Bob the Dog – Private Dick
By Bob the Dog
Transcribed by Russell Rosander
Once upon a time, in a mythical place called Barra de Navidad, there lived a dog.
That´d be me, Bob the Dog.
And let me tell ya. Livin´ in mythical Barra de Navidad is a good thing. About as close to heaven as a dog can get.
I´ve lived here a looooooong time. Long for dogs that is. These days, so I´m told, I´m gettin´ kinda old. I guess that makes me sorta an elder around here. I spend most of my afternoons layin´ in a sandy spot in the middle of the street in fronta Hector´s Corner Bar in the sunshine while the cars and delivery trucks swerve around me.
A lotta my friends hang out at Hector´s drinkin´ beer and tequila and gabbin´. I like ´em a lot ´cause they´re all such frequent laughers and that´s music to my ears.
Every once in a while someone will walk out in the street and say, “Bob. Whachadoin´ out here layin´ in the middle of the street, you idiot? Doncha know that one of these days one of those delivery trucks isn´t gonna see ya and flatten you flatter than a pancake”
“Well,” I think, “It ain´t happened yet, so wadda you know. You gotta crystal ball or sumpthin´!” Then, I just keep on layin´ there, enjoyin´ the sunshine and warmin´ my old bones. I know it exasperates ém, but, you know, a dogs gotta take pleasure where he can. Fortunately, Dogs don´t get sunburned on accounta their fur, so I can lay out there for hours with no ill effects. We dogs don´t worry much about the future. That´ll bring whatever it brings, there´s no way of knowin´. Not worryin´ is sorta a specialty of mine.
I try to tell my friends not to worry too, ya know, pass on a little of my wisdom, but whadda they hear? “Woof, woof , woof”. Their ears are just not attuned to dog language ´cause it´s too telepathic for ´em.
But, ya know, there´s no doubt about it. Life in mythical Barra de Navidad is wonderful. The good people here that I love put out bowls of water for me and pat me on the head once in a while. Every now and then I go home with Heather and she gives me a bowl of Gravy Train and pulls off any ticks I´ve accumulated durin´ the day. And I´m allowed to be as lazy as I wanna be. I love it.
A lotta people would consider it a little tedious and boring to lay around takin´ naps whenever I want to and never doin´ much of anything, but at my age, I don´t really feel much like doin´ much of anything. All it´s ever got me was into trouble anyway. I´m just not up to it anymore. Most people don´t realize it, but I´m just not layin´ out there in the street, I´m meditatin´. I´ve taken up zen meditation in my old age. I find that makin´ my mind a blank slate comes sorta naturally to me and provides hours of blissful oblivion.
You might be tempted to ask me, considerin´ all the wisdom I´ve accumulated over the years, what exactly is so “mythical” about Barra de Navidad. And my answer to you would be, “What? Are you some kinda idiot? You´d ask a dog a question like that? I´m just a dog, what do I know about scientific stuff like that? I should be askin´ you. “Mythical” isn´t even in the dog vocabulary. To us, everything is just what it is. Garbage trucks are for chasin´. Gravy Train is for eatin´. Pats on the head are for love. Just pat me on the head and don´t ask me any more questions like that. Believe me, Barra de Navidad is mythical. Things are just the way they are and that´s just how it is.”
So, anyway, let me get on with the story. That´s enough philosophy. So I´ll shut my self up and start tellin´ it. I don´t tell stories that often, so this may be your last chance to hear one. Listen up.
One night, in the middle of the night, I woke up ´cause the waves down on the beach were makin´ one, big, hell-of-a rukus. It seemed to me that they were especially pissed off about sumpthin´ for some reason. Most people think waves are just things, like rocks and such. They don´t believe their ears when they hear ´em talkin´ and think it´s just a buncha wave noise. But let me tell ya, there´s no doubt about it, these waves was angry. They was shoutin´ to high heaven.
When I got up in the mornin´, I went down there to see what the fuss was all about. “Ho-lee cat poop!” I said when I saw it. It looked like someone had ripped the fronts offa half the buildin´s, and then, to top it all off, they had stolen the whole dang beach!
