I pluck my dog’s shit from the backyard with a shit scooper that looks like a cyborg arm and I drop the turds in an old Walmart bag. The bag gets heavy with broken down Old Roy Dinner Rounds, wheat toast, fruit snacks, strips of shoe leather, part of the grill cover, twisted knots of nibbled grass, the finger of a Barbie, the horn of a plastic triceratops, a half loaf of banana bread and the tinfoil in which it was wrapped, the splintery bones of the squirrel carcass he choked down on last Friday’s walk.
I am lost in the listing of the foods in Wiley’s shit, and what the list might say about his palate or ours, when I hear our neighbor, Misty, and her boyfriend Karl, having sex. Misty is moaning, saying:
“Karl, Karl, Karl, Karl, kuh, kuh, guh, guh…”
I imagine her Gilda Radner hair splayed out on a dirty pillowcase, her eyes rolling back in her head, her busted teeth piercing her crusty bottom lip. It’s too hot to be having sex like that with the window open, I think. The air is wet; the heat index is a dog-killing 105. Her bedroom has to smell like a high school wrestling room: a swampy amalgamation of ringworm, pubes and sexual frustration.
I am clammy — too much caffeine, too little food, too little sleep, too much Gallo Family wine the night before, too many “kuhs” and “guhs,” too much dog shit smell. I try to hum a tune to block out the groans, but she starts to scream, and I wonder what elusive calculus, what great pattern of cosmic coincidences and timing, have brought me to this place in this exact moment, holding a plastic bag full of dog shit and listening to my neighbors bone.
For a moment I understand the plight of the lightning strike survivor, the hit-and-run victim, all the people who are forever altered by their presence in a certain place at a certain time. I am an expression of fate, a unit of destiny. I am proof that there is order in the universe.
Then it is over, the sex and the groaning, and I am just a man emptying a bag of shit into his neighbor’s yard.