me a hand. Dog's corpse slung over his shoulder. He looked at me.

"My dad said that the white strands from heaven weren't signs of encouragement. He said they were tears of those who'd gone before. People looking down, weeping at -- not only what violence brother does to brother -- but also at how we piss away every breath. 'Trading dreams for dollars.' "

"Which do you think is true."

Turning away from me, Harvey switched the garbage bag from his right shoulder to his left.

"Neither is an option. And to remind you, neither is the correct option. For the sake of humoring you?"

"Yes, for the sake of humoring me."

"I think my mother's would be more accurate."

"Why is that?"

"The cottonwoods shed one time a year. Seems to me that white stuff would be falling all the time if it was the disappointment and sorrow of those who've passed. One time a year. I can see God giving us a little something one time a year."

ithout him. He was a tiny black and tan Dachshund. I got him free when I was fourteen, wh
Susan Hunt
Jul 13, 2012

CHAPTER ONE: THE DEMISE OF A YOUNG GIRL SEPTEMBER 1975


I had not seen my father in over two years when he showed up at my mom and step dad's condo. He had a slick knack of disappearing when laws were broken and he was wanted for questioning. He had an even better ability to re-enter when the heat was off.

My father owned three nightclubs in Oklahoma City. His first was the Silver Sword, and then he opened The Red Slipper. After he met his second wife, they together, opened the Jade Club.

All were successful, but the Red Slipper had a reputation. On a rare occasion, my dad would take me with him to open up the place. At first, it scared me. It was so dark in there. But as the lights came on behind the bar, I fell in love with the atmosphere.

Bobby Orr’s hockey stick hung on the wall, along with an endearing note from F. Lee Bailey. At six years old, all I knew was that they were the objects that made my dad beam.

I learned to play pool by standing on a phone book. I watched the colorful smacking balls bounce around the most beautiful color of green I had ever seen. Chalking the stick was a chore, but after nearly poking my eye out once, I soon caught on.

It was a struggle to climb up on a barstool, but it was worth the effort. I sat at the bar and had lunch: popcorn, pretzels, peanuts and Pepsi.

As I grew older, I saw less and less of him, until he became a stranger, drifting in every once in awhile.  Every few weeks or so, I would come home from school, and see his car in the driveway.

This always shot fear and excitement through me. The air of unpredictability always made me want to pee. Unfortunately, most of the time, we were locked out of the house for a few hours, so I would have to pee in the back yard or at the neighbors. We waited on the stairs for the front door to open. And it always did, by my mom. She usually looked satisfied and serene but other times, I saw dread and sadness on her face.

Ever since I could remember, my dad had been a string of disappointments for me with a few indescribable moments of pure enjoyment mixed in between He could be kind, funny and like a real dad sometimes, that was the dad I missed. I tried to hold onto those experiences, even though he was such a mean bastard most of the time. But mostly, I just didn't know him.

Their divorce became final around the summer of 1972, but that didn't stop my mom from loving him. I don't know why, but she chased him frequently, going out to bars with her friends, trying to get a glimpse of him, and maybe more.

The last time I’d seen my father had not been pleasant. When I was thirteen, he broke down the door to our apartment and went straight to my mother’s bedroom. The noises were terrifying. The screaming, and punching sounds were followed by my mother’s whimpering, begging, groveling.

"How dare you do this to me, Patsy!? And behind my back! You could have at least told me!"

My dad had bailed himself out of jail that night. She promised him she would never seek alimony or child support again. Her lawyer was wrong. It wasn’t worth getting killed over.  

Shortly after, he had to leave the state. It had something to do with a low-level mob deal involving an insurance fraud. Too bad, it involved burning a building with someone in it. My dad became nothing but a memory, which faded away over time.

**

Alcohol and tobacco were constants in my family, so when my older brother, Tim, started smoking at ten years old, I don't remember much protest from anyone. I was seven and when my sister Abby, turned ten the next year, she also started smoking.  All the older kids were smoking cigarettes. I wanted to be cool, so I puked and coughed as I practiced. By the time I was ten, I too, was inhaling properly.  Around that time, I was introduced to pot by my sister's boyfriend. It did help my mood, somewhat, but it wasn't enough.

By 1974, I was using drugs from my sister’s boyfriend. John was a true drugstore cowboy. At first, he committed burglaries, which were easy at the time. There were no sophisticated electronics to stop someone from cutting a hole in the roof of a pharmacy. It took only minutes to pry open the safe that contained the narcotics. Then it took maybe another minute to fill a pillowcase full of every variety of amphetamines, barbiturates, valiums, etc.

It wasn’t long before I graduated to using morphine, cocaine and then overdosed on Demerol. My stepfather sent me to a treatment facility in Tulsa Oklahoma, about one hundred miles away from Oklahoma City. The Dillon treatment center didn’t accept clients under age of sixteen but made an exception with me. I was a walking-talking disastrous miracle...or a miraculously saved disaster.

They figured that since I was fourteen, the sooner the better to start my road to recovery. Apparently, they didn’t condone sneaking pot and valiums in to the facility. I was kicked out of Dillon after about a month.

I came back home and laid low. I went back to Hefner Jr. High and enrolled back into the ninth grade. I quietly picked up where I left off, going back into business with John. My job was to sell the safe stuff; valiums, seconols, white bennies, pot, etc.


Summer came; I turned fifteen and had developed a tendency to over test my wares. I overdosed and nearly died in the hospital several times, which had led to my current predicament. Nobody knew what to do with me.

In August, I entered the tenth grade...for two weeks. I was expelled, (you guessed it) for dealing drugs. I was on homebound teaching twice a week with little supervision. My mother worked, my step-dad, Dick ,worked, and I was home all day. However, I was not just sitting idly around. I was into enterprise.

