The first family I found was camping in an RV near
"Woof woof," I said to the little girl playing with a
toy monster truck near the campfire.
"Doggie!" she said, and ran over.
Her 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.
"Sorry," I said, "I'm a dog."
"Doggie!" said the girl.
"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.
The mom told me I wasn't a dog. But she didn't
sound really confident.
The 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.
I 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.
"Okay," I said. The dad didn't say anything. He
"Bye, Doggie!" the little girl said. She waved
goodbye. I turned and walked back into the woods.