The Great Escape – Part Seven




Who among us has never done or said something so awful, so terrible it’s painful to admit it? Something said or done while angry or perhaps drunk, enraged over some percieved hurt done to ourselves whether it was real or not? Maybe even a grand crime like burglery or murder or rape. And then we compound the act by denying it, or telling ourselves that it wasn’t really all that bad, or justifying it, even if we have to invent some alternative version, however fanciful, of what really happened, even blaming it all on the other person, and we believe it. How else can we live with ourselves? I’m not saying this is you, you understand. This isn’t an accusation. Not by any means….NO!

It takes courage to face terrible truths about ourselves and who has courage

when we believe we’ve been wounded to the core. To make it even worse, the ones we hurt are usually those we love the most.

Guilty on all counts your honor, I am ready to take my punishment.

“This is the price you have to pay for eating that damned apple, the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. What you have done is your punishnment.” Please forgive me, I asked, for I know not what I did. “I am not your judge, only your confessor. You yourself are your own judge. I can only forgive you by forgiving myself. How can I withold my love from you, whatever you have done, however terrible, when I am equally guilty myself, perhaps even more so. My love for you is unshaken!!”

………And we are left standing there in the dock in shock.

Was it only yesterday

that I saw a white butterfly dancing on the breeze

in the empty space before me?

In that moment,

where was the good, where was the bad

that caused me to grieve so

only moments before……?

Now I have seen you in all your pulsing beauty!

How passionatly your colors glow!

Oh great sorrow,

I have lost my pain……I have escaped!

How can I live without your suffering?

“Please, give it to me! Please!”

So innocent, I thought, so pure,

and then I returned to the scene of the crime.

We can never truely be hurt to the core. Our core is invulnerable and eternal and love itself. There is no need to protect it by closing our eyes and ears and hearts. It is only this earthly body that can and will enevitably be damaged and feel pain, because that is mortal.

There is no pain in love.

The body is temporary.

It only lasts for a short while.

Love is timeless.

Love is abundant.

You can’t own it.

It can never be stolen.

That’s all there is.

Your crime is love.

……to be continued.


After the End


After the End

In the end, after all the arguments had been shouted back and forth and forth and back again and all the blood had been spilt and tears shed, it was not one side winning out over the other, or some voice from above with some absolutist moral injunction decreeing peace at last that ended it. It simply became too absurd to continue. It became so apparently stupid, no one wanted to do it any more.

This is, of course not what happened. In fact, this almost never seems to happen. It’s just a tantalizing tease, but oh how we wish it were so…. It seems logically possible, it ‘s what maybe “should” happen, but sorry, that’s just not reality. That’s Disneyland. Heck, if it was that simple, quitting smoking or giving up meth or heroin or chocolate would be easy.

That’s not to say that it couldn’t happen. Hope is a strange thing. It requires a belief in forces we know nothing about. I suspect they exist. Maybe not as I imagine them, but somehow. How else can you explain this place.

So here we are at the very beginning of a story and we’re already in a quandry. We haven’t heard a single detail and haven’t a clue what the story is even about and we’ve already got a conclusion. Sad isn’t it.

But, of course, this isn’t the end of the story, it’s only the beginning. We don’t know what will happen, do we. Maybe things will turn out better than we expect, maybe they won’t. Sometimes the most unlikely things happen. That’s how life is. Who could have guessed things would be as they are today say fifty or a hundred years ago. It doesn’t look like anything I Imagined. Dang!

I’d just spent two hours on the internet trying to figure out how to download a free e-book. I know it’s possible because I’ve got friends who do it. I’m an old guy though, and this new age stuff baffles me sometimes. It seems like you’ld have to be an idiot savant to figure this stuff out and I’m just a regular, ordinary, every day sort of idiot. Have you noticed how, in some ways, people have gotten smarter and smarter and in other ways dumber and dumber? I’m pretty sure I know which direction I’m headed.

This afternoon, while waiting in the rain on the highway near my home, I saw a young woman go by on a moter scooter with a two or three year old hanging on the back. She had one hand on the handle bars and in the other she held her telephone. She was texting someone. There were places to pull over, but she didn’t. I watched her disappear in the distance as my bus approached. I hope she got where she was headed.

A minute later, I grabbed onto the mechanical metal arm that opens the door and pulled myself up into the bus. I paid the driver eight pesos, found an empty seat three rows down, and rode off into the future. Time travel is easy once you know how.

I leaned back in my seat and listened to the whine of the engines change pitch as the driver chaned gears. We were pulling away from the side of the road and then he changed into an even higher gear and we were lifting off. I could feel the ship rocking gently from side to side as we hummed along. I looked out the window and saw the banana trees waving goodby.

