Archive | September, 2015

Loba

30 Sep

Loba

My four year old grandson, Yalith, waved his hand at me and said in Spanish, “Andale.” He began running up the steep dirt road outside our house in Mexico. I hesitated a moment then followed him, puffing and panting under the sun. Our dog Kuma followed by my side, and our cat Brandy hustled to keep up. I’m not proud of much, but I’m proud I have a cat that likes to go on walks with me.

At the top of the hill, Yalith pointed west at the Pacific Ocean, about two miles away. Instead, I looked east, at a parcel of land we owned, where a week before I’d buried Loba, one of our dogs, a Belgian shepherd.

My wife Sophy woke up one morning and looked out the window. She saw Loba lying in the dirt, a bit of pink tongue showing. After calling out “Loba… Loba” she turned to me and said, “I think Loba’s dead.”

I looked out the window and yelled out Loba’s name. She didn’t move. Sophy and I both went out and it was as bad as we thought. The night before, around midnight, I’d walked out to say goodnight to the animals. Loba had been fine. This morning, I knelt by her side and saw there wasn’t a mark on her.

“I think she was poisoned,” said Sophy.

“Poor Loba. She was always eating all kinds of crap.”

When Loba was a puppy, before we bought her for five bucks, she never had enough food. It gave her a sick appetite. She’d attack her bowl like a buzz bomb. She was always slinking into the yard, dragging in bones from dead animals. It was gruesome, especially the day I found her gnawing on an animal’s white jawbone lined with teeth.

I got some duct tape and heavy duty garbage bags and trussed her up. Sophy and I loaded Loba’s body into the trunk of our car and drove up the hill to our spare lot. I dug a grave until I hit solid rock, then slit open the bag and poured five pounds of lime over Loba’s body. I covered her with dirt and piled rocks on the grave.

Today – at the top of the hill – as Yalith ran around overflowing with an excess of joy, I looked over at Loba’s grave. In the back of my mind I was intent on honoring Loba’s memory, telling her I was sorry she was dead.

Instead, I saw the rocks were scattered and white lime marked the ground. I took a few steps and saw black plastic shining in the sun. A few steps more and I saw what remained of Loba. Two thirds of her body had been eaten, but her jawbone remained, with strips of flesh like melted caramel. I looked away, not wanting to see anymore.

I realized Yalith had followed me, so I put an arm around his shoulder and led him away, so he wouldn’t see what I had just seen.

That night, I woke up in the dark and didn’t sleep again for hours. I wasn’t sure what to do with what remained of Loba’s body. Different scenarios played out in my mind until I decided I would get some gasoline and set Loba’s remains on fire. I’d burn it until there was nothing left to be eaten; then I’d bury the ashes.

The morning after discovering Loba’s disturbed grave, I learned that a neighbor’s dog had died a few days ago, from what they were calling a virus. The neighbor’s dog was a small and scruffy mutt who was always hungry. Neglected. Most times when I’d walk by the lot where Loba was buried, I’d see the little guy. I couldn’t help but wonder if the mutt had taken more than a few bites out of Loba and had succumbed to whatever poison had killed her. It made me even more certain that burning Loba’s body was the thing to do.

It was two days before I went back, carrying a shovel and a can of gasoline. My mind kept flashing images of Loba’s skull. I’d imagine scooping up her remains with the shovel and seeing maggots or staring down at an unseeing eye socket.

Two German shepherd mongrels were in our lot, growling at me as I walked toward the grave. Something snapped in me and I picked up a rock and yelled, “It’s my lot, motherfuckers!” They ran off as thrown rocks bounced around them in the dirt.

I got to Loba’s grave and there was nothing there. I looked closer and saw a tuft of black hair tangled in the grass. I searched the brush around the grave but the body was gone.

All I found was Loba’s skull on the ground, picked clean, as though it had been lying in the desert sun for years.

It made me think of the Wall of Voodoo song, with the line, “Just like the spokes of a wheel… you’ll turn ‘round with the rest.”

Rosarito, Mexico Sept. 2015