My Dog Teddy
I was an unusual kid - keeping very much to myself inside a world designed by a dark imagination - held in check by a morbid fear of everything.
A child born without siblings who may have aided in the buffering of my parents’ violent and deeply disturbing relationship.
I did have a dog, though. His name was Teddy. Teddy was a terrier mix with soft brown eyes and a wiry, cream, scruffy coat. He was always at the foot of my bed when I woke of a morning, and we played together for hours every day after school.
I fucking loved that dog.
On that Saturday morning, as my parents started into their usual weekend argument regime, I leashed Teddy to take him for a walk before punches were thrown and the Police got called again.
We lived in a semi-urban environment about an hour west of Sydney - an area growing fast due to development, helping to provide low-cost housing for families struggling to survive the city’s property market boom.
Teddy and I had been walking for about 10 minutes when I caught sight of Gary Boil and his two Chinese flunkies.They were in the park and seemed to be attempting to uproot a seesaw.
I lowered my head and quickened my pace, all the while praying for the power of invisibility.
Frozen to the spot, I stared at the ground, I could hear them run towards us.
“Look fellas, even his dog is a homo,” Gary sneered.
At this very moment, I was wishing Teddy was either a German Shepherd or a Pit Bull - anything other than a dumb and friendly mongrel that was gazing playfully at my tormentors.
Gary Boil began backing me into a tree with a prodding finger rammed into my chest, all the while questioning this 9-year-old boy’s sexuality.
I looked up for the very first time to witness him staring into me with hate filled eyes, his face flushed red and a strand of spit nestled in the corner of his grim mouth.
“Don’t look at me, homo,” he snorted, as he slapped my face with an open hand.
Something inside me broke. I let go of Teddy’s leash and raised both hands to Gary’s throat. I began to choke him.
I then sunk a knee into his gut, which caused him to double over.
Interesting enough, Yin and Yang seemed surprised and happy to allow this turnaround to continue.
With Gary at my mercy, I put him in a headlock and began to pound his head against the tree.
It was then I heard the squealing of tires and a yelp followed by a horrible, pathetic whimper.
Turning my body around, I faced the road with Gary Boil’s head still pinned in my arms. My dog was laying motionless inches away from the front wheel of the stopped car. I threw off Boil and ran towards Teddy.
Dropping to the road, I rested Teddy’s head gently in my lap while searching desperately for any sign of life.
There was none to be found. My dog had slipped away.
The driver, overcome by grief and guilt, knelt down beside me.
“I’m so sorry kid,” he said.
“He just ran out.....I couldn't stop in time.
“I don't know what to say, mate.
“Please accept this.” He held out a twenty dollar note.
I looked into his eyes, tears streaming down my face, and he handed me another twenty.
The driver nervously backed into his car and drove away.
Gary Boil threw a rock that hit me in the back as he and his henchman skulked off down the street.
“Boo-hoo, homo,” he taunted in farewell.
It didn’t matter.
I looked at the forty dollars in my hand and then at my dead dog, Teddy.
Something else inside me broke that day. The one last strain of attachment in my life had just been severed, and my tears had given way to numbness and a void. .
I carried Teddy’s body home and into the garage to administer some much needed repairs.
Patching him up was relatively easy. I washed the blood off his coat, and, as luck would have it, I found a can of beige spray paint for the bits I couldn’t repair. Admiring my handiwork, I carried him back out onto the streets.
Waiting between parked cars, I chose my moment carefully.
As a speeding vehicle approached, I launched Teddy onto the open road.
My technique improved as the day progressed. Feigning grief and manufacturing tears -getting it down like a pro.
I cleared $250 in five hours. Each time Teddy got hit, I would take him home, repair him, and then return to my gruesome enterprise.
It was only after my fifth run that the motorist smelled a rat.
“Kid.....this dog has stitches for eyes.”
He handed me ten dollars anyway, and I didn’t argue.
It was time to call it quits.
I buried Teddy under the hammock in the back yard with his favorite chew toy and twenty dollars.
I loved that fucking dog.
I will admit I have my quirks - and you may very well question my morality - but to my credit, I haven’t owned a dog since Teddy.