Many of the other passengers had thier phones out and were touching the faces of them affectionately. I wondered if they were in contact with the woman on the motor scooter. Then I noticed the one sitting next to me in the seat next to mine. She turned to me and said, “Usted debe prestar atención a donde usted va…. pero no demasiado..”

“Do you speak english?” I asked.

“Of course,” she answered, “I speak all languages. I’m the one. I said, “You should pay attention to where your going, but not too much.”

“Oh,” I said, “Do you know where we are going?”

“Don’t you? This is your trip.”

“But I’m not the driver, Where are we anyways?”

“We just left somewhere and eventually we will get to nowhere.”

“Ah” I said not wanting to sound foolish.

She raised her left eyebrow and said in admonishment, “I caught that.”

“I hope there isn’t too much turbulence on this trip,” I said wanting to change the subject,

“Tsk, tsk, tsk.”

“Actually, I don’t want to go nowhere. I just want to go somewhere else.”

“You’d better talk to the driver then,” she told me.

I got up and walked towrds the front of the space ship. The pilot was looking intently out the water smeared windshield as the universe sped by. It seemed as if we were standing still and everything was moving towards us and then disappearing behind us. It was hard to tell what anything was with all the rain.

“Excuse me. Do you mind if I drive for a while?” I asked.

She turned and looked at me. It was the one again. “I don’t see why not,” she replied, “but only under my strict supervision.”

“What if I make a wrong turn?” I asked.

“Then that’s where we’ll go.” she answered.

I settled in behind the control panel not knowing what any thing was or how to work them. “Wow,” I said, “This looks more complicated than my Galaxy Tablet.”

“It’s the latest technology,” she told me.

“How do I make this thing go where I want it to?” I asked.

“It’s your dream,” she answered, “You tell me.”

“What if I crash?”

“It won’t be your fault.”

“Do they serve drinks and snacks on this flight?” I asked nervously.

“Only in first class, but I’ll see what I can do. You’ll have to pay for it though.”

“I’d like a coke you can get it.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” she said and left me there, sitting alone in the pilot’s seat in the cockpit. I wonder why they call it a cockpit? I thought.

The control panel was a little like a Microsoft Windows touch screen. Frankly, I was afraid of it. I just knew that even allowing my finger to hover over one of the mysterious icons too long could send us careening into another dimention. I didn’t know how any of this stuff worked. I felt like an infant. I wanted to cry. I wanted my mommy.

I turned around and saw her coming up the aisle with a coke in her hand.

“Here you go.” she said.

“How do you make this thing go back to where we came from?” I asked.

“There’s no going back,” she said, “It won’t go in that direction.. There’s no reverse gear. You have to go all the way around.”

“Around what?”

“Your route. You have to stick to your route,” she answered, “This is public transportation system you know.”

I decided that maybe it was best to let her pilot the craft after all. It was way too complicated a machine for an ordinary idiot like me. She was much smarter than me by far. I thanked her and found my way back to my seat. I was just getting comfortable again when the woman across the aisle from me who was staring absent mindedly at her phone touched her finger to her tongue as if in deep contemplation. Her child in the seat next to her stared at me with the same intense concentration.

The vehicle started making a lot of farting noises and you could tell the pilot was gearing down for a stop. I looked out the window through the rain and could see we were at an intersection between Barra de Navidad and Melaque.. We veered left and stopped. We always stop here, I remembered.

Four or five people were gathering up children and plastic bags full of recently purchased latest new available mercandise and trying to juggle all that with umbrellas in hand. The bus stopped and they all trundeled forward. Some said “gracias” as they went down the steps, some didn’t. Then, a few more people got on carrying freshly folded umbrellas that dripped trails of water along the aisle.

Once we were moving again, the pilot sat down next to me again. “I want to thank you,” I said, for making this trip so interesting. You’re a good person.”

“Don’t ever call me that!” she snarled, “I’m the worst, most horrible racist, hate mongering, concieted, neurotic meanest mother of a bitch you’ve ever met in your life, and besides, I’m not a person.” and then she burst out in the most delightful laughter I’ve ever heard and I wondered who she really was.

I didn’t notice much of what we passed outside going down the road. The rain made it hard to see anything clearly and I was distracted by a couple who were one row up on the other side of the aisle who were making out and trying to take pictures of themselves doing it with a phone camera.

Before I knew it, we were going around the block so the vehicle would be pointing out of town again when it left.. The smooching couple with the camera phone got off at the entrance to the beach. I couldn’t imagine why they wanted to go there in all that rain. They didn’t even have an umbrella.

Soon, we were in front of the old bus station and it was my turn to clammor down the metal steps. I stood for a moment under the awning there and looked around me. The woman with the kid on the motor scooter had just arrived unhurt. I was glad they were still alive. “I’ve been here a thousand times before,” I thought, “but this is not the same place.” The world is still a mess though, dangerous as hell, and probably always will be.

