Charlette Lim Yankowitz
I remember my first Caesar. I guess it was really Caesar II, but it's the first one I can remember. Caesar protected me. I loved that dog more than my own parents. Whenever I needed company, Caesar was there. No one in school wanted to play with me. Caesar was my only friend.
I must have been only five or six when he was brutally murdered. Although I don't remember that day so well, the emotions that filled my body will never leave me. The air smelled of pine trees. It was the first rain of the season. I used to love the rain. Caesar was accompanying me for a walk. As we turned the corner of my street a black standard poodle and German shepherd started charging me. I tried holding Caesar back but my little hands couldn't hold onto the leash any longer. Caesar was just trying to keep me safe. The two dogs from the corner went straight for Caesar's neck. Their canines punctured him and before I could yell out, blood rose.
My knees gave out and I fell to the ground. I buried my face into my hands. Tears flooded my face. I didn't know what to do. I just lay there crying and hugging my best friend. Finally the owners of the two dogs, the dogs that maliciously killed Caesar, came out of their house. They didn't look devastated at all. They just stood over me, watching me cry in the pouring rain. They pulled out their cell phone and called my parents. Ten minutes or so later my parents came. I'll never forget what they said to me.
"Don't worry we'll get you a new dog. We'll go to the lab and get a new Caesar for you tomorrow after school."
I couldn't even form words to question them. I didn't understand; how could I get a new dog? Nothing could replace Caesar. There is no dog like Caesar.
The next morning I could barely get my body out of bed. My limbs were so stiff and my eyes burned from all the crying I did the night and day before. I couldn't get myself to go to school, but of course, my parents told me that kindergarten was important and I had to go.
I looked up at the clock, eager like the rest of the kids to get out of school. 2:59, one minute until school gets out. That last minute felt like an eternity. I'm sure it did for every other five and six year old in the class, but it was different for me. 3:00. I waited at the curb for my mom to pick me up from school. While the other kids got to play, I was getting a new dog. I wasn't ready for a new dog. I didn't want another dog, not yet at least. I wasn't ready.
Fifteen minutes of complete silence in a car killed me. I just gazed out the window watching the trees fly by. We then passed the pound. I was confused.
"Mom, aren't we going to the pound and getting a new dog?" I said.
"No honey, I told you, we're driving to the lab and we're getting you a new Caesar", my Mom said in that soothing voice that drove me crazy.
"A new Caesar? Caesar is gone!" I then began crying silently in the backseat.
Minutes later the car pulled into a laboratory. My mom opened the door for me and held my hand. We walked to the front door. I looked up; the building felt so cold. I was scared to go in. We then came up to the desk and the kind secretary told us that the doctor would see us momentarily. Those minutes seemed like hours to me. A tall scary man came up to me with a bone.
"Are you ready to take home Caesar? Remember, he's a frisky one. Don't forget to feed him and walk him every day. We don't want him to die as quickly as the last one, now do we?" Before I could process what he just said the doctor handed me a puppy. He looked exactly like Caesar. He even had that white patch on his left hip shaped like an ivy leaf. Caesar looked up at me and gave me a big lick on my right cheek. Suddenly, all of the sadness left my body. I had my Caesar back!
My mom then told me to wait in the waiting room with Caesar while she talked to the doctor. Of course, being a sneaky little kid, I didn't listen. As soon as the door closed I put my ear up to it to listen.
"I can't believe this is the third Caesar you've bought in the last five years. What is that daughter of yours doing with her dogs? Between you and me, I really think that you should talk to your daughter about this." The doctor said to my mom.
At that moment I realized that Caesar wasn't one dog. He was a series of dogs. If he died, there would be another one for me. I could do whatever I wanted to do with this new Caesar and the following Caesars for that matter. It didn't matter what happened to this one. My mom would just buy me a new Caesar. I'll always have Caesar with me. I learned that there was no meaning to life. What's the difference between Caesar II and Caesar III? There is none. I could do anything to him. His life didn't matter.
* * *
When I told my schoolmates about Caesar I, II, and III, they were ecstatic. I thought they had disposable dogs like me, but apparently not. Apparently, no one else in my town was rich enough to have a disposable pet. I became the most popular kid in my school. I loved the new found attention that revolved around me. At first I didn't like the fact that they were just friends with me so we could experiment on one of the many future Caesars I would own. I didn't care. I had friends. I finally had friends.
I went through fifteen Caesars in just five years. My friends and I would do the craziest things to that dog. We once tested to see if Caesar could hold his breath underwater as long as a fish. Of course, that experiment didn't last long. But that was okay. I would just run to my mom and tell her that a freak accident happened. Before I knew it, I was holding a baby Caesar again.
* * *
I'll never feel the pain that I felt that rainy day so many years ago. Why do I have to?
* * *
Two years later I was walking with Caesar to my friend's house. Before I could walk to the stairs leading to her porch she swings the screen door open screaming.
"Look what I got! My mom bought me a new puppy! Isn't she pretty? She's one of a kind. It's an early Chanukah gift."
I should have been happy, but I wasn't. I was jealous. I wanted a puppy. I miss Caesar as a puppy, but he was all grown up. Luckily there was a simple solution.
"Let's do more experiments on Caesar! I have a really good idea. Cats always land on their paws. Dogs are much better than cats, so why couldn't Caesar land on his paws?"
We ran upstairs to my friend's window. I scoop up Caesar (boy is he getting heavy; well I'll have a puppy soon enough) and shove him out the window. I lean out the window and see Caesar lying on the concrete. I guess he can't land on his paws like cats can.
I turn around with a smile on my face and see my friend grabbing onto her puppy and hysterically crying. She looks up at me and runs out screaming. That's one less friend I have to buy a Chanukah gift for. I was a little sad about that, but that's okay, tomorrow I'll get my baby Caesar back. I love puppies.
After years of experiments on Caesar I started to grow bored. I didn't feel that same adrenaline rush as I did with my first experiment. I needed to move on to greater things. My neighbors have one of those new cloned kids. Maybe he wants to play. I wonder if he can hold his breadth underwater longer than a fish.
Copyright © 2007 Andrew Cichowski, All Rights Reserved.