By Pete Moss
OK, I found Pete. Now I gotta go back to YoYo. But my doggie senses tell me something isn't right.
Well, I gotta find some people. Gotta stay out of the street. Big cars squash little dogs. When I was a puppy, my pal Dinky got squashed. My first human trained me to stop at the curb and sit and wait.
I'm fairly proud of my ability to navigate traffic. I'm better at it then alot of humans.
So I walk and walk. Basically following my nose cause I'm hungry and there's a scent of cooking meat.
I remember the neighborhood. So many good smells.
Then the sidewalks are crowded. I see some humans eating. I can beg. All dogs can beg.
I find a couple of human females who are eating some cooked meat that smells absolutely delicious.
My doggie stomach is growling loudly.
I look at the humans with my big brown eyes. I make one polite bark.
Sure enough they throw me a scrap. O my!! Is that tasty!!!
O wait, I almost forgot, I'm supposed to be on my way back to YoYo.
The humans finish their meat. I get a few more scraps. I'm still hungry. I hope YoYo feeds me when I get home.
The humans get up and start to walk off. I follow them.
Soon one of them picks me up. They examine my collar. They think I'm lost.
I know exactly where I am. I'm a dog. But I do need to get back to YoYo.
So the humans get out their little phone things after checking my collar.
There's allot of talk. And then we're riding in the car. I love riding in the car. We're going on the big bridge over water. So many smells, salt water, bird shit, car exhaust.
Then we're at YoYo's. YoYo acts happy but smells angry.
YoYo doesn't feed me. I'm hungry. She doesn't pet me. Worst of all she has a gun. I can't see the gun but I can smell it. I hate that metallic oily smell.
So we take the train back to the other side of the water. The train doesn't smell as good as riding in the car. Mostly human stink, and electricity.
YoYo sets me down and says find Pete. So I lead her to where Pete's van is parked.
YoYo smells tense. Also she keeps her hand in her bag where I can smell the gun.
And when we get to Pete's van YoYo doesn't go right up to it. Instead she waits across the street, behind a truck. This is not right. Pete and YoYo used to be in the same pack, share turf. But now they seem to be enemies. Well, dog packs get into scuffles over turf, at least dogs don't use guns to settle their scuffles.
Now Pete comes out of the van. YoYo pulls out the gun and runs towards Pete. She is going to shoot Pete!!! I must stop this!!!
I run and jump and bite YoYo in her ass. She hollers. The gun goes off. Pete ducks.
YoyYo turns and kicks me. It hurts. YoYo drops the gun as I bite her again. The gun goes off again after it's dropped.
Now Pete is coming towards us. He kicks the gun away. YoYo turns and runs.
I'm going to stay with Pete now I think, join his pack.
"He's hurt," says Spela. She picks up Pedro and brings him into the van and lays him down on the bed.
Pedro does look to be hurt. He's not bleeding and he's conscious. But he's breathing shallowly and making a grunting noise with every breath. I recognize the symptoms. Worst case scenario he has broken ribs. Hopefully they're only bruised.
"We have to take him to the vet," says Spela.
"The vet?! I don't have any money for a vet," I say. "And it's 11 o'clock at night. There's not gonna be any vet open."
Spela gets out her phone and both her thumbs are a blur. "There's a 24 hour emergency free clinic at 15th and Florida," she says.
"There's no parking around that neighborhood," I say.
"This little guy just about saved your life and you're fussing about parking?!" says Spela.
"Oh alright," I say.
Besides, the shots fired undoubtedly triggered the shot spotter and rang a bell deep in the bowels of a police bunker somewhere in San Francisco. Eventually a black and white will roll up.
So I get to work on the starting drill for my old van. Pump the gas. Crank the motor for a second, pump the gas, crank the motor another second, hold the gas pedal all the way to the floor for a second then crank the motor, and it catches. Now I gotta flutter the pedal until the motor smooths out and idles. It takes a good 5 minutes before we're ready to roll.
At the clinic there's a little old lady with a tabby cat that's so fat it can barely breath. Also a 300 pound leather daddy with a falcon wearing a hood, and two street kids from the Haight with their pet rat.
The street kids let their rat free and right away it sets to tormenting the fat tabby cat. The little old lady smolders with indignation. The street kids are insolent. The leather daddy is reading a Danielle Steele.
Spela and I fill out papers and wait under the flat LED lights. The whole place smells like shit and piss and antiseptic. Occasionally there's howl or yowl from deep in the building.
A guy comes in with a turtle. The attendant calls the cat lady and she gathers up her precious baby with some difficulty, and trundles off through a door.
The guy with the turtle and the leather daddy know each other and begin an animated conversation about a third party they both apparently despise.
Finally, around 3am, the attendant calls Spela and I. Pedro's eyes are glazed with pain, but he's hanging in there.
It turns out I was right and we are lucky. He only has bruised ribs. There's really nothing to do but let him take it easy for a week or 10 days.
"I'm hungry," I say as we emerge from the clinic at 10 of 4 in the morning, cold fog swirling in yellow street lights.
"Me too," says Spela.
The vet gave Pedro a shot of some doggie dope and Pedro is sound asleep on the bed.
I drive out Bayshore Boulevard to a 24 hour place that has terrible, overpriced food and the owner is a grump. But at least it's open.
San Francisco is not really a 24 hour town these days.