Tag Archives: fiction drama

Morning Dog Walk in Paris

Morning Dog Walk in Paris

Part of the Paris Time Stories in progress

By Matt Carlson

Olaf, a mix breed of Scottish terrier and King Charles stood 70 centimetres tall on his four brown paws, while pulling on his leash. His owners Chloe and Albert were taking him out on his morning walk in the light rain; at this precise moment they were at the corner of Arago Boulevard and Cordeliers in the 13th quarter in Paris. He could see the two little white Jack Russells coming towards them and strained to get to them faster.

“Good morning”, they said to the trio arriving at the same tree: one of many ‘pee-pee tree-areas’ aligned in a row along this section of the street. Foebbe (after Phoebbe Bouffay from the TV series Friends) and Fender (after the famous guitar) were accompanied by their ‘two- footer’ Elledge, a recently arrived American.

“Good morning”, was the reply. The 3 dogs sniffed in constant motion, trying to get the best nose to butt-hole position. Those butts had a lot of interesting information.

Chloe and Albert were retired flight attendants from Air France, had travelled extensively and loved America and Japan.

“We love Los Angeles”, they said practically in unison. Chloe continued, “For thirty years we flew back and forth, especially LA, we just love it. Monica Beach, Newport”… She fluffed her blond bangs with her manicured fingertips, eyes reflecting genuine kindness and curiosity.

Albert continued, “We’d move there if we could, people are so much nicer. In ’83 we did the marathon in New York: people were cheering us on  it was wonderful. Here, we did one and people were like: ‘what are you doing that for?'”

They guffawed while looking at each other, smiling at the memory.

Elledge had a hard time imagining them even walking fast as they were quite hefty, especially Albert who seemed to be battling to keep his tummy inside a stained t-shirt. Chloe was nicely dressed, but there was something mysteriously undone about her. Elledge quickly dismissed the thought – it wasn’t the time to analyse.

She continued, “We love Japan too. We went there all the time; I even studied the language”.

Elledge was only half awake. The cat, Ninja from the apartment had awakened him and the dogs early in the morning. What had it been doing exactly he didn’t know (a lot of strange noises from clawing inside her cat box to knocking things over) but certainly it had been trying to awaken everyone in order to get fed and be tended to.

“Thats nice”,  he said. “I’ve never been to Japan”.

The conversation carried on as Foebbe and Fender did their business while Elledge (already  an expert in the art of picking up dog-doo) quickly rolled excrement into a small plastic sandwich bag and dropped it into a nearby trash container.

The conversation would have lasted longer, but the two Jacks sought to be picked up and held, a sign that that they were cold.

It all ended up with more smiles and tugged leases, mostly for Olaf who wanted to stay with his new friends. Chloe too, though she said nothing about it longed for adventure, anything that would take her out of a monotonous life; she would have preferred to keep chatting with the stranger from the states. Thats why she had loved being a stewardess: one was always moving around and meeting new people, doing new things, visiting new countries. Today her life was at a standstill.

Moving off in opposite directions, it had been a typical dog walking moment in Paris, or any where for that matter. Dogs were that safe space and commonality that allowed total strangers to speak to one another, to break the ice. Chloe hoped that they would meet up again as did Albert – the chances were good as they all lived in the same neighbourhood.

Chloe’s life nowadays revolved around going shopping for groceries, doctors appointments, walking the dog three times a day and of course, taking care of Albert, her husband who was becoming needier all the time. She loved him and doing repetitive chores was no big deal, but there had to be something else in her life. Before everything rotated around work schedules, flights to exciting countries (even though most of the time she only passed through  maybe even just for the weekend), sometimes that was enough: a whiff of a new culture, a different language, that unknown something that added spice to your life. She had never known what that element was per se; she had never allowed herself to think about those things very much. It was easier to accept the status quo in life, follow the flow. She just knew that she needed change, regular change.

“I want to stop at the pharmacy  my allergies are acting up again – it must be the chestnut trees in bloom”.  Albert said and sneezed inadvertently adding to his case. Chloe bent down with a doubled Kleenex and swiftly confiscated Olafs newly born stool lying there on the sidewalk. The dog excitedly back peddled his back legs as if on a skateboard, happy to be rid of last nights digested pâté with rice. Albert and Chloe laughed lightly at the sight shaking their heads – humans never did that after a good bowel movement. Maybe it was worth a try.

The light drizzle suddenly became a hard rain as they hurriedly reached the Argo Pharmacy on Arago Boulevard; Albert, always the gentleman quickly opened the door for his wife and Olaf. Chloe was thinking she wished she’d brought her umbrella for the occasion as she pulled a hanky out of her purse and did a quick look over of face & make up in the pharmacys mirror. No damage done, but then who was looking? While her husband chatted with the pharmacist (a common friend) she looked over the new organic section of products. Maybe there was an answer here, perhaps she could get back into shape and lose weight. It certainly couldnt do any harm! She’d never been one to do diets or dieting. Once she had put on weight, she had accepted it. Her husband was the first to get fat and in time she began sharing his newly found couch-potato antics with Pringles, salted nuts, sodas (to sweeten up a salted throat) special sauces with increasing amounts of meat, breads, pastas, finishing up with ice cream and patisseries. And she did love her vanilla ice cream with strawberries for dessert. Every night.

It had all been so easy, letting the walls of healthy eating habits fall down to the ground, so to speak, and with that Pandoras box of eating freefall, a new inner tube of fat had surrounded her waist, her thighs, adding to her already round buttocks. Even her feet seemed to have put on weight.

