The Unknown: The Red Line.

What the fuck am I doing with my life?

Frank Marquardt was the only one who could answer with a straight face:

I am bringing dogs their doo.

Giving them their due. That is. I mean. Did you ever, did you ever, I mean?

Just stop for a moment and think about the dogs, the sodg, yes the gods, and their lives. Their lives which ain’t so bad from your after nine to five barcolounger point of view. Well fed. Groomed. Able to smell uncommon places. And derive pleasure from that. Smelling. And you admit a certain jealously. But their suffrage, even when not in cages, bestills the point in even their alleged freedom from the cares of your humdrum everyday nine to five or more so-called existence—

—don’t you mean bestirs?


Shut the fuck up, why don’t you? God damm double m damm be still my beating heart the fact is there pointing straight like an arrow through your ever-rising forehead that those dogs are there to bring you comfort, to make you realize your own domesticity, to bring you reassurance mixed with a kind of bittersweet tender selfdoubtandconfidence about your own life. Yes, you say that dog there begging for another bone is pathetic and yet I — I — I have the power to deliver that salivadripping creature yet another milkbone I — I — I can brush this wirecomb through that knotted hair I — I — I can scratch behind its hair even as my income falls, I can find the funds for the appropriate shampoos to kill the fleas which reside there. Here, this dog, which I scratch, this dog, which I own, this dog, which reminds me each and every day of hypercontextualized mortality by virtue of comparison with its own which, let's face it my friends and brother,s is ultimately sped to seven times the speed of mine, this objective correlative for my pain, for my angst, for my urge to mope and roll belly about the floor, to stare off into the distant sunset yes to hump the leg of certain visitors in skirts slit just so to lap—to lap with turgid tongue and to terrorize certain milkmen and paperboys to give into that urge yes to embarrass you in the presence of your neighbors to howl — to howl — to howl at the moon, yes this canine beast relieves you of those urges pressing toofullbladderlike against your own psyche and his tongue hangs low. And you feed him. And he smiles if a dog can smile but you feel it deep within—don’t call me a sentimentalist but certain things are true—your pitterpattering heart.

—fucking point, Frank? We’re dying here.

Look at your dog, that’s all I’m saying, and appreciate the riderless bicycles. The objects, antimate and in, which color your lives.

—isn’t it that — that color your lives?

—don’t have a dog none of us, Frank.

Exactly: not a dog none of us and though in moments of severe dereliction we wish we were—

—godammit Frank I wish you could be here, we’re in a bar in Urbana the Jolly Roger, it’s shaped like a ship, somebody had a dream a misguided one I think, we’re aft—

Sentient thinking beings and the realization that those dreams that you had were silly one three three and a half four decades into it they’re like an open sore dripping and you want to scratch it, but—

—at the beach there were clouds and people wearing orange jackets hired by the City of Chicago to inform bathers who’d just gotten their feet wet in that surf that they were dipping their epidermal layer in water that contained more raw sewage than was safe to swim in, emergency storm sewer dump in response to the flooding and we laid back and looked at the sky. You forget how fast clouds actually move until you take a couple of hours to really stare up at them shifting shape that incredible realization that you are in fact on this globe a speck under layers that move—

My point my good men my dogs my gods is that even that little pleasure that observation is a gift given us by the dogs

—you like your job don’t you Frank.

—hey they scored. The uh, Edmonton, uh team, got the, uh, puck in there, uh—

And that is what we are doing with our lives.



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