Friday, 28 January 2011
Author Spotlight week - Excerpt from What The Heart Sees
I'd known Kirk for a few years before she entered my life. I met her one day when I was returning home from a walk with Ralphie. Ralphie is a Cockapoo -- part Cocker Spaniel, part Poodle I bought because I read in Esquire that adorable dogs are babe magnets. Women can never walk by a really cute dog without kneeling down to scratch its ear, which is an oxymoron if you think about it. 'Cute Dog'.
Some of Kirk's girlfriends have actually said that to me. "You're a really cute dog, Ansel."
How do you respond to something like that? I ran around in circles and barked. When in doubt, go for the laugh.
Anyway, I was returning home from a walk with my babe magnet the day she moved into the first floor apartment in our building. Talk about stink! She was, speaking in matters of personal hygiene, a complete mess. Her hair was stringy, and she had food stains down the front of her shirt like maybe her last meal had come from the bowels of a fast-food dumpster. Either she'd been crying for a week straight, or she was a serious crack head. Her nose was leaking, and she kept wiping the snot on her sleeve where it congealed like pork gravy. Honest, I had all I could do to keep from upchucking my cornflakes.
Somehow, though, I pulled myself together, figuring she could use a hand. Everything she owned was in a black plastic bag she hauled behind her like it held the weight of a cadaver. Even next to the scary, dark side of Los Angeles, the whole scenario was pretty spooky. I was positive she'd been living on the streets, probably under an overpass, or in an alley under a tent of cardboard. I even wondered if she might have been, you know, a prostitute.
Anyway, despite her obvious dire circumstances, when she spotted Ralphie, she dropped everything and knelt down straight away to scratch his ears, which says a lot about my babe magnet. He returned the favor by parking his snout in her crotch. Way to go, Ralphie boy!
Still, she wasn't exactly the type of woman I had in mind. Ralphie's taste in women was questionable to say the least. He habitually picked up the wrong kind -- women who were squat, squint-eyed and fashion challenged. Ralphie was short himself, so maybe it had something to do with crotches -- how low to the ground they are.
I showed him some posters of models I had tacked on the wall of my bedroom, and some snapshots of Kirk's cast-offs, too. You know, girls with long, shapely legs in five-inch heels and thirty-eight inch hooters.
"When you see somebody that looks like that, act cute and wag your tail like crazy. I'll do the panting. And that crotch business -- leave that to me, too."
So anyway, there's this chubby little broad with thick-lens glasses not more than five feet three inches tall with absolutely no sense of style. Call me shallow, but I was reminded of the sitcom Ugly Betty except 'Dumpy' didn't have braces. In fact, her teeth, which were perfectly straight and white, and her smile -- which dimpled her Pillsbury Doughboy cheeks -- were probably her best features.
So, like I was saying, she was moving into the ground floor apartment, the nastiest one in our building, because the octagenarian found dead in bed had lived there for maybe forty years and our slum landlord never fixed anything until a tenant moved out... or died.