And then I unfurled my umbrella and headed off down the street in the rain to buy a bunch of grapes for the fruit salad I wanted to make for the pot-luck tomorrow on Sunday up at Chynna’s bar which was why I’d come to town in the first place.

The Transcendental Detective Agency


The Transcendental Detective Agency

By Bob the Dog

Transcribed by Russell Rosander


         Hello.  My name is Bob the Dog.  I am the one and only Bob the Dog and if any other dog claims to he´s Bob the Dog he outta have his butt kicked clear up to Siberia.  I have no patience for imposterism.

I am also the sole proprietor, head honcho and chief sleuth extraordinaire of the Transcendental Detective Agency the office of which is in the middle of the street infront of Hector´s Corner Bar.  I´m the suave dog with the big buttery brown eyes.  The other one is Lorenzo, my assistant who really doesn´t amount to much and is totally unimportant.  I let him hang around because he´s such a miserable cur that I feel sorta sorry for him.  I really don´t need anyone to do legwork for me, but he needed a job and he works cheap, so there you have it.       Actually, even in my advanced age, I´m spry as a pup although I try not to show off.

Anyhow, I was loungin´ in the office one afternoon here in sunny Barra de Navidad thinkin´ some rather large thoughts concernin´ my exalted oneness.  Having practiced zen and transcendental meditation for many years I have finally reached a state of supreme enlightenment, though being a humble dog, most people would never know it.  I have tried to pass on some of my wisdom to Lorenzo, but he´s a rather dense pup and doesn´t seem to get it most of the time.  I tried just the other day to explain my position on the numerical system.  As far as I´m concerned, the only number worth keepin´ is the number one.  All the others are just there for decoration and only confuse things. The brains of humans are so full of unnecessary facts, It´s a wonder they can think at all.  Just so much clutter as far as I´m concerned.  One is the only one that counts.  Two, after all, is just another one and three is still another one, so why not just call them all one.  He told me, “You know Bob, I don´t think you know anything about higher mathematics and algebra,”, and I said “Algebra! What do I care about some country in the Middle East!”  Maybe I outta just give up on him and let him sort it all out by himself.

“You know Lorenzo,” I told him, “You´d think that after I solved the `Who stole the beach´ caper, there´d be people linin´ up out here to hire us. I have a perfect record.  I´ve solved every case I´ve ever had.”

“Well, first of all, we´re dogs and second, you´ve only solved one case.”

“Lorenzo, I´m not going to undignify myself by responding to more than one point.  One out of one is one hundred percent.”

“Isn´t one hundred kind of high?” he asked.

“Well what do you think all those percents add up to?  The answer is one.  It´s more than enough to establish myself as an expert.  It´s a fantastic success rate.”

“Oh,” he said with a confused look on his face.

“People just don´t seem to realize what super-natural intuitive and deductive and transcendent powers I have. They don´t realize that I can see into the future and solve mysteries before they even happen.”

“Maybe they think it´s just too unbelievable,” Lorenzo told me.

“Unbelievable! Good grief Lorenzo! The evidence speaks for itself! Reality has nothin´ to do with logic and believability!”

“Uh huh,” said Lorenzo.

“Anyway, my intuitive powers are tellin´ me that another case is just around the corner.  All we have to do is be patient and keep our eyes and ears open.  Solving another one is sure to up my reputation.  After all, it´s a well known fact that reality is established by repetition.  For instance, I am known as the one and only Bob the Dog because everyone has repeatedly called me that for years and years.  It is now an established reality.

“Do you really think someone will pay us to solve a case?” Lorenzo asked.

“Of course not.  We offer a free and benevolent service.  Our species has no need for money.  We are mendicant Bodhisattvas, humble spiritual helpers trying to help humans become better people.”


Later that same afternoon, a man arrived in a taxi from the airport.  He was from Toronto and had never been here before.  His name was Tom Cavendish and a Canadian friend who had just gone home had arranged an apartment for him halfway between the Corner Bar and the bus station.  The owner met him there with the key and let him through an iron gate to a staircase that led to the roof above a barbeque chicken place and the one bedroom apartment in the back.  Tom paid the rent for two weeks and put his bags on the bed.  It was a bit lumpy, but the rent was outrageously cheap compared to anyplace in Ontario, and he was feeling so happy to be out of the snow and into this wonderful place full of warm winter sunshine that he didn´t care if the mattress was filled with rocks.  The first thing he had noticed when he got out of the cab was a scruffy lookin´ black dog that came up and looked at him with pleading eyes.  He would have dinner later and see if he couldn´t bring the dog a scrap or two.  Restaurants always served more than he wanted to eat anyway and it would only go to waste.  He moved his suitcases into the closet and laid down to rest for an hour or so and then he planned to go out and find a nice cold cerveza.