**

In September, I overdosed again. I was quickly killing myself and my mother didn’t know what to do to stop it. That is why what happened was not my mother’s fault. But it wasn’t my fault either.

I never figured out how he knew where we lived. My mother moved over at least fourteen times in between the time I was six and twelve years old. Yet, here he was, at our front door, with his undeniable ‘ah shucks’ charm. His modesty was convincing. His timing was incredible. My mother stood frozen, her mouth agape. Dick took the lead. He placed himself between my mother and father.

“You must be Gary Don, my name is Dick; I’m Patsy’s husband." Dick had never met my dad, but he'd heard enough about him to surmise who was standing at the door.

"Um, yeah, I'm Gary Don, it's nice to meet you Dick", he said; as he offered a friendly hand shake to Dick.

"I hope I'm not interrupting you, I was just in Duncan with my parents and they suggested I stop by and talk with you before heading back west. It's about Susie....

"Yes, Patsy said you called yesterday. We weren't expecting you this soon, but it's no problem. Why don't you come in and tell us what your plans are? Patsy, honey, would you mind putting on a pot of coffee?”

This unfroze my mother and she scurried to the kitchen. I was still in shock at seeing my dad’s face. I retreated to the staircase, but poked my head around and caught him glance at me. I flew up to the landing. I could easily escape up the rest of the stairs to my bedroom.
I was small enough to remain hidden on the landing, and heard the conversation between my mother, my dad and Dick. Dick was the classiest, most even-tempered adult I had ever encountered. I wished I could stop hurting him and my mother.  

My mother sat down two cups of coffee on the dining room table where my dad and Dick sat. As she retreated a few steps back into the kitchen, Dick politely probed my dad. My dad had the right answer for every question.

He swore he was a completely different person. He had changed. He had no hard feelings, instead he was back to help. He was remorseful for being an absent father and he wanted to make things right. He was back for a reason. He had heard that I was in trouble with drugs and school and he felt guilty for that. He had the answer to my problems. He was so convincing, so….humble, almost shy.

As I listened, I began freaking out with fear and excitement. I always wanted my dad. The last time I tried to live with him, it didn’t work out; he sent me back to my mother’s after a month. Now my dad wanted me! He wanted to save me, take care of me!

He lived by himself now. He was the manager of The Palace Restaurant/Hotel in the little town of Raton, New Mexico. It was a refurbished hotel, built over a century ago The ground floor was an elegant bar and restaurant. He was making very good money, he paid no rent and he had an extra room for me.

With a population of 6000, it was not a place to continue a lucrative drug business. Also, he would enroll me into the little high school and I could get my diploma. I could work in the restaurant in the evenings where he would keep his eye on me. Then, there was the horse. He would buy me a horse. And on and on and on.

The logic and sincerity of his argument was convincing. So there it was. An hour later, my bags were packed. I was going to live with my father in New Mexico.

That’s how in September 1975, my father whisked me away from my home in Oklahoma City, under the guise of saving me from my own demise. I was stolen and held captive in Raton, New Mexico for what seemed like forever.

My dog, Baron was coming with me, I refused to go anywhere without him. He was a tiny black and tan Dachshund. I got him free when I was fourteen, when I got back from Tulsa. To me, he was priceless. He was my best friend. He couldn’t have weighed more than ten pounds, but his heart was huge.

I talked to him about everything and he consoled me by nodding, and licking me on the cheek non-stop…or he would admonish me through his expressions and demeanor. I had lived with Dachshunds since I was seven, so understood their language pretty well. Baron understood humans better. We developed a rare communication that worked well for both of us.
Herman, our older dachshund had greeted my dad cordially. Baron couldn’t figure this out, he expressed his apprehension. He looked at me and conveyed,

“Well, if Herman isn’t worried, I guess it’ll be Okay, right? Right, Susan?”

I was sorry I didn’t have an honest answer. I did my best to settle him.

“Sure, this’ll be fun, a whole new adventure!”

As we drove West, toward the Texas panhandle, Baron kept the conversation going by his curious interest expressed by wide eyes and attentive ears. My dad amazed him with his knowledge of history, geography, geology, astronomy, world geo-politics, weather, music on the radio, literature, mechanics, religion and countless other topics. I knew he was faking his fascination with my dad. He knew he was doing me a favor.

There was not a dead moment in the air. An occasional “really?” expressed by me was enough to keep my dad’s mouth running. I was thankful for that. It kept my attention away from my jangle of emotions. As we drove through the night, I was conflicted, scared, excited, happy and worried. I didn’t know where I was going, or who was driving me there.

My dad’s jovial demeanor comforted me. He made The Palace sound like the perfect place for his little princess.

When we arrived, it was late, after 10pm., Baron was exhausted. I stood on the corner and looked up. I gulped. The three-story building was like an old gothic castle. It was a huge rectangle with the front corner cut back with a fifth wall about ten feet wide. This provided the entrance with two giant oak doors. Baron was less than enthused by its foreboding appearance. I had to agree.

Dad ignored my hesitation. “Come on, you’re going to love this place!”

He pulled open one of the oak doors, which had to weigh at least five hundred pounds. I was hesitant, but thirsty. Baron’s squirming had started to annoy me. I went forward filled with adrenalin.

The initial entrance was a small round foyer with a domed ceiling of cut glass. It was about six feet round. As I stared up at the beautiful little pieces of color, I heard my dad chuckle.

“See? I told you, there’s no place like this!”

Then I saw the true entry to the bar, a set of small bat winged doors that swung back and forth. He pulled one of the doors back, beckoning me forward. He looked down at me with a tender expression.

