The Crossing, Quarto Giorno

22 06 2008

Did I mention my Contessa came to visit yesterday? Contessa di castiglioneWith no “doggie bag” in hand. Virginia’s breath, still fresh with the room service treat, I decided to give my Contessa somewhat lesser attention than I would as a rule.

She seemed puzzled, then concerned. Was I eating? she asked the steward. Had I slept? Who were my neighbors on either side of my “cabin”? Virginia gave my Contessa’s hand a lick as I gazed, unimpressed, out the open door of the kennel.

My stomach rumbled. She placed a hand on my side and I looked up, trying as hard as I could to suck in my sides and hollow my eye sockets.skinny dog 2

Certo, she said. Io so.

I have only but one word for her: Chow.doggie bag

The Crossing, Terzo Giorno

17 06 2008

Next morning and Denny takes to opening all the cage doors.  A flurry of activity ensues: all wags and sniffs as the contents of said cages make proper introductions.  QM2 kennel on Deck 12

Neutral territory begs a certain calm manner and the kennel residents are on their best behavior–all except for La Tour: a golden cat shaped like the Eiffel Tower.  Tabby CatHe has not been released to the fray on the floor below.  He sits like a statue mid-cage and hisses without moving his lips.

I wave my nose under the door of his “cabin”.  He makes no move, eyes frozen on the door to the outside deck, and moans a low, controlled growl.

Virgina gives me a nudge and I follow her into the next room.  Denny, the steward, turns a box on its side and a dozen green tennis balls roll across the smooth floor.  Dog Gargles BallSuddenly pandemonium erupts as every dog must find at least one ball.  Ball and dogVirginia scoops up two between her jaws and Churchill noses one into the corner until it has no where to go but onto his tongue.Dog with Ball

We are all sitting down, looking at each other, waiting for the first ball to drop, when Denny sets the floor with eight bowls.Good Dog Food

I am the first to let the ball roll.  I have my priorities.  The steward pours something dry into the dishes.  When I reach the first offering, I give it a cursory sniff and nibble: generic, crunchy kibble.

A knock on the door and Virginia’s woman appears with a plate of something that smells divine.  The woman scrapes it into the bowl nearest Virginia and Virgina wastes no time trying to determine what it is.  Breakfast for seniors!It disappears in several gulps and Virginia give a broad lick of her lips.

Room service, she service menu front page 1

I cast her a long look and narrow my eyes. 

Give me the number.


The Crossing, Secondo Giorno

13 06 2008

Deck twelve and this is the first thing I see that looks familiar:IMG_0632 the hind end of hound (that would be the one not wearing a blue coat…).  I am delivered to the kennel.  The hound and I exchange a whiff.  His name is Churchill. 

Of course it is.

The butlers name is Denny.  He lifts me into a well appointed cage.  Standard bars, cushy bed…cushier with my fur throw; water dish, food dish…ahhhh, my squeaky toy has been delivered.  I settle in for a nap.  What 24 days at boarding kennels does to you...What else to do?

Virginia, a whippet, huddles in the corner of the cage next to me, shivering.  Virgina is from Miami, she says mildly.  It’s hot there.  It’s cold here.  She doesn’t want any part of crossing the North Atlantic.  Icebergs, she mutters.Iceberg, Antarctica

I raise my head and look for a window to confirm her suspicions. No window, no port.  Only a simple, slick floor, Denny at the door, one long draw of the whistle and the ship gives a gentle sway.


The Crossing, Prima Giorno

9 06 2008

Another black town car, more bags in the back. The town carMy nose is pressed up against the window in the back seat and the glass is fogging. 

The day is hazy and by the time space opens up between the high-rises, the view goes black.

The tunnel seems unending, yet, I see light. Atlantic Ave.Tunnel, Brooklyn,NY

When it opens up there are docks and cranes and boats and water: Brooklyn harbor.New York Harbour - Brooklyn Container Terminal

There’s an immense boat in the distance and it grows ever larger as we approach until it fills the entire windshield.  It’s like the Colosseum, I think, even bigger.Queen Mary 2 Before Meeting 2 Sister Ships

The car stops, the door opens and my Contessa and I step out.  A man in a yellow jacket gathers our luggage.  I travel light: a bone shaped, lamb-skin chew toy with a weakened squeak, and a faux-fur throw.

We enter a large hall and stroll up to a counter.  Checking InMy Contessa speaks English in a smooth, “luringly” Italian fashion, hesitates, looks at me with furrowed brow and kisses my ear.

This is never a good sign.  A swift kiss is always welcome but, if it is preceded by a hesitant long look or God forbid, a deep sigh, the news is never good.

I brace.  She thrusts me into the arms of a small Indonesian man in a white jacket.  My Contessa blows me a kiss and I am whisked up a long plank onto the behemoth shipBoarding the QM2—alone, and bound for where?

El Bandito


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