Lorenzo and I were layin´ out in the office baskin´ while the mariachis were buskin´ and I was just about to doze off when Lorenzo let out a bark.  “Lorenzo, not now. Can´t ya see that I´m meditatin´ deep meditational meditations?”

“Bark, bark, bark,” he paid me no mind.  I opened my eyes and looked and saw Lorenzo crossing the intersection, and barely being missed by a turnin´ bus, as he ran barkin´straight towards a scruffy lookin´ black dog I had never seen before.  The black dog backed off a little and Lorenzo turned around and came back, this time payin´ more attention to the traffic.

“Any idea who he is?” I asked.

“Nope. Don´t know and don´t care.  I just want him to stay on the other side of the intersection.  We have to protect our spot.”

“Lorenzo, that´s one of the most astute things I´ve ever heard you say.  There may be hope for you yet. But I still think we need to know more about him.  Go back over there and sniff his butt.”

“Why me?” Lorenzo asked.

“Because I´m the boss of this detective agency and I say so, that´s why.  Do I have to teach you everything?”

“But he seems to be stayin´ on his side of the street.”

“Yeah, but everyone one knows it´s a known fact that this is the best side of the street and sooner or later, he´s gonna try to pirate our spot.  We need to size him up a little so we know better what to expect.  In fact, the only reason I let you hang out here is to take care of things like this.”

Lorenzo dutifully went back across the street and went up behind the black dog and took a whiff.  The black dog spun around, barked and snapped, barely missin´ Lorenzo´s nose.  He growled a deep warnin´ and barked some more while Lorenzo trotted back across the intersection.

“Well,” I asked, “Whaddya find out?”

“Stinks,”  Lorenzo said, “I think maybe he´s been eatin´ out of garabage cans.  His pooter smells really bad like he ate some funky tacos and he doesn´t seem a bit friendly.”


“I ´spect so.  I hope none of `em hopped off onto me.”

“Then you better lay down over there a ways, but keep your eyes open.  If he comes over this way, kill him.”

“Well, what´ll you be doin´.”

“I´m gonna be meditatin´ a big meditation to give you strength.”

“Oh, thanks.”


Tom was awakened by what sounded like a dog fight outside.  By the time he got up and across the roof to look down there was nothin´ to see.  He decided he had rested enough to do a little exploring so he locked up the apartment and went down to the street.  He headed towards the beach, a mere two blocks away and noticed that the black dog was following him at a discreet distance.  He took off his flip-flops and walked along the surf line for a ways and came back.  The dog was always there, but never close. Walking in the heat of the afternoon sun had made him thirsty so when he came back down his street he passed his gate and headed for the bar across the intersection.  Here, the black dog held back and instead of following, went and laid down in the shade in front of his gate.

He sat at a table under an umbrella and ordered a beer from the waitress.  Within´ minutes, another customer came in and sat down at the same table.  He introduced himself and also ordered a beer.  He was a friendly enough person who apparently had moved to Barra de Navidad seven or eight years ago.  His name was Bill and he told Tom that this bar was where many of the expats and Canadian snow-birds wet their whistle.  “You can always be sure of being able to have a conversation with someone in English here and it´s one of the best places in town to hear about whatever was happening in town,” he told him.

He noticed that the two dogs who seemed to take turns laying in the  middle of the street never took their eyes off of him.  “What´s the deal with the two dogs?” he asked Bill.

“Oh,” Bill told him, “That´s Bob the Dog and his new sidekick Lorenzo.  Bob´s the older one with the brown eyes and the little red one is Lorenzo.  He´s not much more than a pup.  Bob´s been hangin´ around here for years and Lorenzo is sort of his protégé.  Both of those crazy dogs like to lay in the middle of the street.  The cars and trucks just go around them and the dogs just ignore them.  It´s a wonder one of them hasn´t been hit.  We used to yell at them but it never did a bit of good.”

By the time Tom was on his third beer, he had six or seven new friends. “I think I´m going to like this place,” he thought, “What a great way to spend a lazy afternoon.”

Me and Lorenzo had been eyin´ the stranger the whole time in a state of hyper-vigilance.   “Notice the eye patch?” I asked Lorenzo.

“Uh-huh.  What about it?” Lorenzo asked.

“He´s a pirate,”  I said.

“Go on! There haven´t been any pirates around here for years.  The only reason they´re in any of the murals is because there were some a long time ago and everybody likes pirate stories.  Sometimes people dress up like pirates in a parade or sumpthin´, but their just pretendin´.”

“Oh Lorenzo,”  I said, “You´re so gullible.  Just because no one´s seen one in full regalia for a long time it doesn´t mean their not real.  A lotta people used to say the same thing about the mermaids, but now we know differently, don´t we.”