“Welcome home, honey, this is home now.”

As we entered the bar, I was dumbstruck. Baron was not. I stepped back in time, to 1896, into The Palace Hotel.

The bar took up half of the first floor of the hotel. It was the most captivating centerpiece of the establishment. The mirror behind the bar was the longest continuous piece of reflection glass in all the states, the brochure proclaimed. A brass foot rail extended the length of the long cherry oak bar A few feet behind was a waist high railing just like the saloons in old John Wayne movies.

The carpet was a deep royal red interlaced with black swirly patterns. Bright golden paper covered the walls. It was smooth and shiny with raised curly designs made out of felt or maybe even velour. God, I just wanted to reach over and run my fingers across it!  

The wall opposite the bar had windows that were quizzically narrow and impossibly tall. Lush maroon velvet drapes adorned them, parted in the center to provide a view of the quaint town just beyond the sidewalk.

I looked up at the ornate ceiling, which seemed a mile above me. It was covered with tiles of little angels that all looked the same, yet different. The angels danced across the entire ceiling until it curved and met the wall. I got dizzy looking at them.

“You can’t find ceiling tiles like that anywhere! My dad grinned. “They’re covered in pure gold leaf!”

I didn’t know what pure gold leaf was, but the word ‘gold’ impressed me very much.

He introduced me to the staff. I l blushed when he said; “This is Susie, my favorite little girl!” I had never heard that before. The whole crew greeted me warmly, all smiles and friendliness.  

I always paid attention when Baron got nervous but I chose to ignore him. I jostled him in my arms. My stern look at him stopped his squiggling, but his look back conveyed that I was clueless.

I, however thought, Okay, I have died and gone to Heaven! I was enchanted. My fascination with this magical setting made me feel happy; I was in the neatest place I had ever seen. I’m going to love it here!

On the first night, my dad led me around the ground floor. The restaurant was as elegant as the bar. To the rear of the restaurant, there was a large commercial kitchen. Off the rear of the kitchen, he showed, me a short hallway to the back exit. To the right, a huge staircase led to the two upper floors of dilapidated hotel rooms. A manager’s apartment had been converted from several hotel rooms connected together on the second floor, just above the entrance to the hotel.

We ended up back in the bar and sat at a table for two. Crystal, the head bartender stayed on for a little while longer after the rest of the staff were allowed to go home.

Sitting at the table, he ordered Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. I had never had Cream Sherry before, but it tasted like candy with nuts and I had no problem going through numerous rounds in a very short time. I was hungry but I was too nervous to eat.

Baron, however, was ravenous. My dad fed him little pieces filet mignon and French bread with real butter. He played cute for my dad, sitting up and begging. He jumped up, putting his paws on my dad’s leg, wagging his tail like crazy.

I was a little befuddled until I caught his sideways glance that said, “I do not like this guy, but I gotta eat, I’m starving. You’re the one falling into his into his trap, not me.”

Ouch. “Baron, sometimes I wish you would shut the hell up.”

After having his fill, he settled into a wary sleep on top of my feet. I never worried about losing Baron. Where I went, he went, period.

I wasn’t aware when the bartender left. The bottle was on the table before I knew it; he kept my glass full. I was five feet tall and weighed 106 pounds. I had a lethal level of alcohol pulsing threw my entire body…and I had my daddy.

I was in a haze. Actually, it was more of a daze than a haze. My vision was failing me. I looked at him; he was in a million pieces. I knitted my brows and struggled. I leaned my face forward and focused real hard. He became one face again.  

He was gentle. I became at peace, listening to the love pouring out of him and into me. I’d never felt so safe. I couldn’t believe that my life was actually turning out good for once. I fell into a dream and didn’t want to wake up.

But, I was woken up… by my dad shaking my shoulder. I had passed out sitting up.

“Come on; let’s get you upstairs and into bed. I’ll bring the Sherry with us.”

As if I needed more sherry. I was so drunk; I could barely stand up. He pulled me up and started guiding me through this strange building. I’d lost track of time. I couldn’t figure out where I was. I kept teetering.

He picked me up and carried me up to my new home. I was so happy, swaying in his arms, but my head was spinning. The combination of swaying and spinning started to make me a little nauseous.




I heard Baron’s little claws clicking up the wide set off shiny wooden stairs. Half way up, there was a landing, which led to another set of stairs that ended on the carpet of the second floor. We started down a narrow, endless hallway with an infinite amount of doors on both sides.


As we passed door after door, my head fell back. I developed tunnel vision as I looked at the doors’ upside-down numbers. I listened to the soft tinkle of Baron’s dog tags. Sleep was overcoming me. It seemed like forever before we stopped at the second to last door on the left.  

I didn’t feel scared, I felt warm and safe. My dad was going to keep me. I was still in his arms when he looked down at me with soft, caring eyes. He smiled warmly. Then he turned off the light.

**
  
That night, my father attacked me with such a maniacal force; there was no chance to change the circumstances. He laid me down on the floor and began kissing me all over my face until he found my mouth. He plunged his tongue deeply down my throat and I could feel his weight shifting on top of me. His hands went everywhere, until they found the buttons of my shirt, my pants.

“I love you, I love you,” he kept repeating. He left no time for me to process anything before my pants were off and he was in me, still saying repeatedly “I love you.” I died in that instant, as I did over seven hundred times in the two years I lived with 'Gary Don'.

There are no words to express the devastation and sheer disbelief of what I was experiencing. That night my eyes were clamped shut, barely allowing the tears to roll down my side-turned face until they found the crevices of my ear. It was OK though. I heard less.

