By Pete Moss
It doesn't take long to pack. I'm not bringing the bicycle powered generator.
Spela posts an ad on Craigslsit and the phone starts blowing up.
I didn't think much of that bicycle powered generator but barely half an hour after the ad posts there's guys in cargo shorts and Elvis Costello glasses, knocking on the door.
They are fascinated by the bike generator, pouring over it and making technical comments. Then they fork over the $400 Spela asked, no haggle. They load the thing into a van, with much discussion about which direction to load it.
I throw my meager possessions in my beat up courier bag and put it in the van. YoYo has two cases.
"You loan me the Tommy gun?" I say to Dragen.
"No. What are you going to do with a Tommy Gun in San Diego?" says Dragen. Dragen wraps the Tommy gun in a greasy rag and puts it in the trunk of his Packard.
"Hey Dragen, you give me a ride over to Frisco?" says Jonathan
"Frisco?" says Dragen.
"I was born and raised. I can call it anything I damn please," says Jonathan.
"Sure I can give you a ride," says Dragen.
"Can I drive?" asks Jonathan.
"No. And you can't fire the Tommy gun either."
"Doesn't hurt to ask. You know, old man, you got some style to you," says Jonathan. "I hope I be as cool as you when I get old."
Dragen rolls his eyes.
"I mean...Well...how old are you, anyway?"
"Don't know. My birth certificate was destroyed in the war. I am at least 80," says Dragen.
"No, not Viet Nam. There was this other war before that, with Hitler and those guys," says Dragen.
"Oh wow. I saw that on the History Channel. You were at like D-Day?"
"No, I was only about 5 years old when the war ended. But yeah, that war."
It turns out Jonathan is a history buff and he and Dragen are off on a complicated discussion about geopolitcal implications of national strategy in World War 2.
Meanwhile Spela pulls me aside.
"Look, if YoYo is going with you to San Diego, I'm not," she says.
"What happened to you being my dedicated private eye?" I say.
"I feel I can do a better job staying up here and keeping an eye on the property," says Spela.
"For a cut of the proceeds when I sell it, like Dragen." I say.
"I won't lie," says Spela. "Anyway, it would be awful cramped with 3 of us in your van."
For a moment I picture sharing the van with two females who have made it plain they hate each other. "OK, you have a point. You couldn't rent a room?"
"Well that's another thing, I need to get back to work and all my work is up here. I've got my own bills to pay. Like, I need another laptop now, you know."
"Alright," I say.
Finally there's nothing left to do but get in the van, turn it on, and point it south.
"Where's Pedro?" says YoYo.
"Pedro," I yell, and whistle. But Pedro doesn't respond.
"Well shit, we can't leave without Pedro," says YoYo.
Bruno is asleep. He's dreaming, twitching and yipping.
"Wake up Bruno, wake up." Nudging him.
He springs awake.
"What what??" says Bruno.
"The humans are migrating!!!" I say.
"Migrating?" says Bruno.
"You know...leaving, going somewhere." sometimes I wish Bruno caught on to stuff a little quicker.
At last Bruno says, "So?"
"We have to go with them!!!" I say.
"Why?" says Bruno.
"Well...cause we do. Cause they give us food."
"That's true," says Bruno. "But so what. We can get our own food. We don't really need humans for that."
"OK....We have to go with them though!!!"
"Why?" says Bruno.
I wish he would have picked some other time to argue. Dumb dog.
".....Cause...we just do," I say.
Bruno cocks his head and looks at me.
"Don't look at me like that," I say.
"We don't need humans. Trust me," says Bruno. "My human..." then he trails off. Unwilling to bring up painful memories of whatever sad sack human he had.
But then I get a flash of insight.
"Exactly, Bruno. We don't need the humans. They need us. If we aren't there to watch over them they will tear this world apart. You know how they are with their guns. Who knows what even worse stuff they have than guns?"
Bruno thinks about that.
"What about Daisy?" says Bruno.
"We have to go get her." I say. "C'mon, we have to hurry!!!"
"You think your humans will leave without you?" says Bruno.
"You're coming with me. You and Daisy both."
"uh....I am? Do I really want to head off on some crazy human goose chase?"
"You said you wanted to be in a pack."
"A dog pack. Not a bunch of dogs who hang around together cause of whatever humans they happen to belong to."
"Look, I don't have time to waste. I have to go get Daisy. Are you in the pack or not? I'm the alpha and I'm saying we go with the humans on this."
I start to leave. When I look back Bruno is following.
We double time down the alley, turn at the fire hydrant. Stop to check the pee mail. Keep moving, turn again at the pole, check the pee mail again. There's nothing really happening in the neighborhood.
We come to Daisy's fence.
"We're here," I call out to Daisy. She comes to the other side of the fence.
"Pedro," she says.
I start digging. Then I break through. I wriggle up into Daisy's yard. I see her for the first time. She is a fine little bitch. Long tan ears. A perfect sharp snout. a perfectly proportioned body. Not with stunted legs or crooked hips.
"We have to go," I say.
"What??" says Daisy.
"My humans are leaving," I say.
"What does that have to do with me?"
"I'm asking you to come with me. To start a pack."
Then we hear a voice. "Daisy!!! Come inside girl. Daisy!!!" then whistling. I hate the way humans whistle when they want us to come.
"I can't just leave. I have everything I could want here," says Daisy.
"Do you?" I say.
"Daisy!!! Where are you. Come inside now!!!"
"Do you want to have puppies?"
"Of course I want to have puppies!!"
"Well do you want to let your human to pick out some inbred nitwit to be the puppies' father?"
Daisy's human comes out on the porch. "Daisy!!! who's that little mutt!!! You get away from him right this minute!!!"
I look at Daisy. She looks at her human. She looks back at me. I'm scooting back towards the way under the fence. The human has gone back in the house, probably to get a gun.
"C'mon bitch. This is your chance. Come with me now..." I say just before I dive into the tunnel.
Bruno is on the other side of the fence, barking.
The human comes back out. There's a loud bang. Something cracks against the fence right above me.
"The human has a gun!!!" says Bruno. I'm wriggling under the fence as fast as I can.
I pop out on the other side of the fence as another bullet slams into it. I turn around and see Daisy's head just coming out of the tunnel.
Bruno grabs her head in his jaws, like she was a puppy, and yanks her out of the tunnel. There's footsteps coming. The human has gone to the gate. The gate slams.
"Go go go go!!!!" yells Bruno as we hightail it down the alley.