I walked the streets not knowing where to go or what to do. It all looked so different from the night before when the girls I hailed that cab to get home to Notting Hill. Poop! – I must have been squiffy. That vagrant had certainly been drunk, otherwise the police wouldn’t have driven him away, and who would have looked after his dog if I hadn’t offered?
I hoped the poor thing would have helped me find my way to his owner by barking if he could see I was taking us up the wrong road; but he was no Lassie .Nothing. He would have left any kids stuck down a goldmine to find their own way out. Bless him though. He looked more like a pig than a dog, with his thin fur, revolting pink underside and face like the front end of Penny’s Lexus after she’d hit those traffic lights. I was worried the vagrant must be out of the cells by now and waiting for me to bring his pet to him, if only I could find the right place.
“What’s his name?” I had asked the vagrant as the policeman flattened his face against the van.
“Sodoff” he growled, unspecific about whether he was addressing me, the policeman, or both.
“Don’t take that attitude with ME,” I rebuked, “I’m trying to help your poor animal”.
“Sodoff’s his name you stupid cow. You just make sure you bring him back here tomorrow” then he muttered something that could have included the word ‘bitch’ but I chose not to hear.
The girls with had tried to persuade me otherwise, accusing the dog of being rabid and smelly, and almost certainly reprehensible toilet behaviours, but I just had to take care of it, poor thing, though the cabby had refused to allow it on board and so I ended up walking miles with it back to the flat. If Daddy had known he would have been furious – maybe even cut my allowance.
Finding the name ‘Sodoff’ repellent, I replaced it with ‘Waldorf’, this being more socially acceptable yet sounding not dissimilar and therefore less distressing for the dog. With the effect of the last night’s cocktails starting to be replaced by a morning head, and my feet blistered, I took off my heels and walked the last mile barefoot. Eventually we reached the flat. “Right” I told him, “behave and no pooping on the floor, please”. Waldorf looked up at me with an unimpressed look on his face, his lazy eye taking slightly longer to reach my face than his less-lazy one, then he farted audibly. I shuddered, but was committed now.
I found some samosas in the fridge plus some of Thursday night’s left over M&S chicken fricassee. Waldolf scoffed his like he’d never eaten before, then with his unsynchronized eyes, he held my gaze whilst he farted – long, slow and without inhibition. I was appalled, firstly by his vulgarity, then by its audibility and finally the smell that all but melted my veneers. I was thinking about what to say when he yawned, twitched his nose then vomited all over the rug that Ralph had bought me in Morocco when we were still together. I placed a doily over the steaming mess and told myself that I’d have to call Maisie to do a few extra hours in the morning before encouraging Waldorf to lie on a copy of The Tatler that I’d pulled apart into a makeshift groundsheet in the kitchen. To my relief, he lay on one side, displaying half of that ghastly pink belly, and immediately fell into a deep, snory sleep. I gently shut the door and went to bed. Exhausted.
I was woken what seemed like just a few minutes later by a high-pitched shout – “LAVINIA!” Fliss, my flat-mate had got up early as usual to be seen in the gym in her designer leotard and had come down to the kitchen and having trod on the vile doily, stumbled across the unexpected beast who was`deftly chewing the leg of our shabby-chic farmhouse table.
“That thing!” she wailed “has performed its ablutions all over the parquet flooring”. And so he had. Maisie was in for a tough morning.
I apologised unreservedly and explained my predicament but that I would soon be removing the foul creature, having first encouraged him away from the furniture with a tub of Waitrose Moroccan Spiced Fruity Cous Cous. The dog scoffed this as though he’d never eaten cous cous before, his backside heralded this new experience. “GET HIM OUT” demanded Fliss, so I threw on a few threads, which were so last year, replaced Waldorf’s fetid rope of a lead with the belt from my satin dressing gown and returned to the streets to find the vagrant.
Finally, after walking so many streets we finally found him, released from his night in the cells, staggering out of an off-licence.
“Ere!” he said (with not even ‘good morning’ I noted) “What have you done with Sodoff? He looks like a bleedin’ poof!” and he aimed a kick at the dogs pink underbelly. The poor animal was clearly used to this as rolled with the impact to lower its effect. “And he looks sick. What you been feedin’ him?” I told him about the samosas and fricassee, but thought it best not to mention the cous cous. “Chicken what? You’ve poisoned him. He’s got a delicate constitution has Sodoff. It’ll cost you £20 for me to get him gut rot medicine”. As if to prove his point Sodoff farted dreadfully. Appalled but very keen to get away from this odious man, I hurriedly paid up, stooped to make a patting gesture over Waldorf’s head, (without actually touching him of course; to avoid potential infection), and left as quickly yet as poised as I could. At the corner I looked back to see the vagrant berating the unfortunate dog and felt very sad.
