Author: qwertytimes

THE AMAZING RACISTS – The Finale

AmazingRac1

The Amazing Racists

Ten teams of two race around the continental United States in attempts to please a 70-year-old infantile narcissist. The ultimate scavenger hunt for scavengers.

Producer’s note: These episodes were pre-recorded. Because of the volatility of the times, some team members may already have been fired, are no longer in the game, or have disappeared from sight.

Author’s note: The only reality show I ever watch is The Amazing Race, probably because I can’t afford to do much travelling. Accordingly, The Amazing Racists is an affectionate nod to the reality show and a parody with political touches. My apologies to other fans of The Amazing Race but not to racists—you know who you are.

Episode List

Episode 9: The Mar in Mar-a-Lago

Welcome to our finale, a two-hour special that opens back in Mar-a-Lago, where teams start off by quoting from memory yesterday’s barrage of Trump tweets. Next, they must guess to within one-hundred thousand the correct number of attendees at Trump’s inauguration. Once those tasks are completed, all three final teams will receive separate Detours. Team Father Loves Me Best, winner of last week’s race, must fly to Dubai for their Detour. There they will wine and dine potential investors at the At.mosphere Restaurant on the 122nd floor of the Khalifa Tower, the world’s tallest building, and must correctly identify the amuse bouche. After a fourteen-course meal, Team Father Loves Me Best must successfully negotiate a billion-dollar deal with the United Arab Emirates for Trump products to be sold during the 2020 World Expo. For their Detour, Team Uday Qusay are off to world-famous Namibia, Africa, known for its abundance of wildlife, where the two boys will take turns hunting trophy game in the wilderness from the comfort of a Chinook helicopter utilizing military-grade weapons. The team must return to Florida with at least one trophy leopard and two zebra skins. Extra points will be awarded for any endangered species bagged by the dynamic duo during their wildlife adventure. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan (#TeamSpineless, #TeamWeasel, #TeamNoHealthCareforYou, #TeamGOPUberAlles)) face perhaps the most challenging Detour of the season. The good news is they get to stay in the US. The bad news is they must scrub toilets in all 126 rooms in Mar-a-Lago using only a toothbrush and flossing string. When Mr. Trump’s private body guard approves of their work, they will receive their next assignment. Unfortunately, time runs out on the legislators in the crapper. While Mitch and Paul are still on their knees on a bathroom floor, they are personally “fired” by a gloating Mr. Trump. Meanwhile, the other remaining two teams compete in a footrace to see who can deliver the most scoops of vanilla ice cream to Donald in thirty minutes, which surprisingly ends in a tie. As their tie-breaking task, our final two teams must see who can shake Donald’s hand the longest. Spoiler alert: Team Father Loves Me Best is the last team standing at the Pit Stop and wins (was there ever any doubt?). Well, that’s all for this season of The Amazing Racists. If you like getting ripped off by the 1-percent, and think the super rich need more tax breaks while you can live (albeit a shorter life) without health care or any kind of social safety net, don’t miss our new reality show coming soon: The Amazing Plutocrats. Or, as we like to refer to it here in the studio, Make America Feudal Again.

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THE AMAZING RACISTS – Episode 9

AmazingRac1

The Amazing Racists

Ten teams of two race around the continental United States in attempts to please a 70-year-old infantile narcissist. The ultimate scavenger hunt for scavengers.

Producer’s note: These episodes were pre-recorded. Because of the volatility of the times, some team members may already have been fired, are no longer in the game, or have disappeared from sight.

Author’s note: The only reality show I ever watch is The Amazing Race, probably because I can’t afford to do much travelling. Accordingly, The Amazing Racists is an affectionate nod to the reality show and a parody with political touches. My apologies to other fans of The Amazing Race but not to racists—you know who you are.

