7: Spiffy

Spiffy doesn’t know any other dogs who wear bowties. Spiffy doesn’t know what a bowtie is, either, but he knows that he has one somewhere on his body. The safest bet is that it is the thing around his neck, because he doesn’t wear any other clothing, but Spiffy is willing to entertain any and all possibilities, no matter how impossible. Perhaps the thing called bowtie is at the tip of his tail? He can never quite get close enough to find out.

Spiffy is a show dog, but not the prestigious kind. He’s been bred to total confusion, so that he now skitters through the world with a brown splotch over his green eye and salt and pepper scruff around his blue one. His tongue is spotted black like the skin of a leopard, and the hairs on his ears stick up like feathers. He’s sleek, covered in short hair of a variety of colors. His short pointy tail is in constant motion. He is not an ugly dog, just mismatched.

The shows Spiffy frequents focus exclusively on training, and turn a blind eye to genetics. This is fortunate for Spiffy, because one would have to be blind to ignore his genetics. But in fact, it is his pedigree that makes him such an excellent performer. The clusterfuck of race memories barking in the furrows of Spiffy’s brain have had an effect on him akin to what regimented sleep deprivation does to Prisoners of War. His will is mud. He does what he is directed to do, no matter how impossible. He does corkscrew leaps into the air, he wears his bowtie, he powerslides across hardwood floors on his belly. He can do a serviceable canine facsimile of the dance from “Thriller.”

And so the house where Spiffy lives is filled with trophies. His owners – the one who smells like gardens and the one who smells like car rides – even make enough prize money to spring for a ludicrous gourmet dog feast every once in a while. All through the circuit, competitors fear the sight of “that dog with the fucking bowtie.”His owners have been interviewed for a few magazines, and they’re thinking about going national.

Spiffy has no idea about any of this. He’s still trying to figure out what a bowtie is.

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