This story ends with a bath, and a face that looks like this:
|Alasse, at "Bath Time" (prints available here)|
My dog loves the lake. She loves the lake a lot. Well, let me rephrase that. She doesn’t love the lake so much, but she really loves balls. And when we go to the lake, I throw the ball for her. So she now associates the lake with balls, and therefore, she loves the lake.
The lake we go to, well it’s not the nicest of lakes, but it’s only twenty minutes away. And after a hard day of work, that’s about all I want to do. And Alasse isn’t the type to appreciate crystal clear water anyway. She only has eyes for balls.
It is, however, that time in the season where the lake is low. Very low. We drove out about a half a mile on the dried up lake bed before we came to the waters edge- or at least fifty feet from it. For fifty feet around the dwindling lake water there lies a strip of mud. Now, a girl like me isn’t bothered much by mud, so off we went. I had however, miscalculated the depth of the mud. Up to my ankles to be exact. Alasse was in heaven.
As the damage to my shoes was already done, I figured that we might as well go for it. I waded out slowly, squelch squelch squelching, while Alasse happily slid around me in circles, eyes never leaving the ball end of the chuck-it. Ten feet from the water I called it good and let loose. Alasse leapt into the water and paddled out as fast as she could.
Thirty minutes later, when my shoulder was beginning to develop a twinge, I called it a day. It was then, staring down at my mud covered pooch, that I remembered the hour I had spent that morning cleaning out my car. I studied the terrain, determined to find a way to get Alasse at least reasonably clean before letting her back into the car. There was also the matter of myself. I stared down at the giant lumps of mud that now covered my previously white tennis shoes.
I studied the terrain, determined. There was a slight hill a ways down the shore, that was rocky, and looked to be the best I could hope for. So we slipped, skidded, and squelched down the shore, took a wade, and exited via the rocky slope. I was elated. Things were looking up. Dog was reasonably clean. I was reasonably clean. Car saved!
We set off across the lake bed for my car, now quite a ways off. The ground was cracked, like a desert. Alasse was spinning in circles around me, eyes on the chuck-it, and I was gloating on my cleverness. Then we ran into trouble. What I had failed to notice, was that the trickling stream of water that I had so easily jumped over at the shore had carved a six-foot ravine in the earth. Too wide to jump over, and the side and bottom were muddy, dissuading me from climbing down. I thought about all my hard work to keep the dog mud free.
We kept walking, farther away from the car now, only to find that the canyon only grew in depth. And then Alasse jumped down and rolled around in the mud. At this point, I said “fuck-it” and climbed down with her and up to the other side. We were on the right side now, but it was for naught. I had a muddy dog, muddy feet, and a clean car.
Alasse of course, was having a grand time. She had finally given up on the hope of me throwing the ball again, and had run out ahead of me. She stopped suddenly and started to roll. I had seen some geese earlier. Probably goose poop. Alasse loves to roll in bird excrement.
“Oye, cut it out!”
Alasse ignored me.
“Alasse! Leave it”
Still no change in her frantic, rolling behavior. As I neared, I could see that she was definitely rolling on something much larger than a splat of goose shit. I soon discovered that it was a dead fish. One big smelly dead fish and a dirty dog, having the time of her life.
It just had to be a big dead fish. Thanks universe.
But if I know one thing in this life, it’s that hope is never lost. I covered the seats with the towels that I fortunately keep in the trunk, and found a plastic bag to put my shoes in. I set the dog in the front seat and let her know just what would happen if she moved an inch. I settled for dust over dead fish and rolled down the windows. Alasse, still having a grand time, leaned out, tongue lolling.
When we pulled up to the apartment, I cringed as I thought about my clean floors and carpet. I looked over at Alasse, staring up at me with love from mud-crusted fur. I sighed, and almost smiled. It was then that I remembered the two hours I had spent the day before cleaning the bathroom. The lost minutes lovingly scrubbing the tub with comet, cleaning between the tiles, and scrubbing the floor.
I put on my determined face. Alasse looked at me worriedly.
I carried her to the tub, plopped her in and started the shower. She immediately leapt out of the tub. Mid flight, she shook, flinging mud everywhere. Everywhere. At this point I may have muttered a few profane things. And when I say muttered, I mean to say that I might have woken the neighbors. (did I mention I live next door to a graveyard?)
Two shampoos later the dog was clean and sentenced to bed. Out came the comet and the sponges, and I cleaned.
When the bathroom was finally clean I sat down on the couch, exhausted and hungry. Alasse slunk from her bed and laid her head on my lap. Then it was her head and her shoulder, then her back, and finally, there was a whole god damn dog in my lap.
“What are you doing?”
“What are you doing now?”
“What about now?”
I sighed. Time for another walk.