once a man by the name of Larry. And Larry was a man who liked dogs.
One day, Larry got himself a new dog. It was a really big Great Dane
called Harold. Harold weighed 300 pounds and was 6 feet from the ground.
Larry's neighbours were gobsmacked when he pulled
up outside his house with Harold sticking his large head out of the
car's back window.
Old Mrs. Johnson came out of her house to ask
Larry what the deal with Harold was.
"Oh nothing," Larry told her. "Harold
here, is just a great dane. The dog. Not a person from Denmark."
"Oh," replied old Mrs. Johnson, "that's
Larry simply nodded in response. "Yes,"
he said, "it IS very nice."
Old Mrs. Johnson smiled, and before leaving,
she told Larry that if he ever needed a dog sitter, she would be more
than happy to oblige.
Well, as it happened, Larry DID need a dog sitter;
that very night. He had a date with the lady who had sold him Harold.
She was called Celia Burkes. She was a dog lady. She liked dogs. She
had a kennel business. She was very wealthy. Larry liked that because
he had expensive tastes in TVs, cars, and iPads. He was hoping to get
a new iPad the next day. With any luck, Celia would buy it for him.
He wasn't certain of this, but he hoped. And hope, his mother had told
him, was all that was needed to make your dreams come true.
began Celia as they sat across from each other on a small little two
seater table at Mama's Little Pizza Palace, "tell me about yourself
Larry sat upright and straightened his tie.
He hadn't expected the deep, hard hitting, and probing questions to
come so quickly. "I, err, I.." he stuttered and mumbled, "Well,
Celia, see, I am a man who loves technology. Dogs and technology."
Celia stared into his eyes. "Hmmm, hmmm,
I see," she said, obviously in awe at his revelation.
Larry continued. He'd found his stride now.
"Yes, so, as I was saying, I'm really a tablet kind of guy, more
than I am a laptop or full desktop kind of guy. Know what I mean?"
Celia nodded. Of course she knew what he meant,
but did she want to admit that right away? No, she didn't. She wanted
Larry to be kept on his toes. A woman who gives away her secrets too
soon - especially where technology is concerned - is a woman no man
Larry took a sip of his Diet Sugar Free Aspartame
Free Caffeine Free tap water, and pondered her nodding head for a second.
What was she trying to say to him, he thought? Was she going to buy
him the iPad or wasn't she? He needed answers; needed them that very
night. He decided he needed to reveal more; needed to add a layer of
"Yeah, ya see Celia, when it comes to tablets,
really there's only one. And a man such as myself, being the highly
successful business man that I man, cannot afford to accept any substitutes...."
"Oh, you run your own business do you?"
Celia cut in, a playful smirk appearing on her face. "And what
kind of business are you in Larry?"
Larry gulped slightly. He hadn't wanted to reveal
this particular thing so soon. It was more a 5th date kind of revelation.
"Well, actually, I'm in sales. I sell used irons and other assorted
household items. All used of course."
Celia's playful smirk turned into an even more
playful laugh. "Oh used eh? How extraordinary. I had a friend once
who sold brand new irons. She did it out of the trunk of her car on
88th Street. But only in summer."
"Well yes, I mean summer is the time to
be selling the new items naturally, but with the used items, I usually
find that winter into spring is the best time of year."
Celia nodded again. "Fascinating Larry,
fascinating." She raised her empty glass into the air, and looked
around for the waiter.
The waiter was nowhere to be seen. But Celia
continued to hold her glass in the air and look around for him. Larry
decided this was his best chance to seal the deal.
"So, where are we on the iPad?" he
muttered, mostly under his breath.
"I'm sorry Larry dear, what?" Celia
was still looking around for the waiter. Where was he? She was thirsty.
Great dates always made her thirsty.
Larry sighed to himself. He thought he'd made
himself clear. "The iPad Celia," he said, louder this time,
and with more firm. "Where are we on the iPad?"
This time Celia took notice. She dropped her
hand back down to the table. "Ah yes, well it's certainly one of
the best tablets I suppose. What do you need it for exactly?"
"Well, Harold needs it."
"Definitely. He is lost without it. And
I am lost without him. We both need it."
"Well that certainly does make sense Larry
dear. I can see why Harold would need it."
Thank you God, thought Larry. Now all his tablet
browsing needs could be met. He started to plan it all out in his mind.
