The Lost Boy
Have I told you about the gay guy Roger who hit on me? Some time ago I was walking to work and I passed this guy on the street outside the Donaghey Buildings at Seventh and Main. At lunch that same day, I went to Subway at Seventh and Main and I saw him again. After work, when I came out of Besser Hardware, unbelievably, he was sitting in the passenger's seat of a little truck right outside the door to the store and when I came out the store I ran headlong into him. He flickered, "Dude, I see you everywhere." I said, "Well, you will because I live at Eighth and Commerce and I walk to work downtown." He flamed, "Righteous. I'm Roger. Maybe we'll meet again." And I walked off.
The next Saturday he was knocking on my door at about 11:00, so I answered it. He said, "Dude, I thought we had a moment the other day at Besser's....." I said, "Dude, not even a nanosecond." He mumbled an apology and headed off about his business.
Well, this summer, he started walking his little dog down my street every now and then. I believe the dog to be a miniature pinscher- a min pin, they call them. And one day when walking said dog, he came over and apologized. He said, "Hey, man. I need to talk to you. I owe you an apology. I think I made an unwelcome advance on you and now I have this little dog needs walking down your street and I'm horribly embarrassed. So, I'm sorry." I told him I certainly understood his attraction, cause you know, I'm hot, but that the advance was, for the record, unwelcome, but his apology was accepted. I mean, walk on, my brother.
So, one day last week, I was outside about to get my motorcycle on and a little min pin I believed to be Roger's, untethered, came skipping down the street. By himself. I thought to myself, I think that's Roger's dog. But, jeez, it's really moving out and I can't catch him. Surely Roger will come along directly. And sure enough, a few minutes later I hear the sing-song distant sound of someone calling a lost dog. Roger. And when he got in front of my house, he breathlessly asked, "Have you seen him?" I told him that about five minutes ago he ran by and turned right onto Rock Street. He said, "Really? Five Minutes?"
I decided I'd help him so I asked him what is the dog's name. He mumbled something and I asked, "What? What is the dog's name?" He replied clearly this time, "Dapper Dan." " Dapper Dan?," I asked. "Yep, Dapper Dan," Roger replied.
So there I was zig zagging through the hood on my motorcycle looking for Dapper Dan. By and by I spotted him skipping south on Cumberland between Seventh and Eighth. I raced past him and turned my bike onto the sidewalk to block his path. "Dapper Dan," I called but he came right on past me on the sidewalk. He darted out into busy Ninth Street, crossing it. Well, he kept trotting down Cumberland, toward I-630. I was on my bike and paced him down the street, cutting him off again between 11 th and I-630, at that defunct Fashion Park Cleaners. Again I patted my legs and called, "Dapper Dan, Dapper Dan...." It seemed urgent now as we were running out of street between us and the Interstate. I was hit with the grisly inevitability of it all about then. He came on past me again, seemingly without even noticing me there on the sidewalk trying to get his attention. I figured he was going to get on the Cumberland bridge across 630 and I figured that could not be good.
But, no. Worse. He took the off ramp into oncoming three lanes of interstate traffic. It was about then that Roger made the scene huffing and puffing. He said, 'Where's Dapper Dan?" Well, there were three of those really tall interstate streetlights making one, two, three puddles of light and skipping across the furthest pool of light was Dapper Dan, his silhouette hinged together with triptych shadows, still headed against traffic and out in the middle against the retaining wall. There was no median. I pointed. When Roger saw Dapper Dan, he immediately whitened and then hurled. And it was sickening. But, Dapper Dan was making the bend in the highway and we lost sight. Roger gave chase.
Ten minutes passed and Roger finally came back empty handed. I said, "Well?" He said, "He didn't make it." He said that Dapper Dan had tried to leap the retaining wall and onto the other side of the highway just when a car came by and surely smooshed him.
Saddened, I went home and sat on my porch and wondered why Dapper Dan would choose death by 630 with such singular and unyielding purpose.
I decided that since Roger had not actually seen Dapper Dan get hit that maybe there was hope. I got back on my motorcycle and went back around to where Dapper Dan would have crossed the retaining wall. Sadly, I can report that Dapper Dan is paste.