“How do you steal a beach?” I thought, but the proof was right there. It was gone. Someone musta snuck down there in the middle of the night and took off with it without anybody seein´ them.
The cops were just standin´ around scratchin´ their butts. Not only was the beach gone, but their little hidey hole down on the malecón was tipped over into the ocean. Well, a lotta people thought it was their own dang fault. What kinda vigilance had they been keepin´ in the night, anyway. They didn´t notice a thing and the thieves got clean away with it.
No wonder the waves had been raisin´ such a ruckus. Waves are sorta like watch dogs and it´s their instinct to sound the alarm when sumpthin´s not right.
The first thing I did was to get down there and start sniffin´ around for clues. The cops were obviously too stunned to do anything. No wonder we dogs like to chase their cars. I sniffed all around along where the beach used to be. I sniffed every rock, stick and seashell. Apparently, some one had towed it out to sea. It was the only direction you could go with sumpthin´ that big. But since I didn´t have a boat, and I can´t follow a scent in water, there was no way to follow them except to swim. We dogs swim, but not that good, so I wasn´t even gonna try it. The only clue I found was a strong “fishy” smell. But that´s not that unusual down there. To tell ya the truth, it always smells a little fishy like that at the ocean.
I thought about interogatin´ the pelicans, but pelicans, bless their hearts, aren´t very brave and generally fly off whenever they see a dog comin´ . ´Sides, they always go back in the lagoon whenever the waves are havin´ one of their wild parties, so that prob´ly where they were and they didn´t see nothin´. Well, with that piece of investigative work out of the way, I headed back to Hector´s to go lay down.
Durin´ the next couple of weeks, the guvermint sent a bunch of politicians and experts down here to look into it. They tried to blame it on the poor innocent waves. Yep, blame the messenger. Sorta makes you wonder if they weren´t in cahoots with the robbers, doesn´t it. Fortunately, it would have been useless to arrest them, let alone, put them in jail. Wave can just flatten out and run right under the door and back down to the ocean. They never asked the dogs what we thought. They never do. They think were dumb. It makes me sick. Never mind that we didn´t have anything to tell them.
The whole business was kinda was pissin´ me off. I’d always liked runnin´ on that beach and playin´ in the waves. I´d been doin´ it since I was a puppy. And now, someone´s come along and stole it. Dang!
Anyway, around Hector´s the rumors were flyin´. You wanna hear conspiracy theories, that´s the place to go. I heard one guy say that the United States C.I.A was behind it all. Sumpthin´ about nuclear submarines comin´ in under the cloak of darkness and towin´ it off ´cause they didn´t want anyone to have any fun. What! Has he got sonar or sumpthin´? Well, you never know when you live in a mythical place. Anything is possible, but personally, I´d like to see the tapes…if he´s got any.
But whatever. What could I do about it anyway. I don´t even have a boat. Come to think of it, I don´t own nothin´. I used to try to keep a few bones squirreled away in the dirt, but to tell you the truth, I forgot where I hid ´em a long time ago. So, I decided to just go back to meditatin´ out in the sandy spot in the middle of the street in front of Hector´s.
I´d been layin´ out there for most of the afternoon and the sun was goin´ down, when I felt a little whack and I let out a grunt. Then a voice started whisperin´ to me. “Ask the moon, dinglebrain!” it said.
I opened one eye, but did´nt see nothin´, and asked, “Ask the moon? Well, she´s a nice old gal, but don´t she live pretty far away? Who are you, anyway?”
“Never mind who I am. It´s not that important. But, who are you, a dog or some selfish danged cat. Just get out there with your dog buddies tonight and go howlin´ to her.”
“I haven´t howled for quite a while, ya know. I´m getting´ kinda old for that sort of juvenile behavior.” I told it.
“Oh for Pete´s sake! Never mind how old you are. I know you´ve still got it in you. Just do it!”
So that´s what I did. Me `n´ a buncha other kay-nines went down to where the beach used to be and howled our heads off. Tell ya the truth, they did most the work. I got tired and spent most of the night snorin´ and fartin´ and dreamin´ about bein´ a puppy and runnin´ on the beach.
