“Stop pouting. You saw that coming a mile away.”
She was right and it ticked me off.
“Watch yourself, girl.”
I’d muttered it without a hint of humor. That made the dog giggle.
“There’s that park by the yoga place,” she said. “Let’s hope for something a little less Jack Russelly.”
Isis, my scrappy four year-old black labrador retriever, couldn’t handle certain breeds. But today, it wouldn’t have mattered. I didn’t need her help finding a date. The woman in the cheese aisle was doing all the work.
“Hey, lady,” her Jack Russell yapped. He pulled his mistress headlong into us with determination exceeding his size. “This one,” he screamed. “This one!”
“I’m so sorry.”
The auburn-haired beauty untangled the leashes, flashing an easy grin.
“Buster! Quiet!” She leaned over. “Please, excuse him. He has no inner dia-DOG!”
Back in the car minutes later, Isis started in.
“You’re being too picky. She was beautiful and charming. And clever. She checked every box. And I’d have put up with that pogoing...rat of hers, you know. If it gets you out of this funk–”
“Inner dia-DOG?” I pleaded. “Did you see what she had in her cart? Sugar and preservatives –”
Isis lowered her head to the center console and sighed.
“You have to start somewhere, darling.” She could see my eyes glazing and backed off. “I’m sorry to press. But...”
I didn’t want to start somewhere. I wanted the black hole in my chest to grow bigger and more out of control until it swallowed everything whole. Agony had become my new identity.
Once a popular figure and lecturer with a voice so deep it could peel paint off walls, I was now being called the “hoarse whisperer." I’d heard of people dying of a broken heart but I’d never contemplated losing my voice to one. That's why I felt lucky to have Isis and her biting wit. She provided a steady stream of salty BS, irony, and unrelenting honesty about the personal nightmare I was dealing with. And running gags.
“You know what they say,” she twinkled. "Don't you?"
I rolled my eyes.
“They say, it’s only the view from where you SIT that makes you feel despair–”
She had three versions of the same stale motivational quote she’d taunt me with whenever my gloom intruded on her peace.
“–Life is full of many rooms. So, why don’t you...change your chair?”
“I give you one job. One.”
Isis insisted on a specific brand of canned tuna. She hadn’t said a word about the 50 pound case of canned chicken I'd grabbed by mistake until we were miles from Costco. I hoped she was just messing with me. The prospect of returning to that overcrowded and chaotic mothership on a Sunday afternoon was a box-store too far.
“Just get this thing off me.”
I tugged at the velcro straps of her service animal uniform and released the buckle.
“Wait,” she said. “We have to go back.”
“I’m sorry. I’ve been thinking about it. I can’t do chicken.”
Now I knew she was gigging me. Isis laughed. “But seriously, sweetheart, you have to get your head in the game. Now.”
This sleek, ebony beauty had come into my life years earlier at the behest of an online therapist. He’d suggested a dog as a means for getting my voice back. It made sense. I had to exercise my vocal chords, but talking to humans was unbearable in my diminished state. Over the years, the therapy had produced positive results. And Isis had become my best friend, best girl, merciless vocal coach and, most recently, my pimp.
“Acte sexuel. Geschlechtsakt. Habere sexus.”
My whisper-screams only encouraged her. She knew terms for...doing IT in several languages and would torment me with them. And worse.
“We gotta get you a woman –” she howled it like a show tune. “And when we’re through with youuuuu, we’ll get me one, too. You know,” she sang, brow raised, “I think you’d really like that. You know. A woman.”
“We gotta get you spayed.”
“If that will get you back on the horse, gladly.”
Yes. That horse. We had a world to save. My kicking around for months on end – unshaven and in my boxers – had lost its novelty for the dog. It was ‘get back in the game’ time or ‘depart in defeat’ time. And Isis couldn’t risk defeat. Not with what she knew was coming.
“Look,” she said. “You loved her. You’ll always love her. But the woman left you. For an attorney. In Idaho. Let that sink in. You think you’re in hell right now? Your darling ex-spouse is up to her pretty eyeballs in arguments, cross-examinations, pleadings, au gratin potatoes, baked potatoes, tater tots and the petty mumbo jumbo that never ends with that guy. She’s made her bed and you’re never sleeping in it again. Dot. She’s not coming back. Dearest, we’ve all suffered enough. It’s time to do what you came here to do.”
Isis licked my face.
“You knew better than to become so involved with earth females. The council warned you. Dr. Mi’Ehlele was emphatic. But what's done is done and we're wasting time this planet doesn't have.”
Right as always.
Isis never minced words. That’s why she’d been assigned to me. Much as I hated loving and losing, I had white papers to compose, the cures for cancer, Alzheimer's and other human afflictions to bring to the population – followed by free energy, air and water purification, ending war forever...
It was a lot.
She dropped the leash at my feet.
“Now, how about you take your best, most loyal girl for a long walk to that park full of hotties and get your freak on before we commence to cleaning up the mess they've made of this pretty planet. I know I'd prefer my tuna with a touch less mercury. Speak, sonny boy. You...up for IT?”
About the Creator
The only rule of heaven is to follow your heart. The only rule of hell is to follow someone else's. I've written for everyone else during my career. Today, I'm following my heart and writing for people who love to read, laugh and grow.