UNITED STATES—The mention of Joanne hit hard. When she left it was both a blessing and a curse for Lee. Both he and Joanne shared blame for what happened. It hurt him to hear her express so much regret and self-recrimination when Lee felt equally to blame. With conflicting urges to run back to Joanne’s arms or run away, his love life had frozen. Things had thawed at first, but quickly re-froze.

Tina’s brother Joe had seen him through the most jagged part of the separation. “You consider yourself lucky you didn’t get married,” Joe said. “You’d be paying through the nose. Now you’re free to play the field. But I’m worried about you, Lee. It’s been six months and you haven’t found anybody.”

Joe was encouraged when Lee got the terrier Deveraux. It brought lively randomness back into his friend’s life. Then there was synchronicity. When Joe and his sister’s new roommate brought a dog to the bungalow on Micheltorena, Joe invited Lee to bring his dog over for a visit.

Now Lee and Tina laugh and laugh sitting on the sofa. The dance of dogs has released laughing gas into the atmosphere. They are drunk on it. And the dogs’ gyrating antics have produced an intoxicating mirth that courses giddily through their veins. They have to fan themselves after the spates of laughed. The living room has warmed up considerably now.

For the umpteenth time Deveraux returns behind Cutie. She maintains the same serene expression of contentment of a pampered innocent and Deveraux thrusts away, more desperate than ever, to reach that supreme ecstasy denied him by veterinarian incision.
The screen door claps outside. Then a stranger walks in. A blast of cool air rushes in. Tina shivers and puts her palms over her bared arms.

“Hello, Joe.”

He comes in.

“What the. . .?” he spurts.

“Oh it’s so funny,” Tina slaps the knees of her sharply creased pants and giggles hysterically. “Deveraux and Cutie are getting to know each other,” she says and laughs some more. “What’s wrong, Joe?” Tina says.

“You’re kiddin me,” Joe replies.

“She’s right,” says Lee. “The dogs did it in the corner, did it by the bookshelves, on the rug. It’s quite a show. Come join us, you won’t have to watch porno any more, Joe.”

“You’re sick,” says Joe. He takes his hands like pincers and shouts at Cutie. The fluffy white poodle is more contented than ever, ignorant that Joe has blown his top. “Cutie, get over by Tina, you slut.”

Cutie goes on panting expectantly as Deveraux keeps thrusting, Tina says to her brother:
“That’s no way to talk to a dog. There’s good reason why you broke up with Natalie. That temper.”

Joe now grabs Deveraux by the ears, taking robotic careful steps, hoists the trembling terrier into Lee’s hands.

“You’re sick. The both of youse,” he thunders.

Cutie starts to whimper now. Stares up with pleading eyes.

“Look what you did,” Tina says.

Then their roommate Raphael comes in in his robe. “What happened here?” he says groggily. “All this laughing and shouting.”

“Oh nothing. . . ,” says Joe sullenly.

“I’m trying to sleep, OK.”

Rafa bends down and whistles to Cutie. The ravished poodle wags her tail and leaps into Rafa’s brown arms.

“She looks happy,” he says. “Have you been giving her drugs.”

to be continued…

Graydon Miller writes about Mexican pop icon Luis Miguel in 80 mph bi-lingual anthology https://amzn.to/30NrNZF