No, it's not what you think....
Sometimes a reader really touches your heart. That was the case when one sent me a sketch he had done inspired by the feisty little chihuahua in my book RAINING MEN, inappropriately named Johnny Wadd. The little dog plays a major role in helping my main character, Bobby, find his own heart and humanity. Anyway, I wanted to share the sketch with you.
Sequel to Chaser
The character you loved to hate in Chaser becomes the character you will simply love in Raining Men. It’s been raining men for most of Bobby Nelson’s adult life. Normally, he wouldn’t have it any other way, but lately something’s missing. Now, he wants the deluge to slow to a single special drop. But is it even possible for Bobby to find “the one” after endless years of hooking up?
When Bobby’s father passes away, Bobby finally examines his rocky relationship with the man and how it might have contributed to his inability to find the love he yearns for. Guided by a sexy therapist, a Sex Addicts Anonymous group, a well-endowed Chihuahua named Johnny Wadd, and Bobby’s own cache of memories, Bobby takes a spiritual, sexual, and emotional journey to discover that life’s most satisfactory love connections lie in quality, not quantity. And when he’s ready to love not only himself but someone else, sex and love fit, at last, into one perfect package.
Bobby paused, listening, trying to hear beneath the din of traffic and the calls of street vendors selling Mexican treats.
There. It’s almost like crying.
He turned and looked around him, but other than discarded cans, papers, weeds, and endless concrete, he saw nothing that could be making the noise, which had, anyway, stopped.
The crying began again simultaneously with Bobby thinking his imagination was playing tricks on him and starting the move forward once more.
He really listened this time and was able to discern the direction from which the sound issued. Just before him was a little side alley, a passage for deliveries for the bar/restaurant next to it. He peered into the gloom of the sun-starved, brick-paved alley and saw only a lone Dumpster, its bright blue paint pocked with rust.
He stepped into the alley, and the crying grew louder.
At the back of the Dumpster, hidden from the street, he saw the source of the sound: a shivering (in spite of the warmth of the day) little brown Chihuahua, its ribs showing and the remains of fast-food wrappers before it.
Huge brown eyes, looking even huger, Bobby thought, on account of the dog’s emaciated condition, stared up at him. The dog went quiet, yawned, and rapidly licked its lips a couple of times. It gazed up at Bobby almost defiantly, in spite of the poor shape the animal appeared to be in.
Bobby was transfixed, and their eyes meeting seemed to erase the sounds of the day around them, isolating the pair, one two-legged, one four.
Bobby stood a couple of feet away from the dog and didn’t want to spook it. He squatted down on his haunches, murmuring softly, “It’s okay. What happened to you, little fella? Or are you a little girl?” It was hard to tell, with the way the dog sat. “Did someone leave you back here? Are you some street-smart survivor?”
Bobby slowly reached out, just letting his hand float, steadily, in the space between them. The dog eyed the hand with what Bobby thought were alternating shades of suspicion and hunger. He wondered if other hands had ever held out a treat to the little dog, or if perhaps human hands appeared to it as weapons, as something that would strike its tiny and terrified body.
Bobby dropped his hand. “I won’t hurt you. I promise. You and me, we’re both alone today.” Bobby inched a little closer, and the dog yapped at him in warning. He moved a couple more inches, and the dog bared its teeth, a low growl issuing from deep in its belly.
“I would never hurt you. But I’ll let you come to me.” And even though it would ruin his expensive shorts and leave him smelling like the Dumpster, Bobby sat down on the bricks of the alley and leaned back against the Dumpster, legs splayed out before him.
“I have all the time in the world.”
But all the time in the world is not what it took for the dog to begin a slow, cautious, one-step-forward-two-back progression toward him. Bobby didn’t make eye contact, simply stared ahead, wondering what the hell he was doing. You really should just get up and go. This little critter is not your problem. What’s the game plan here, anyway? In spite of the thoughts ricocheting through his brain, Bobby didn’t move, casting a glance every so often out of the corner of his eye to see that the dog had drawn a little closer, a little closer.
Finally, the little creature was at his hip, sniffing. Bobby did nothing but stare straight ahead.
Finally, Bobby dared to move to put a gentle hand on its tiny head. The dog darted back, yelping as if Bobby had struck it.
They regarded one another. “We’re never going to get anywhere without trust,” Bobby said softly. He thought he saw a glimmer of that emotion in the dog’s eyes. Or maybe he saw what he wanted to see. Regardless, the dog moved forward once more and allowed Bobby to hold his hand out close enough for it to sniff.