Tomorrow, he'd pick Celia up in her car, and then drive her over to
the electronics store, and she'd buy him the iPad. It was simple. Almost
too simple. What if something went wrong? Oh no, what if HE turned up
again? Oh dear Lord, God no, Jesus why? Larry's head slumped on his
shoulders. He was almost about to cry.
Celia wasn't finished though. "But I'm
afraid, I cannot provide you with it Larry. You see.....well, I just
can't. No, I'm sorry, that is my final word on the subject.
Larry's heart sank. Well, THAT WAS JUST GREAT
WASN'T IT? After all he'd done for her. Picked her up - in HER car.
Taken her out to HIS favourite place. Spent FIVE dollars on a pizza.
ONE more on her coffee. And THIS was how she repaid him? Well, Larry
was not happy, not at all. He stood up, said his goodbyes, and left.
Without paying. If she could afford to NOT buy him the iPad, then she
could afford TO pay for dinner. That was logic that Larry could understand.
That was logic that had made him this region's TOP used iron salesman.
But did she appreciate that? NOOOO! Evidently not. Well, he was done,
DONE with Celia. Or so he thought.
"Larry dear," came the voice, calling
after him as he huffed and puffed his way along 10th, "wait a minute.
You forget your doggy bag."
Larry swirled around. Doggy bag? Damn, he HAD
forgotten about that. He'd left a whole slice of his 6 inch pizza on
his plate. Damn! Celia was good. Very good.
Celia finally caught up with him, and handed
him the finely wrapped swan shaped package. Larry took it, and looked
into her expectant eyes. Could he forgive her? Did her rescuing his
pizza, negate the pain and suffering she had brushed his way over the
"Celia..." he started, still not sure
where his heart lay.
"Kiss me Larry!" came the reply. And
before he could say anything, Celia's lips were pressed against his,
in a way that Larry thought was not entirely appropriate.
He pushed her away. "Celia!" he said,
shocked. "I am NOT that kind of man. Not the kind of man that can
be bought so easily and cheaply with leftover pizza, even if it is finely
wrapped like a swan."
Celia looked away, obviously upset at his rejection.
He reached out, and gently pulled her gaze back to his. He smiled. She
smiled. And they were kissing again. Kissing like swans on a cold winter
night in Kentucky. It was magical.
him," said man number 1, "The one holding the swan."
Man number two leaned over very slightly from
the passenger seat, and looked out of the driver's side window. "That
guy? He's the one?"
Man number one looked again just for effect.
He was sure. "I'm sure," he said, before coughing to indicate
that his companion was perhaps a little too close for comfort.
"Oh yeah, errr sorry Joe," man number
two said, returning to his own seat.
Joe sighed, and looked down. "Bill? How
many times have we been told NOT to use our real names?"
"I thought that was just when we were out
and about in public. Not when we're just sitting here."
Joe shot him a sharp glance. "NO!"
he said firmly. "It's for always. Wherever we are. And with whomever
we are with. Ok?"
"Ok Joe," Bill replied, immediately
realising his mistake, but unable to rectify it in any way.
"Just call me Number One right?"
"Yes sir. Number One Sir."
"Not Number One Sir. There's no sir. We
are not sirs. Just say Yes Number One."
"Yes Number One."
Number One Joe smiled finally. "Good. And,
I'll call you Number Two. Got it?"
Number Two nodded slowly, his mouth wide open
in obvious awe at his more highly ranked colleague. "Yes Number
One. I understand."
"Good," came the final word on the
subject, as Number One returned his eyes to the street outside the Pizza
Palace. "Shit," he yelled quietly. "They've gone!"
Number Two gasped, and jumped into action without
a second thought. He was out of the car and across the road in less
time than it took Number One to turn the key in the ignition.
Number One sighed again, and turned the car
off. What was Number Two doing? Why was he out of the car, and standing
across the street, looking up and down, sticking out like a sore thumb?
Number One reached for his lapel, pressed a
small button, and spoke. "Number Two, what the hell are you doing?
Return to the vehicle immediately please. Thank you."
Across the street Number Two nodded and waved.
Number One sighed AGAIN, and cursed under his breath. EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Every single time he was partnered with the moron of the agency. Was
it so difficult to follow protocol? Was it so difficult to not use someone's
name? Was it so difficult to NOT jump out of the car and run across
the road right to the place the subjects had last been standing? Was
that really so hard? Number One didn't think so. He actually thought
it was pretty easy. But what the hell did he know? He was only Number
One. Number Zero was the one who really knew.
was morning. Larry was awake. He reached over to his bedside table to
grab the glass of water. He took a deep long swig before popping an
extra strong mint into his mouth. Larry was not renowned for his morning
breath. In fact, he had it on good authority, that his morning breath
stunk. Stunk bad. Real bad. Like the toilet of Jabba the Hutt's father
after a palace party. Real bad.
