Slowly I walked toward the mean dogs that live midway down my block. The ones that are always barking ruthlessly at me after my exhausting 90-minute commute.
It was evening. The bitter end of my soul-crushing 1.5 hour drives to and from work, in lunatic-filled LA traffic.
Then the endless circling of the block in Silver Lake, 5 more minutes minimum, desperately looking for a parking space.
It seemed like any other day.
I had exited the car as usual, lopsidedly carrying my tassled, navajo-patterned backpack ($24, girl’s section at Target, don’t tell) and thermal lunch bag that holds the disgusting frozen dinners I call “lunch.”
Cue the dogs. Always the neighbor’s dogs. Taunting me. They have singled me out. Long ago, they smelled my weakness, and now feast upon this broken man’s evening sadness.
But not this time.
For this time, I had donned my new AI Riders on the Storm jacket, generously sent to me by the just-launching Italian web store, BrunaRosso.com.
I turned, and detected a tiny hitch in the taunting barks. Then the barks got louder.
As I walked slowly toward them, I did not — could not — flinch. My eyes gazed at them, blinklessly, emotionlessly, insectoid, a being who had never known emotion or fear. They continued to bark, their tails wagging happily at what surely must be just an unknown neighbor’s game.
As I continued to approach, the shadow of a tree peeled back from my alien visage, and for the first time, they got a closer look.
As my giant, inhuman eyes and mouthless face loomed forward, I noticed one of the dog’s tails de-wag. The game had changed. I saw their lips curl back, baring teeth, but something in their eyes told me I had reached an uncharted part of their souls, that knew ancient fear.
And I kept walking.
As I neared the periphery of the fence, their growing terror became like an intoxicating wine. Suddenly it was I who created the rules of this mad game, and I sat on a throne of dizzy power, drunk on their sudden, furtive steps back; their pathetic, trembling knees.
As my arms slowly extended, there was nothing left in them but terrified, blinding panic, like Napoleon’s wild-eyed, foaming horses at Waterloo.
That’s when the dogs realized the cruel misfortune of their chains, which would not permit their escape. They began to whimper at the last terrifying seconds of their lives.
. . .
Well, anyway, it would be cool if some of that were true.
Actually, if you’d been watching you would have seen a skinny guy in a buggy-looking jacket walking toward some dogs, arms extended, kind of like Frankenstein, as the dogs barked and wagged their tails.
So more about the jacket ….
(We have no idea what they’re saying in Italian.)