The Closer


You've got your watch dogs, your lap dogs and your hound dogs.
You've got your flea bags, your swamp things and your barkers.
You've got your food testers, your rain chasers and your sweetie pies.
And then.
You have your closers.
Our dog, Hunter, tug-o-war champ of the world, is all of the above.
How did we get so lucky?
It's hard to say, really.
But my sweet Sven is of the opinion that there is only so much luck to go around.
And if you are fortunate enough to win the lottery you probably just spent all of your luck in one big wad.
He would rather spend his luck frugally.
Because your amount of bad luck matches your amount of good luck.
So, it's not good to have too much of any of it all at one time.

Closers are committed to their calling.
It is written in their Sacred Contract.
And once they have their epiphany, their skills kick in and flow naturally.
A lot like writers, painters and opera singers who have been heard to say, "I'm not even present when I do it."
"What's that Louisa?"
My sister wants to know what the hell I am talking about.
Well, maybe she should listen.
You see, in ancient times closers were known as sheep dogs.
In other words, they were opinionated and bossy.
Not a lot has changed over time, other than closers today don't give a flying fuck about sheep.
Yet they remain opinionated and bossy.
And they prefer that life move along on a predictable schedule.
Their schedule.
In other words, breakfast should be served at 5:30 AM, followed with a couple of opiates, (a common trait among aging closers), a few minutes outside to bark louder than thunder, chase away all the squirrels, take a pee and then come back inside to rest in the living room.
After that maybe a little dabble of whatever their mothers are packing for their lunches.
Then a pet on the head.
A wag of a tail.
And a good-bye treat.
As soon as those women back out of their garages and head down their driveways, it's time for another jaunt outside to break the sound barrier a few more times with a few more barks, piss off all the birds, take a crap and then come back inside for a morning nap, while their dads do paper work at their counters or drive off to job sites.
But, here is where their days can get long.
It's the afternoons.
I know this first hand with Hunter.
It's about napping here. Sleeping there. Snoozing here. Dozing there.
After this tight schedule of his, it's hard to understand where he gets that burst of energy that he does when I drive into our driveway, defeated from another day of excel spread sheets, numbers and formulas, and I see him fly out the kitchen door at a full run.
I believe this Rin Tin Tin like action is what makes his stomach growl.
And that is why he prefers to eat early.
Five o'clock sharp, after a walk through the woods with yours truly, a solo swim in the murky pond and a bath by hose.
He doesn't mind that we don't all sit down together at the kitchen table and discuss our day.
But he does prefer that Sven and I eat at a decent hour.
By a decent hour I mean before eight PM.
Because by seven PM Hunter's meal is but a distant memory. If he were to ever look back.
By that time he has already trained for his tug-o-war title, been on three or four hikes with his parents, killed an innocent baby rabbit and has stared Sven and I down for flip chips.
Seven PM is the time of night that Hunter steps out of the bull pen, all suited up.
He heads straight to the pitching mound.
He adjusts his hat and fiddles with his mustache.
And then he starts his wind up for a doozey of a first pitch.
Hunter's pitches are not measured in miles per hour or whether or not they cross the plate or if they are too high or too low.
They are measured in decibels.
And nobody gives a rat's ass where they land.
All of his pitches run together and sound a lot alike to the untrained ear.
But, because I have a degree in dog whispering, or dog hollering in this particular case, I understand.
For instance, today, as in right now, he would like Sven and I to eat that Keilbalsa in red sauce that has been simmering on the front burner for the last thirty minutes.
I am a pacifist.
I am well trained.
And I am hungry.
I made myself a plate and am joining Sven in the living room.
He is watching something on TV.
Hunter is now doing a couple of circles.
He just settled in. He seems satisfied with his first few pitches.
Unfortunately, I wolf my food like I am a canine who hasn't eaten since Saturday.
So, the tranquility we are experiencing in our living room is about to end.
"What is he barking about now?" Sven is shouting over the noise. He just turned up the volume on the TV.
"Hunter wants you to eat your supper," I say, over Hunter and the Discovery Channel.
"I will. In a few minutes," says Sven.
Sven does not care to be bossed around by an ancient wanna be Rollie Fingers on four legs.
"Hunter wants you to eat right now!" I say with my hands over my ears and my head between my legs.
"Fine!" says Sven, getting up. "Jesus, that dog is annoying."
Again, Hunter is taking a couple of victory spins.
He just seated himself on the bench, right under Sven's feet next to the couch and Sven is eating his supper.
"Mmmmm. This is good, Millie."
"Thank you," I beam.
This has been a nice time hasn't it?
A blissful ten minutes, for sure.
Well, all hell is beginning to break loose again.
I can't believe Sven didn't return with a second plate. I thought he said he liked it.
"What's his problem now?" Sven is hollering at me.
Suddenly this is somehow my fault.
"He wants us to go to bed."
"It's only seven-thirty!"
"Well, he's tired."
"Go to bed yourself, Hunter," Sven says.
"He can't," I continue to interpret the pitches to my sweet Sven as they are whizzing by.
"Why not?"
"Hang on a minute. I am trying to hear this. Oh. Mmmm...hmmmm. I see."
"Hunter says there is work to do in the kitchen. And he can't go to bed until we go to bed."
"Why not?"
"Because he has to be the last guy to go up the stairs."
"Because he's, The Closer."
I am in our kitchen now.
Hunter is assisting with his pre-rinse duties.
The hum of the dishwasher is sounding.
We are now wandering back into the living room.
I don't think I should sit down.
Hunter is heading to the mound again.
He is adjusting his hat.
He is messing with his mustache.
Uh-oh. He is winding up.
And that is why Sven and I are upstairs, under the covers and we are all tucked in for the night.
"What time is it?" says Sven.
Hunter is already snoring on his Bed Bath and Beyond bed next us.
"Well at least it'll be dark when we have to go to bed in the winter," says Sven.

Eventually Sven and I will fall asleep in a room lit by the soft glow of an almost muted TV.
Our dreams will only be interrupted by an occasional trip to the bathroom, a clap of thunder and or a random pitch from a certain sleeping closer.
Goodnight world.

"Mom, I stayed up all night twice last night."


"I don't care what time I got home! That dog attacked me!


"It's opening Day!"


"It's time for bed!


"Sven, is it me? Or do our kids all look the same?"
"You must be dreaming, Millie."
"Oh. It seems so real."

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