He rolled over to be greeted by the bare back
of Celia. At least, he hoped it was Celia. He had no reason to think
it was anyone else. Not unless Celia had gone home in the middle of
the night, and somebody else had snuck in, undressed themselves, and
then crawled into bed beside him. That was probably a longshot. He was
pretty certain it was Celia.
Larry wasn't looking at her back exactly though.
He was looking at what was painted on it. In tattoo form. It appeared
to be a can of baked beans. Still sealed. But with a slightly torn label.
That was kind of an odd tattoo, Larry thought to himself, unable to
tear himself away from its beauty.
Celia sat bolt upright all of a sudden, sending
Larry tumbling backwards off the bed like a cat spooked by a visiting
family member who only visits once a year. What in Lazarus' name was
she playing at? Bad dream? Sudden urge to sneeze? Smell of bacon frying
in the kitchen?
Larry turned his head towards his bedroom's
wide open door. There WAS a smell of frying bacon wafting its way into
the room. Larry's eyed narrowed, the cogs of his brain whirring into
overdrive. Who, the heck, was frying bacon in HIS kitchen, at THIS time
of the morning?
Larry reached under his bed, and pulled out
a pair of diver's flippers. He put one on each hand. Oh yeah, he thought
to himself as he caught sight of himself in the mirror. He was gonna
slap the shit outta whoever was soiling his kitchen. Gonna slap them
like a mean old jockey slaps a horse. Slap them like their life depended
on it. They were going down. NOBODY frew bacon in Larry's kitchen but
Larry himself. And maybe Celia if she wanted. Larry had brought the
subject up late last night, he recalled. Celia had seemed receptive
at the time, so he had told her the combination to the fridge lock,
and said she could just get in there any time, and call him when it
was ready. Somebody had beaten her to the pan though. And Larry was
about to find out who.
was Tuesday. It was hot. Too hot. Number Three swung his legs out of
the sweat soaked sheets of his bed, and just sat there, with his head
in his hands, and his elbows on his knees. He didn't need this. Where
had it all gone wrong? Had it been the first time? The second time?
No, it had been the third time. The third time Number One had decided
to take a little extra for himself. They weren't supposed to do that.
They were agents of the Lord. Not common thieves on the take. Number
Three sighed, grabbed the whiskey bottle, and drank. Drank like it was
a Wednesday in December. He needed something to drown out the pain and
guilt, and this was it. Good, hard, warm, smooth, Jacky Jack.
After he'd wiped the whiskey residue from his
lips, Number Three stood up. Wooo, he said to himself, as he swayed
slightly on his feet, perhaps a little less Jacky in the mornings. He
shook his head, and soon came to his senses. Today was the day. The
day of retribution. He was going to confront Number One. And when he
was done with that, he was going straight to the top; straight to Number
Zero. Let HIM handle it from here on out. Let HIM feel the guilt and
Was that bacon frying? Number Three tilted his
head slightly in the general direction of his kitchen, and sniffed.
No, it wasn't bacon. The window was open. Mr. Carruthers must be stood
outside on the balcony below vaping something new. Always with the new
flavours. First it had been blueberry. Then it had been custard. Now
it was bacon. Number Three shook his head. Why didn't the guy just smoke?
Number Three could handle the smell of regular tobacco drifting up into
his house. But he could NOT stand the smell of weird ass faux bacon
rising up like a great fog to cloud his mind AND his vision. He'd speak
to Mr. Carruthers about it later. Right now he had more important thing
to think about. It was Tuesday. That meant breakfast with Nancy. Number
Three smiled. Ahhhh Nancy. He liked her. Oh, not in THAT way. No. She
was a colleague. A trusted colleague. He had already told her about
Number One. She had understood. She had been supportive. He loved her.
As a colleague. Number Three shook his head again to clear his thoughts.
He'd d better wear the blue tie. It said happy, go lucky, confident.
Nancy would appreciate the effort.
The phone rang. Ring ring. Number Three cursed
under his breath, afraid that Miss. Andrews above might hear. She wouldn't.
