The 00's: Year Three

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Dexter's Temporary Home

It was Friday, May 21, 2004. It was evening. I, Steve, and Kevin were sitting on the living room couch at Steve’s place watching TV.

“Hey, do either one of you think that Dexter is braver than Courage The Cowardly Dog?“, I asked. “Dude, Courage doesn’t actually live up to his name. He always gets scared easily every episode.“, Kevin said. “Yeah, there hasn’t been a single episode that I remember where Courage actually had courage.“, Steve said.

“Well, no matter how brave a dog is, being a dog owner is a piece of cake.“, I said. “And how do you know? You’ve never been a dog owner before.“, Steve said. “I don’t have to be a dog owner to know that being a dog owner is a piece of cake.“, I said.

“Well, whatever cake you are talking about, it’s probably not chocolate cake because you can’t give dogs chocolate.“, Kevin said. “Shut up, Kev.“, Steve said. “Look, in reality, being a dog owner isn’t a piece of cake.“, Steve said.

“Why not?“, I asked. “Because there are a lot of duties and responsibilities that come with being a dog owner.“, Steve said. “Name one.“, I said.

“You have to give the dog baths.“, Steve said. “Oh, okay. I bet that’s so easy to do. What else?“, I said. “You’ve got to feed the dog and let it outside to go use the bathroom over and over again. You also have to give it water over and over again.“, Steve said.

“Also easy. What else?“, I said. “You also have to make sure you don’t drop anything important on the floor. If it’s not strong enough, Dexter can rip it up with his teeth. Imagine accidentally dropping a $20 bill on the floor. If Dexter gets a hold of it, there’s a great chance you’re not getting that $20 back.“, Steve said. “So, a dog owner just has to be a little more careful. That’s all.“, I said.

“You still think this dog thing is a cakewalk?“, Steve asked. “Yes. Yes, I do.“, I said. “Okay, well, why don’t we have Dexter stay at your place temporarily so you can know just how hard it is to own a dog.“, Steve said.

“I accept that challenge.“, I said. “Fine, then it’s settled.“, Steve said. “Fine.“, I said. “Fine.“, Steve said. “Fine!“, I and Steve said at the same time.

I, Steve, and Kevin continued watching TV. “Wait a minute, it’s not settled.“, Steve said. “What? Why not?“, I asked.

Steve saw Kevin Sr. enter the living room. “Dad, Jamal thinks that being a dog owner is easy. I’m trying to show him that being a dog owner is harder than he thinks it is. Therefore, is it okay if Dexter temporarily stays at his place?“, Steve said. “Okay, guys, just give me some time to think about it. Okay?“, Kevin Sr. said.

“I don’t think this can wait. Life is short. And a dog’s life is even shorter.“, Steve said. “Okay, fine, he can stay at Jamal’s place for a week.“, Kevin Sr. said. “Great, then I guess it’s settled. This dog thing is not gonna be a problem at all.“, I said.

“It’s not settled yet. We still need to move all of the pet stuff over to your place along with Dexter before Dexter starts staying with you.“, Kevin Sr. said. “And trust us, it’s a ton of stuff.“, Kevin said. “Well, if it’s that much stuff, I say we start now. Where is the little dude anyway?“, I said.

Dexter entered the living room. “Hey, buddy, you’re gonna be temporarily staying with me so I can prove a point to Steve. How does that sound?“, I said smiling. Dexter barked happily. “I think it’s music to his ears.“, Kevin said. Then I had Dexter end up staying at my place for a week.

***

It was Saturday, May 22, 2004. It was afternoon. At the playground down the street from where I lived, I and Dexter were playing when I was running around the playground while Dexter was chasing me.

I continued running around the playground while Dexter continued chasing me. I ran around the playground some more while Dexter continued chasing me some more. Then I stopped running and intentionally fell to the ground.

Dexter went after me and started licking my face. Dexter continued licking my face. Dexter continued licking my face some more.

“You two having fun?“, a random boy asked. Dexter stopped licking my face. I got up off of the ground.

