Search for Scrappy D!
(Photos by Bald Punk – Scrappy D)
Seated on the couch, I craned my neck at the sounds of my friends outside the apartment door. They had returned from walking my dog, Scrappy D. I anticipated the little guy darting into the room and springing into my arms. He is one of the smartest dogs, probably of all time. Whenever I come home, I take special pleasure in his curious-gaze as I tell him about my day.
The pizza and Chinese delivery guys(aka num and nuts) burst through the doorway, shrieking and rambling louder than usual–looking like two parakeets whose cage was being rattled.
My eyes popped wide open as I caught sight of Scrappy’s red leash and empty harness, dangling from the pizza guy’s wrist.
Before I was even on my feet, I was apoplectic. It was like someone took an air ratchet, attached it to my chest, and tightened the skin.
My first impulse was to toss num and nuts down the four flights of stairs and into the street. Yet more than ever, I really needed to see Scrappy D. I decided to put all my energy into finding him.
My lady friend(LF) discerned from num and nuts, though their huffs, puffs, and tears–that somehow Scrappy Doodles had slipped out of his harness and ran off.
Before I could say a word, my LF turned to muah and asked, “Did you put his harness on properly?”
I clenched my mouth shut.
We all split up, while the pizza delivery guy went to get our car that unfortunately was nine blocks away.
I headed straight to Scrappy D’s favorite store over on Broadway. It’s an Asian-owned grocery store. He goes nuts whenever we get near there. He loves the smell.
No one inside or outside the store had seen him.
I headed south on Broadway and approached some of the mofos on the street. Thankfully, I had just posted some great Xmas photos of Scrappy D. I popped the one below up on my phone to show people.
My hand shook as I held up my phone with the little guy’s photo. My stomach was roiling. Scrappy had never run away before. I love him so much and the thought of not finding him was overwhelming.
On 95th Street, I headed west toward Amsterdam Ave. I wanted to shoot back up to St. John the Divine. Scrappy loves that place. His eyes always get real big whenever we’re in front.
My LF called me and said she was coming to pick me up with the car. I lost the phone signal before I could give her my exact location.
Catching my eye was a very thin man with a stove-pipe hat. He wore an old black suit. He sat on a stoop, cradling something in his right arm. It was Scrappy D!
I bellowed with relief, which was probably heard for a 10-block radius.
Scrappy hardly moved. By the way the man casually glanced at me, I knew “we had a problem.”
“That’s my dog,” I said, trying to sound nice, though not liking the way he gripped my dog, or how sluggish the little guy seemed.
Scrappy D was downright torpid. A voice in my head told me to “HIT THE GUY!!!”
The man had a long face that sloped outward to a weak chin. His hazel eyes were wide-set and had a crafty light. His nose was thin and flat at the tip. It looked like his face had been socked a few times over the course of his life.
I reached in and snatched Scrappy D. I can’t express how relieved I was to feel his warm little body, or the joy of those big eyes staring up into mine. Though his languidness was frightening.
“What did you do to my dog?” I asked, while calling my LF on my cell. I had to pull the phone from my ear as she screamed with relief. Then I put the phone to Scrappy’s ear so my LF and num and nuts could talk to him.
“Just cast a little spell over him,” the man said. “He’ll be fine.”
“What do you want, guy?” I said curtly, in ‘NYC speak.’ He had one last chance to be straight with me or I was going to slug him.
“What’s your name?” he said.
I straightened, and took a step back. “You want some money?” I asked. “Twenty bucks?”
“I wanted to meet you,” he said and angled his hat higher with his thumb.
“So you steal my f—ing dog?”
“It brought you to me,” he said and flashed a smile. His teeth were blackened by tobacco stains. “So tell me your name?” He turned his head to our Camry that now sped up the block. Scrappy D started to liven. “Or should I ask one of your friends?”
I told him my name. He stood up, wiped the back of his pants and was on his way.
The man had struck me as aloof. I thought he must be a gopher or lackey.
All the same, I was happy he was going away. I wanted nothing more to do with him, and was looking forward to celebrating the return of Scrappy D.
Yet I called out to the man, “Did someone send you here?”
The man chuckled and spoke with a lively ring, “Why, P. T. Barnum himself!”
(P.T. Barnum – 1810 – 1891)
To be continued . . .
Here are the posts in this series: Episode Twenty-Four – December 2009/January 2010