Episode List

Episode 9: The Mar in Mar-a-Lago

Our final episode is a two-hour special that opens back in Mar-a-Lago, where teams start off by quoting from memory yesterday’s barrage of Trump tweets. Next, they must guess to within one-hundred thousand the correct number of attendees at Trump’s inauguration. In an unexpected twist, all three final teams receive separate Detours. Team Father Loves Me Best, winner of last week’s race, must fly to Dubai. There they will wine and dine potential investors at the At.mosphere Restaurant on the 122nd floor of the Khalifa Tower, the world’s tallest building, and must correctly identify the amuse bouche. After the meal, Team Father Loves Me Best must successfully negotiate a billion-dollar deal with the United Arab Emirates for Trump products to be sold during the 2020 World Expo. For their Detour, Team Uday Qusay are off to world-famous Namibia, Africa, known for its abundance of wildlife, where the two boys will take turns hunting trophy game in the wilderness from the comfort of a Trump helicopter utilizing only military-grade weapons. The team must return to Florida with at least one trophy leopard and two zebra skins. Extra points will be awarded for any endangered species bagged by the dynamic duo. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan (#TeamSpineless, #TeamWeasel, #TeamNoHealthCareforYou, #TeamGOPUberAlles)) face perhaps the most challenging Detour of the season. The good news is they get to stay in the US. The bad news is they must scrub toilets in all 126 rooms in Mar-a-Lago using only a toothbrush and flossing string. When Mr. Trump’s private butler approves of their work, they will receive their next assignment. Unfortunately, time runs out on the legislators in the crapper. While Mitch and Paul are still on their knees on a bathroom floor, they are personally “fired” by a gloating Mr. Trump. Meanwhile, the other remaining two teams compete in a footrace to see who can deliver the most scoops of vanilla ice cream to Donald in thirty minutes, which surprisingly ends in a tie. As their tie-breaking task, our final two teams must see who can shake Donald’s hand the longest. Spoiler alert: Team Father Loves Me Best is the last team standing at the Pit Stop and wins (was there ever any doubt?). Well, that’s all for this season of The Amazing Racists. If you like getting ripped off by the 1-percent, don’t miss our new reality show coming soon: The Amazing Plutocrats.

THE AMAZING RACISTS – Episode 8

AmazingRac1

The Amazing Racists

Ten teams of two race around the continental United States in attempts to please a 70-year-old infantile narcissist. The ultimate scavenger hunt for scavengers.

Producer’s note: These episodes were pre-recorded. Because of the volatility of the times, some team members may already have been fired, are no longer in the game, or have disappeared from sight.

Author’s note: The only reality show I ever watch is The Amazing Race, probably because I can’t afford to do much travelling. Accordingly, The Amazing Racists is an affectionate nod to the reality show and a parody with political touches. My apologies to other fans of The Amazing Race but not to racists—you know who you are.

Episode List

Episode 8: Teed-Off Time

Teams are back in golf carts this week, as the leg opens at the Trump National Doral Golf Course, outside of Miami, Florida. Teams must race around all 72 holes in their cart, touching each hole flag, and then recite from memory the number on each flag. Once teams traverse the 72-holes, they must return to the clubhouse where a blindfolded team member is required to fondle a golf club and correctly identify the club by its shaft and head, as well as identify which country it was made in. Team Fake Christians identifies the country as Indiana and is penalized for mistaking a state for a foreign country. Team Spineless (aka #TeamWeasel, #TeamNoHealthCareforYou) mistakenly drives their cart into a water hazard and later gets stuck in not just one but two sand traps, putting them far behind the other three teams. Later that evening, teams must dress in black, Ninja-style, and lie on the ground at the driving range for two hours while getting pelted by tourists practicing their chip shots. The next morning, outside the clubhouse at the golf ball washer, teams are required to wash two-hundred Trump balls in seven minutes. At the Pit Stop, Team Fake Christians protests their penalty but for naught, and they are eliminated. Team Father Loves Me Best arrives first—once again. It is, indeed, a stunning achievement considering Jared and Ivanka did not perform any of their assigned tasks during this leg of the race.