I saw a group of random tweenagers (three boys and two girls) standing there. “We sure are. Can I help you all with something?“, I said. “We all have dogs too. We were wondering if it’d be alright with you if your dog joins our dogs in a series of races to determine who the fastest dog on the playground is.“, another random boy said.

“However, the dog can only join if it’s your dog. That is your dog. Is it not?“, another random boy said. “Ummmmm, Ummm, Um, yes. Yes, it is. Ladies and gentlemen, meet my dog, Dexter.“, I said. “Hi, Dexter. How are you doing today?“, a random girl said.

Dexter barked happily. “Well, it’s nice to know that he’s in a good mood today.“, the same random girl said. “So, where are your other dogs?“, I asked.

“Oh, they’re all over there roaming around in that baseball field.“, another random girl said. “So, are you in?“, a random boy asked. “You know what? Yeah, I’ll do it. I’ll have Dexter join the series of races with the other dogs.“, I said.

“That’s excellent. We’re glad to have you on board.“, a random girl said. “I’m glad to be on board. So, when are these races supposed to start?“, I said. “Right now. Come on, just follow us.“, a random boy said.

The other kids started walking away. “Come on, Dexter. Let’s show these other dogs, and kids, just how fast you really are.“, I said. I started jogging away and Dexter started following me.

A few moments later, all of the dogs were at an imaginary starting line. “Okay, on your marks. Get set. Go!“, a random boy said. Then the dogs started running. “Come on, Dexter! You’ve got this! Show those other dogs that they have no chance against you!“, I said.

The dogs continued running. Then the race was over. “And the winner of the first race is the Shih Tzu!“, a random boy declared.

“Yes! Yes! Yes! We did it, Dexter! I mean, you did it, but we did it! High paw!“, I said. The high five (high paw) was done. “Don’t get too excited. It’s just one race. There’s still plenty more races to go.“, a random girl said.

“How many races are there?“, I asked. “It’s a best four out of seven.“, a random boy said. “Could you please explain what that means to me like I’m back in Kindergarten?“, I asked.

“It means that there will be seven races. The first dog to get to four wins out of those seven races is the overall winner.“, another random boy said. “Well, I like the sound of that. Okay, Dexter, let’s go ahead and get these three more wins so you can be the overall winner over all these dogs. Are you ready, Dexter?“, I said. Dexter barked happily.

“Are you as ready as a sponge with his own TV show?“, I asked. Dexter barked happily a few times. “Are you ready to get these last three wins for extra dog snacks back at my place?“, I asked.

Dexter barked happily several times. “He seems pretty ready to leave all the other dogs in the dust a few more times.“, I said. “We’ll see about that.“, a random girl said.

“Alright, places, people! I mean, creatures!“, a random boy yelled. All of the dogs went back to the same imaginary starting line. “On you marks, get set, go!“, a random boy said.

All the dogs started running towards the imaginary finish line again. “Come on, boy. If you beat ’em once, you can beat ’em twice as well.“, I said. Then the race finished and Dexter was victorious again.

“And the winner is Dexter! Again!“, a random boy declared. Dexter ran up to me. “Hey, way to go, buddy. High paw.“, I said.

Dexter gave me a high paw again. “He’s still not out of the woods yet. He’s still got two more races to win.“, a random girl said. A few moments later, all the dogs were back at the imaginary starting line again.

“On your marks, get set, go!“, a random boy said. The dogs started running again. At the end of that race, Dexter won for the third time.

“And the winner is Dexter for the third consecutive time!“, a random boy declared. “Wow, I knew my dog was gonna win and everything, but I had no idea he was going to pull off a clean sweep in a best-of-seven series.“, I said. “Hold your horses there, cowboy. He’s still got one more race to win.“, a random girl said.

The dogs were back at the imaginary starting line. “On your marks, get set, go!“, a random boy said. The dogs started running from one imaginary line to another imaginary line.

Then Dexter won and pulled off a clean sweep over the other dogs. “And the overall series winner is the Shih Tzu with a clean sweep!“, a random boy declared. Dexter ran and stood near where I was standing.