Some of the humans started yellin´ at us to shut up ´cause they were tryna sleep. The next mornin´, one of ´em asked Heather if that was me they heard down there. “I don´t know what´s gotten into lately,” she told him, “Maybe he´s upset ´cause someone stole the beach.”
We went out howlin´ for three days. Finally, Heather threatened to lock me up unside the house. So that night, I just laid on the front porch listenin´ for anything suspicious until I dozed off.
I woke up again when I felt sumpthin´ tappin´ me on the noggin. Then I heard “Hey Bob.”, like it was some kinda spell. It was a moonbeam tappin´ me on the head with her light wand. I believe “Hey Bob” is one of their favorite spells. The humans try to copy them, but it don´t work. They just don´t have the same tingly inflection a moonbeam has.
Anyway, this was a cute little Pekinese moonbeam and she had a fine set of wiskers and a pretty little sniffer. She circled around me a couple of times and took a sniff at my butt. “Whew Bob. Whatta you been eatin´! You smell like you outta cut back on the Gravy Train!”
“Huh?” I said.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk,” she clicked, “and you used to be sucha great detective. What´s become of you Bob?”
“Retired.” I told her. Most moonbeams are pretty friendly, but this one seemed to be a little intimidatin´. I figured it was best to tell her as little as possible. I´ve learned over the years that it´s best not to take offence when your bein´ intimidated. Bitin´ ´em almost always gets you in trouble. It´s best just to play dumb.
The moonbeam said, “The boss sent me down with a message for ya. She says she didn´t do it.”
“Well, of course she didn´t. The moon is way to far away, she´s got a great alibi.” I said.
“Ya, but she makes the tides. Tides are meant to be beneficial and alotta creatures along the shore depend on ´em for their existence. She´s afraid they´ll blame it on her ´cause the tides are always goin´ in and out. Fact is, she don´t need another beach. She´s got plenty of ´em aready along the sea of tranquility. ´Sides, her gravity ain´t strong enough to pull one up there. It wasn´t her.”
“Got any idea who it was?” I asked.
“Nope. Ya know, she turns a blind eye towards alotta stuff that goes on down here when she´s full. She wants you to try to sniff out the culprit.”
“Well what can I do. I´m just an old dog.”
“Think about it Bob.” She said and then she vanished.
I looked up in the sky and saw the dog star crossin´ the night sky. “Dang!,” I thought “I owe it to my ancestors. I have a duty and an honor to uphold. But, what could I do?”
The next mornin´, I went out and laid down in the street to think it over, like the moonbeam asked. ´Cept I usually don’t do much thinkin´ out there. Heck, I usually don´t do much thinkin´ anywhere. Zen meditation don´t count ´cause it don’t involve thinkin´, which is why it´s so befittin´ to me. It´s mostly an existential experience.
Well, it was clear. If no one else was gonna save the town´s bacon, that left it up to me. “Mmmmmmm,” I thought, “Bacon! I wonder if I could get Heather to get me some. Naw, she´d never do it. She´s always yammerin´ about me gettin´ too fat. But, maybe Clive….Hmmmm.”
All day I hung out around Hector´s tryin´ to pick up on any gossip. Somethin´ that might lead me to the “perps” I heard all kinds of theories and goofy ideas, but my zen trainin´ helps me keep an open mind. Dog minds are usually pretty open anyway, but mine is honed to maximum openness. Every once in a while, I´d move in a little closer so I could hear better or get a pet or two and maybe a drink of water if someone was offerin´. Most of what they were sayin´ was over my head. Most humans, tall by dog standards, are over my head ´cept for the kids.
There was all sorts of scientific mumbo-jumbo about currents and water flow outta the lagoon and stuff like that. Some were openly blamin´ the developers who built the malecón for some mysterious reason. I didn´t hear anyone blamin´ it on the moon though. They seem to realize that Lady de Luna was a creature of habit and the tides hadn´t changed at all for a long time. I´d have to get word to her somehow that she was in the clear.
By the end of the day, I hadn´t learned anything useful, except that the beach must be hidden somewhere close by, prob´ly under water.
