“Aussie, I know it’s hot and humid, but here we are so we might as well walk.”

“I hate walking on leash on a road. Besides, I don’t want you, I want Molly.”

“I hate to tell you this, Auss, but your intimacy with Molly the black Lab isn’t going anywhere. You like Molly, Molly like rocks.”

“How could she prefer a rock to me?”

“Aussie, I think you’re one of those dogs who’re attracted to dogs that are not good for you. Dogs that don’t respond, don’t really care, they’ll play with you just a little bit and then drop you like a hot potato for the next rock. Been there, done that.”

“I miss Harry.”

“I also miss him a little, Aussie, like now when I go with you on the road, I feel the lack of pull on the other side. Harry balanced you out.”

“I was the disrupter, Boss, Harry was the balancer. Now all you got is disruption. That’ll teach you.”

“Teach me what, Aussie?”

“To leave things alone. Why couldn’t you leave things the way they were? Everything was going great.”

“They weren’t going so great. Aussie. You remind me of my father. He used to talk just like you. He never wanted to change anything. He didn’t want to move, didn’t want to renovate, didn’t want to modernize, he didn’t want to change plans once we made them, he just wanted to hold on to the way things were—forever. At least till he divorced my mom.”

“Who asked you to empty the basement? All those boxes had to be packed and taken out of the house, the trips to the dump, all those bins of paper recycling—who asked you to do all that? Who asked you to let Harry go? Who asked you to do this blog or to raise money for food cards? You sometimes complain that you get tired—well, who asked you to do all those things?”

“Because that’s life, Aussie! And life is full of kinks.”

“What’s kinks?”

“It’s all the things that happen that you don’t expect. You know, every time something goes south or doesn’t succeed, people think it was the wrong thing to do. Or if something takes way more effort than you first imagined—and they usually do—you get discouraged. Bernie loved the kinks, Aussie. He said that life is in the kinks, not in the plans that go off perfectly. Kinks arise, you work with them the best you can, and they take you into places you never imagined.”

“You mean, like you, Boss? You’re a kink.”

“How am I a kink, Aussie?”

“I made eyes at the Man in the shelter and he brought me home. Then he died and I got you.”

“Thanks, Aussie. What I’m trying to say is that people are afraid to try things in case they fail or they turn out differently from what they expected. Or else they just sit around waiting for things to happen.”

“I think it’s time for you to sit around a little bit—except when it’s time to take me for a walk.”

“Aussie, you and I have to develop a new relationship.”

“Oh oh, here it comes. A renegotiation.”

“We’re starting from scratch, Aussie.”

“Again? If we have to renegotiate, I think it’s time for me to be the boss.”


“Okay, here’s another idea. You can remain Boss, and I become your new teacher.”

“You, Aussie?”

“You think you don’t need a new teacher after Bernie died? Become so high and mighty?”

“Actually, Auss, I do need a new teacher. Bernie said that one should always have a teacher, and after his teacher died, he found Reb Zalman Schachter—”


“The Founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement, and asked him to be his teacher. Since Bernie’s death I’ve also wondered who my new teacher could be.”

“Search no more.”

“You can’t be my teacher, Aussie.”

“I knew it. It’s because I’m female, right?”

“No, Aussie.”

“Because I’m not kinky enough?”

“You’re plenty kinky, Aussie. It’s just—well, you’re a dog.”