Part 3. As part of the Summer issue, Robert, the most stylish dog on the planet recalls more of his first meeting with the couple, Steve and Danny, who were to become his life. It's the moment that Robert realises that this is a gay couple! Yes, gay couples often have a dog in their lives. Yes, dogs have memories too! And, yes, remarkably, this one can write!
Excerpt from “Robert. My life. By me.” Scheduled for publication 01.10.2013.
Part 3 of 4: And so to bed. (Parts 1, 2 and 4 in Related Stories))
“Come on, then, let’s get you dried.”
Steve wrapped me in the towel and began to rub me vigorously. It was lovely to have someone taking care of me in such an intimate way. I began to feel more like myself. Soon a warm glow began to work its way through my body.
“Okay, you’ll be fine now. Let’s get you some grub. That should perk you up.”
“Oh my God; what happened?” exclaimed Danny staring at my disheveled coat as we entered the kitchen.
“He took a dip in the pond. Won’t be doing that again, I guess,” Steve replied. “You should have seen him. Now I know where the phrase a hangdog expression comes from. Poor boy, come on this will fix you up.”
Steve began preparing a bowl of chopped meat and crunchy mixer. In fact, I was already feeling pretty well fixed up. He obviously cared a lot for me. I wondered how close he was to his friend, Danny. Usually I had met couples of their ages in a man and woman combination. This was different and my genetic memory had not equipped me to appreciate the nuances of this relationship. I would just have to learn on the job. But that could wait. Steve placed the bowl of food on the on the floor in front of me. The aroma of my dinner reached my nose. I realized I was ravenous and tucked in with gusto.
“Well, my lad, you’ve had a memorable night in your new home, haven’t you? Steve commented.
He was right, and it wasn’t over yet. Wisely, after my dinner, he took me for a walk that he described as “around the block.” Actually, that’s exactly what it was. We left the main door of the apartment block, turned left, then made our way along the front of the building on the pavement that adjoined that noisy main road that I told you about. We then turned left again over a grassy bank that brought us onto the riverside walkway that fronted the apartments. I got a fresh tang of river air. It was lovely. I can recall the precise sharp, refreshing edge to this day. Or night, since neither concept has any meaning here, of course!
Sorry, unnecessary digression. Some bushes in front of the brick walls provided a perfect spot for me to execute the more serious of my bodily functions. Steve had brought a plastic bag for just that eventuality. It seemed like the right thing to do. Tracey, needless to say, had only remembered to equip herself on about one in every four occasions.
We then completed the circuit and returned to the flat. Danny was lounging in front of the television.Whatever the programme was, it had his undivided attention.
“Not Prisoner, again,” Steve exclaimed. “Quite why you choose to identify with that butch lesbian murdering wardress is completely beyond me. It’ll be beyond you too, Robert,” he confided to me.
He had hit that nail on the head! Danny’s alleged fondness for Joan Ferguson, the legendary wardress of Prisoner Cell Block H, proved to be a running joke that I only fully understood many years later and for reasons that, for now, I will keep to myself. I might, however tantalise you with the hint that a drag queen called Lily Savage played a major part in the unraveling of the mystery. Yes, it was a funny old world I found myself in.
As for the rest of the first night in my new home, I have one last crucial, life-defining incident to share with you.
“Okay, bed time, Robert,” Steve announced cheerily, reaching for my Basingstoke basket and placing it on the kitchen floor.
“Night-night Robert,” called Danny over his shoulder as he disappeared into the hallway that led to the three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“Well, I hope you’ll be a happy little Westie with us,” he said, placing me in the basket and, thoughtfully, adding a squeaky toy for company. He gave me a friendly stroke, turned off the light, pulled the concertina kitchen doors closed and vanished from my view.
I was desolate. In Lockerbie I had curled up with Mum and my siblings. In Basingstoke I had mainly occupied a corner of Tracey’s bed. Where now was that company, that sense of belonging that I had grown accustomed to? Answer; not here. I closed my eyes, tried to sleep, even counted sheep. Yes, it works for us too, sometimes, but not this night.
I allowed myself a quiet yelp of misery. I felt better for it, so decided a second one would do no harm, shortly followed by a third. Suddenly the kitchen doors flew open.
“You poor thing. We thought we’d do it by the book, Robert, but I can’t possibly go to sleep with you crying your little heart out. Come on.”
Steve picked me up and carried me through to his bedroom. Well, it was suddenly apparent that, in fact, it was their bedroom. For some reason, I wasn’t too pleased about that.
“I thought we were going to do it by the book,” Danny mumbled sleepily.
“Yes, but one of us isn’t a hard-hearted bastard,” Steve muttered.
I wasn’t sure that Danny heard. Anyway, Steve settled me on the corner of the bed, climbed in and gave me an affectionate pat. After a minute or two, I slid up to the mound under the bed sheets that I knew was my master and curled myself up against his back. In just a few moments I was soundly asleep. A kitchen would never again in my life feature as a bedroom.
Part 4 in Relared Stories below.
Find more of Michael Williams novels at
Join our mailing list
- February 28th, 2016
- January 29th, 2014
- September 21st, 2013
- September 17th, 2013
- September 14th, 2013
- July 29th, 2013