I woke up this morning and I was so cranky I started an argument with the mirror.

At least IĀ could look forward to walking with my friend, Laurie. Except she’s got this big black standard Poodle named Pepper. He’s 14 and can’t hear, or refuses to. Laurie pesters him all the time. “Pepper, Pep, where are you, Pep, come here boy, Pep, Pepper?” Laurie’s got chickens, too, but I’ll gripe about them some other time.

So Pepper is FOS, (full of ____) all the time. No matter when we walk, day or night, that dog is this big, lumbering, hunched over, straining eyesore dropping chocolate loafs all over the place like strings of sausages. It’s nauseating. No, really, I’ve gotten that “bl…lu” reflex a couple of times in my throat.

Laurie never brings enough plastic bags – however many she stuffs in her pockets on any given day is usually about half as many as she needs. Today we were walking through a school playground when the dog started doing his thing as he kindof traveled along. He covered about ten feet with mini-loafs, making a dotted line behind him. Laurie picked up a couple and started strolling away from the scene of the crime, (and it is criminal – I’d like to know how what that dog eats). “Oh, no,” I said. “You have to pick it all up, this is a playground.” “Was there more?” she asked, as if her darling precious, poodle-hairdo scalped sissy dog could have done such a thing. I marched over and pointed my finger down at the grass, shaking it a little like a judge harassing a guilty criminal. “There’s one,” I said, “and here’s another, and there’s another one over there, and two more at the base of that tree.” “Good Lord,” she exclaimed. “Pep, what’s gotten into you, boy?”Ā Good question, I thought.

We resumed our walk, the dog jerking Laurie backwards from time to time as he continued to blanket Southwest Portland in giant tootsie rolls. Although, like everything, there is a bright side. If we ever get lost, we can follow the trail of plastic bags every few feet until they lead us safely back home.