He says he’ll take a nap somewhere, maybe not at home.

It’s these moments when anything she says isn’t right. So she responds, that’s one way to think about it, in a tone she hopes is as offhand as the weather.

He calls back a few minutes later, gorgonzola cheese? Is that goat?

She learned a long time ago not to ask what-do-you-want-for-dinner. Might be goat. Crumbly.

Get it anyway. Good on a cracker.

It’s her and the baby in the stroller. He waves his Fourth-of-July pinwheel and a handful of crushed blackberries. Blue-purple streams out his little fist and down his forearm toward his green hedgehog shirt. The dog tumbles alongside, half tugs, half tugged, sniffing everywhere, stopping too often. She walks them on the logging road loop, on the mountain above the house. It’s a cave of a bumpy road, overgrown with everything, especially poison oak.

Other husbands plan weekends with their wives. They pick out shower curtains and pepper grinders.

She jogs eleven steps and stops when the belly jiggle aches. The baby signs “more” and points down the path.

In the middle of the path stands a dark dog, perfectly still. There is something wrong with its face.

Her dog’s backhair stands up. He growls. Her son waves the pinwheel.

She says nice doggy things. She shouts, I sure hope your owner is near.

The Pitt Bull rubs his face on the gravel. He scoots by, testicles waving, rocklike muscles, thick head. He growls, her dog growls, they tangle, she pulls, the baby waves the pinwheel, she shouts go home, growling, feet stomping, fur, stroller pushed away, she tumble-falls and catches the back wheel before it goes off the edge of the road and down the deep cliff of thorny blackberry bushes.


It follows; it is close, then over there.

Press one to report an animal at large.

The man at Animal Control tells her that it is rare to see a stray animal wearing a muzzle. Suspicious he says.

He’s trying to rub it off. It’s full of gravel. He can’t drink water.

Don’t touch him.

She moves the cell phone to the other ear so she can keep an eye on the dog. I have a baby here in a stroller.

I’ve sent word to dispatch. He’s on priority.

You should see the chain around his neck. It must weigh seven pounds. The links are huge. And orange.


Does orange mean something? She yanks her dog.

I need you to walk a good pace toward the public road. Keep your eye on him. Do not run.
Her husband said the opposite when they met. You should run, not walk. She thought it was a broken heart that said that. One she’d mend.

I don’t run, she tells the dispatcher. Anyway.

Now is not the time to start, he says.