It was a lost weekend where he accomplished very little. He just finished a brisk two mile run with his beagle Beetle. His head felt a little clearer as they entered Grant Park.
Paulie could not see this coming, but he had at some point completely lost interest in what he used to over indulge in, that being his job. Everything that once had existed in his job that was interesting and challenging they shipped overseas many years ago. He dreaded the never ending polishing of the turd that never seemed to be polished and somebody always ended up unhappy over. The things he did at work he felt like a secretary pointed in the right direction could do and they would probably like it 100 times more. In addition, tomorrow he had a handful of meetings as well as his official one on one yearly review with his condescending boss. It was already getting dark on this the first day we turn the clocks back in the fall and the sudden earliness of the dark startled him and he realized his weekend was for all practical purposes over. This saddened him a bit but he decided he would continue walking Beetle for a walk even though his dog had decided to go on her own little walk just a few minutes earlier.
Walking through his neighborhood made him feel like he belonged somewhere. He had lived in this house longer than anywhere he lived before and he has grown a certain liking to where he lived. The park in the neighborhood had large pine trees that indicated a park in the Rose City. The moon was a silver sliver that was racing toward the horizon rapidly on this tranquil fall night. The quiet was almost deafening. Paulie enjoyed this quiet as he left Beetle off her leash. Beetle looked quite content, as she smelled what she was going to smell devouring almost every scent on a scentless night. He sat on the park bench for a while and watched a black lab and a weird looking pug join his beagle on the soccer field. As he felt himself starting to relax he forget about tomorrow’s drudgery. Paulie had the distinct feeling that he was not alone and this was suddenly confirmed as he heard a woman’s voice with almost a screaming whisper mouth the words “Rodger get over here” .
This startled Paulie at first, but when the voice had fully entered his cognitive thought process he loved the sound of her voice. It echoed brilliantly on this cool clear fall evening. In the four words, he heard ““Rodger get over here”” he had picked up a foreign accent and something else he could not put his finger on.
He looked to his side and saw her in a brilliant light considering how quickly the day had gotten dark. Much to his surprise she walked over to the park bench he had been sitting with looked like a bag, which he presumed contained doggy cleanup in a public park. The idea of a woman carrying a poop bag may be a symbolic metaphor for future failure to many but for Paulie at this time in his life it brought this beautiful voice down a level to where he was comfortable and it also served to give him his voice. Which may or may not have been in his best interests today.
“Are you talking to the Dog” Paulie weakly lobbed this non-sentence into the night air.
“Are you talking to me,” echoed the voice from the night air.
In addition, Paulie took in the voice and for some reason noticed the fog that came from her voice and essence. It was a real thing how that sentence hung in the crisp autumn air and a somewhat literal view as the heat from her voice actually emitted a shadow of sorts in the night air. It hung in the air without tension. Actually, it rather sparkled.
Hi, my name is Emily. Sorry to have interrupted you on this fine evening I am just getting my dog and I will be out of here.
Paulie tried to shake her hand. SHe did not reach out her hand to shake his.
“It’s no problem” he meekly replied. “I know that it is dark but I believe we have met before and I am pretty sure I know where”
“You might recognize me as I sometimes tend bar in the little British pub on 42nd avenue.” She answered almost too quickly.
“Yeah that’s certainly it” Paulie replied.
Paulie was a little bit secretly deflated as he would venture down to the Sixpence occasionally and certainly liked when she tended bar. She certainly was a girl he found rather attractive and she always seemed to know a little bit about soccer when he talked about it. Or so it seemed to him. It was certainly a pleasure seeing her out of context as he thought about why he liked to visit that particular watering hole. She was certainly one of the reasons.
She clapped her hands a few times to get Rodger to come over to her but the gloves on her hands made the clap basically ineffective so Paulie offered a few gloveless claps of his own and the dog happily scurried between his feet. Paulie tickled him between the ears and the dog quickly spotted its owner who promptly put his leash back on. In the meantime, Beetle was doing her own little thing, being a beagle, and had disappeared into the dark of the night.
“Damn that Beetle is really pushing his luck today. Here we go again,” Paulie said as the useless leash hung from his right hand. He loved his dog but sometimes he questioned his decision, as Beagles just cannot stop being Beagles as they blindly follow their noses.
Paulie stared unfocused into the cold fresh night air and he could sense her breathing and the air between then hung, well maybe lingered filled with low-level electricity. Alternatively, maybe Paulie had misperceived the moment and because he had to do something soon despite not wanting to leave this moment. He liked being in the here and now instead of his constant fear of the here and tomorrow.
Emily suddenly struck from the cold night air. I did not come here with the intention of losing a dog. “I do not have a plan but we should find your dog now.”
“Okay I will head over toward the swimming pool”, Paulie dead panned.
In addition, Paulie sped out into the cool night air
“Okay I’ll search over near the school,” Replied Emily in a less than enthusiastic voice. She was uncertain where exactly this was going to lead. Emily slowly walked with her dog toward the school as the park was somewhat lit by streetlights and the low cloud cover seemed to illuminate the night. Whistling was never a skill that she had mastered but for some reason her whistle was much louder than she remembered. She circled the school a few times and there was no sign of the dog for that matter there was no longer and sign of Paulie either. She now called his name and once again, there was no response. She was a bit confused as what to do next because she certainly wanted Paulie to find his dog and she did want to know that Paulie was coming back or if in fact he went home for the night as it was starting to get late. By instinct, she slowly took the cell phone out of her pocket but she realized it was futile, as she had no contact of him. She and Rodger slowly walked the five blocks home all the while calling out Beetle’s name and of course, no response was forthcoming.
Meanwhile Paulie’s search for his ever-elusive dog pretty much ran the same course. He actually ran around the neighborhood like it was his daily workout and he even stopped by his house and got on his bike and continued the search. His dog was fast and he rather realized the attempt to find his dog would be futile so he headed for home hoping that somebody found the dog and returned it to the address listed on the collar. He for a second doubted whether this information was actually on the collar but he did remember that this happening before and somebody always seemed to call him. Locally, his dog was well known. On many occasions, they captured Beetle on the street and they took her in for a while until somebody would contact Paulie. Paulie was hoping this night would end in a similar fashion and rather quickly but when he arrived home chilled from his running and later a bike ride he was simply cold. It felt like winter was moving in and there was no sign of his dog.