My father was a brilliant sociopath, which was not a good combination. He felt no guilt. He had complete disregard for others unless it benefited him. In the 1830’s this disorder was called “moral insanity.” I wondered why it was changed to sociopath. My dad was clearly morally insane.

He knew my need for love was so profound I would take it however I could. He knew the price I would pay. But, it wasn't about me, it was never about me. It was all about that motherfucker. I was caught in a web, sticky, waiting. He was the spider, I was the fly. All I could do was accept my demise.

“You’ll sleep in here now,” he told me the next day. “After last night, you must know how much I love you…”


I just walked like a zombie to the big bed and sat down next to him. I am his daughter. How could this be?

This can’t be my life….this can’t be my life…the thought kept repeating over and over in my mind….this just can’t be my life! At fifteen, it seemed that I didn’t have much of a life to compare to, but mine had been no ordinary life.

My father forced me into a madness that tainted me in a way that is impossible to describe. He yanked my head off, turned it backwards and thrust it back down onto new crooked shoulders. He flipped my reality upside down and turned it inside out. Mind-bending events unfolded.

Was I wrong not to see the future? Was I so stupid that I couldn’t see the signs? The devil had two faces. Dad wore a convincing mask and I saw it slip more than others did. I knew I was in the presence of evil.

I experienced the inexplicable on a constant basis. My life turned to shit as his twisted worldview, his warped morals and ethics were shoved down my throat. At breakneck speed, I changed.

Baron wisely remained his cute, undeniably charismatic self. My dad fell for him hard.

That next afternoon, my dad left the apartment. It was the first time Baron and I were alone, since we’d arrived at the Palace. We sat on the couch/daybed together and stared in opposite directions.

When I looked at him, he was stone-faced. “How could you be so nice to him, you little traitor? Gawd!”

He was disgusted by the question. “Hey, I’m a dog. Dogs love meat, OK? Besides I was starving...when did you last feed me???"

I wanted to cry. “I have your food packed with me! I just couldn't get to my bags. You saw how fast everything happened! And besides, you didn’t have to show him how much you enjoyed it. He’s in love with you now.”

Sheepishly, He turned his head away from  me, I couldn't see his face.

He muttered “Well…it was filet mignon…what did you expect? Susan, you are going to have to learn to play the game.” You should’ve eaten too, you look green.

I did feel like shit, in fact I couldn’t remember feeling so bad. But still, I retorted, “How would you know what color I am? Dogs can’t see…”

“That’s such bullshit, Susan. Dogs are NOT color-blind. It’s a made up story by humans, just because they’re jealous.”

“Jealous? Jealous of what?”

After rolling his eyes upward, he shook his head and looked down at the grungy old gold carpet that was stained to brown from countless cheap cigarettes. He sniffed at a one of the burnt black spots that dotted the carpet in a semi semi-circles around the lounge chair and the daybed/couch. ....Menthol...gross...'

"Uh..wrong....he doesn't smoke menthols, he smokes Parlaments...like those are so much better...cigarettes in a bluue package?? Wierd..."

Baron's  exasperation was complete. "No shit, dumbass. I had to breathe those cancer sticks across half the United States, remember?" He sniffed the burn hole again "No, the menthols here smell nasty. They  match the cheap perfume of even cheaper women..."

Eewwww. that was a low blow. I lay back down, defeated.

"And why would humans be jealous, may I ask? Genius?"

“Geez, Susan, everything! Dogs do EVERYTHING better than humans! We can see further, we can smell better, and we can hear waay more than you guys. We don’t talk in front of most humans because WE are too intelligent for that.

Very, very few humans can talk, much less, understand dog language. But we can do both with humans! Shit! We can even talk to cats, believe it or not!"

"Well, uh. well...I can talk to cats too..."

"Susan, please!! It's not just that! Humans are mean! They're mean for no reason! It's insane!"

":Oh yeah? You were pretty insanely mean to me just now...."

That got to him. He was never mean. He said it "was unbecoming of a dog, too human-like..."

I won the fight, but it backfired, proving his point, entirely.

“Yeah, see there? You're mean too! Fine with me!! . Go lick his feet tonight, he'll probably feed you lobster!”

He gave me his most impressive ‘Screw You’ look I had ever seen...

He punched me in the gut...again “You know I hate seafood, Susan...thanks a lot... for nothing”.

“God, Baron!  If you don’t like him, how come you were so cutesy-pootsy when he was feeding you last night?”

Now I was as ashamed as he was incredulous. He had never fallen asleep at night without my arms around him. Not once in his life had he ever slept on the floor all night.

“What the hell do you mean? You think I’m a traitor? You abandoned me! I thought you were being killed! I understand a lot of human, but what I heard last night made me want to die! I’m scared, Susan! You are my life, I can’t stand this! I’m a nervous wreck!

He was done with me. He leaned forward, staggering slanted ways, carrying the new found bag of rocks on his back. He started slinking away to his new home under the bed.

I couldn’t stand it. “Come back, you’re right! I’m sorry, Baron! We’ll be OK, I promise!

He turned and trotted to me, jumped up on my lap and laid his head on my chest. We were both crushed. We needed each other, now more than ever. We were so hurt, confused and sad. It was all my fault; I had dismissed him from the time we left Oklahoma City.
  
I just hated it when he was smarter than I was. “Dammit, Baron the problem is, you always think you’re right.”

“Nooo, Susan, the problem is I AM always right, you just don’t listen. Shit, your dad is a dumbass! He adores me and I loathe him, he just doesn’t know it! Shit he doesn’t have a clue! He’s so stupid when it comes to me! He just doesn’t get it! That’s why I’m going to use every trick I can to help. It should be easy, really, heh, heh, heh. Just remember, I don’t want to be here. But I don’t want to be anywhere that you aren’t, OK? Just hang on, don’t leave me, and we’ll get through this. Just think smart, like me.”

