Germaine was a German shepherd, your garden variety of germane purebred–bad hips, arthritis, ears overlarge and rear end rat-like. His master was a Lipton tea drinker who would lay out for hours in the sun, but would wear such a large floppy hat and slather on the 45 SPF sunscreen so much that he was in fact as pale as an albino. He liked the feeling of being adventurous, without any of the deleterious effects. “Germaine,” he said, knee deep in a mai tai and Hindu scripture, “GERMAINE!” The german shepherd whined and looked at his pale master, his ears swiveled and tentative in the summer air, then groaned and raised his mangy body painfully and waddled over. Johnson liked to exercise his authority over the dog, simply to maintain order and give the semblance of purpose to his hours in (out) the sun. Germaine licked at Johnson’s hand, inspected the mai tai, farted breezily, then plopped himself down again, having determined that the call was only an exercise.
The phone rang in the kitchen. “Goddammit,” Johnson muttered. “GERMAINE!” The dog lay on his side, his left ear merely moving a little in faint reflex. “Useless mutt. Can’t even pick up a phone.” Johnson heaved himself up and suddenly felt the mai tai drop heatedly into his stomach. He stumbled his way indoors and picked up the phone.
“Rawlins, I thought I asked you, politely, never to call here again.”
“I’m sitting here in the sun, I’m reading the Mahabharata, I get up from my concentrated study to answer the phone from someone who should not be calling me.”
“Mo-ther-fuck-er. There’s a yardsale going on down on Dandelion Lane. Lemonade and everything, the kind that makes you pucker.”
“You’d better be there motherfucker. I’m baking cookies.”
“Peanut butter and pumpkin, motherfucker!”
Johnson got his Schwinn out from the shed and tried to take some of the cobwebs off with a stick. Germaine lay watching happily, his pink tongue lolling. Johnson poured a little vodka into a thermos, just in case, then got onto the rusty red bike and pedaled around the side of the house and down the driveway and into the street.