“Ok,” said Lorenzo, “I´ll give you the mermaids, but have you seen any pirate ships out there in the bay lately?”

“They keep them hid.  If the Marinero´s saw them, they´d blast `em right outta the water.  It´s prob´ly around the point or behind some rocks or in a secret cove someplace.”

“You think all this because he´s wearin´ an eye-patch?”

“Yep. Sure sign. Pirates always wear eye-patches.  It´s a pirate law or sumpthin´.   Look at all the pictures.  They all have eye-patches.”

“Yeah, but they don´t wear flip-flops.  What about them?  You see any flip-flops in any of the pictures?”

“That´s just disguise.  He´s tryin´ to blend in, but the eye-patch is a dead give-away.”

“(Sigh) Sure Bob.”  Lorenzo got up and went over to an empty table and laid down in the shade under it.


After leaving the bar, Tom went in search of dinner.  He walked down towards the malecón and saw several restaurants along the main drag that led to it. Most of the one´s along the ocean side of the street specialized in mariscos, or seafood meals snacks.  He chose one that looked appealing and had a row of plastic tables and chairs with umbrellas along the beach.  He picked a table and sat down and watched the sea birds cavorting in the waves and people laying on the beach watching their children play in a gentle surf.  There were few people left as it was almost sunset.  The sky was already changing from blue to orange and pink when the waiter approached, handed him a menu and asked if he wanted a drink.  He asked for a margarita and turned to read the menu when the waiter left.

A few minutes later a rather pretty young woman with dark hair wearing short jeans and a colorful blouse entered and took a seat at the table next to his. He looked up and watched her sit down.

“Hello,” she said, “My name is Grace.”

“Hi,” he told her, “Mine´s Tom.  Are you just visiting here too?”

By the time the waiter returned they were sitting at the same table. By the time their drinks arrived, her´s a glass of red wine, they were engrossed in conversation.  Grace, it turned out, was from Vancouver and had been here for a month.  She had been spending winter´s here for several years.  Once their dinners arrived, they sampled each other´s food.  He had ordered a shrimp brochette and she a pasta-seafood medly.  They watched the sunset, one of the most beautiful he had seen anywhere, small wisps of purple clouds crossed the deep red of the sun..  “Look,” said Grace, “That little one looks like a pirate ship with billowy sails and it´s sinking with the sun.”

He told her once the ship and the sun had gone down, “You know, a pirate is what brought me here.  I have a cousin in Toronto who gotten into tracing our family history on the internet.  She discovered that I had the same name as one of my distant ancestors, an English corsair named Thomas Cavendish.  I learned that he had hunted these waters for Spanish galleons taking the treasures looted from Mexico, silver, gold and pearls, to be traded  in the east for spices and silk.  At one point, he burned the shipyard here in Barra de Navidad or Puerto Navidad as it was called then, where they were building warships with indio slaves to protect their fleets.  After reading the story, I wanted to come and see the place, so this year, when my vacation came around, I did.  I have a friend whose been here before and he left me his apartment when he left.

“Wow,” said Grace. “You even look like a pirate with that eye-patch.”

“Oh that,” he said. “It´s from a lawn-mower accident when I was a kid, but since hearing about my ancestor, I kinda fancy it.”

Soon they realized they had been talking for over three hours and she suggested that they go dancing at an upstairs bar down the street a little ways called Chynna´s Back-Stage where there was live music tonight. And that´s exactly what they did.

The pirate ship shaped cloud that went down with the sun hadn´t escaped my notice either, and neither did his admission about having pirate blood. I was lurking in the shadows around the corner of the building out of sight.  Normally, I would have had Lorenzo tail him but he had already taken off to wherever he goes at night, before I thought of it.  I knew Grace, of course.  She was a regular customer at the corner bar where she often came for breakfast or lunch. My thoughts now were, “What the heck is she doin´ with this pirate scoudrel?”

After a while, I got hungry and tired of sneakin´ around and went over to my friend, Heather the Artist´s house for a nice bowl of Gravy Train and a nap.  On the way there, I thought about pirates.  I must confess that I´m not opposed to the idea of piracy in general.  As a youth, me and my litter-mates roamed the streets and alleys of Barra ourselves in search of booty.  Dogs are piratical by nature, and if not taken care of by some benevolent human, they will always resort to roaming the town in search of tip-able garbage cans.  “Hmmmm,” I thought, “Is there anything prettier than the sound of a trash can crashin´ on it´s side?” Dig a little in any empty lot around here and you´ll find our buried treasure, mostly beef and pork bones.  But human pirates are a different breed.  They´re idea of treasure is anything that´s glitters or gleams and is totally useless for anything except vain ornamentation.  This is one area where the intelligence of a dog is obviously superior to that of a human. “Sheesh. A dog´d soon be toothless if he tried to gnaw on that stuff.”

