I should have known that a walk in the park was never going to be a walk in the park. What was I thinking, offering to take the neighbours dog out for a kindly stroll in the middle of August?
Sure the skies were bright blue, the sun actually shining for once, and the birds were singing but that was no excuse for a guy like me, to ever be in a place like this. Why? Why the hell had I agreed to… Oh. Yeah. That’s right. Tits.
Man, that broad had a pair so big that I thought at any moment the buttons on her top would blast open with all the vigour of Mentos shaken up in a bottle of Coke.
So here I was, the sun licking my stupid bald head like some sort of fruity lolly, my great big bushy beard serving as a sleeping bag for my chin and Rover cocking his leg at every god damn lamp-post, street sign, tree stump and trashcan he could sniff out. The old adage “Never work with children or animals” was bouncing around my head like a prisoner in solitude bouncing a ball against a wall. I’d add Crack heads, South Americans, Drug dealers and Clowns to that list, but overall I was starting to believe in the sentiment.
Yapping. It was another dog. That’s all I needed right now. I just knew this rat on a chain was going to head our way and sure enough that’s what happened. Jumping. Barking. Sniffing. What is it with dogs and each others assholes? Do two guys meet in a bar, instantly circle each other and start poking around in the others crack? Ok, maybe in San Francisco, but generally a nod of the head is all that’s required.
There was more barking. Different to the rest. Higher pitch, more… human. I looked up to see the owner of the rat, a woman, her face wrinkled like a perfectly white raisin. Her mouth so wide with fright it looked like she might actually split in two. I followed her gaze down towards my legs where Rover had taken a shine to rat boy and was busy showing him how they do things in prison. Who was I to break up such a loving reunion.
I lit a cigarette. It seemed like the right thing to do in the circumstance.
The gravel crunched under my boots with all the subtlety of a 7 year old chowing down on his breakfast cereal, I could feel the other people in the park staring at me like I was Gary Glitter gate crashing a slumber party. I had to get out of there.
I yanked on the chain expecting the hound to obey my every command but my demands fell on floppy deaf ears. The stinking mutt looked back at me with eyes I’d seen before. Eyes that seemed to say “You’ll pay for that, Max”, and with that, the beast began to squat.
Thick. Dark. Curling. The crap slowly poured out of the animal like a foul-smelling Play Doh Mop Top Hair Shop. I swear I could see this dog laugh at me as inch by inch it continued to squeeze out a turd the size of a sticky brown foot long right there by my feet. I’ve seen a lot of shit in my time, and I’ve cleaned a lot of dirty streets but never the twain have met.
Until now. Here I was, Max Payne, literally cleaning shit off the street.
This, I concluded, was my life.