The first family I found was camping in an RV near the woods.
white"Woof woof," I said to the little girl playing with a toy monster truck near the campfire.
white"Doggie!" she said, and ran over.
whiteHer mother stepped out of the camper with a metal spatula, looked at me, and started yelling. She told me to get the fuck away from her daughter. I stepped back and held up my hands like a person does, which means: Everything's cool, I'm not here to commit any crimes.
white"Sorry," I said, "I'm a dog."
white"Doggie!" said the girl.
white"That's right," I said. I smiled, even though dogs don't smile unless it's hot out, and it wasn't that hot out. I was trying to look nice.
whiteThe mom told me I wasn't a dog. But she didn't sound really confident.
whiteThe dad came out of the RV holding a big stick with a feather tied to the top of it with some twine. It looked like a fun camping craft activity. He looked nervous. It felt like he didn't know what was happening. But if he were a dog, he would have barked at me and bared his teeth and I would have known to run off scared. Or, if I thought I could take him, I would bare my teeth and wrestle with him on the ground to prove it. I would grab him by the neck and start kicking at his stomach. I would try to break the skin and pull out his intestines. I would try to bite his neck and face until he whimpered off and died. But we both just stood there looking at each other instead, like people do. It's different but like, also the same thing kind of.
whiteI asked them if they wanted to adopt a dog. I was talking about myself. I wanted them to adopt me. The dog. The mom told me to leave. That meant no.
white"Okay," I said. The dad didn't say anything. He looked relieved.
white"Bye, Doggie!" the little girl said. She waved goodbye. I turned and walked back into the woods.