He snorted out of his nose and plunked his head down onto my knee. With a sigh, his eyes closed. He was tired of explaining.

At that point, I left it alone and so did he. If I had ever felt true love, it was at that moment. He was right. All that mattered was he loved me, thought I was an idiot, and forgave me all at the same time.

ithout him. He was a tiny black and tan Dachshund. I got him free when I was fourteen, wh
Susan Hunt
Jul 13, 2012

CHAPTER ONE: THE DEMISE OF A YOUNG GIRL SEPTEMBER 1975


I had not seen my father in over two years when he showed up at my mom and step dad's condo. He had a slick knack of disappearing when laws were broken and he was wanted for questioning. He had an even better ability to re-enter when the heat was off.

My father owned three nightclubs in Oklahoma City. His first was the Silver Sword, and then he opened The Red Slipper. After he met his second wife, they together, opened the Jade Club.

All were successful, but the Red Slipper had a reputation. On a rare occasion, my dad would take me with him to open up the place. At first, it scared me. It was so dark in there. But as the lights came on behind the bar, I fell in love with the atmosphere.

Bobby Orr’s hockey stick hung on the wall, along with an endearing note from F. Lee Bailey. At six years old, all I knew was that they were the objects that made my dad beam.

I learned to play pool by standing on a phone book. I watched the colorful smacking balls bounce around the most beautiful color of green I had ever seen. Chalking the stick was a chore, but after nearly poking my eye out once, I soon caught on.

It was a struggle to climb up on a barstool, but it was worth the effort. I sat at the bar and had lunch: popcorn, pretzels, peanuts and Pepsi.

As I grew older, I saw less and less of him, until he became a stranger, drifting in every once in awhile.  Every few weeks or so, I would come home from school, and see his car in the driveway.

This always shot fear and excitement through me. The air of unpredictability always made me want to pee. Unfortunately, most of the time, we were locked out of the house for a few hours, so I would have to pee in the back yard or at the neighbors. We waited on the stairs for the front door to open. And it always did, by my mom. She usually looked satisfied and serene but other times, I saw dread and sadness on her face.

Ever since I could remember, my dad had been a string of disappointments for me with a few indescribable moments of pure enjoyment mixed in between He could be kind, funny and like a real dad sometimes, that was the dad I missed. I tried to hold onto those experiences, even though he was such a mean bastard most of the time. But mostly, I just didn't know him.

Their divorce became final around the summer of 1972, but that didn't stop my mom from loving him. I don't know why, but she chased him frequently, going out to bars with her friends, trying to get a glimpse of him, and maybe more.

The last time I’d seen my father had not been pleasant. When I was thirteen, he broke down the door to our apartment and went straight to my mother’s bedroom. The noises were terrifying. The screaming, and punching sounds were followed by my mother’s whimpering, begging, groveling.

"How dare you do this to me, Patsy!? And behind my back! You could have at least told me!"

My dad had bailed himself out of jail that night. She promised him she would never seek alimony or child support again. Her lawyer was wrong. It wasn’t worth getting killed over.  

Shortly after, he had to leave the state. It had something to do with a low-level mob deal involving an insurance fraud. Too bad, it involved burning a building with someone in it. My dad became nothing but a memory, which faded away over time.

**

Alcohol and tobacco were constants in my family, so when my older brother, Tim, started smoking at ten years old, I don't remember much protest from anyone. I was seven and when my sister Abby, turned ten the next year, she also started smoking.  All the older kids were smoking cigarettes. I wanted to be cool, so I puked and coughed as I practiced. By the time I was ten, I too, was inhaling properly.  Around that time, I was introduced to pot by my sister's boyfriend. It did help my mood, somewhat, but it wasn't enough.

By 1974, I was using drugs from my sister’s boyfriend. John was a true drugstore cowboy. At first, he committed burglaries, which were easy at the time. There were no sophisticated electronics to stop someone from cutting a hole in the roof of a pharmacy. It took only minutes to pry open the safe that contained the narcotics. Then it took maybe another minute to fill a pillowcase full of every variety of amphetamines, barbiturates, valiums, etc.

It wasn’t long before I graduated to using morphine, cocaine and then overdosed on Demerol. My stepfather sent me to a treatment facility in Tulsa Oklahoma, about one hundred miles away from Oklahoma City. The Dillon treatment center didn’t accept clients under age of sixteen but made an exception with me. I was a walking-talking disastrous miracle...or a miraculously saved disaster.

They figured that since I was fourteen, the sooner the better to start my road to recovery. Apparently, they didn’t condone sneaking pot and valiums in to the facility. I was kicked out of Dillon after about a month.

I came back home and laid low. I went back to Hefner Jr. High and enrolled back into the ninth grade. I quietly picked up where I left off, going back into business with John. My job was to sell the safe stuff; valiums, seconols, white bennies, pot, etc.


Summer came; I turned fifteen and had developed a tendency to over test my wares. I overdosed and nearly died in the hospital several times, which had led to my current predicament. Nobody knew what to do with me.

In August, I entered the tenth grade...for two weeks. I was expelled, (you guessed it) for dealing drugs. I was on homebound teaching twice a week with little supervision. My mother worked, my step-dad, Dick ,worked, and I was home all day. However, I was not just sitting idly around. I was into enterprise.

**

In September, I overdosed again. I was quickly killing myself and my mother didn’t know what to do to stop it. That is why what happened was not my mother’s fault. But it wasn’t my fault either.