“So, I guess my dog is the fastest dog here after all.“, I said. “Okay, you won fair and square. Congratulations.“, a random boy said. “Yeah, we all had no idea your dog was that fast.“, another random boy said. “Your dog is so fast that he could probably beat the speed of light if he wanted to.“, another random boy said.

“Your dog definitely has Nascar speed. Well, if he was driving a racecar.“, a random girl said. “Well, we’re all gonna go ahead and hang around some more. It was nice meeting you and your dog.“, a random boy said. “Okay, you go ahead and do that. It was nice meeting you all too.“, I said.

All the other kids (except the one girl) started walking away from me and Dexter. “Hey, I think you’re really cute. Let’s exchange numbers.“, the girl said smiling. “Oh, sorry, I’m already taken by a very lucky girl.“, I said.

“Dang it. I wish I was that lucky. Well, here’s my phone number in case you change your mind or get untaken. Bye.“, the girl said smiling. The girl blew me a kiss, winked, and walked away from me and Dexter. “Well, let’s continue enjoying our weekend together. Think fast.“, I said. I started running away from Dexter. Then Dexter started chasing me.

***

It was Sunday, May 23, 2004. It was afternoon. I was in my room with Amanda as we were kissing.

We continued kissing. And we did some more kissing. Dexter was watching every second of us kissing.

Amanda saw that Dexter was watching them kiss. I and Amanda stopped kissing. “Um, Jamal, I think we need to talk.“, Amanda said.

“Okay, what do you wanna talk about?“, I asked. “I wanna talk about our audience over there.“, Amanda said. I looked at Dexter and looked back at Amanda.

“Oh, you’re talking about that audience.“, I said. “Listen, I only have him for about five more days. Then you can come to my place and make out with me without an audience. I don’t wanna be unfair to him by making him go to his crate, so just let him watch.“, I said. I tried kissing Amanda.

I failed to kiss Amanda. “I don’t think so. I-. Hey, who’s number is this?“, Amanda said. “Oh, that number? Oh, um, it’s one of my aunt’s phone numbers. Yeah. I must’ve forgotten to put it away or something.“, I said. Amanda put the cell phone number down.

“Anyways, back to the dog. I don’t like being watched by other animals while we’re kissing. I find it very inappropriate. I feel that we deserve our privacy. So, could you please find a way to get him out of here?“, Amanda said. “And who do you think you are Miss I can boss everyone around. I’m the man in this relationship, so you can’t tell me what to do. And what I say goes. And what I say right now is that the dog stays. Okay? Good talk. Now, where were we?“, I said. I tried kissing Amanda and failed.

“Excuse me? Who made you king around here?“, Amanda asked. “I just did less than a minute ago.“, I said. “Well, I’m the woman in this relationship, and I say that my lips are off-limits until we get our privacy back. Okay? Good talk.“, Amanda said.

“What? But that’s not fair?“, I asked. “Yeah? Well, just like the Malcolm In The Middle theme song, life is unfair.“, Amanda said. “Life is unfair.“, Amanda sang.

“Alright, alright, I get it. You’re not a happy tweenager right now. So, I’ll respect your decision and wait for the dog to leave whenever he wants to.“, I said. “Fine.“, Amanda said. “Fine.“, I said. “Fine.“, Amanda said. “Fine.“, I said.

“Fine!“, I and Amanda said at the same time. “And I get the last word of the conversation.“, I said. “What? Why?“, Amanda asked.

“Because I’m the man and you’re the woman. That’s why?“, I said. “Oh, yeah? Well, how about we build a time machine, travel back to the 1950s, break up, get back together in elementary school, and I start making you a ham and cheese sandwich? Is that what you want? Huh?“, Amanda asked. “Yes, that’s exactly what I want. And I’ll be the one to build the time machine since I’m the man and you’re not.“, I said.

“Oh, you’re so not touching these lips for a whole month.“, Amanda said. “And I don’t care not one bit even if you make it a full decade.“, I said. “But no worries, you’ll eventually change your mind and want to start kissing me again while Dexter is still in the room.“, I said.

“I know how to end this.“, Amanda said. Amanda went into her backpack and got out a bottle of chocolate milk. “You’re not gonna make me give in to you by drinking chocolate milk.“, I said.

