• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 11
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Second Place

On a pedestal. That's where he put me. Everything about my appearance his choice. He takes such care over the detail, that everything must match, that everything must be... just so.

He uses the word 'care'. He uses the word 'love'. He uses the word 'us'.

Groomed, displayed and held on a leash. That's where I am.

That's where Lady is too.

I mean, what kind of name is that for a boy dog? Larry jokes it's short for Lady Killer or, sometimes, it's really Laddie, but "Hey, Linda, you know what happens to pet names, right?" Whatever you planned, however much you planned it one way, things turn out different. Another way.

Lady's a good dog. But I look at him and I don't see a dog who wants to get dragged round the country to shows. I don't see a dog who wants to be shampooed and chained in ribbons. Lady's a dog, and no dog really wants that. He wants to be free and he wants friendship and love, and he thinks he's getting friendship and love from Larry by trading his freedom. But that's not what Larry's giving him. There's no dignity. You can see it in Lady's eyes, see that he knows this. And he can see it in my eyes.

I'm not a dog person, but I do this because it's part of Larry's way, his world. And that's the way it's always been.


Second Place

But worlds end. And however much you planned it one way, things turn out different, right?

"You can go back to the motel with Lady, Linda. I'll see you later." He doesn't like me hanging round for the aftershow drinks. He knows my smile doesn't fit. When I smile. And sure, he's said something about that too. Tells me that at the office. Tells the others at the office too.

So, yeah, I'm going back to the motel. I'm taking the car. I'm taking Lady. I'm picking up the other suitcase he didn't see me pack. Then I'm picking up a rental car and taking me and Lady up to my sister's in Brooklyn. She loves dogs. She can have Lady and, until I get things figured, I'll have the spare room.

He'll figure it out tonight, but he can't go back to Baltimore yet, can't go home or back to the office. There's a sales meet tomorrow. That's the other reason we're in Atlantic City. That's how he plans things, how he piggybacks the damn dog shows on the work trips. I'm the one who has to do the planning, the details.


Tuesday he'll find the letter on his desk.

Come on, Lady, let's get back to the car and go. Another way.