I never figured out how he knew where we lived. My mother moved over at least fourteen times in between the time I was six and twelve years old. Yet, here he was, at our front door, with his undeniable ‘ah shucks’ charm. His modesty was convincing. His timing was incredible. My mother stood frozen, her mouth agape. Dick took the lead. He placed himself between my mother and father.

“You must be Gary Don, my name is Dick; I’m Patsy’s husband." Dick had never met my dad, but he'd heard enough about him to surmise who was standing at the door.

"Um, yeah, I'm Gary Don, it's nice to meet you Dick", he said; as he offered a friendly hand shake to Dick.

"I hope I'm not interrupting you, I was just in Duncan with my parents and they suggested I stop by and talk with you before heading back west. It's about Susie....

"Yes, Patsy said you called yesterday. We weren't expecting you this soon, but it's no problem. Why don't you come in and tell us what your plans are? Patsy, honey, would you mind putting on a pot of coffee?”

This unfroze my mother and she scurried to the kitchen. I was still in shock at seeing my dad’s face. I retreated to the staircase, but poked my head around and caught him glance at me. I flew up to the landing. I could easily escape up the rest of the stairs to my bedroom.
I was small enough to remain hidden on the landing, and heard the conversation between my mother, my dad and Dick. Dick was the classiest, most even-tempered adult I had ever encountered. I wished I could stop hurting him and my mother.  

My mother sat down two cups of coffee on the dining room table where my dad and Dick sat. As she retreated a few steps back into the kitchen, Dick politely probed my dad. My dad had the right answer for every question.

He swore he was a completely different person. He had changed. He had no hard feelings, instead he was back to help. He was remorseful for being an absent father and he wanted to make things right. He was back for a reason. He had heard that I was in trouble with drugs and school and he felt guilty for that. He had the answer to my problems. He was so convincing, so….humble, almost shy.

As I listened, I began freaking out with fear and excitement. I always wanted my dad. The last time I tried to live with him, it didn’t work out; he sent me back to my mother’s after a month. Now my dad wanted me! He wanted to save me, take care of me!

He lived by himself now. He was the manager of The Palace Restaurant/Hotel in the little town of Raton, New Mexico. It was a refurbished hotel, built over a century ago The ground floor was an elegant bar and restaurant. He was making very good money, he paid no rent and he had an extra room for me.

With a population of 6000, it was not a place to continue a lucrative drug business. Also, he would enroll me into the little high school and I could get my diploma. I could work in the restaurant in the evenings where he would keep his eye on me. Then, there was the horse. He would buy me a horse. And on and on and on.

The logic and sincerity of his argument was convincing. So there it was. An hour later, my bags were packed. I was going to live with my father in New Mexico.

That’s how in September 1975, my father whisked me away from my home in Oklahoma City, under the guise of saving me from my own demise. I was stolen and held captive in Raton, New Mexico for what seemed like forever.

My dog, Baron was coming with me, I refused to go anywhere without him. He was a tiny black and tan Dachshund. I got him free when I was fourteen, when I got back from Tulsa. To me, he was priceless. He was my best friend. He couldn’t have weighed more than ten pounds, but his heart was huge.

I talked to him about everything and he consoled me by nodding, and licking me on the cheek non-stop…or he would admonish me through his expressions and demeanor. I had lived with Dachshunds since I was seven, so understood their language pretty well. Baron understood humans better. We developed a rare communication that worked well for both of us.
Herman, our older dachshund had greeted my dad cordially. Baron couldn’t figure this out, he expressed his apprehension. He looked at me and conveyed,

“Well, if Herman isn’t worried, I guess it’ll be Okay, right? Right, Susan?”

I was sorry I didn’t have an honest answer. I did my best to settle him.

“Sure, this’ll be fun, a whole new adventure!”

As we drove West, toward the Texas panhandle, Baron kept the conversation going by his curious interest expressed by wide eyes and attentive ears. My dad amazed him with his knowledge of history, geography, geology, astronomy, world geo-politics, weather, music on the radio, literature, mechanics, religion and countless other topics. I knew he was faking his fascination with my dad. He knew he was doing me a favor.

There was not a dead moment in the air. An occasional “really?” expressed by me was enough to keep my dad’s mouth running. I was thankful for that. It kept my attention away from my jangle of emotions. As we drove through the night, I was conflicted, scared, excited, happy and worried. I didn’t know where I was going, or who was driving me there.

My dad’s jovial demeanor comforted me. He made The Palace sound like the perfect place for his little princess.

When we arrived, it was late, after 10pm., Baron was exhausted. I stood on the corner and looked up. I gulped. The three-story building was like an old gothic castle. It was a huge rectangle with the front corner cut back with a fifth wall about ten feet wide. This provided the entrance with two giant oak doors. Baron was less than enthused by its foreboding appearance. I had to agree.

Dad ignored my hesitation. “Come on, you’re going to love this place!”

He pulled open one of the oak doors, which had to weigh at least five hundred pounds. I was hesitant, but thirsty. Baron’s squirming had started to annoy me. I went forward filled with adrenalin.

The initial entrance was a small round foyer with a domed ceiling of cut glass. It was about six feet round. As I stared up at the beautiful little pieces of color, I heard my dad chuckle.

“See? I told you, there’s no place like this!”

Then I saw the true entry to the bar, a set of small bat winged doors that swung back and forth. He pulled one of the doors back, beckoning me forward. He looked down at me with a tender expression.

“Welcome home, honey, this is home now.”

As we entered the bar, I was dumbstruck. Baron was not. I stepped back in time, to 1896, into The Palace Hotel.

The bar took up half of the first floor of the hotel. It was the most captivating centerpiece of the establishment. The mirror behind the bar was the longest continuous piece of reflection glass in all the states, the brochure proclaimed. A brass foot rail extended the length of the long cherry oak bar A few feet behind was a waist high railing just like the saloons in old John Wayne movies.

