A Tale of Two Besties

They were the best of friends, they were the worst of friends…

Last week, I introduced you to the happy never after of my old share house, where I lived with my school buddy and her Chihuahua, Chippy, his brother Pepi and Bobbin the cat (my two).

Second time round, it was the picture of domestic bliss, until we agreed that Pepi ought to have a new best friend.

Say hello to Maxi.

Maxi

Maxi

Maxi was rescued by the Save-a-Dog Scheme.

When I collected him from his foster home, he had been having fun beating up the other ten Chihuahuas the old lady was temporarily housing.

He was a mean little thing.

He wore his damage with such pride. Like a war veteran, returned.

You just knew he’d seen things that no Jack Russell-cross should ever see. But he’d survived, goddammit, by sheer force of his own iron will.

And no-one, but no-one, was gonna tell him what to do.

He scared the pants off me.

When I introduced him to Pepi, Pepi was all up in his business, totally naïve of Maxi’s bristling fur.

He wouldn’t warn you if he was going to bite. He’d just bite.

And bite he did.

There was no wound, except to Pepi’s pride, and so Pepi resorted to the only form of retaliation he felt sure about. He barked.

And barked. And BARKED.

He scolded Maxi from the safety of the couch, and Maxi, you could just tell, enjoyed sitting there, the untouchable focus of Pepi’s consternation.

It was love at first bite.

VetThere was just one problem, and that was Chippy.

Up until then, Chippy had been Pepi’s shadow, glued to his butt like an annoying younger sibling.

But Maxi, with his eye on pole position, was having none of that.

The day he drew blood from Chippy’s eyebrow, it was Game of Thrones Chihuahua style – and they matched the humans move for move.

Save-a-Dog Scheme didn’t want to take him back.

I was about to resort to begging when Maxi suddenly developed a mysterious back pain that required him to be crated for a week.

Round 3 goes to Maxi.

Once hypochondria dog asserted his right to stay, the lines of fracture in an already troubled kingdom began to split the house apart.

Which was obviously a good time to get Chippy a wife.

Enter Salsa, and before Bobbin could hiss, we had a house full of untrained yappy dogs.

Bobbin&Salsa

Bobbin with Salsa

Strangely, Bobbin refused to come home, and instead took his frustrations out on the next door neighbour’s cat.

Meanwhile, Maxi discovered the never-before-found holes in the fence, and our merry little gang escaped to terrorise the neighbour’s kids.

Overnight, our home had gone from peace-loving hippies to neighbourhood thugs. Tiny, ankle sized thugs. But still.

We both gave up on grandiose ideas of study and took full time jobs, which we needed just to pay the vet bills.

Every day we came home, Maxi had done a new Houdini underneath the potato vine, and they’d taken their reign of terror to the streets.

It was only a matter of time before council issued a warning.

And we locked the dogs inside.

And someone kicked a hole in our back door. The same someone, we presume, who left the nasty note inside our letterbox.

And my best friend announced she couldn’t stand to live with me there any more.

And our happy days in the house of dysfunction came to a close.

Key3

The key to that place sits now atop a pile of other unmarked keys, unlocking memories that are nothing if not bittersweet.

Maybe if we hadn’t been so preoccupied with all that petty human crap of who did what to whom and when, we might have seen what Maxi saw, and what took me years to finally recognise.

Pepi had the secret to another way.

Stranger than Fiction

Join me next week to celebrate Pepi’s alternate reality! Yayyyy, already…. 🙂

There’ll be freebies and giveaways and general bribery.

And just to get you in the mood, here’s one from Pepi’s playlist…

What’s your worst ever share house experience?

Random Access Memory

I’ve been wondering why I’m chasing my tail around the various tasks I need to do.

Everywhere I look, there’s a pile of ‘stuff’ that doesn’t have a home. And it’s not much better when I look at my computer, either.

I’m a paper hoarder, and in the digital age, that translates to RAM.

On my last tally, there were no less than nine functional hard drives cluttering my office, and that’s not counting other digital devices.

Multiple copies of multiple versions, back-ups of back-ups that eventually wind up on a CD stuffed somewhere in a drawer.

But it’s not just documents I hoard.

I collect keys like memories.

They sit in my top drawer, a pile of tiny clues, physical bits of evidence pointing to the fact that I was there, once.

Key1There’s the key to the dearly departed Mazda 121 representing more than just a car.

Key2Power. Control. A room of one’s own.

Keys to locked drawers and secret hideaways.

Key3To past houses that I’ve tenanted.

Of course, you’re supposed to hand the keys back. But since the real estate agent didn’t know about the extra set we had to cut…

It became my guilty secret. A link to an illicit imaginary self.

Just in case she felt the urge to stage a break-in.

Just in case she ever needed to revisit the tiny pieces of me that were left behind.

In that house.

It was a blue, double-fronted weatherboard that had seen better days.

But it had a veranda, and stained glass windows, and an open fireplace in every room.

An entrance hall, high ceilings, even a servery window between the kitchen and the lounge!

And, of course, an outside loo.

That was the worst part. No light, but plenty of spider webs since we were too scared to go in there and wipe them out.

I shared the house with my best friend from school. Along with Pepi and his brother, Chippy. And Bobbin, the cat.

HappyHouse

It was our second attempt at sharing each other’s living space – a truce struck by a mutual need to reduce costs and earn something that passed for a degree.

This time will be different, we said, and for a while, everything was bliss.

We cooked meals and hosted dinner parties, rolled our own cigarettes and debated the intellectual merits of Xena and Friends.

She grew pot plants and I planted a garden.

The neighbours thanked us for being good tenants.

But it all started to go horribly wrong about the time we decided to find a friend for Pepi.

Just in case it didn’t last.

Just in case Pepi and Chippy had to go their separate ways.

How we went from being model tenants to having this shoved in our letterbox…

Just another piece of paper kept for future reference.

Just another piece of paper I’ve been hoarding.

…is a story for another post.

(Shut up, just shut up shut up!)

To be continued next week!

What random things do you collect? Do you have trouble Emptying the Trash?