 

THE AMAZING RACISTS – Episode 7

AmazingRac1

The Amazing Racists

Ten teams of two race around the continental United States in attempts to please a 70-year-old infantile narcissist. The ultimate scavenger hunt for scavengers.

Producer’s note: These episodes were pre-recorded. Because of the volatility of the times, some team members may already have been fired, are no longer in the game, or have disappeared from sight.

Author’s note: The only reality show I watch is The Amazing Race, probably because I can’t afford to do much travelling these days. Accordingly, The Amazing Racists is an affectionate nod to the reality show and a parody with political touches. My apologies to other fans of The Amazing Race but not to racists—you know who you are.

Episode List

Episode 7: Who Cut the Cheesehead?

With only five teams left, tension rises as they head back north to Janesville, Wisconsin, home turf for half of Team Spineless, aka Team Weasel. Teams have to wear the state’s famous cheesehead hats while clogging and singing the University of Wisconsin fight school in front of out-of-work teachers.  Once the teachers give them a passing grade, teams move on to Milwaukee to meet Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. When a team snatches the sheriff’s famous cowboy hat off his head without getting shot, they can move on to Green Bay. At the Packers’ world-famous Lambeau Field, all teams hit a Roadblock that requires one player from each team to devour twenty bratwursts in five minutes.  Team Father Loves Me Best uses one of their Express Passes and travels to Paris, France, for dinner instead at a Michelin three-star restaurant. After narrowly escaping elimination in episode 4 and episode 6, Team Civil Rights Are For Losers finally gets eliminated when Rudy Giuliani chokes on a wiener and teammate Jeff Sessions recuses himself from performing mouth-to-mouth CPR. In the first major upset of the season, Team Uday Qusay finishes ahead of Team Father Loves Me Best, who linger in Paris too long over dinner.

 

THE AMAZING RACISTS – Episode 6

AmazingRac1

The Amazing Racists

Ten teams of two race around the continental United States in attempts to please a 70-year-old infantile narcissist. The ultimate scavenger hunt for scavengers.

Producer’s note: These episodes were pre-recorded. Because of the volatility of the times, some team members may already have been fired, are no longer in the game, or have already gone into hiding.

Author’s note: The only reality show I ever watch is The Amazing Race, probably because I can’t afford to do much travelling and they send those people everywhere. Accordingly, The Amazing Racists is an affectionate nod to my favorite reality show, as well as a parody with political touches. My apologies to other fans of The Amazing Race but not to racists—you know who you are.

Episode List

Episode 6: Nothing’s Easy in The Big Easy

Teams fly to New Orleans, aka The Big Easy, where their first task is to play the tuba in a Jazz funeral in the Ninth Ward. When the parade breaks off into a Second Line, each team must find a house with a Trump/Pence campaign poster in its window. When they do, they are handed their next clue, which sends them to a nearby swamp. After dining on roadkill, teams must traverse an obstacle course through the swamp while being chased by good ol’ boys and their hound dogs in rusted-out pickup trucks. Familiarity with swamp culture helps Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan (#TeamSpineless, #TeamWeasel) successfully navigate the treacherous terrain, the first team to make it out alive. Upon exiting the swamp, teams must sing the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence in Cajun. Teams end in Jackson Square in the French Quarter, where as their final task of the leg they must create a statue of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis out of Legos. As time expires, Team Fake Christians and Team Civil Rights Are For Losers lack the manual dexterity, vision, and teamwork to master their Legos and face dual elimination. Fortunately, it is not an elimination “Lego” (sorry, bad pun) and all remaining teams move on. The team of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump arrive first at the Pit Stop and win another Express Pass as well as a celebrity endorsement deal with Fox News. Nobody knows what happened to Team Uday Qusay.

