REINTRODUCTION

black lab

How ya doin’? Good to see ya. Pull up a chair.

Me? Well, I’m still here, and I shouldn’t complain,

But I been better. Seems like everything is goin’ to Hell—

Had to bury my old dog here the other day.

So I’m all alone now. You know My cook passed away

A couple years back, and then my old dog got tore up

By a pack of goddamn wolves. So I had to put him down.

Buried him right over there. He was a good old dog,

Just him and me out here, somebody to talk to.

I’d had him for 14 years.

 

And I never figured them wolves would come back,

But I sat out here the next night, had my .22

Pistol just in case they showed,

Didn’t think so, not in a million years.

It was just gettin’ dusky when sure enough

I seen that white son of a bitch come slinkin’ up

To that spot where he got my old dog.

There was blood scent there, and he was a-sniffin’

The ground, so real-slow-like I grabbed my gun,

Laid it across my arm, and squeezed one off

Into the dirt. That old wolf jumped back and ran

Off about four or five yards, stopped and looked at me.

The next one I pulled off found its mark,

And he went down, so I walked over to finish him off.

He was dead: one little hole above his right eye

And the back of his head blown off—.22 long,

Hollow point. Big son of a bitch, one of them Canadian

Transplants, must’ve weighed 150 pounds.

His molars was ground down pretty good, and that old

Yellowed fang was a good inch and a half long.

He’d been around, weren’t no spring chicken.

 

By then it was dark, and I was still pretty upset

About losin’ my old dog and all, so I just went on in

To bed. And the longer I laid there the more I thought

About what I should do with the carcass. I decided

With all the politics and bullshit about the wolves

And such, the best thing would be just to get rid of the son

Of a bitch, so I got up and got dressed. I backed

My little pick up over to it and horsed him onto the tailgate.

It took me awhile to get that rat bastard into the bed

Of the truck. I bet he weighed more than me.

Then I drove down to the old bridge over the river,

Backed up to the railing, and rolled him over the side.

 

‘Course nobody ever asked me or anyone who lives

Around here what we thought about relocatin’ wolves here

Or grizzlies for that matter, but I think they should’ve.

We got to live with them. And I’ll tell ya

It ain’t no picnic watchin’ a pack of those bastards

Kill your dog. That old dog was my best friend.

‘Course none of them care what I think. They’d like to see

All us old-times out of here and livin’ in a city,

Then they could do what they want. And I don’t know

What they want, but you can bet your ass it has to do with

Money. They don’t give a good goddamn about the land

Or the animals or the folks who want to live out here.

 

I’m 86 years old and I never lived in a town. Hell,

I worked sawin’ logs till I was 68, and I’d a-kept goin’

But they couldn’t pay me under the table anymore.

So now I just do odd jobs for folks who bring me things

Like meat or groceries or beer . . . I got loaves

Of banana bread in the freezer. You wanna beer?

I got a whole bedroom full of beer. I might drink one or two

A week, but I don’t drink much anymore. Yeah,

I believe in “live and let live,” but when you kill my dog,

You cross the line. He was a good old dog. Hell, he ran

Right up to ‘em, bein’ friendly . . . never had a chance.

I think I’ll go get me a cat in a week or two

Just to have someone to talk to. I figure a cat

Would be good company, and he’d at least have a fightin’ chance.

He could run up a tree. A dog don’t stand a chance.

 

Well, I know you can’t shut me up and I know you gotta go, but

I’m sure glad you stopped by and listened to me run off

At the mouth. It gets a little lonely up here talkin’ to yourself.

It’s been kinda quiet since the cook died. And now

That my old dog’s gone . . . , I’m fixin’to get me a cat.

So next time yer up this way I’ll buy you a beer

And introduce you to my new cat. Well, drive careful.

There ain’t no log trucks to speak of anymore, but ya gotta

Watch out for them Volvos. And there ain’t no hurry.

We’re all gonna get there before we know it anyway,

Some just sooner than others. I’ll leave ya with this one:

I eat when I’m hungry, and I drink when I’m dry,

I lay down if I’m sleepy, find salvation when I die.

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