Read the first scene Here and here.
when i first got toby, i was living with W. a nice enough man, but we were not well suited. he was a martial artist and ran a little dojo, and i was more a bookish type. we didn't share a lot of interests. one of his interests, as it turned out, was going out drinking and dancing and sometimes playing beach volleyball with the lovely young women he worked with. i have never been very interested in volleyball, myself. so, as i said, not well suited.
but he did give me toby, and for that i will always be grateful.
our last summer together was difficult. i was writing a book, and he had lost his job. he spent a lot of time lying on the couch staring at the ceiling. i was kind of fed up at that point--all that volleyball, you know--and i asked him to leave. he went and lay down on the couch and stared at the ceiling. i felt sorry for him and said he didn't have to go.
that fall, i went to england and scotland with some friends, and he moved out while i was gone. when my plane landed in boston i called to let him know what time i would be home, and he said, "one more load of boxes and i'm gone."
so then it was just toby and me. and that was much better.
that october, my little brother invited me to the twin cities for my birthday. he was always trying to get me to move down there--more things to do, more family around, better jobs. he figured out before i did that i would like st. paul better than minneapolis, so he tempted me by saying that st. paul was just like europe. i should come on down and see.
"what about toby?" i said. "i can't leave toby behind."
"bring him along!" tommy said.
so i did. on a glorious october saturday morning, we locked up the house, hopped into the toyota, and hit the road. i am not a big fan of freeway driving, but the way i remember that day there was sunshine, electric blue sky, no traffic, and birds singing everywhere we went.
unlike some dogs i know, toby loved riding in the car. he'd stick his head out the window for a few miles, and then settle down, curl around a tennis ball, and go to sleep.
we got to tommy's house in plenty of time. now, tommy is a great brother--funny, generous, always up for an adventure--but he has never had a dog. he's not attuned to their needs or their habits. he met toby and me on the sidewalk, and he said, "let's go to the sculpture garden!" (he was hot to show me the marvels of the twin cities, hoping to get me to move.)
"toby's going to need a walk," i said.
tommy, as i said, did not have a dog. he didn't understand that "toby's going to need a walk" was code for "toby needs to pee like a racehorse and possibly take a dump as well."
"he can walk at the sculpture garden," he said.
i was dubious, but i figured, ok. i was not attuned to the ways of the city and didn't realize that dogs really shouldn't be doing their business in the park. where i lived, they pretty much just ran off in the woods and came back happily a little while later.
so we jumped into tommy's car and drove down to the sculpture garden near the Walker Art Center. i quickly realized this was not the best place for toby in his condition. i had him on the leash, and i tried to drag him off to the far corner of the park, but there was really nowhere to go.
toby took matters into his own hands. paws. whatever. he seized the moment. he trotted up to what appeared to me to be an enormous rock, and he lifted his leg. oh well, i thought, a rock should be ok.
the i heard a shriek out of my brother. "laurie!" he said. "your dog just pissed all over a million dollar sculpture!"
i gave the rock a look--it still just looked like a rock to me--and dragged toby away. toby was fine with that. he was done anyway.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Read the first scene Here and here.