Dogs barked in the distance, Oswald smiled thinking of his dog growing up, it had been quite a few years since he left home. He missed his old dog Greta. His dad always joked about her, calling her Greta the Wonder Dog. She was pretty normal in most respects although she did some pretty dumb things sometimes, like if she got into the food bag by accident. Well if we made the mistake of leaving it unsecured. She wouldn’t stop eating and twice we had to take her to the vets and get her stomach pumped.
So she wasn’t smart about her food, but one time there was a fire in the house. Our cat Stumpy chewed a lamp cord and the cord shorted and started a smolder in the rug. A smolder isn’t when there is a flamey fire, but instead you get a lot of smoke. We might have asphyxiated in our sleep if Greta hadn’t gotten all in a lather and started barking to beat the band. My father likes to tell the story and he always says “she was barking to beat the band”. Loud is what that means, loudly. I was startled out of my sleep, kind of pissed at first, because I was in the middle of what I am still pretty sure was my first really hot dream and in my dream I had a naked pretty woman in my bed.
I am not certain that would have been the best way to go really. Maybe for the eighteenth century romanticists. I am sure some of the nineteenth century romanticists might have been down with that too. Dying by asphyxiation during the height of your first sex dream! But Greta spoiled all that! She didn’t know. I remember all of us standing out in the cold, patting Greta who just grinned her shit eating grin and wagged her tail. I don’t know if she had any idea what she’d done. Instinct perhaps. I mean why did she care? Was it the food? I have often wondered what exactly is the man dog connection, person dog connection. Why do they give a shit? Cat’s are so blasé for the most part, they can take you or leave you, but dogs they are another story, they huff and they chuff, and they wag their tails, go right nuts really. Which was what Greta was doing outside the house with our family all assembled, watching the firemen do what they do. She went from one to the other of us, wagging her tail and barking to beat the band.
Oswald smiled at the memory, half wishing Greta was with him on this trip. He had just rounded a bend and Mount Everest was in sight. He had always wanted to hike the road into base camp. Well he had once upon a time dreamed about climbing to the top, but had gotten a bit long in the tooth for that. He had settled for the next best thing which was to go and be with the mountain and try to get some of that wonder that the explorers had written about, that Oswald had read about in those books, all those many years ago, when he had lived with ‘Greta the Wonder Dog’
The Admiral’s Boy