My Dad says as I walk in the kitchen, “I’ve renamed your dog ‘The Ass Canon.’ What are you feeding him?”
“–He farts like it’s going out of style. I don’t have many years left. I don’t want to live with them with a gas mask.”
I’m thinking to myself, I get it. Dogs fart!
He continues, “I think you should sell him to the US Army. As an anti-terrorist weapon. He could wipe out an entire village.”
I get tense. “Mom, did you slip him something last night?”
She chimes in, “Oh come onnnnn, it was just some chicken and broccoli, and one little cookie for dessert.”
“What?! What do you mean dessert? Dogs don’t have dessert. Did it have chocolate in it? Mom?!”
Suddenly, my father shoots up on his feet. “He’s taking a fucking shit right now! On the rug! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! Look! Someone stop him! He’s smearing it all over the floor!”
Mom: “Oh my god. I’m gonna throw up.”
Dad: “Do something, Myra! Don’t just stand there!”
Me: “What am I supposed to do? She fed him Chips Ahoy!”
My Mom starts gagging.
Dad: “Jesus fucking Christ, we let you in, don’t charge you rent, and your dog shits all over our rug.”
Me: “I’ll clean it up, just relax.” I repeat this phrase five times, as my nervous system has gone into overwhelm shock. Hearing my mother puke doesn’t help.
Vito, either scared from all the commotion or fully aware that he’s done something wrong, hides under the couch.
God, are you watching this? Is it time to beam me up yet?
I clean up the shit, and get down on my hands and knees by the couch. “It’s okay, Vito. It’s not your fault. You can come out, now. Come on. We’ll go to my room, and I’ll sing Frank Sinatra.” (He loves Frank Sinatra).
Still on my knees, I sing “The Way You Look Tonight.” My father appears behind me.
“Jesus Christ. What is your malfunction?” he says.
Starship Enterprise, I’m ready to go now.
He continues, “Get the Ass Cannon out of here. Take him to your room.”
I wash my hands, go upstairs, and get under my Muppets comforter. Moments later, Vito pushes open the door with his nose, jumps on my bed, and burrows in to my armpit. I put my arm around him and start singing Frank.
“…For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took my blows
And did it MY WAY!…”