“We’ll see about that. Once you give in, I’m gonna make you taste defeat with my chocolaty tongue.“, Amanda said. Amanda opened the bottle and started drinking it. Amanda continued drinking it. Amanda drunk some more of it.

“Okay, that’s it, Dexter. Go to your crate.“, I said pointing at the bedroom door. Dexter barked at me. “Don’t take that tone with me. Now, mister.“, I said.

Dexter barked eleven times at me. “I said now!“, I said. Dexter looked down, whimpered, and exited my bedroom.

Amanda closed the top on her drink. “Great, now that that’s finally taken care of, time for me to make you taste chocolaty defeat.“, Amanda said smiling. “As you wish, my queen.“, I said smiling. Then I and Amanda started kissing again.

***

It was Monday, May 24, 2004. It was evening. I was in the living room watching game two of the 2004 NBA Eastern Conference Final.

The two teams that were playing were the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers. Detroit was on the road against Indiana. I received a call on my cell phone.

I picked up my phone to see who it was. “Hello?“, I asked. “Hey, dude. It’s me.“, Brad said.

“Hey.“, I said. “So, did you choose to watch Monday Night Raw tonight or Pistons basketball?“, Brad asked. “You know I had to go with Pistons basketball. Man, they’ve gotten really far in the playoffs this year. This is the second-to-last playoff round. If we win this round, we’ll be in the NBA Finals. I wonder when was the last time that happened.“, I said.

“I’m not sure. I’ll have to get my research team to look into it.“, Brad said jokingly. “Yeah, I’m also watching Pistons basketball. This Pistons team is possibly the best in our entire short lives.“, Brad said. “Well, I don’t feel like my life is so short anymore now that I’m double digits in the age department.“, I said.

“Yeah, I hear you on that one. Ten years is such a long time.“, Brad said. “Ew, dude, gross!“, I said. “What? What’s wrong? What just happened?“, Brad asked.

“You don’t want to know.“, I said holding my nose. “Well, can you at least give me a clue?“, Brad asked. “I’ll just tell you what happened. Steve’s dog just took a dump on our living room carpet. I thought he said dogs go outside to use it.“, I said.

“Wow, that’s really messed up.“, Brad said. Jamal saw Dexter in the living room. “Dexter, did you do this?“, I asked pointing at the dog poop.

Dexter started whimpering. “This is not cool, Dexter. Not cool at all.“, I said. My Mom entered the living room.

“What’s going on in here? And what in the world is that smell?“, my Mom asked. “Mom, Dexter took a dump in the living room.“, I said pointing at the dog poop. My Mom saw the poop.

“Alright, that’s it. To your crate you little troublemaker.“, my Mom said pointing at Dexter’s crate. Dexter looked down, whimpered, and walked inside his crate. My Mom went over to the crate to close and lock the crate’s door.

“Jamal, you need to clean that mess up.“, my Mom said. “What? But why me? Dexter is the author of the mess.“, I said. “Yes, I know that very well. But you’re the one who came up with this idea in the first place. Therefore, clean the mess up or no TV for a week.“, my Mom said.

My Mom exited the living room. “Nice going, Dexter. Now, I have to find a way to clean up the mess that you made while the Pistons are trying to win an NBA title.“, I said. “Well, see ya.“, Brad said.

Brad hung up. “By the looks of what just came out of your but, I’m gonna need about ten paper towels to pick that up.“, I said. I got up and went to go look for some paper towels.

***

It was Tuesday, May 25, 2004. It was evening. I was sitting on the living room couch watching TV. Dexter was also sitting on the living room couch as he was busy with one of his chew toys.

“Hey, could you put down the chew toy for just a second? I want to show you something real quick.“, I said. Dexter stopped chewing on one of his chew toys. “Now, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a TV before. However, let me just educate you a little bit about what’s on TV these days.“, I said.

I grabbed the remote as Dexter looked at the TV screen. I tuned in to channel two and put the remote down. “This, my friend, is a channel. This channel is known as FOX. Or FOX 2 Detroit in local terms. FOX has some good shows such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, That 70s Show, King of The Hill, and American Idol.“, I said.

