“Guess what I want for Christmas? A food bowl with the Man’s mug shot on it.”

“Luckily, Aussie, we don’t celebrate Christmas.”

“Chanukah? My birthday? That’s coming up real soon.”

“You get steak on your birthday, Auss, not a food bowl with Trump’s mug shot on it.”

“You mean I can’t get what I want for my birthday? What about his picture on my water bowl? Or on my orange hunters vest for hunting season? It’ll match his hair!”

‘Forget about it, Aussie. Take a look at that photo. He’s the very picture of truculence.”


“Belligerence, Aussie. Nasty-ism.”


“Aussie, look at the way he’s looking at the camera, at his eyes, his chin, lips, the furrows over his eyebrows. It’s the perfect photo of revenge and even hate. That’s one nasty man.”

“My hero! I want it on my blanket, I want to sleep with him.”

“You don’t sleep on a blanket, Aussie, you sleep on the sofa.”

“Can we put his photo in the living room? There’s a perfect place for it right over the altar with the compassion thig-a-ma-jigs—”

“You mean Kwan-yin and Maria of Guadalupe?”

“–and Bernie and your parents and all the other people. They need company!”

“Forget about that, Auss.”

“I know, why don’t you have it painted over the entire house outside? You’ve wanted to repaint the outside of the house for years. Our home looks like nothing, a light gray, nobody even looks at it, not even when they walk on the road above and I bark like crazy. But paint this photo of the Man all over the outside and we’ll have everybody gawking and pointing. Fox will come!”

“Foxes are always visiting here, Auss.”

“You know what I mean. Fox! They’ll interview me. They’ll take pictures of our home. We’ll be heroes!”

“I don’t want to be a hero.”

“I say it’s time to refresh and renew the place we call home.  It needs a complete make-over.”

“No, Aussie. You know why?”

“You’re afraid I’ll bite the painters?”

“No, Auss. I’m not doing it for the same reason that I don’t watch horror movies or movies with lots of blood and gore—”

“My favorite kinds!”

“—or read scary books at night by Stephen King, who’s a damn good writer. Because if I do, I won’t sleep. I will see ghosts and ghouls in the darkness and have nightmares instead of dreams. The next day I’ll be run-down, distracted, and anxious. Life brings with it enough challenges and it’s tough to keep a clear mind. I don’t have to add more craziness to my life.”

“What about my favorite dogs?”

“Lassie? Benjy? Scooby-Doo?”

“No, Cujo. Pampers the Zombie Poodle? Rip the Rotting Rottweiler? I love those movies. Every time I see one, I want to bite somebody.”

“My point entirely, Aussie. We are responsible for the state of our minds. When I see horror and violence, it affects my mind, makes me see monsters everywhere. Makes me feel scared and more confused. And that’s on me because I know it’s not healthy, so why do it?”

“You’re a scaredy-cat. Just look at that picture: Gentle, good intentions, a man who loves everybody. A sweet, mild-mannered human, just what this country needs.”

“I think too many movies featuring vampire Vizslas have affected your mind, Auss. I can’t live in a house that has a face like that painted all over the outside, it’ll affect me badly. And think what message it gives to the rest of the world!”

“We’ll be noticed. With any luck, they might even try us in court for something, like being co-conspirators,”

“You mean, for being full-fledged idiots? There are too many of those already, Aussie.”

“Sounds to me like you need an anti-anxiety bed. There are some good ones on Chewy’s. but they’re probably too small for you. Would you consider getting two and putting them together? Expensive, I know, but you need to take care of that crazy mind of yours.”

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