She was as deaf as a bat. He padded out of his bedroom to the living
room, the constant ringing starting to grind on his nerves. He needed
a new ring tone. This old style ringy ring was irritating.
"Hello!" he said gruffly, "Who
"Really?" he said in response to the
person on the other end of the line. "They did?"
"Well, where are they now?"
"WHAT are they doing over there?"
"Ok ok. I'll be there in ten."
He hung up the phone back on the wall, and folded
his arms, contemplating what he had just heard. It didn't make any sense.
What WERE they doing over there? He had no idea. But it couldn't be
anything good. He'd better get over there right away and sort it out.
He walked back to his bedroom, but stopped halfway. He reached down
into the sofa cushions and pulled out an old rusty chain with an even
rustier hook attached to the end. He was going to need this. Definitely.
Larry screamed. "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?"
"What?" Harold replied, "I'm
just cooking up some bacon for breakfast."
Larry was aghast at this over simplified response.
"Cooking up some bacon? COOKING UP SOME BACON?"
Harold didn't know what the big deal was. "Yeah
buddy," he replied, "What's the problem?"
"What's the problem? You're a dog, you
great big furry mutt! You can't cook bacon. You don't have any opposable
Harold looked down at his paws. He still didn't
see what the issue was. Ok, so technically speaking, he didn't have
any opposable thumbs, but so what. He was still managing to cook the
Larry wasn't done. "Look." He pointed
at the floor. Harold looked down. "You've dripped oil all over
the floor and counter top." He looked around. "And there..."
He pointed to the hob. "Fat spattered everywhere."
Harold looked. Sure enough, the kitchen was
in a state. He'd planned to clean it up though before Larry surfaced.
"I tried to tell him," said a voice
from the corner of the kitchen.
Harold whirled around, and dropped onto all
fours. "Shut up Marcus!" he said firmly. "What do you
know about it?"
Marcus dropped the paper from in front of his
face, removed the pipe from his mouth, and said matter of factly, "When
it comes to bacon, a whole lot more than you obviously."
"Yeah right. Whatever," was all Harold
could think to retort. Marcus shrugged, and replaced the pipe in his
mouth. "You couldn't cook bacon if any of your lives depended on
it," Harold finished.
"Guys!" Larry started, "please,
"Sorry Larry," said Marcus, taking
a deep puff on the pipe, "but you know I'm right. You should have
me cook breakfast. I guarantee a clean workspace."
"I don't want either of you cooking breakfast.
Marcus removed the pipe once again. He also
removed his glasses. "Wo wo wo," he said, slightly peeved,
"Absent apostrophe aside, what is THAT supposed to mean?"
"ANIMALS! A dog and a cat! NEITHER of you
is cooking anything in MY kitchen ever again."
Harold looked from Marcus to Larry. "Now
come on Larry," he said, "There's really no need to go that
far. I mean, ok, I made a mess. But I'll clean it up I promise."
Larry was not having any of it. "NO!"
he said, remaining firm on the matter. "And Marcus - how many times
do I have to tell you what the litter tray is for?"
Marcus wasn't having any of THIS. "How
many times do I have to tell YOU that shitting on rocks hurts my ass?
Get me the wood litter."
"The wood litter costs twice as much. You
think I'm made of money? I barely sold any irons last week. How am I
supposed to afford the wood litter?"
"I don't know," Marcus replied, shrugging
again, "But figure it out. I aint shitting on rocks."
Larry sighed hard. There was so much he wanted
to say to these two. But he couldn't get the thoughts straight in his
mind. The situation was ridiculous. He had a dog that liked to cook
bacon, and a cat that wouldn't shit on anything but wood. What was he
"Just, clean up after yourselves then.
Ok? Is THAT too much to ask?"
Marcus and Harold looked at each other. "I
guess that's fair," Marcus said for the both of them. "Right
"I can live with that," Harold conceded,
turning back to the now smoking frying pan.
"Good," Larry concluded. "Good."
"By the way," said Marcus after a
few moments, "was that Celia I saw in there?"
There was a sudden almighty crash as Harold
dropped the metal spatula onto the tiled kitchen floor. He looked right
at Larry. He was seething. Larry could see it in his eyes.
"Celia?" questioned Harold. "Not
Marcus laughed as Larry looked sheepish.
"Dude..." Marcus began, "Larry
is doin' your mom."
"SHUT UP MARCUS!" came the incensed
reply from Harold, spatula retrieved from the floor, and now held high,
ready to strike.