The carpet was a deep royal red interlaced with black swirly patterns. Bright golden paper covered the walls. It was smooth and shiny with raised curly designs made out of felt or maybe even velour. God, I just wanted to reach over and run my fingers across it!  

The wall opposite the bar had windows that were quizzically narrow and impossibly tall. Lush maroon velvet drapes adorned them, parted in the center to provide a view of the quaint town just beyond the sidewalk.

I looked up at the ornate ceiling, which seemed a mile above me. It was covered with tiles of little angels that all looked the same, yet different. The angels danced across the entire ceiling until it curved and met the wall. I got dizzy looking at them.

“You can’t find ceiling tiles like that anywhere! My dad grinned. “They’re covered in pure gold leaf!”

I didn’t know what pure gold leaf was, but the word ‘gold’ impressed me very much.

He introduced me to the staff. I l blushed when he said; “This is Susie, my favorite little girl!” I had never heard that before. The whole crew greeted me warmly, all smiles and friendliness.  

I always paid attention when Baron got nervous but I chose to ignore him. I jostled him in my arms. My stern look at him stopped his squiggling, but his look back conveyed that I was clueless.

I, however thought, Okay, I have died and gone to Heaven! I was enchanted. My fascination with this magical setting made me feel happy; I was in the neatest place I had ever seen. I’m going to love it here!

On the first night, my dad led me around the ground floor. The restaurant was as elegant as the bar. To the rear of the restaurant, there was a large commercial kitchen. Off the rear of the kitchen, he showed, me a short hallway to the back exit. To the right, a huge staircase led to the two upper floors of dilapidated hotel rooms. A manager’s apartment had been converted from several hotel rooms connected together on the second floor, just above the entrance to the hotel.

We ended up back in the bar and sat at a table for two. Crystal, the head bartender stayed on for a little while longer after the rest of the staff were allowed to go home.

Sitting at the table, he ordered Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. I had never had Cream Sherry before, but it tasted like candy with nuts and I had no problem going through numerous rounds in a very short time. I was hungry but I was too nervous to eat.

Baron, however, was ravenous. My dad fed him little pieces filet mignon and French bread with real butter. He played cute for my dad, sitting up and begging. He jumped up, putting his paws on my dad’s leg, wagging his tail like crazy.

I was a little befuddled until I caught his sideways glance that said, “I do not like this guy, but I gotta eat, I’m starving. You’re the one falling into his into his trap, not me.”

Ouch. “Baron, sometimes I wish you would shut the hell up.”

After having his fill, he settled into a wary sleep on top of my feet. I never worried about losing Baron. Where I went, he went, period.

I wasn’t aware when the bartender left. The bottle was on the table before I knew it; he kept my glass full. I was five feet tall and weighed 106 pounds. I had a lethal level of alcohol pulsing threw my entire body…and I had my daddy.

I was in a haze. Actually, it was more of a daze than a haze. My vision was failing me. I looked at him; he was in a million pieces. I knitted my brows and struggled. I leaned my face forward and focused real hard. He became one face again.  

He was gentle. I became at peace, listening to the love pouring out of him and into me. I’d never felt so safe. I couldn’t believe that my life was actually turning out good for once. I fell into a dream and didn’t want to wake up.

But, I was woken up… by my dad shaking my shoulder. I had passed out sitting up.

“Come on; let’s get you upstairs and into bed. I’ll bring the Sherry with us.”

As if I needed more sherry. I was so drunk; I could barely stand up. He pulled me up and started guiding me through this strange building. I’d lost track of time. I couldn’t figure out where I was. I kept teetering.

He picked me up and carried me up to my new home. I was so happy, swaying in his arms, but my head was spinning. The combination of swaying and spinning started to make me a little nauseous.




I heard Baron’s little claws clicking up the wide set off shiny wooden stairs. Half way up, there was a landing, which led to another set of stairs that ended on the carpet of the second floor. We started down a narrow, endless hallway with an infinite amount of doors on both sides.


As we passed door after door, my head fell back. I developed tunnel vision as I looked at the doors’ upside-down numbers. I listened to the soft tinkle of Baron’s dog tags. Sleep was overcoming me. It seemed like forever before we stopped at the second to last door on the left.  

I didn’t feel scared, I felt warm and safe. My dad was going to keep me. I was still in his arms when he looked down at me with soft, caring eyes. He smiled warmly. Then he turned off the light.

**
  
That night, my father attacked me with such a maniacal force; there was no chance to change the circumstances. He laid me down on the floor and began kissing me all over my face until he found my mouth. He plunged his tongue deeply down my throat and I could feel his weight shifting on top of me. His hands went everywhere, until they found the buttons of my shirt, my pants.

“I love you, I love you,” he kept repeating. He left no time for me to process anything before my pants were off and he was in me, still saying repeatedly “I love you.” I died in that instant, as I did over seven hundred times in the two years I lived with 'Gary Don'.

There are no words to express the devastation and sheer disbelief of what I was experiencing. That night my eyes were clamped shut, barely allowing the tears to roll down my side-turned face until they found the crevices of my ear. It was OK though. I heard less.

My father was a brilliant sociopath, which was not a good combination. He felt no guilt. He had complete disregard for others unless it benefited him. In the 1830’s this disorder was called “moral insanity.” I wondered why it was changed to sociopath. My dad was clearly morally insane.

He knew my need for love was so profound I would take it however I could. He knew the price I would pay. But, it wasn't about me, it was never about me. It was all about that motherfucker. I was caught in a web, sticky, waiting. He was the spider, I was the fly. All I could do was accept my demise.

