Me and my best friend, Ricky Mehlinger, made a regular routine out of this for about a month. We’d filch a sixer and drink it down in the concrete drainage ditch and let the Doberman chase us. The Doberman was one big, ugly, mean-eyed dog. He ruled three backyards. One day we were just finishing off our beer and looked up and there he sat on the corner of the brick wall looking down at us like an evil gargoyle. A split second before he leaped down, we took off running. Then here he came, snapping at our heels. I literally felt his teeth on the back of my shoe right before I scrambled up a stockade fence. It was a blast.
After that, we always made sure to walk by his domain after we finished our six-pack, and without fail, he’d spring out from nowhere, wild-eyed and slobbering. Then one day I bet Ricky five dollars he wouldn’t try to make it all the way through the Doberman’s backyard and touch the wrought-iron gate around the swimming pool. He chugged the rest of his beer and said, “You’re on, dude.”
It was hilarious. Ricky got about halfway through the backyard before the Doberman came tearing around the corner of the house. Ricky’s face went all Macaulay Culkin, and he took off at a sprint for the swimming pool gate, the dog chomping air right behind him. He tried to flop over the gate but got seriously hung up on the black, wrought-iron spikes. That’s when I saw it. The Doberman kept barking and chomping at Ricky’s ankles, but he never took a bite. He could’ve easily gnawed Ricky’s leg off, but when it came down to it, he was just like us—out for a good time and nothing more.
That broke the spell. We knew the old Doberman wasn’t really mean and he knew we knew. We’d still drink our beer down in the drainage ditch, but now the dog would sit there with us and let us stroke his head. It was September, the season of the dog. Our parents didn’t know where we were . It was spectacular.
The above short story was from THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Tim Tharp. I liked the story.