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Paris Times (No 8) Patches at Le Chateau La Reine Blanche

Patches lay in her bed at the Chateau La Reine Blanche in Paris. The two cushions under her legs keeping her feet elevated for the night, as she couldn’t move them much herself; it was best that they be elevated for comfort. The big fat grey cushion was called the sheep. “Baaah-baaah” she would say when it was placed under her knees at night. Then it was Mr. Weiner dog’s turn,  the slimmer oblong beige cushion placed under her feet. “Woof, woof” she would say playfully. Whoever it was putting her to bed would laugh with her. A bit of fun was always welcome. If she didn’t know you very well and you were new to putting her to bed, she would always ask, “Did you put Mr. Weiner under my feet?”

It was early morning and she had awoken too early. The ‘Life Assistant’ wouldn’t be arriving until another two hours. And that was if he or she was on time! They rarely were…. With her right hand she moved it with a jerky motion to her side seeking a piece of candy for dry throat. She made contact with a small water bottle, a clock radio (that seemed to have a mind of its’ own), her throat lozenges, nose spray, tissues for her nose, a mini CD player, a straw and a Y shaped dental flosser for easy teeth cleaning. You could use it with only one hand. “There you are” she said to herself, putting a liquid filled throat lozenger in between her cracked lips.

Like anyone else in her position, early mornings’ and late nights’ could be tough as the brain seemed to be like a washing machine, turning on its’ rinse cycle of old. Meaning that when you had no structure, no real plan of things to do for the day, the ‘machine’ seemed to turn on itself, playing & replaying images and lifes’ worries. Almost always unpleasant things. Why that was, well she would have to wait for some brain specialist to tell her one day. Maybe then they could make her brain remember only the good memories and only focus on happy details of her life. In any case, she’d never been a ‘look on the positive side of life’ fool either. Not that she didn’t have positive aspects to her personality, she did, but she wasn’t going to try to force her brain to be a oogling, saliva dripping, teeth baring idiot telling herself and everyone else to ‘BE POSITIVE’. Such nonesense!

Her brain on automatic pilot took her on a ride to past lovers. First the american ones: Bob, Tom, Frank, John and Barry (the short list) and then when in France: Henri, Jacques, Olivier, Pascal, François etc, etc (another short list) and again the same old question: why didn’t she get married?

She was pretty, blond, had gorgeous blue eyes and great skin, always had a great figure too (though nowadays she had put on too much weight). Today she couldn’t walk anymore but back then she was capable of doing everything. She had had a top management job as an engineer in an international company and had travelled the world over. She had even slept with a number of her assistants and collegues and “no” that was not how she had moved up in the company. She had just enjoyed sex alot and didn’t have any preconceived ideas about getting it or think about being married first. “That was alot of hogwarsh” she would say in her Kansas drawl. But to have lived at least with someone, to have shared the day to day things with another person, she felt that she’d missed out somehow. She hadn’t had kids either, but that wasn’t a problem for her. She did miss having a man, however. A big strong one, with a deep voice and a especially a hairy chest. She could have had a woman,  but wasn’ t into the virgina business, so to speak, though she had had a few women in her bed  on occasion after throwing back too many Jack Daniels with coke. But she hardly remembered the details the next morning.

Nowadays in her late fifties AND in a wheel chair, it was getting more and more difficult to procure good sex partners. She still had affairs, but they were brief. Her physical therapist Thomas usually was good for at least for some heavy mutual masturbating twice a month (he loved her gracious creamy white breasts) and then there was her Asian Doctor Fong who, though he had a very small penis for european standards, got an A for effort. He just loved moving her around in all kinds of different positions. It was like an Olympic event with Dr. Fong. Those smaller guys really did try so much harder! She supposed it was the Bonapart Syndrome, though apparently he had been quite well hung. She did so appreciate a large member and someone who put themselves totally into the task. If Dr. Fong had been single with a large one, she might have married him given the occasion. A brief vision of what her kids would have looked like half Asian, half white, popped up. And then she had a flash, seeing herself at an elementary school during a PTA meeting fighting for her kid’s racial rights or against Homophobia while sitting in her wheel chair…

Ding Dong! Went the bell from the courtyard downstairs. She fumbled for a key chain around her neck, found it and pushed the button on her beeper to open the security door. A few minutes later, the time for whoever it was to take the elevator and pass through the long corrider to her door, another bell rang. She pushed the beeper once more letting in the visitor. “It must be Rose,” she thought. It was Monday after all. But when the door opened, the person did not present themselves as they were supposed to do. All of the Life Assistants were trained to do that before entering the home of whoever they were taking are of that day, they were to announce their first names. She waited. And she really needed to go pee too.

It seemd like an eternity and being that she wore heavy duty diapers, decided to pee anyway while laying there. She couldn’t wait any longer and felt a great deal of relief. Whoever it was would have to change her. No big deal.

“Patches? Are you in there?” Called out a deep male voice.

She wondered, “Who in the hell was that?” She cleared out her voice and replied, “Yes, I’m in here” though thanks to the MS, it came out like “Arggh, uuum eeerr”.

A face appeared from her bedroom door. A tall dark haired handsome man wth a beard, fortyish.

“Oh my gawd” she thought she said though it came out “aw muhhh garrrd”! It was François, her long lost lover from when she could still walk 6 years ago! She cleared her throat and frantically tried to whisk away the clouds in her sleeping head and that battle at the PTA meeting with her gay half Asian son.

He smiled his Gregory Peck smile and she too lit up with joy on her face.

“Patches, cherie,” gads was he sexy…

And then, “Ooops”, she thought, “I have to pee again” and she let it go. Those super duper Pampers would do the trick as always…