September 22, 2003

Burnt Rubber, Rotten Bananas, and Dead Poodles

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

The musty mid morning air smelled like burning rubber, rotten bananas, and the bathroom at an old folks home. I struggled to keep my eyes open and tried my best efforts not to puke in the bed. I stumbled to the bathroom and fell down. That's when I saw her dead well-groomed black French poodle floating in the dirty bathtub water. I guess that was the rancid smell that greeted me when I awoke.

I could not remember what happened. I know that we had gotten into a fight the night before. There was a lot of shouting and name-calling. She brought up stuff from my past that seemed pointless to argue, but she did it anyway. She slapped me twice and cried most of the night during our altercation. I knew she should not have switched her medication. But her new therapist insisted she reduce her dosage of one happy pill and try a brand new happy pill. Asshole. He was just a front man for the greater conglomeration of pharmaceutical companies that held a tight grip on the American Medical and Psychiatry field. They dictated what drugs would be forced upon the masses of people in dire need of assistance with their heads. A couple of hits of British Columbia nugs would be a better alternative for some of these whackos, but alas, when was the last time your shrink said, "Fire up two fatties a day and you'll feel a lot better..."?

Of course Misha was nowhere to be found. I discovered a message written hastily in lipstick on my bathroom mirror. "Fuck you," was all I could recognize. The rest she wrote in Russian.

I didn't know what to do. My crotch itched like it was being attacked by a colony of fire ants. My wallet was missing, my cable TV was out, and I had a dead poodle floating around in my bathtub. There was only one person I knew that could help me.

I called up Nicky right away. I got his pager. Who still has a fucking beeper these days? Nicky, that's who. He was old school. He even dressed old school like one of those mobsters from the 1970s. I don't think he has officially welcomed the mid 1990s, let alone the twenty first century. Nicky sold me all of my drugs and sometimes he took bets for me (when I got in bad favor with my own bookie Frankie Flotuzio). Most of the time Nicky dropped by to eat calzones and watch the Rangers game when I lived above Vinny's Pies on the Park, a local pizza joint frequented by all the local thugs and gangster wannabes. Those were Russian kids who watched too many BET rap videos and saw every single episode of the Sopranos. They desperately wanted to be part of Tony Soprano's crew but looked like pathetic rejected extras from P Diddy's new hip-hop video.

"We can cut up the poodle in little pieces and flush him down the toilet," suggested Nicky as he shoved a sausage calzone into his mouth and ricotta cheese spilled out onto his bandaged hand.

"How about we put the dog in a plastic bag and throw it in the trash basket on the corner?" I offered.

"I think we should cut up the poodle and send it to my fucking ex-wife," he mumbled with food stuffed in his mouth.

That was a great idea. Nicky put on large yellow dishwashing gloves and took out his knife. He methodically cut off the limbs of the limp, drenched poodle. First his left front leg got severed, then his right, before he finished up with the rest of the hind legs. He cut off the tail and draped it on his nose and made a fake Hitler moustache. Poodle blood dripped off his chubby face and onto his goomba black T-shirt. I laughed hysterically and rolled a blunt.

When Nicky was done chopping up the dead poodle, I carefully gift wrapped each body part. Nicky and I drove out to Long Island in his Volvo station wagon, which had an odd smell of duck sauce, minced garlic, and motor oil lingering inside. We waited until his ex-wife came home from work and picked up the package we left on her front steps. She bent over and I videotaped the entire moment. She took the chopped poodle package inside and three minutes later we heard a shrill scream, similar to when a rat's tail gets caught underneath a subway car's wheel. She ran outside and puked. We laughed like a couple of eight year olds snickering over a loud fart and drove away.

Teznin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

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