First of all, thank you. Everyone. Just - thank you. I have so many people to thank. Second, no. But “no” is the daily report, and I just wanted to put the Thank You first.
Third: the picture above is from the area where Scout was lost - an ancient piece of the old settlement the soldiers built. If you can see it. Maybe that’s how a dog would see it. Maybe it’s the place a dog sees in a dream, a place it thinks it should go to. Maybe all dogs see it in their dreams. We’d never know.
Let’s get back to normal a little bit here. Standard Bleat below-the-fold today. I need it, for one thing. Seriously: it’s all day every day. Friday seems like a month ago.
This morning feels like two days ago.
News? Yes. Maybe. Who knows. I got up this morning and pounded signs on corners. Half the batch:
There’s a total of 22 now in the area to the north and west of where Scout went missing. We had that report on Monday from someone who saw a dog like him running on the freeway, maybe, up towards Nokomis, and so a lot of the signage shifted to that area. At the end of yesterday I felt more discouraged than before, and pounding the stakes this morning felt like the nadir. Utterly fargin’ futile. At one point the hammer slipped and I took a chunk off my hand, and sat in the car thinking “I’m glad I have this medical kit. It’s finally getting some use.”
Then the rain came. Happy Birthday.
(Daughter gave me a smile, though; she made me a birthday card based on the Twin Peaks poster, with the tagline “It is happening again.” Delightful.)
So I drove to work. Pouring rain. Phone rings. I pick up. Unfamiliar voice. She’d seen the signs. She’d seen a dog early in the morning - it was dim, but the dog was dark, with floppy ears. Location: between 4th and 5th on 42nd street.
Holy Jeezum Crow.
Much closer to home. I mean, it’s 12 blocks north and 10 blocks over, if that.
He could be trying to get home. If it’s him. So I turned around downtown, called wife, went right to the region, and hammered two signs I had left over. Drove some alleys, slowly. Went home to write and file a piece, which had to be done by 2 PM, then went back and drove through the alleys. Wife did the same. We did this in shifts off and on for the rest of the afternoon and early evening.
Nothing. But I didn’t expect to see him. Still.
The case worker texted with a note from one of the volunteers, who found an open take-out container with some scraps in an alley - could be a feeding location. The area is full of garbage, since collection is tomorrow. It’s also an ideal place to hide - so many backyards, sheds, heaped alley crap.
I’d never gone through these alleys; it’s like a proctological exam of a city. Weedy and junky. Abandoned childrens’ toys. The sense of decay and indifference, sloth and carelessness. A distance of four blocks from neat backyards to dumpy messes. Incongruous things like a backyard piled high with junk, and a new BMW in the garage.
I saw one garage that was open a foot, and stopped: good place for a dog to hide. So I got out of the car with Scout’s food bowl and clanked Milk Bones against it - a sound that always got his attention even through a closed door. I heard something stir in the garage. Whoa. Clanked again, and again, and again; bent down to peer through the opening.
Saw two human legs. Ah. Got back in the car and drove off. Saw the garage door close in my rear view mirror.
In the end, nothing; for all we know he headed south along the river, never to be seen again. The collar fell off and the chip malfunctioned. For all we know we are conflating these two sightings into an apparition that doesn’t exist, constructing a phantom out of the frayed scraps of hope. I felt last night like I don’t have a dog anymore, and indeed the habits have quickly dropped away - no checking the back gates (They’re open, in case he comes home) or getting him inside at night. No making sure he has some food before I nap, no expectation of a fight on the bed after dinner.
Hah, dinner. I haven’t been to the grocery store in five days. It’s a struggle to keep the counter clean; it’s full of fliers and staplers and tape and pins (the staples on the signs shake loose when pounded into the ground, so I’ve add pushpins to tighten them up, and have gone back to the signs with a stapler to nail them back into place.) My studio became Printing Central, so there’s botched print jobs, packages of paper, wrappings from print cartridges.
Did I say “back to normal a little bit” up there? My fear is that this is normal for the foreseeable future. But that would make it normal.
Am I making too much out of this? Probably seems like it. Look, I’m not consumed with grief and despair. I’m sad, but who wouldn’t be? You either just give up and think “he’ll come back,” and wait, or you do something, and the stat I keep hearing is that 93% of dogs are found if someone is looking for them.
The reason I’ve nothing else to talk about here is because this is all I’m doing.
Thank you for hanging in there with me. I’m posting this at eleven PM, then I am going to try to decompress, because we’re all getting up early to go look again. The two reports had the dog moving in the early AM, so we’re going to look in the last reported area at 6 AM. I’ll be working on five hours of sleep.
If it’s him.
If it’s Scout, he has to get across the highway. He has to cross the bridge; he has to figure that out. Once he gets across I know he can find his way back. If it’s him, he already traversed a great distance in the right direction. It would be amazing if he did it on his own. Houndness got him in trouble; houndness may bring him back.
Chatfield is known as "The Gateway to Bluff Country" and "The Chosen Valley." Twenty-eight hundred souls. On the second weekend of August, it has "Western Days." Usually I remember why I visited a city; it's usually a matchbook or a motel. But I can't tell right now.
It'll come to me. Okay: let's begin.
It’s actually a hopeful sign. The store on the left looks rehabbed enough, and the one on the right could be shamed into losing its Buckaroo Revival shingles. The cornice could be stripped and redone. 1897, it says: it’s made it this far, so there’s that.
Someone popped a nice roll for that screen:
The name may be at variance with the modernism, but when you think about it, this is Old Tyme now, just as 1910 was Old Time to 1957.
Perhaps it’s the Y that doesn’t work. That implies old British Things.
I WORK LATE. I’M DAMNED SICK AND TIRED OF THE SUN WAKING ME UP.
It’s odd paint jobs like this that split up a building and render the top an afterthought.
At least the old windows are still doing their job; someone may have put in glass blocks to slow down the light, but it still makes its way inside.
What’s on the first floor? A basketball court?
Look at the size of the front door. Something's not right.
I love the building on the right - you know it’s a screen over an old undistinguished brick structure, and the town has enough of those. As I keep saying, facades like this made the downtown feel modern and up-to-date.
As for the one on the left, it’s . . . odd, and makes you wonder again how tall the first floor was.
Well, we had a problem with tenants just standing in the hallway on the second floor, admiring the view, not getting any work done. They’d be so transfixed by the view they’d forget to to in their offices or rooms.
You might have noticed by now that the town has lots of brick, lots of old brick - you can tell by the narrow windows - and that most of the ornamentation was done with brick.
You could get some nice effects on the cheap if you had men who were good at their job, and knew a few tricks.
One building in that hue would be okay. Two, less so. Two, together? No.
Ah, now I know why I went to Chatsfield. I bought a postcard.
What do you think this was? Right.
Schmidt’s Beer, if you’re curious.
And that's why we went to Chatfield.
Tomorrow: tomorrow is another day.