 

THE AMAZING RACISTS – Episode 5

AmazingRac1

The Amazing Racists

Ten teams of two race around the continental United States in attempts to please a 70-year-old infantile narcissist. The ultimate scavenger hunt for scavengers.

Producer’s note: These episodes were pre-recorded. Because of the volatility of the times, some team members may already have been fired, are no longer in the game, or have dropped out of sight.

Episode List

Episode 5: Coal Miner’s Dotter

Teams must now drive non-stop in their American-made cars from Pocatello, Idaho, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Along the way, they are required to meet and talk to at least three real Americans with voter I.D. cards from the heartland who still believe in the Trump presidency and who honestly believe their Medicaid healthcare benefits are safe. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan (#TeamSpineless) run out of gas and are forced to pull over to the side of the road in Kansas. The team of Mike Pence and Sarah Huckabee Sanders (#TeamFakeChristians) choose not to play Good Samaritans and pass Team Spineless without stopping to help. When questioned by race officials, it’s discovered that Mike’s wife had been hiding in the back seat under a blanket. The team is issued a warning for cheating with one’s own spouse. Once in Harrisburg, each team must arrange and hold a meaningless rally, while exaggerating the crowd size for national media. Although Team Uday Qusay finally get their act together, they are still the second team to arrive at the Pit Stop. Team Father Loves Me Best, of course, wins again. However, because it was a close finish, both first and second teams are awarded an Express Pass, as well as a free government-sponsored trip to anywhere in the world and a Get Out of Jail Free card. The team of Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus (#TeamWhitey) showed spunk by finishing second in last week’s race. Steve took it upon himself to personally make the white sheets in Idaho in record-time, while Reince, much lower to the ground, seemed born to pick vegetables. Unfortunately, fearing competition from the two White House insiders, Team Uday Qusay u-turns Team Whitey, who are tasked with finding an example of clean coal. Unable to locate a single specimen, they are eliminated.

THE AMAZING RACISTS – Episode 4

AmazingRac1

The Amazing Racists

Teams of two race around the continental United States in attempts to please a 70-year-old infantile narcissist. The ultimate scavenger hunt for scavengers.

Producer’s note: These episodes were pre-recorded. Because of the volatility of the times, some team members may already have been fired, are no longer in the game, or have gone into hiding.

Episode List

Episode 4: Buds, Spuds & Cruds

Flying across country, teams arrive in northern Idaho, to the town of Moscow, where they must find and rent a car made totally in America and drive to the western part of the state in search of a white supremacists’ compound. Once there, they must make enough white sheets and pointy hats for the entire compound. If the compound leader approves of the outfits, teams are off to southern Idaho where they will replace lost Mexican farm workers and harvest potatoes, working from dawn to dusk. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and team mate Rudy Giuliani (#TeamCivilRightsAreForLosers) disagree over the size of the eyeholes in the sheets and lose valuable time filing reciprocal restraining orders. As a result they are the last to arrive in the fields. But it doesn’t matter because father and son Michael T. Flynn and Michael Flynn Jr. (#TeamLockHerUp) misunderstand the directions and fly to Moscow, Russia, where they find plenty of white nationalists but not many who speak English. Unable to catch a return flight in time, Team Lock Her Up is eliminated from the race and could be headed to prison. In a remarkable achievement, Team Father Loves Me Best arrives first at the Pit Stop (again) and wins their fourth Express Pass, another new record.

THE AMAZING RACISTS – 3 Episodes

AmazingRac1

The Amazing Racists

Teams of two race around the continental United States in attempts to please a 70-year-old infantile narcissist. The ultimate scavenger hunt for scavengers.

Producer’s note: These episodes were pre-recorded. Because of the volatility of the times, some team members may already have been fired, are no longer in the game, or gone into hiding.

