I was a kind of Scotch terrier mutt, grey and black and brown. I saw myself in a full-length mirror on one of her closet doors.
I was in the living room with the other dogs. They were all muttering to me in Chinese. So they were men too! It was strange, their Chinese. I could hear it as if it came from the back of their throats or from their minds: almost as if by telepathy. I responded in the same way with my own very bad Chinese.
"Are you American?" they asked.
"Yes," I said.
"Too bad for you to come to this place," said the big dog.
"We are not happy here," said one of the lap dogs.
"I also am not happy," I said. “What is happening here?”
Being that my Chinese was so bad, this was about all I could communicate. I neither understood most of what they were asking me nor the things they said in answer to my questions.
The apartment had very strong smells everywhere around it, and the Mistress' body itself smelled like Heaven. I wanted to crawl into her skin with her and die in her smell. I almost pee-peed on the floor when she was sitting next to me. She smelled so good! But I'm lucky I didn't.
And the bamboo mat we made love on--what an ecstatic smell that had! Delightful! I immediately made plans to sleep on it that night. I rubbed my muzzle on it and rolled around on it awhile.
There were roaches in her kitchen cabinets. Roaches are terrible creatures. They stink like chemicals or corroding metal. It made the kitchen very unpleasant even though there was the smell of meat in there too.
Finally a man came home in a suit, a businessman. He was about ten years older than the Mistress. When he saw me he pursed his lips. He wasn't happy there was another dog, I guess. I believe he didn't know where his wife or girlfriend got all the dogs from in the first place. But there was a kind of resigned look about him: even if he knew, he probably wouldn't have done anything about it. He would only be scared she would one day turn him into a dog too.
The man smells like a locker room. His feet especially are awful. But he is, in a way, handsome, and he's probably the one who bought the Mercedes and the flat. I understand why the Mistress is with him.
The Mistress made two bowls of shrimp noodle soup and he and she ate them while the Mistress watched Those Amazing Animals on the Discovery Channel. Loretta Switt hosted the show, and I sat at the foot of the couch trying to remember what show she was in when I was a kid. I kept coming up with Police Woman, but I knew that was Angie Dickinson. What was Loretta Switt in? I never watched TV after I got to university, and I now remember very little about all the shows other Americans my age remember episode by episode. Was she in Beretta? No, it wasn't Beretta. I probably only thought of Beretta because it rhymes with Loretta, and because Loretta Switt was holding a white cockatoo in the opening section of Those Amazing Animals, and there is a white bird in the show Beretta too. There is a white bird and some illiterate cop. Does the bird help him solve crimes? I don't remember. Starsky and Hutch. The Bionic Man. Hawaii Five-O. "Book 'em, Dano." "Yabba Dabba Doo!" "Gee, Wally, that Eddie sure is a wise guy." "And my name is Charlie." So many stupid names and phrases started coming back to me as soon as I tried to remember what Loretta Switt was in. It made me kind of angry. Why didn't she just dry up along with all the rest of it? Why did she have to go stirring all that crud around and bringing it to the surface anyway?
All the animals in Those Amazing Animals were very interesting to me. I wanted to smell some of them or bite others. That I could only see pictures of them seemed really dull. There was no sound and no smell. I immediately thought of something like speakers that would emit the scent of what one was watching. When I saw the rhino, I wanted to smell the compacted hair I knew made up his horn. I didn't much care about seeing him from twenty feet away, which is all I could do with the TV screen. And same with the giraffes. When I saw the giraffes, I wanted to smell their hooves after they had tromped around in the dust for a day. Giraffes made up of little flecks of light are nothing but a kind of tease. Do giraffes urinate on trees or do they just urinate where they're standing like elephants do? You don't mess with those elephants. I knew that as if by instinct. They are faster and smarter than they look.
All those animals had dung and genitals and sweat, a whole library of sweat and skin oils, with matted hair that gathered the best of it. I knew they all stunk, and I couldn't wait to get at them. And they all had their own way of making noise when you came near them. I knew they did. I yearned to hear those noises, to provoke those noises. But you could sense none of the real thing on a flat screen. It made me feel like a cretin to sit there watching those animal images, however interesting the thought of the real animals may be.
Do you think I could I catch those gazelles? It would be a blast to chase them and then chew on a leg for a while. I wouldn't want to hurt the gazelle, just nibble on its leg. It wouldn't let me, but I would nibble and gnaw until I was done, and then I'd let him go. I'm a humane dog. I'm not some hyena.
Those hyena's look like shit. I want nothing to do with them. They look like they're all a little mad. And worst of all: they're bigger than me. I know as soon as they saw me they wouldn't leave me alone until I was harried into the ground. They'd chew off my hair and eat my intestines; they'd suck the marrow out of my bones. They'd bite each other and shed their own blood fighting over my carcass. They look hyper, those hyenas, like they always get the worst of everything. They look like revolutionaries destined to fail.
Already after fifteen minutes I . . . [text ends here]
NB: For one reason or other, this time Kemp didn't even manage to send me the whole chapter. I post what he sent. --E.M.