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A few years ago I picked up Rex at the dog pound. He’s a small black Dachshund, and my life hasn’t been the same since. If Rex were the Road-Runner, I would be Wile E. Coyote. If Rex were Stan Laurel, I would be Oliver Hardy. I can never win . . . I can never win.

I was rummaging through the hall closet looking for my English-Sanskrit dictionary when I came upon the Ouija Board. It was tucked in between an oil pan from a ’39 Mercury and the French Maid’s outfit I had bought for an old girlfriend. The oil pan was well worn—the outfit had never been.

“Rex! Hey, look at this. The ol’ Ouija Board.” Rex had sauntered down the hall, but failed to look at the Ouija Board. “Look, Rexie. Let’s set up the Ouija Board and try to get some ‘answers from the other side’.” I failed to ignite the curiosity and excitement in Rex. Come to think of it, it was for those reasons with my old girlfriend that the French Maid’s outfit was still in its unopened wrapper. She had run off with a radio dispatched buffalo taxidermist and I never heard from her again.

I took the Ouija Board to the coffee table and set it up. “Watch, Rex. I’ll ask a question and Ouija will answer.” I asked if I was ever going to get married. The Ouija thingy—the planchette—didn’t move a hair. I asked if the Giants had a chance of getting out of the cellar. No response.

“I don’t know what’s going on, Rexie. The darned thing isn’t working. It’s worked before; the last time I used it, I had asked if I was ever going to get married. Oh, yeah. No response, then, either.” Rex watched a fly fly around the room, which seemed to be offering more excitement than my Ouija Board demonstration.

“Here. YOU try it, goofball. Here, put a paw on the planchette and we’ll ask a question.” Rex hopped up on the coffee table (with a little help from me) and sat in front of the board. He lowered his head and I watched his breath become shallow. He placed his paw on the Ouija thingy.

“Ask it who rules the world, Rex, men or women. Yeah. Ask it that. That’s a good one. And it’s only a Yes-No answer. It’s not like we’re asking it to describe Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or how to open a child-proof bottle or why I ALWAYS seem to get in the longest line in the grocery store, which is a physical impossibility.” Rex ignored my rambling, probably because I suggested he ask a question to the Ouija Board, and Rex can’t speak a word of English. He may be very proficient in Dachshund, but he is a hapless failure at English.

Suddenly, the planchette started to move ever so gently under the light touch of Rex’s paw. The planchette moved to the letter “D”. “Wow, Rex! You made it move. Way to go, Rexie!” Rex ignored my jubilation at his spiritual connection and plowed ahead full speed through the ethers. His paw moved to “O”. “D-O, Rex! Whoa! Keep going!” His paw slid ever so gently to the “G”. “REX! It just spelled DOG. Now, I know you can’t speak, let alone spell in English, but you just spelled DOG!” Rex wasn’t finished.

The planchette moved to “S” and then the “R”. “Say, what’s going on, here? How come you can make it move and you’re just a dog?” Rex didn’t offer his customary growl at my barb; he stayed put, breathing shallow breaths. I looked around in front of him—his eyes were half-open, real spooky like. The planchette moved from the “R” to the “U”. “Now you’re getting silly, Rex. First you spelled DOG, and now it’s going crazy with DOGSRU. What is a DOGSRU? If you’re going to . . .” His paw moved over the “L”. “Oh, for crying out loud. What is a DOGSRUL? Is that canine gibberish? Huh? Huh? Huh?”

Rex’s paw moved for the last time to the “E”. He hopped off the coffee table and ran out into the back yard. “HOW DID YOU DO THAAAAAAAAT? HOOOOOOOOOOWWW?” I ran after him, out into the back yard. He slid under the side fence and over into his girlfriend Millie’s doghouse. He had given me the slip.

I went back in the house and put the game back in the closet. As I wedged it between the Merc oil pan and the French Maid’s outfit, I recalled her name—Mindy. Mindy Lewbrenowski. “I wonder what ever happened to her.” I pulled out the phonebook, and after not finding a heading for a Lewbrenowski or Radio Dispatched Buffalo Taxidermists, I pondered Rex’s use of the Ouija Board.

I heard Rex’s toenails dancing over the kitchen linoleum as he made an appearance in the doorway. I looked over at him to further my inquiry as to how he spelled Dogs Rule, but let it slide: he was too busy watching a fly on the carpet.

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