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4 March 2011, 3:00 pm No Comments

Starring Erick Davidson: The Barking

Erick Davidson is an early thirtysomething from New Jersey who has lived in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade.

Terrence Moss is a short fiction writer and media commentator with articles featured on Associated Content and Suite 101. “Starring Erick Davidson” also appears in the blogosphere section of www.frontiersweb.com. More Erick Davidson stories, performance pieces and other works can be found at www.terrencemoss.blogspot.com

*****

“Thanks for agreeing to push back your hike until later in the morning,” Chris says as he and Erick arrive to the Runyon Canyon Trail. Chris palms each side of Erick’s head with his sizable hands like a basketball and plants a kiss on what would be Erick’s hairline…if he had hair.

Erick has been hiking Runyon Canyon every weekend morning for the last year. Having never been much of a late sleeper, he is generally back home from the hike and starting his day before a lot of people even wake up, which is just fine by Erick. A lot of people includes Chris, for whom a couple more hours of sleep weighs more heavily than avoiding the late morning crowds.

As they are walking, a man walking his dog is approaching them from the opposite direction. Erick nonchalantly crosses behind to the other side of Chris. Chris kneels down to pet the dog and exchange pleasantries with the dog’s owner about the age, name and breed of the dog — a three-year-old golden retriever named Weezy. Erick smiles politely and begins a series of stretches to limber up for the climb up the south side of the mountain. Erick is bent over in mid-stretch when Chris’s conversation with Weezy and her owner ends, so Chris smacks him on the ass and walks briskly ahead.

As they make their way up the southern side of the eastern peak, Chris notices Erick shifting from one side of him to the other each time another hiker approaches them with a dog or two.

“What are you doing?” Chris asks.

“Nothing. I’m just avoiding the dogs.”

“Why?”

“Just in case.”

“In case what?”

“In case one of them decides to go for themselves.”

“What does that mean?”

“You never know when their animal instincts will kick in and they just start attacking people at random.”

“Most dogs don’t do that.”

“I understand that, but do you really want to see one of the ‘not most’ trotting off with your left arm?”

“Well, I’m right-handed, but that would totally suck for you,” Chris chides.

“Laugh if you will, but I don’t trust them. Especially the ones that aren’t on a leash.”

“You are being silly.”

As they make their way to the top of the eastern peak, which overlooks the city of Los Angeles, Chris sees a dog running slowly toward them happily wagging its tail. Its owner is following closely behind. Chris calls the dog over to him and kneels down to pet it when it comes over. The dog rolls over on its back so Chris can rub its belly.

“She’s friendly,” the owner says as she approaches and notices Erick’s apprehension.

“I’m sure, but I’m fine over here,” Erick replies. “It’s a cute dog though, really cute.”

The owner chuckles to herself. Chris stands back up, walks over to Erick and pulls him by the arm to pet the dog. Erick reluctantly leans down to pet the dog but suddenly the dog starts snarling and barking at Erick. Erick backs away and the dog takes a few steps forward, still barking.

“Emmy! Stop that!” the dog’s owner calls out. Emmy continues barking at Erick.

“I don’t think Emmy’s listening,” Chris observes dryly.

“I don’t know what’s going on. She never does this.”

Emmy lunges at Erick. “CAN YOU COME GET THIS DOG?” he screams as he starts to run. Emmy chases after him.

“EMMY! EMMY! STOP THAT, EMMY!” the owner shouts out repeatedly.

“You’re being kind of useless right now,” Chris asserts as he runs toward Emmy to distract her attention from Erick. Erick sees Chris approaching and runs behind him. Still hearing Emmy’s barking and thinking she’s still coming closer, Erick jumps up and throws his right leg over Chris’s right shoulder. He uses Chris’s back to push the rest of his body up and wraps himself around Chris’s other shoulder with his eyes closed tightly.

Chris struggles to maintain his balance as he tries to keep them both from falling. Emmy barks a few more times at Chris’s feet before her owner comes with a leash. “I’m really sorry. Emmy’s really a good dog, though. I’m sure she was just playing.”

“Well my boyfriend doesn’t know that. So then maybe you’re just a shitty owner,” Chris answers.

“Or maybe your boyfriend is just a pussy — all that fuss over a cocker spaniel,” Emmy’s retorts as she abruptly turns around and starts to walk away.

“You can come down now,” Chris tells Erick, who uncurls and slides down Chris’s backside. Chris turns around and gives Erick a hug.

“I’m sorry for being so dramatic,” Erick says into Chris’s chest.

“No sweets, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were so afraid of dogs.”

“I’m not per se. I just like them…over there. Away from me,” Erick explains.

“Back to early mornings for you,” Chris says as he and Erick resume their hike.

“Good. Thank you.”

Chris starts to rub his right shoulder. “By the way, you have no future as a scarf.”


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