Episode List

Episode 1: Finders Keepers

The teams start off at the White House in Washington, D.C., where they have only four hours to find and destroy all of Donald Trump’s mobile phones and TV remotes. Then, they must search the grounds to find the only Hispanic working at the White House who is not part of the kitchen staff or landscaping crew. When they do, they must ask in Spanish to “see the Wall.” Once he approves of their use of Spanish, teams must watch Fox & Friends and identify and recite from memory three false statements. Teammates Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich (#TeamUndertheBus) are the first to be eliminated from the race for no apparent reason, other than nobody really likes them. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump (#TeamFatherLovesMeBest) are the first to arrive at the Pit Stop and win an Express Pass.

Episode 2: Money, Money, Money

Teams drive down the East Coast to Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in golf carts, where they must identify by name and country at least ten foreign dignitaries or lobbyists dining in the restaurant. They must pick the correct diner as the person most likely to be carrying an envelope stuffed with the most cash in large, unmarked bills. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump (#TeamUdayQusay) fly their personal jet to Mar-a-Lago but detour to party in Grand Cayman and drop from second place to fifth. This gives Team Father Loves Me Best enough time to arrive first at the Pit Stop. Jared and Ivanka win another Express Pass and get to keep the cash bribe. Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort (#TeamRussia) are the second team to be eliminated. Team Russia has problems from the start, and can’t get their respective stories straight when asked to explain their bizarre actions to the press. To compound their problems, during a Detour, Corey slugs a woman reporter for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Episode 3: New York, New York

Teams arrive in Mid-town Manhattan, where they must first exchange their regular clothes for a fig leaf and then fight their way through a huge crowd of angry anti-Trump protesters to enter Trump Tower. Once inside the Tower, teams must scour all 58 floors until they find the alleged wire used by the Obama Administration to tape conversations of, ahem, alleged illegal activities by Trump associates. If they find the wire, they must find Melania Trump in the penthouse and hand it to her. Team Father Loves Me Best wisely uses one of their Express Passes and is able to avoid both the protesters and the wire search and go directly to the pent house. For their efforts at again being first to the Pit Stop, they win another Express Pass, their third in three weeks, a record for the show. Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer (#TeamPantsonFire) are U-turned and have to submit to a polygraph test, which they both fail miserably and repeatedly. They are eventually eliminated as time runs out on them and the episode.

[stay tuned for more episodes]

 

Yes, We Have No Chihuahuas – Part 3

Mutt is tall, dark, short-haired, somewhat awkward, and looks as if he could be a little slow on the uptake.  He reminds me of the classic dumb-buddy character from the old Saturday morning cartoons.  While Jeff, his partner in guard duty, is diminutive and light-colored, and moves, herky-jerky, as if he’s been drinking double lattes all morning.  He reminds me of the Joe Pesci character in Lethal Weapon II.  Every time I see these two dogs, I stretch my neck to look up at them on the roof they guard.

Not today, however.  Jeff was on the ground barking and Mutt, still on the roof, was barking back at him.  They were oblivious to anyone else around, including Cassie, and were hardly guarding the premises.  Instead, they argued back and forth.  Although their argument consisted of various barking sounds, in my mind’s ear I heard the real story.

“How’d you get down there?” barked Mutt.

“I don’t remember,” barked Jeff.

“What are you doing down there?  You’re supposed to be up here with me,” barked Mutt.

“No shit, Sherlock,” barked Jeff.

“Get back up here,” barked Mutt.

“Duh.  What do you think I’m trying to do?” barked Jeff.

“Get up here before you get us both fired,” barked Mutt.

“You see steps?  A ladder maybe?” barked the exasperated Jeff.

“How’d you get down there?” barked Mutt.

“Don’t you listen to anything I say?” barked Jeff.

“Get back up here now,” barked Mutt.

We left the Bickersons to work out their differences and continued on our walk, turning right, and heading east, up the slight hill.  We passed several examples of Canis roadkillsimilaris, sprawled out in doorways and sidewalks.  At the top of the hill, we turned south and it was then that we noticed the change.  We heard barking from a house that had been previously “dogless.” Cassie and I looked at each other, confused: a tourist or a new resident?   Just then, a man and his dog emerged from the house.  But it wasn’t just any dog—it was a small Poodle!

