The dude was probably middle age and was standing out front of the East End Tavern. He wasn’t smoking or talking on the phone, but just standing there- watching what little traffic there was. I could tell he was watching Dugan and I as soon as we turned the corner. Trash pickup has been skipped for two weeks now up in Manayunk and the resulting piles and leftovers were causing Dugan to constantly lunge after numerous pizza crusts, chicken bones, and anything else that he deemed edible.
Dugan was on a mission. He was walking at a good clip and had been since we left the house. As we got closer, the dude in front of the East End Tavern started to smile a little, then called out- “Christ, let him stop to pee.”
Confusing. It’s easy to tell when Dugan has to pee because the freight train of enthusiasm that is Dugan comes to an abrupt hall when all of sudden, he’s found the perfect place to awkwardly lift one of his legs and relieve himself. He hadn’t even slowed up the slightest. But this dude kept insisting, more so as we got closer, that I let Dugan stop and be.
“He’s on a mission,” I said. “All business today.”
Crossing the street, I could see a large dog- looked like a Rottie, standing behind a chain-link gate. The dog’s eyes were deadlocked on Dugan, who for the most part, was oblivious and more concerned with pizza crusts.
“I got a dog,” the dude said. He motioned to the Rottie behind the gate. “She’s only eight weeks old and look how big she is.” I stood there as he talked and kept a firm grip on Dugan, who was now staring intently at the Rottie, who in turn, was staring hard back.
“You lookin’ at my dog?” The dude asked Dugan. “You gonna be nice?”
I couldn’t see Dugan’s face, but I knew if we stayed there any longer, the dude’s question would be easily answered. Then it was in a few quick seconds when Dugan, seemingly prompted by the dude’s questions- “oh you gonna be mean? You gonna attack my dog?”- lunged at the chain-link gate. The Rottie barked back and I quickly pulled Dugan away- turning back down the street and to the grassy patch down the block where Dugan liked to do his business. The dude laughed & his Rottie barked, slamming it’s face against the cold chain-links. “You think you’re TOUGH. Don’t cha? Don’t cha.” He continued to laugh and as we walked away, the dude asked what Dugan’s name was.
“Well be NICE Dugan!” He then yelled. “Don’t be MEAN Dugan! Be NICE Dugan!”
This continued as Dugan pissed on the grassy patch and we both tried not to look back as this dude, just standing outside the East End Tavern at a little after noon on a sunny Monday, yelled at Dugan and I. As we turned the corner I took one final look back, but now he was gone. I couldn’t even hear the Rottie barking. I stopped Dugan and had him sit. I wanted to check, make sure he was cool. We all know he’s a little more emotionally sensitive than other dogs, so I felt it was important to look him the eye and let him know it’s okay.
As I did, he looked back at me. I asked him to shake and he dropped his left big paw into my hand.
“It’s all right, buddy,” I said. “You cool?”
He looked away and then a second later, back at me.
“Yeah I’m cool,” he said.
"What the hell was that guy's deal?” I asked.
“No deal, Ryno. It's just that some people are just shitheads. Plain & simple. Even when the sun's out”
Seems that way.
Even when the is sun out.