Well, it's happened. What we thought was nothing more than the innocent naming of a new pet has evolved into an ominous foreshadowing of things to come.
Our neighbors got a dog and named it Caesar.
Now I suppose there's nothing left to do but prepare ourselves for the events we so unwittingly set into motion to take place.
How could we have known? When we got Brutus, none of our neighbors even had pets. (Well, apart from the three-legged Dachshund I assume belonged to the crackheads. I'll never be sure, but when he wasn't out wreaking havoc on the rest of the neighborhood, I would spot them playing with him occasionally in the usual way - kicking him, yelling at him, giving him beer, etc. - so I always guessed he was theirs. I also guessed that they probably stole him from a small child, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that he had four legs when they first got him.)
But now, here we are, faced with the very real possibility that our beloved canine is or will soon become a traitorous killer.
It pains me to even consider it possible, and yet...I'd be lying if I said I hadn't noticed the signs.
Perhaps the most unsettling is the way he's always kept us at arm's length - literally. He often stands just close enough for us to touch him with our fingertips (but far enough away that we have to work for it) and insists that we pet him with a great amount of difficulty.
Then there's the way he'll climb into our bed and snuggle with me just long enough to melt my heart, only to jump up and leave for no apparent reason. It's as if he's trying to remind us that however much we may adore him, his need for us does not extend past our daily provision of his food and water.
And don't even mention dog parks...we gave up on that dream long ago. The moment we let him off his leash would be the last we ever saw him. You may say it's just the nature of his breed, but I think we both know the truth. He doesn't love me and he never has. Perhaps he's incapable of love, which in a way would be a small, strange kind of consolation, but I guess we'll never know.
Now don't get me wrong - we haven't given him up as a lost cause just yet. We're doing everything we can to prevent the impending tragedy. We've removed all sharp objects from the yard, tried to instill in him a firm sense of right and wrong through a series of extremely low-budge one-act plays co-written by and starring Gary and me, and tacked up a picture of a cat vomiting on someone's new carpet in his doghouse in hopes of reminding him who the real enemy is.
You never think it'll be your kid until one day he up and murders his close friend in a desperate, conspiratorial attempt to preserve the Roman Republic.