** This exercise puts the anecdote in another perspective, the voice is still first person, but the person is a character and I am trying to capture more depth of the experience of ‘her’ telling of this anecdote.
She smiled, at least his story of his missing dog had a good ending. She wondered if she should tell him the story of her puppy, I mean, she’d just met him a few days ago…she decided, why not? It always made her laugh. She looked up at him and smiled, then sort of tilted her head and shrugged her shoulders, “We went through a lot of dogs while I was growing up.” He looked at her, there was a hint of surprise and intrigue in his eyes, he got this half grin on his face that made her look shyly at her coffee cup, “Well, we were in the country, you see, so our dogs mostly lived outside; most of the winter they’d spend in our garage or pump house…..which were both detached from our house but nope, they never came into the house, it was the rule.” She shrugged her shoulders, not sure if he did really understand despite his nods. Changing the tone of her voice to imitate her mother, she continued, “‘Animals don’t belong in the house’ was what my mom always used to say to us and that’s just how it was.” He giggled lowly and she could feel a bit of red creep into her cheeks, “ I could never understand how people could bring a dog into a house, let alone an apartment here in the city….to me it’s just bad for the dog.”
He looked surprised, “I’ve never known anything else, I guess.” He shrugged, “We’re from completely different worlds, where I live, there is no safer place for my dog, than actually with me in my house. I’d never think to leave him outside, I don’t know, it’s just my city view, but that’s kinda cruel, don’t you think?” He looked quizzically at her and it was her turn to look surprised, she smiled shaking her head in disbelief
“Well, I guess I can see that, I mean, since I moved here, I’m a little afraid to be out alone too, so I don’t think I’d be able to leave my dog outside….not sure……” She paused, thinking about it, “As for cruel? Err, dogs are animals and by nature belong outside…” She shifted uncomfortably in her seat, she wasn’t sure if he’d argue with her, “It’s a whole different mindset, I guess.” He smiled and raised his eyebrows, nodding in agreement.
“So anyway, we went through a lot of dogs because, yes, there are dangers to living outside, rabid animal attacks, getting run over by passing cars, and well, since our dogs pretty well roamed free during the day, sometimes they’d end up getting shot at by someone for having gone on another property or something.” Once again, she shifted in her seat and looked down at her coffee. He level of discomfort surprised even her; this story was usually more upbeat than what it sounded like at the moment. She figured he was judging her as the cruelest person in the world, “Sounds really strange to city people, but it was pretty well normal where we grew up.” She shrugged weakly, still staring down at her coffee.
She paused, then took a deep breath mustering up the courage to continue, “Aaanyway,” she smiled and looked back up at him, he still looked interested, thank God, “we got this little puppy once, it was a tiny little cute black lab and it was just so adorable, none of our other dogs had come to us as puppies……I think my brother gave it to us, or my dad had it given to him,” She shook her head realizing she was getting sidetracked in the memory, “but regardless, it was the cutest thing in the whole world! Well, anyway, this puppy was so small, that my mom let it stay in the porch in a box so that the older dog wouldn’t fight it or heaven forbid,” she glanced down again quickly and hushed her voice a little, “kill it out of jealousy.” She looked up at him and raised her eyebrows, again admitting a controversial truth. He nodded back at her. “The usual morning routine was that just before taking us to school, my dad would go out, warm up the cruiser,” She noticed his brows squeeze together and his head snapped back a little in confusion. She realized she hadn’t told him about her dad yet, “Oh, he was a cop, you see,” he nodded, smiled and relaxed, “Well, okay so, then he’d bring the cruiser out of the garage to the driveway to pick us up so he could drive us to school. So, to get this part, you have to understand my Dad, he loved our dogs, each morning he’d stop and ‘talk’ to our dogs as he walked to the garage.” She smiled brightly at the memory of her Dad. She could almost hear him talking baby talk to the dogs! “So, this one particular morning, like maybe only a day or two after we got the puppy,” She shook her head overcome with the humour of the memory and snickered, but regained her composure quickly when he looked at her questioningly, “Okay, so, sorry…..” She snickered again, she just couldn’t help it. She took a deep breath, “Soooo, we heard him ‘talking’ to the ‘baby’ and then heard him go out the door, well….my Dad… must have left the door open too long behind him….and well, my Mom was just getting up to make her breakfast…..so anyway, the little puppy must have followed him out the door.” She paused trying to gauge if he was ready for this or not, “Okay, so my Dad goes out, a few minutes passes, not long, then the door opens and my Dad is standing there with this grin on his face. You know the look, like he’s kinda embarrassed or guilty about something?” He smiles and nods at her, “and, well my Dad, he’s got this grin on his face and he’s trying not to laugh, then he says to my mom, ‘I just ran over that little dog.’ Well my Mom was totally surprised so, she’s like, ‘Aye Yo!’ and my sister and I say, ‘Awwwww!!’” She sort of snickers and looks quickly at her coffee slightly embarrassed at her mimicking, “So we stare at him as he starts to giggle.” She’s looking back at him and widens her eyes in mock surprise. He smiles widely back at her amused, “You have to picture this, ’cause my Dad did NOT giggle, he was a stoic, tall, dark handsome type and you could rarely ever read any expression on his face. So there he is, in his uniform, giving us this bad news and then he starts to giggle!! Then he says, (she musters up her best deep manly voice) ‘It must have followed me out to the garage……pause, snicker, snicker….and I backed over it with the cruiser!’ and he lost it! He was laughing so hard his eyes welled up and the next thing you know, my Mom’s laughing too and I’m torn between laughing and feeling bad about the puppy…” She pauses, shaking her head smiling, he’s on the other side of the table giggling at her, “Eventually we couldn’t help it, we started laughing too. I know, it was a really bad situation, and it was supposed to be sad, but I just kept picturing this little puppy following my Dad, little tail wagging, not having a clue, then Yellllp (she puts her hands up, palms upward and shrugs her shoulders) “no more puppy……” She giggles. “Awwwww.” He laughs, looking at her in pure amusement, “Awwww, I know!” She continues, “but the most priceless thing in the world, the one thing I will never forget in my life, is that look my dad had on his face as he was standing there in that doorway! Here we all were, laughing about the death of our new puppy, it was priceless. I’d say that was the best way to lose a dog. I still can’t help but laugh.” She is laughing and he is openly chuckling now, “Oh my God, that story was hilarious! Really bad, but hilarious too.” They continue laughing and she feels a tiny twinge on her heart-strings as his eyes meet hers, she may just like this life in the city.