The next morning around eleven, Tom and Grace were eatin´ breakfast at the corner bar.  Me and Lorenzo were takin´ turns watchin´ them from the office in the middle of the cobbled street while the morning traffic swerved to avoid hitting us. This was the best view of everything that went on at the Corner Bar, the best place for surveillance .  The trick of surveillance is to appear as disinterested as possible in everything around you while not missing a thing.  Having a street center office, one learns to keep and ear or an eye open at all times.  You never know when some careless, stupid driver might not see you and you´ll have to jump out of the way at the last possible second.  I´ve had to do it many times.

The night before, Grace had offered to be Tom´s guide for the day, showing him the most interesting features of our little town.  Today, they planned to take a water taxi tour of the lagoon and have lunch at the waterside restaurant in Colimia, on the other side.  Then they would come back and relax for the rest of the afternoon and decide what to do next.

Most of what Grace knew about the history of Barra de Navidad came from the plaque on the monument at the end of the malecón.  It memorialized this place as where Don Miguel de Legazpi and the navigator, Fray Andres de Urdaneta on the first expedition to the Philippine Islands in 1564.  That expedition marked the beginning of trade between Asia and New Spain for the next two hundred and fifty years, the “Nao de China”.  “I´m guessing that the lagoon was used as a millpond for the shipyard,” Grace said, “There must have been a lot more hardwood trees here then. Now, there are just a few of the big flowering Primavera trees scattered around in the hills.  They would have made perfect building material for the ships.”

“Trade with the east had been going on for twenty years by the time my ancestor came here and burned it.  Those treasure laden ships must have been a big temptation for the pirates.” Tom told her. “And weren´t they all just a bunch of pirates.  The Spanish were looting and sacking the the great pre-Columbian empires that were thriving here before they came, and the British, Dutch and French were looting the ships that were taking the booty out of here.  I doubt if any of them were very nice people.  They were all motivated by greed.”

“But still, they must have been a colorful bunch of cutthroats.” Grace said,  “The legends all give them a kinda romantic enchantment – like the swashbuckling Errol Flynn.”

“Well,” Tom said suggestively, “Barra de Navidad certainly seems to be the place for romance today.”

“Pzzzzt, Lorenzo,” I whispered.

“Yeah,” he replied.

“What´s that piece of paper stickin´ outta Grace´s purse? My eyes aren´t that good anymore.”

“How should I know.  I don´t know how to read.”

“Well, what does it look like?”

“I think it´s just a tourist map.”

“A map!” I said excitedly, “Does it have any X´s on it?”

“Let me go look.”  Lorenzo trotted over and Grace patted him on the head.  While she was doin´ that, He peeked down and examined the folded map more closely.  There were a lotta pictures of restaurants and stuff around the edges of it and a lotta words.

He trotted back and told me, “I think there are a lotta words in Spanish that have X´s in them, but I don´t know what any of them mean.”

“Ah-HAH! So that´s it,” I said. “He´s after treasure.  And he´s usin´ Grace to get to it!  Just despicable!  Ohhh, Lorenzo, this is bad, bad, BAD!”

“Well, what if they just have the tourist map because they´re bein´ tourists?”

“Lorenzo, Lorenzo, Lorenzo.  You certainly have a lot to learn about transcendental detection.”

When Grace and Tom left the bar walking down the street in the direction of the water-taxi stand, I told Lorenzo, in no uncertain terms, that it was his job to be the tail today.  No more buggin´ out like he did last night. About halfway down there, Lorenzo noticed that he wasn´t the only tail.  The black dog was trottin´ down the other side of the street.

I settled back down to do some meditatin´.  Solving mysteries by means of transcendental intuition and detection is my specialty.  But sometimes, it´s tricky business.  In this particular case, I have started out with the solution which is that the pirate is guilty.  Now, I have to work back to discover what the crime is.  In this way, the Transcendental Detective Agency is unique.  Every other sort of detective agency mistakenly approaches detection from the wrong end. No wonder they often fail.  I´ve often thought that if dogs were allowed to patent methods, I would patent this one.  But why bother.  Someone would just pirate the idea anyway.  Look at all those CD´s and movies they sell in the ten peso stores and the Thursday market.  If it were known that I am the only one that uses the transcendental method of detection, it would surely become a big temptation for others.

After a while, I got tired of meditatin´ and fell asleep, then woke up later from a terrible day-mare.

I was still shaken when couple of hours later, Lorenzo returned.  I immediately led him over to a shady spot to debrief him.  “Well?” I asked.

“They went down to the water-taxi dock just like they said they were goin´ to do.”

“And then?”

“They hired a water-taxi and left.”