The owner walked over with his dog and we stared, smiling, at each other for a moment, standing in the middle of the quiet street with our dogs, bound together by the timing of our dog walkies.

Me: Hola.  Buenos dias.

He: Hola.   Buenos dias.

So far so good.

Me: ¿Estoy bien?

He: Bien, bien.  ¿Usted?

Me: Bien, bien.

He: Bien.

Me: (pointing to his dog) ¿Esta es tu perro?

He: Si, si.   (pointing to Cassie) ¿Tu perro?

Me:  Si, si.

We stopped talking for a few seconds and looked at each other.  Before saying another word, we both knew any conversation beyond this point was problematic.  He understood my Spanish would not be up to the task and I had yet to hear any English thrown my way.  So we did the next best thing.  We petted each other’s dogs for a few awkward seconds and continued to smile.

He: ¿Nombre?

Me: Cassie.

He: Ahhh.   Cussie.

Me: No.  CA-sie.   Cassie.

He: Ahhh.  Cassie.

Me:  Si, si. 

I pointed at his dog and asked its name.

He: Rocoso.

Me: ¿Rocco?

He: No.   Rocoso.

Me:  Ahhh.   Rocoso.   ¿Que es?

He:  ¿Como?

Me:  ¿Como se decie in English?

He:  Rocoso.

Me: No comprendre.

Still smiling, the man started shadow boxing.   I ducked.   Then he raised his arms in the air, in a victory salute, and danced in circles.   When all else fails, play charades.

Me: Ahhh.   Rocky.

He:  Si, si.   Rocky.

We were done sniffing each other, so it was time to move on.   He said goodbye and took Rocky down the street.   Cassie and I continued in the opposite direction.

Within the week I noticed two other Mexican families with Poodles living on the next street and several more Poodles in town, mostly the smaller breeds of Toys and Minis.   Suddenly it seemed as if we were in the middle of a Poodle population explosion.

It’s been said that Americans are appalled at how Mexicans treat their pets and Mexicans are equally appalled at how Americans treat their children.  But I’m no longer sure the old clichés still apply.  For with Rocoso and others of his breed in the neighborhood and across town I realized we had a new canine sub-species in our midst.  This new sub-species is perhaps best represented by upwardly mobile Mexican dog owners who are treating their pets in the well-coddled tradition of their neighbors to the north: professional grooming, long walks, plenty of food and water.  Accordingly, I now submit two new classes of dogs be recognized: Canis gringo spoiledrottenus and Canis mexicano spoiledrottenus.  Of course, this means we now have even more classes of man’s best friend South of the Border, which is a good thing because, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to dogs the more the merrier.

###

Yes, We Have No Chihuahuas – Part 2

Regarding the canine species in Mexico and a commentary on how at least some dogs are doing in the central highlands these days, cont’d

The most recent addition to this canine mix, of course, was the transplant known as the expat dog, or Canis spoiledrottenus.  This breed stood out from the rest by its well-groomed and well-fed appearance, and the confidence the dog had in knowing it would always have “three hots and a cot.”  Smaller versions of this breed were often carried in Frida Kahlo handbags by senior expat women in wide-brimmed hats.  Larger ones grudgingly followed their owners up and down San Miguel’s narrow streets.

Our own dog, Cassie, belonged without question to the Canis spoiledrottenus camp.  She was a nine-year-old black standard poodle who possessed a classy bearing—unlike her owners, who could best be described as a motley crew of two.  We would sometimes catch Cassie glancing at us out of the corner of her eye, disapprovingly or condescendingly, as if she were wondering how we ever ended up ahead of her on the evolutionary chart.  I often asked myself the same question.  With an intense expression on her face, Cassie sat rather formally in a chair, with her front paws crossed and dangling.  Her pose was simply regal.  She looked as if she were waiting for someone to light her cigarette or peel a grape.