“You’ll sleep in here now,” he told me the next day. “After last night, you must know how much I love you…”


I just walked like a zombie to the big bed and sat down next to him. I am his daughter. How could this be?

This can’t be my life….this can’t be my life…the thought kept repeating over and over in my mind….this just can’t be my life! At fifteen, it seemed that I didn’t have much of a life to compare to, but mine had been no ordinary life.

My father forced me into a madness that tainted me in a way that is impossible to describe. He yanked my head off, turned it backwards and thrust it back down onto new crooked shoulders. He flipped my reality upside down and turned it inside out. Mind-bending events unfolded.

Was I wrong not to see the future? Was I so stupid that I couldn’t see the signs? The devil had two faces. Dad wore a convincing mask and I saw it slip more than others did. I knew I was in the presence of evil.

I experienced the inexplicable on a constant basis. My life turned to shit as his twisted worldview, his warped morals and ethics were shoved down my throat. At breakneck speed, I changed.

Baron wisely remained his cute, undeniably charismatic self. My dad fell for him hard.

That next afternoon, my dad left the apartment. It was the first time Baron and I were alone, since we’d arrived at the Palace. We sat on the couch/daybed together and stared in opposite directions.

When I looked at him, he was stone-faced. “How could you be so nice to him, you little traitor? Gawd!”

He was disgusted by the question. “Hey, I’m a dog. Dogs love meat, OK? Besides I was starving...when did you last feed me???"

I wanted to cry. “I have your food packed with me! I just couldn't get to my bags. You saw how fast everything happened! And besides, you didn’t have to show him how much you enjoyed it. He’s in love with you now.”

Sheepishly, He turned his head away from  me, I couldn't see his face.

He muttered “Well…it was filet mignon…what did you expect? Susan, you are going to have to learn to play the game.” You should’ve eaten too, you look green.

I did feel like shit, in fact I couldn’t remember feeling so bad. But still, I retorted, “How would you know what color I am? Dogs can’t see…”

“That’s such bullshit, Susan. Dogs are NOT color-blind. It’s a made up story by humans, just because they’re jealous.”

“Jealous? Jealous of what?”

After rolling his eyes upward, he shook his head and looked down at the grungy old gold carpet that was stained to brown from countless cheap cigarettes. He sniffed at a one of the burnt black spots that dotted the carpet in a semi semi-circles around the lounge chair and the daybed/couch. ....Menthol...gross...'

"Uh..wrong....he doesn't smoke menthols, he smokes Parlaments...like those are so much better...cigarettes in a bluue package?? Wierd..."

Baron's  exasperation was complete. "No shit, dumbass. I had to breathe those cancer sticks across half the United States, remember?" He sniffed the burn hole again "No, the menthols here smell nasty. They  match the cheap perfume of even cheaper women..."

Eewwww. that was a low blow. I lay back down, defeated.

"And why would humans be jealous, may I ask? Genius?"

“Geez, Susan, everything! Dogs do EVERYTHING better than humans! We can see further, we can smell better, and we can hear waay more than you guys. We don’t talk in front of most humans because WE are too intelligent for that.

Very, very few humans can talk, much less, understand dog language. But we can do both with humans! Shit! We can even talk to cats, believe it or not!"

"Well, uh. well...I can talk to cats too..."

"Susan, please!! It's not just that! Humans are mean! They're mean for no reason! It's insane!"

":Oh yeah? You were pretty insanely mean to me just now...."

That got to him. He was never mean. He said it "was unbecoming of a dog, too human-like..."

I won the fight, but it backfired, proving his point, entirely.

“Yeah, see there? You're mean too! Fine with me!! . Go lick his feet tonight, he'll probably feed you lobster!”

He gave me his most impressive ‘Screw You’ look I had ever seen...

He punched me in the gut...again “You know I hate seafood, Susan...thanks a lot... for nothing”.

“God, Baron!  If you don’t like him, how come you were so cutesy-pootsy when he was feeding you last night?”

Now I was as ashamed as he was incredulous. He had never fallen asleep at night without my arms around him. Not once in his life had he ever slept on the floor all night.

“What the hell do you mean? You think I’m a traitor? You abandoned me! I thought you were being killed! I understand a lot of human, but what I heard last night made me want to die! I’m scared, Susan! You are my life, I can’t stand this! I’m a nervous wreck!

He was done with me. He leaned forward, staggering slanted ways, carrying the new found bag of rocks on his back. He started slinking away to his new home under the bed.

I couldn’t stand it. “Come back, you’re right! I’m sorry, Baron! We’ll be OK, I promise!

He turned and trotted to me, jumped up on my lap and laid his head on my chest. We were both crushed. We needed each other, now more than ever. We were so hurt, confused and sad. It was all my fault; I had dismissed him from the time we left Oklahoma City.
  
I just hated it when he was smarter than I was. “Dammit, Baron the problem is, you always think you’re right.”

“Nooo, Susan, the problem is I AM always right, you just don’t listen. Shit, your dad is a dumbass! He adores me and I loathe him, he just doesn’t know it! Shit he doesn’t have a clue! He’s so stupid when it comes to me! He just doesn’t get it! That’s why I’m going to use every trick I can to help. It should be easy, really, heh, heh, heh. Just remember, I don’t want to be here. But I don’t want to be anywhere that you aren’t, OK? Just hang on, don’t leave me, and we’ll get through this. Just think smart, like me.”

He snorted out of his nose and plunked his head down onto my knee. With a sigh, his eyes closed. He was tired of explaining.

At that point, I left it alone and so did he. If I had ever felt true love, it was at that moment. He was right. All that mattered was he loved me, thought I was an idiot, and forgave me all at the same time.

 
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