I tuned in to channel four. “This channel is known as NBC. NBC stands for National Broadcasting Company.“, I said. I tuned in to channel seven.

“This channel is known as ABC. ABC stands for American Broadcasting Company.“, I said. “And there are more local channels than just those three like this one.“, I said. I tuned in to channel sixty-two.

“This channel is known as CBS. It stands for Colombian Broadcasting System. CBS used to be on channel two but moved to sixty-two back in 1994 when FOX took over two.“, I said. I tuned into Disney Channel. “And this is Disney Channel which is simply a TV channel from Disney.“, I said.

I tuned into Cartoon Network. “And this is one of my most favorite TV channels. Cartoon Network. Simply put, this station shows cartoons 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I don’t know what I’d do without it.“, I said. I tuned into MTV.

“And this is music television or MTV for short.“, I said. I tuned into Nickelodeon. “And this is another one of my most favorite TV channels. Nickelodeon. I have no idea what the name means, but it sure is just as fun to watch as Cartoon Network.“, I said. My Mom entered the living room.

“Jamal, why are you explaining TV to a dog?“, my Mom asked. “Because I can Mom. And this has nothing to do with you Mom. Go away Mom.“, I said. My Mom shook her head smiling and left the living room.

“So, now that I’ve taught you some things about the wonderful world of TV, you wanna go ahead and watch with me?“, I asked. Dexter got on the floor and started chewing on another one of his chew toys. “Or you could forget TV and go back to doing dog stuff.“, I said. Then I used the TV remote and continued watching TV.

***

It was Thursday, May 27, 2004. It was evening. I was in my room playing video games.

I started smelling something that wasn’t right. I paused my game. I saw dog poop on the floor.

I saw Dexter standing near the dog poop as he was watching me play. “Dexter, I thought we talked about this. No pooping in the house. Alright, that’s it. Go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.“, I said pointing at a corner. Dexter barked at me.

“I don’t want to hear it, Dexter. You. Corner. Now.“, I said. Dexter barked several times at me. “Look here, Scooby-Doo, I’m the human. You’re the animal. I’m the owner. You’re the pet. That means you do what I say and you obey. You. Corner. Now!“, I said.

Dexter barked several times at me. Dexter barked several more times at me. And Dexter barked several more times at me.

“Hey, don’t take that tone with me! You better watch who you’re talking to!“, I said. Dexter barked eleven times at me. “You are really starting to become a problem. That’s another mess I have to clean up. Go in the corner!“, I said. Dexter barked at me some more. Then I ended up getting into an argument with a dog.

***

It was Friday, May 28, 2004. It was evening. At Steve’s place, I and Steve were watching Pistons basketball as the game was in the late stages.

“Well, I’ve experienced what it’s like to be a dog owner. And I have to admit. You were right all along. Being a dog owner is way easier saying it than it is doing it. Sorry for not being able to see things from a dog owner’s point of view last week.“, I said. “Well, I guess I forgive you.“, Steve said. “And now the little fella is back in his real home where he belongs.“, I said.

“And another thing, Dexter, I’m sorry for the way I reacted last night. Besides, you’re a dog. Dogs poop just like us, humans. I should’ve handled the situation a little better than I did. Can you please find it in your doggie heart to forgive me?“, I said. Dexter barked happily while in his crate. “Well, even after a few negative experiences, I still want to own a dog of my own one day. Dogs are still my favorite animal no matter how much they drive me insane.“, I said.

“Don’t worry, dude. You’ll be a dog owner sooner or later. But for right now, let’s go ahead and watch the final moments of this Pistons game. I really do believe they are gonna win it all this year. I wonder when was the last time that happened.“, Steve said. “I think it was when we both weren’t even in existence yet.“, I said. “Well, I’ve got just two words for ya.“, Steve said.

“Detroit basketball!“, Steve said in the form of the famous Pistons phrase. I and Steve continued watching the basketball game while Dexter started falling asleep in his crate. And after being back in his real home, Dexter’s ending turned out to be a happy one.

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