My black Lab Smut walked out on the pier where I was fishing and watched me for a moment, then asked, “If you catch a fish, what will you do with it?”
“I’ll scale it, clean it, filet it, dredge it in cornmeal, and fry it for supper,” I said.
“Well, if you catch two fish, I don’t mind you doing that with the second one,” Smut said, “but don’t cook mine. And don’t bother scaling it or cleaning it either, please.” In Smut’s mind, if I only caught one fish, it would be his.
“You mean,” I asked, “if I catch a fish for you, you don’t want me to cook it?”
“No,” Smut said, “I want it for something else.”
“Well, I’m not having any luck. Let’s go back to the house.” I began gathering my gear to head back.
“You have no patience,” Smut observed. “You’ve only been at it for three or four hours. I really need a fish!”
“Smut, if you have more patience than I do, you’re welcome to use the gear and catch a fish yourself,” I told him. But the lazy old dog ignored my offer and followed me back to the house.
When we were settled inside, I with my cup of hot coffee, and Smut with his glass of Scotch whisky, we went to the living room. Smut sat in his favorite easy chair, placed the whisky on an end table, reached over to the humidor and pulled out a Cuban cigar. I know: it’s illegal to have them, but Smut has habits that must be satisfied.
“Mind if I smoke,” he said, not so much as a question but an announcement.
“You know I do,” I replied, “but that never stops you.”
He ignored me, sipped some whisky, and lit up. He was the figure of sophistication and erudition in his red fez and burgundy smoking jacket, and his Advanced Particle Physics text on the table beside him.
“Smut,” I said, “You didn’t want me to cook you a fish! I’ve never known you to turn down food. What do you want a fish for?”
“Well, if you must know, I want to get a date.”
“So? What’s that got to do with fish?”
“A fish will help me attract a date,” he said.
“Don’t understand, Smut. How will a fish help you attract a date?”
“Fish don’t reach their full potential until they’ve been dead on the beach under the sun for a while,” he replied didactically. “Then they become aphrodisiacs, you see.”
“They become rotten and disgusting,” I pointed out. “Why do you think they become aphrodisiacs?”
After taking a puff of his cigar, he told me, “When they’re just right, the aroma is overpowering.”
“Can’t argue with that, dog.”
“Then I can roll on it and get all smelled up. Female dogs find it extremely sexy and appealing. Don’t expect me home all night when I go out on my date.” He settled back in his chair looking expectantly pleased with himself.
“If you roll on a rotten fish, I don’t want you home that night. Be sure to swim around in the river for a while before you come back to the house. And I won’t let you in without giving you a bath, you disgusting dog.”
With an expression of consternation on his face, Smut pointed his cigar at me and said, “You’re criticizing my smell of choice? When you put on the stuff you use sometimes, I’m repulsed at the rank smell. It’s a wonder you don’t run women off with that stuff.”
I don’t much like the smell of what I use either, but the ads say it really attracts women. I guess what passes as cologne for men or dogs leaves a lot to be desired. But at least I don’t roll in mine.