I decided my next step was to go undercover. I only know of one way to disguise myself, but I haven´t used it in years.
After the bar closed, I walked down Tampico street lookin´ in the empty lots that led down to the canal. That´s where the fishermen tie up their pongas. I could smell it before I saw it. There it was layin´ in the weeds. A big pile of half rotted fish guts. “Peee-yew!” I thought. And to think that when I was a pup, this smell was like ambrosia to me. I musta picked up a few human attributes during my long association with them.
I laid down next to it and held my breath. “One, two three…and I rolled right into the mess. “Yuck!” How was I gonna live this down. I´d be lucky if anyone would talk to me or give me a pat on the head for a month. Well, there was no help for it. I had a duty to perform.
I headed down to the ocean, takin´ my secret short cut so no one would get too close to me. I hunkered down among some broken pieces of foundation that used to hold up the fronts of the buildin´s and settled in to wait.
After a while, I nodded off despite the smell, but later on, the ocean started actin´ up and I was getting´ wet. “Oh well,” I thought. “Wet dog don´t smell any worse than what I´m wearin´,” so I decided to stick it out. Maybe the extra scent would give me even more protection from whatever was out there. I know I don´t look much like a dead fish, but maybe no one would want to get close enough to notice.
Pretty soon, I was startin´ to get dizzy from my own odors. “Well,” I thought, “We all gotta make sacrifices sometime.” And then I saw sumpthin´. There were a buncha ghostly shapes comin´ outta the waves. They was carryin´ buckets. They were fillin´´em up with sand and then goin´ back into the waves. Back and forth they went, carryin´ off what was left of the beach. There were hundreds of ´em. I laid as still as I could watchin´ ´em. None of ´em noticed me ´cause I had the same fishy smell they did. Then, a couple of ´em came pretty close lookin´ for more sand. Jesus-B-Wiskers! They were mermaids and mermen! And not ordinary ones either. These were mutant mermaids and mermen. They were all crooked and misshapen. The scales were fallin´ off their tails. I musta been from all the crap that the humans have been throwin´ in the ocean! I hear some of it´s even radioactive! Their faces were all scrunched up kinda pissed off and sad lookin´ at the same time. Well, I guess I´d be pissed off too if I got mutated. They looked just miserable. What a shame! They didn´t look nothin´ like that pretty little statue they got out on the malecón showin´ them as delightful, fabled beings the way they used to look. No wonder they were angry! They was prob´ly takin´ the beach away to get somebody´s attention! Hopin´ to convince them that they outta cut that shit out so they could mutate back into the way they used to be. And it looked like the waves were helpin´ ´em, lettin´ out a thunderous cry every time they crashed up against a buildin´. It was a heart renderin´ scene. One that I´ll never forget!
I got home just before sunrise, stinkin´ to high heaven. Heather was still sleepin´, but that didn´t last long once she got a whiff of me.
“Bob, Bob, Bob. What have you done! What the hell have you gotten into Bob!” and then she got out the soap and water and started scrubbin´ me down.
Actually, it felt kinda good. I felt good about assertin´ my doggyness too, but then, I realized I had another problem. How was I, Bob the dog, gonna convince anybody of what I had seen with my own, soft, buttery, brown eyes! After all, I was only an old dog and people don´t put much credence in what I say. “Woof,” is all they hear!
So that´s why I got all this written down. I asked a friend to help me with the spellin´ ´cause I never went to school, ya know. So now the story´s out and I hope people will pay attention. “Quit throwin´ your danged crap in the ocean, you idiots, so the mermaids and mermen can mutate back to the good bein´s they were before, and bring back the beach!”
Well, I´ve done my part and I hope you´ll do your and please pass on the message. Not bad for an old dog – eh?
Well, salud, I love you all, and if there´s a last thing I wanna say in my life, it´s:
“SAVE THE MERMAIDS!”
“SAVE THE MERMEN!”
Ok, now I´m gonna go work on Clive about the bacon.
Praise for `Bob the Dog – Private Dick´:
“He expects me to buy bacon for him?” – Clive.