He petted him. In their little dance, the dog revealed to Bobby that he was, indeed, a male. And, for a Chihuahua, quite a well-endowed one. “You little stud,” Bobby whispered, laughing.
The dog settled under Bobby’s sure strokes, moving closer until he had placed one paw on Bobby’s thigh, as though he wanted Bobby to lean in so he could tell him a secret. When Bobby stopped petting him to look down and regard him, the dog nudged Bobby’s hand with his head, as if to say, “More. More.”
“Can’t get enough, huh?” Bobby asked, resuming the petting and scratching behind the ears. He chuckled. “You and I have that in common.”
At last, the dog crawled onto his lap and curled up in the warmth of his crotch. He fell asleep. “Well, would you look at that,” Bobby wondered. Bobby stared down at the dog, not sure what to do next. “You’re gonna give me fleas—to add to the crabs I probably just got up yonder.” Bobby’s laughter, bordering on tears, startled the dog awake, and he stared up at Bobby, head cocked.
“What am I gonna do with you?” Bobby whispered. He wished there was a collar with a tag on the dog. That way, he could at least do the logical thing and try to find his owner.
He couldn’t just leave him here. Not now. They had forged some sort of bond in a few quick minutes. Bobby sighed. “That’s the way it goes with me and well-endowed males. Can’t help it.” He laughed, and again, the dog met his eyes, as if he too wanted in on the joke.
Bobby thought he could take him to the pound. He looked down at the poor little creature—his bordering-on-starvation body, the slight underbite that made his lower teeth stick out. This was not a pretty boy.
“You’re just a streetwise thug, aren’t you?” Bobby scratched the dog behind the ears. “Rough trade.”
Bobby wondered what would happen if he took him to the pound. No, he didn’t really wonder. Who would want this little guy? Especially if there were puppies to compete with, as he was sure there would be, or if there were purebreds and cuter dogs, as Bobby knew there would be.
The most likely scenario, Bobby knew, was that the dog would be gassed after its however-many-days were up.
And already, as he looked down at the brown-eyed face, so ugly it was cute, he knew he could never sentence this animal to a certain death.
“You son of a bitch,” Bobby said to the dog, noticing how he wagged his tail at the epithet, which made Bobby chuckle. “I guess that would be true of any male dog, wouldn’t it? But seriously, what am I gonna do with you?”
Bobby sighed; he already knew the answer. To leave the dog sitting there would break his heart, especially if he, as he did in Bobby’s imagination, followed him.
So he stood up, wiping the back of his shorts with his hands, feeling both grit and grease in a single swipe. The dog stared up at him, tail wagging, as if it knew not what was in Bobby’s mind, but his heart.
Part of him—the part that worked downtown, the part that ogled the Barney’s and Room and Board catalogs, the part that wondered how soon he could trade in his BMW for the latest model, the part that guzzled designer cocktails, the part that worked them off at a chic gym—did tell him he should just walk away. After all, the dog could belong to someone, a child, maybe, and he had just darted out of an open door. Distraught owners were combing the north side for him right now.
Right. A dog in this neglected condition most likely belongs to no one, and, if he does, that owner doesn’t deserve him.
So he squatted down next to the brown dog, holding out his hands in a little cradle. The dog hopped right into them. “Oh, so you’re easy. You and me, we’re two of a kind. You’ve probably waited your whole life behind that Dumpster, anticipating the moment I would walk by and hear your pitiful cries. Don’t worry. I know all the tricks to snare a man. You don’t fool me. The real trick is keeping one.”
Bobby stood, cradling the dog close to his chest. He looked out at life pulsing by on the street beyond the alley’s mouth and wondered how he had gotten here. The sun, he could tell from the quality of light, was beginning to set—the shadows were long and the air was cooler.
Bobby held the dog, and the pair of them emerged from the alley as if they had been made for each other, both clinging to the other for dear life. Never had the cliché, Bobby thought, been more apropos.
Just before Bobby turned the corner to begin the long trek south again, he asked the dog, “Now, what are we gonna call you?”
Bobby paused, thinking, and the name came to him all at once, brought on, not surprisingly, by the Chihuahua’s surprisingly large member. “Let’s call you Johnny, Johnny Wadd,” he said, christening the pooch after porndom’s biggest, literally, star, John Holmes.
As Bobby headed south on Clark, holding onto Johnny, who really weighed so little he barely registered, Bobby had a bracing thought.
He’d felt more connection, more joy, more happiness from the few moments with this dog than in all the eleven times he had been fucked earlier in the day.
“What does that say about me?” he wondered to Johnny.
And Johnny’s large brown eyes regarded him, but he kept his own counsel.