On the other hand, both Arlene and I tended to slouch when we stood, sat, or walked.  And when God was passing out tall, dark, and handsome, I was in the men’s room taking a whiz.  It was not as if Cassie would have ever said anything openly to us about it, even if she could have articulated her disappointment.  She was too well-behaved and far too shy to take a public stand, and, as a result, was all the more willing to suffer fools quietly.

We called her Cassiopeia when she was good and Cassandra when she was bad, but most of the time she was just good ol’ Cassie, the sweetest dog we’d ever known.  When introducing our dog to another dog owner, we would brag that Cassie came before Lassie in the phone book.  She was small for a standard, and since I’m never one to pass up a cheap joke, I usually introduced Cassie as being “sub-standard.”  She seemed repressed, at times, but ran with such enthusiasm that her butt would swing out ahead of the rest of her body, much like a gate swinging back and forth.

She was, to borrow the words of a Tom Robbins novel, skinny legs and all.  Whenever three neighborhood Chihuahuas escaped their house during one of our walks, the little yappers went right for her legs.  In the scene that ensued, Cassie would watch helplessly, as if the tiny dogs were midget lumberjacks trying to saw her down.  It was funny to watch, even if Cassie failed to see the humor in it.

To my larger point, Cassie was not just a dog.  She was a girlie-girl who ran side-saddle and walked like Charlie Chaplin in high heels.  So I made an effort before we left for Mexico to get Cassie to look like a normal dog.  No nail polish.  No ribbons or bows.  No frou-frou haircuts.  Still, I worried that a poodle in Mexico would turn out to be too much of an oxymoron.  Worse still, whatever macho points I might have left on the board were sure to be scratched the moment I walked Cassie in our traditional Mexican neighborhood.  But the outings were not as publicly humiliating as I had imagined, since most people either weren’t out or didn’t care.  Thus, we quickly settled into a twice-daily routine of “walkies,” checking out our neighboring streets together, once in the morning and again late in the afternoon.

We lived in La Lejona, a mostly Mexican middleclass neighborhood with wide, cobbled or unpaved streets, dust everywhere except during the rainy season, and an impressive backdrop of cacti and mountains.  The area consisted of about one hundred houses, in various stages of development, from abandoned ruins to brand new structures.  La Lejona is Spanish for “far away” and, as I understand it, was the name of the original hacienda in the area, which still exists tucked up against the hillside along a ravine.  But far away is a relative term, and our neighborhood was less than a thirty-minute, mostly flat trip into the popular historic Centro on foot, a fifteen-minute bus ride, ten minutes by car or taxi.

Something strange happened one morning during our walk.  As always, our first challenge on these walks was to get by two examples of barkus obnoxious directly across from our house without creating too much noise.  They manned—or dogged—a large, one-level, empty house of brick and wrought iron.  One of the dogs was older, a little feeble, gaunt, with skinny legs, and deep-set but very woeful eyes.  The other dog was much younger, more energetic, quick to wag his tail, even quicker to snap at other dogs, including his older companion.  I named the older dog “Quixote” and the younger one “Sancho.”

As soon as we left our house, Quixote and Sancho, without looking up, barked and howled and snarled and carried on as if the entire country were under attack.  That is, until they recognized me, and when they did, they quickly replaced their barks with wagging tails.  I had been bribing them with treats since our first day in the neighborhood, and, let’s face it, a little protection money goes a long way no matter where you are in the animal kingdom.

After leaving Quixote and Sancho, we wandered to the end of our block, turned the corner and headed north.  Two of the better examples of Canis rooftopus in our neighborhood ruled this street, two dogs I nicknamed Mutt and Jeff, for they were as dissimilar as two dogs could be and still belong to the same species.