“Hmmm, pretty sneaky.  It only took them about five minutes to shake you as their tail.”

“I´m not going to swim all over the lagoon just to follow them.  There are crocodiles back there.”

“Well, what were you doin´ all that time?”

“I laid down under the dock to wait for them.  The black dog was there doin´ the same thing.”

“THE BLACK DOG! You laid down with the black dog? Have you forgotten that he´s tryin´ to pirate the only spot we´ve got?”

“I think he just likes the pirate because he´s kind to him, and since that spot under the dock belongs to neither of us, we got along fine.  Actually, he´s not a bad dog, as far as I can tell.  We had a nice conversation.”

“Lorenzo, Lorenzo, Lorenzo.  Of course he´s bad!  What did he say?”

“He said Tom was nice to him and even bought him some dog food.”

“Ah-HA! Now I know their in cahoots.  He´s prob´ly a spy or sumpthin´.

“Seems to me he was mostly hungry.”

“Hungry indeed,” I said, “The hunger of blind greed!  Lorenzo, I´m ashamed of you. I ought to throw you outta the agency on the spot right now, but I sorta soft hearted so I´ll give you a choice.  Is it going to be livin´ the good life, hangin´ out on the corner with me as your beloved teacher, or are you goin´ to fall in with the pirates and take up a life of piracy.”

“I don´t wanna be a pirate,”  Lorenzo whined.

“Good.  Now lay over there aways away from me.  You´ve prob´ly got fleas from him. From now on, you don´t listen to anything he has to say without my permission and then, only when he doesn´t know your listening.  You got it?”  Pirates are well known for tellin´ lies.  They´ll feed you all kinds of false information just to lead you astray.  But if he thinks your not listening, he just might let something slip.  Something like what exactly is the crime the pirate has committed or is about to commit.  So, did Grace and the pirate ever come back to the dock?”

“Yep.  And then they went to a store and bought a bottle of wine.  They´re up in his apartment drinkin´ it as we speak.”

“Oh gag me!” I said, “Poor Grace!”


Grace, however at that moment, thought she was having a wonderful time.  Tom, she had discovered was a very nice and charming person.  Tomorrow, they planned to take the bus to La Manzania and spend the day at the beach and to see the crocodiles in the river.  She laughingly wondered if they would hear the ticking of a clock coming from the belly of one of them, Captain Hook´s nemisis that had bit off his hand and swallowed an alarm clock.

She wondered how many of these little bays along the Costalegre had once hidden pirate ships waiting in ambush for the treasure laden ships of the “Nao de China”, filled with Aztec gold and silver and pearls from the oysters that grew in such abundance in the bay and lagoon.  They would have used the poor indo slaves to dive for them too.  They deserved no sympathy for being robbed themselves in her book.

Anyway, she was really starting to like this pirate from Toronto.  She was particularly impressed by his kindness to the black street dog that now hung around his gate all the time.  He told her he wanted to bring him up to his apartment but not until he was de-loused.  He planned to take the dog to the vet after their trip to La Manzania.  Not many tourists would show such concern and empathy for the dog.  Street dogs are a dime a dozen around here.


The next day at the Corner Bar was fairly quiet.  I did notice that the black dog had, at least temporarily, given up on takin´ over our spot and was spendin´ his time in front of the pirate´s gate.  Lorenzo had seen Grace and the pirate gettin´ on a bus early in the mornin´.   I suspected he was takin´ her to his ship, hidden in some pirate cove along the coast.

“Ya know Lorenzo, maybe if we knew what kind of treasure the pirate was after, we could help him get lucky so he would leave.  If he went back to Canada, maybe he´d just freeze to death.  I hear it gets real cold up there.”

“Are you sayin´ you´re givin´ up?”

“No.  Of course not.  I want more than ever to discover his crime and solve the case, but you know, some crimes are of little importance in a transcendental sense.  They just don´t matter in the long run.  I´ve prob´ly commited a few inconsequential crimes myself in my youth.”

“I thought you had told me that all pirates were murderin´ scoundrels.  Don´t they all rape and pillage?  Isn´t that crime enough for you?”

“True, and if he doesn´t find what he´s lookin´ for, that prob´ly exactly what´s gonna happen around here.  If we knew what he was after, maybe we could avert a huge disaster.”

“Well, whaddya suppose he´s after?”

“That´s the mystery, Lorenzo.  I´ve been rackin´ my brain, but so far, all I´ve come up with are things that seem too reasonable.  I figure it´s gotta be sumpthin´ so unlikely that it´s gotta be true.  I´ve been imaginin´ one illogical thing after another, but so far, I haven´t come up with anything that’s so incredible that it´s credible.  I´m lookin´ for an answer that´s so wrong, it´s gotta be right.”

“How do you think of these things?” Lorenzo asked.