I cried a little on the tube home. Poor Waldorf. Maisie had been and left a bill for £100 and a letter giving her notice, but still I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the scratch marks he’d left on the side of the Miele dishwasher. I was missing him. For whatever reason, however unlikely, the foul ugly brute had reached a segment of my heart that no one or thing had accessed since Ralph went toe-to-toe with Topsey at the Wigmakers Ball 3 years ago.
For the next couple of weeks I pined as I got on with my social life then one day, walking to Satins to meet the girls for lunch, I saw Sodoff, no Waldorf, sat uncomfortably, scratching himself at the gate of 47 The Mews. Behind him, at the top of the steps, a tall, besuited man was locking his door.
“Waldorf!” I squealed. Waldolf looked up with his faster eye until the lazy one caught up and whilst his expression remained blank, he had farted in what I could only consider as a gesture of recognition and delight.
“Pardon me, Miss. You know this animal?” called the man.
“Why yes! Waldorf. He err, stayed with me for a night once.”
“Well bally me! A one-night stand. He did the same thing with me last night and has eaten me out of house, home, salmon, veal and chair legs”
I giggled “I know what you mean”.
“Funny story actually. I was walking to the tube after a night at the club when I felt compounded to rescue him from some awful drunken cad being dragged into a black mariah by the Filth. I know I’m a pushover but I couldn’t leave the poor animal alone on the street, and now the scoundrel’s gone and eaten my collection of African tribal art.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. The man could not see the funny side, but seemed to smile when my laugh made that embarrassing snorting noise. He introduced himself and invited me to an espresso in the park, before handing Nabokov, as he’d re-named Sodoff, back to ‘frightful oaf of an owner’ as he called him. I accepted Patrick’s invitation insisting that I broke off my own luncheon appointment to help him take Waldorf, err Nabokov back.
We found the vagrant prostrate on a bench in Parsons Green, close to the site of his previous night’s arrest and walked up to him nervously as he slept in case he should rear up angrily. We tied Nabokov/Waldorf/Sodoff as quietly as we could to the bench then tip-toed away when the blessed dog’s fart raised the vagrant from his slumber.
“Oi! Where have you been? And where’s me £50?”
“But didn’t you say £30 for letting me house your dog?” wimped Patrick.
I nudged him “You mean you offered to pay him to look after his dog?” Patrick did not answer for fear of looking even less manly in front of me. My emotional ventricles were prised even further apart by this lovely, if foppish man.
“£50” roared the vagrant and Patrick reached for his wallet. “And another £25 for bringin’ ‘im back starving”.
“Starving?” said Patrick quite hurt by the accusation, “He’s blimmin’ scoffed gujons, fruites de la mare and plum duff.”
“And he ate our biscotti in the park” I chipped in, trying to help.
“Thatsworimean. Starving” said the unimpressed vagrant. I offered to pay the extra £25, but Patrick was having none of it and paid in full.
Two years later,after we’d got engaged, Patrick and I sought out the vagrant once more. After all, it was he and Waldorf/Nabokov who had inadvertently put us together. Eventually we found him on Brompton Common gulping Special Brew, Sodoff sunning his pink belly. We explained our joyous news and extended an invitation to him to be washed, dressed and driven to the wedding at our expense, along with Waldorf/Nabokov who was to be pampered, washed and have a nourishing but plain diet for 72 hours leading up to the day. He accepted graciously at a cost of £250 (£150 for him, £100 for Sodoff) which we considered very reasonable, though we thought better than to shake his filthy hand on it.
On the big day, the vagrant made obscene requests to each of my bridesmaids and the mother of the groom, and was later arrested, drunk, having disgraced himself over the champagne jellies. However he did leave Sodoff, (or Nabdolf as we compromised on) as a wedding present on account of his incarceration in Wormwood Scrubs for persistent anti-social behaviour. So the vagrant may not have lived happily ever after, but we certainly did, with our ever-flatulent pet and a new cleaner.
I hope you enjoyed that story. If you have 2 mins spare, add a comment to let me know what you think, if you have 5 minutes, add that comment then find another story on my site – there’s plenty to try.