Part of Max is in a box now, fucking ashes in a bag.
I stare at him on a Monday morning sitting there on my ex-wife's kitchen counter and I wonder what the hell he's up to. Used to be that he'd turn up beside me as soon as he heard me moving around in the early hours of the day. I'd hear his jingling tags coming down the back steps and I'd dump the coffee down into the filter and I'd know what was up. He'd show up a few seconds later, the fresh hot piss in his body slamming up against the walls of his piss sacks, he'd stare a hole in my head just as soon as he spotted me in the same place he always spotted me right there by the coffee maker.
I'd let him out then, out the back door, him and Milo, out into the cool dawn of another day/out to piss a steaming laser onto the grass under the last minute stars/under the planets and the UFOs and the dead looking down at us getting ready to start another simple-minded day, another day running around trying to make money/trying to get people to pay attention to us/trying to get people to agree with us/trying to get laid or trying to stop thinking about getting laid. All the dead people up there peering down off their clouds and looking at me down here wishing I was thinner/moving through some random moment with toxic revenge boiling up in my guts/ the dead looking down on me, me getting the syrup out of the cabinet for the kids' breakfast when they came down.
I never watched the dogs take their pisses. I never cared. It's funny, I only cared about me and my day. And looking back now I'm sure the dead were laughing at me all the time, you know?
I'd change my ways if Max could live again. I seriously would. I'd walk out there with him in the dewy dark and I'd follow him around with snacks and some old sock rag and once he had his piss, you know what I'd do? I'd lean down in there and kiss his fat fucking head and I'd use my hand to move my rag so I could pat his little dog dick dry, soak up any of the tiny pee drops that might still be hanging out down there.
I would, dude.
I would do that shit now.
I would do anything to resurrect that dog and to have the chance to love on him again. But it's stupid and I know it. He's gone. I have no idea where he got to, what he does with his time, with his thick slice of eternity. He probably does the same shit, to be honest. He probably wakes up in some far off galaxy and wanders down out of some far-flung bedroom and starts staring at some other dead dude making coffee in the kitchen.
He needs the guy to let him out to piss.
"Let me out to piss."
Or maybe he's just a beam of energy streaking across the cosmos. Or maybe he's back on the planet, as a bird in China or some bug in the rainforest or as a human even. Maybe Max is alive and well and living inside a woman in Mexico. Maybe he's parked inside Bruce Jenner's soul. I have no idea what happens/where our dog ended up.
I only know that it must have sucked for him to spend the last year of his life with us watching us fall apart and separate and struggle with the jars of acid we poured all over our days each and every day for a long time there.
And I know I miss him bad, man. And that I'd wipe the dripping pisslets off his old man wang if I only could.
That's true love. I know it is.
Monica leaves for Boston with her boss on a work trip. She kisses the kids goodbye and tells them that she'll see them on Tuesday and then she gets in the guy's car and they back out of her driveway and head to the airport.
She didn't kiss me. She didn't kiss me goodbye. That's what I'm thinking with Charlie in my arms as they disappear down the road. I smell Charlie's crap and I know I need to change his damn diaper again, but I'll get to that. He doesn't care, trust me. He's fine. He can hang with a crap in his pants for a good twenty minutes or so before he starts to whiff his own stank.
Right now though, as I watch Violet and Henry pushing one of their local friends on the big rope swing out in my ex-wife's yard, I'm standing there feeling pissy that I didn't get a kiss. Shit, she didn't even really say goodbye to me now that I think of it. Hmph. Maybe I should have kissed her, huh? Maybe I should have been the aggressor, right there in front of her bosss. I could have just wandered over to her in front of him and been a man's man and wrapped my hand around the soft back of her neck, her hair all up in my fingers, Charlie looking at us, Charlie shitting himself in that very moment as I pulled her in and kissed her face like she was going off to war to probably die instead of Boston til Tuesday.
I lame out. I let things go the way they go and then she's gone and I have more kid shit to look at and wipe at and fold up neatly in the size 3 Huggie where it will remain like a body in tomb for God knows how long. I will toss it in a Walmart bag, chuck it in the garbage can out in her garage, and that will be the last I will know about it. The trash dudes will haul the thing away here in a couple of days and for all I know the whole messy affair will end up in the bottom of the ocean or shot out into outer space or buried in the North Jersey ground by the end of the work week we're living through right now.
Lost kisses and baby shits.
Welcome back into my world, bitches.
Everyday I pick out some place in the sky and I pretend that it's the high-flying opening to Max's fucking sky cave and that he's just sitting there in the entrance to it staring down at my ass. I know he's rooting for me. I know that because I know it. That's how you know stuff in this whacked-out world, in this dream of life. You just know a thing, just decide that you pretty much know it and then you pretty much do.
Max roots for me. He pulls strings for me where he can, tries to cheat the system for me. He tries to throw me a bone, the fucking irony. I sense him when Monica and me are together. When we eat our dinner on her couch or avoid eyes first thing in the morning or talk hard/deep about the directions of our souls or about what to put on the pizza or about Instagram and the strange and curious people who live inside some pin dot galaxy of an app on our iPhones or about how one of our kids is making us laugh these days. I sense him when I look at the sky even though I don't even believe in anything in particular except the notion that he is deader than shit but that I know he is still looking at me all the goddamn time.
Look, man. I pass down through Gladiator fields, my Maximus hand drifting slow across the windswept wheat I'm cutting across and I get it that I don't get it, you dig? I have just a very basic kindergartner's comprehension of that thumping in my chest. I hear the blood blasting behind my face and I think it must be a train tearing back behind the mountain down the road. I see the sun shining in the sky and I think it's a sign for me to make a move, to move in for a kiss maybe. Or to dab piss off the ones I love, I dunno.
No one knows. No one knows what the fuck is happening here, but especially me, especially I don't know. I just make my cups of coffee and talk to my dead dog in the sky and watch my kids move across her yard while she plays with her phone, while she sips a cold Sierra Nevada in the spring twilight.
I am preparing myself for something.
But I have no idea what that thing might be.
I isolate certain sentences to maybe make them seem more important than the other sentences. Because I'm a douchebag, I guess. Whatever.
I make myself fucking laugh.
It feels so good.
It really really does.