“I´m the transcendental detective.”  I told him.


The next morning, Grace and the pirate were back at the Corner eating breakfast again.  Grace had a plastic bag with somethin´ in it layin´ by her feet.  I went over to take a sniff.  Sometimes, I gotten a nice tamale that way.  She patted me on the head while I looked discreetly down.

“Gadzooks!”  I couldn´t believe it!  There in that innocent lookin´ pink plastic bag was a collar and a leash!  The terrible day-mare I´d had yesterday afternoon came crashing back into my mind!  I knew what the pirate wanted!

What I had dreamt was that we were just layin´ around mindin´ our own business, when there´s a lotta noise comin´ from down the street.  Then we saw them, maybe a hundred viscous cut-throat pirates was comin´ straight for us wavin´ blunderbusses and bloody cutlasses in the air.  They captured us and tied everybody up.  Then they proceeded to have a raucous party.  They brought Hector´s rum bottle out and started pourin´ themselves big mugfulls, wavin´ them around and singin´ Ho, Ho, Ho, and yellin´ pirate words like “Avast”.  They forced all the pretty waitresses to sit on their knees and kept callin´ them “wenches”.   Then, the pirate from Toronto got up on a table and growled “Aaaargh!”  He thrust his bloody cutlass up into the air and held out a bloody necklace of …..DOG TESTICLES!  “Bring the dog´s on!” he yelled.

I, myself, was exempt because I had been de-masculated years ago by a mad scientist called a veterinarian.  Their one goal in life is to turn every dog into a docile mascota.  They steal our pride and and force us into humiliating servitude to their race.  They dole out stingy rations of dog food, of which they have an endless supply, to keep us on the hook.

We watched in horror as they got up after payin´ for their breakfast and walked back over to the black dog in front of the gate.  Grace knelt down and put the collar around the black dog´s neck and snapped on the leash.  Then they led him across the street and into the veterinarian´s store.

Lorenzo came up beside me.  “They got me last year,” was all he said.

A few hours later, Grace and the pirate came out of the veterinarian´s with the black dog.  He looked a lot cleaner, but he was still groggy and couldn´t walk right.  They carried him up the stairs.  It was a pitiful sight.  The pirate was carryin´ a bag of dog food.  The piratical acts of the pirate didn´t surprise me, but I was deeply disappointed in Grace for her part in the whole affair.  Pirates!  They steal our pride, our very piracy!


After the pirate had been here for two week, spendin´ every minute of it with Grace and the black dog, I might add, a taxi pulled up in front of his gate.  Grace was there holding the black dog, which they now called “Black Spot” on his leash.  Among the things they loaded into the taxi, was a plastic dog carrier.  They put the black dog inside the cage and then Grace and the pirate hugged each other and kissed long deep kisses.  “I´ll meet you in Toronto in another month,” she told him, then he got in the cab and left.  He was headed, no doubt, to the secret pirate cove where his ship was waiting to take him back to Canada where he would freeze to death.

A month later, Grace came over and said goodbye to me and Lorenzo, sayin´ that she and Tom would be back next winter.

I have new respect for the black dog.  His sacrifice prob´ly saved the town from bein´ raped and pillaged by cutthroats.  Were prob´ly safe now until next winter when who knows what will happen.

No Radio in a Tropical Breeze


No Radio in a Tropical Breeze


The sweep of banana leaves

Clicking in the shush of a breeze.

The whisper of grasses

Fluttering calypsos in the warm air.

Then, a stillness visits the afternoon

So abruptly, in such contrast,

Even the insects forget to buzz.


A rest, a silent beat.

I hear the missing note

In the resonance of my heart

Playing my part, standing aside

Listening with admiration,

An audience of one.


As the leaves resume their lift and fall

The stately dance continues

In a rhythm set

To currents of wind and star

Syncopated by the steady beat

Of a billion tiny wings

In masterful precision.


And over this

A dove, a divine soloist

Begins another verse

Of well rehearsed lyrics

From the dawn.


Barra de Navidad, Mexico 2014

The Re-birthing of a Wildflower


The Re-birthing of a Wildflower


In my hour of darkness

Curled in the detritus of the past

Along a forgotten road,

A place so forlorn and empty

No light could possibly penetrate it,

I emerge from a field of hopelessness

Into the lightness of dawn.

An Infant

Born of a windblown seed

Out of the blackness of the earth

On the night of my becoming

Unfolding tiny leaves

A pale and fragile thing

Lifting it´s head to the stars.

Unseen and unnoticed

By travelers passing by

Hidden among the vestiges

Of past delights,

Candy wrappers, cigarette butts,

Old shoes and plastic bags,

A weed unfurling from it´s nest

Into a beautiful flower.

Bob the Dog – Private Dick


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.”

“Well, duh!”

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:



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.