On a hot Saturday afternoon, RJ drove through town, looking for a new animal shelter he had heard about. His heart skipped a beat when he first read about it, because it had a promising feature. This place didn’t only take in stray pets. They accepted wildlife! Rumors had spread across the dog-fighting circuit that some of his competition had managed to bribe staff at another wildlife shelter, to provide them with actual wolves rather than dogs, and had used them to win their fights. The thought already spread through RJ’s crooked mind that perhaps he might obtain a wolf to use. It all depended on whether he could bribe and schmooze those who ran the new shelter.
RJ had prepared for the moment because he knew that how he looked could greatly affect his chances of getting any animals. He showered and put on fresh clothing in order to look like a trustworthy guy. This approach had worked at the places he had previously gone to find fighters, as he was viewed as a promising and responsible dog owner. Glancing in the mirror, RJ approved of his final look. With a confident nod to himself he rehearsed what he was going to say. This time around he decided he would play the “‘my dog just died and my house feels so empty without one’” card. He could cry on command if need be, but he hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
He jumped into his car and drove to the new shelter. He parked on the opposite side of the street, and stared at his target. He knew the building. It had previously held one of RJ’s favorite strip joints, so he knew it was rather large inside. After a quick check in the mirror, RJ practiced his enthusiastic smile and charm before attempting to cross the threshold. He passed through the doors and found the shelter oddly quiet, however his wallet began to sing in his pocket the moment he heard the little yips in the back.
They sounded a lot like pitbull puppy sounds.
A lone woman walked out from the back room and closed the door. She didn’t even see him. However her nose seemed to scrunch up. She paused, and like a dog, she kept breathing through her nose and taking in the air. Her strange behavior stopped the moment her eyes locked onto RJ.
He flashed his confident smile, but before he could utter a sound, the woman sneered at him. “Get the fuck out!” She pointed to the door. Rather stunned, he tried to get in a word, however the woman began to storm him. With raw power, she shoved him in the chest hard, forcing him back three steps as she continued to scream at him to get the hell out. Finally, he stood in the entrance doorway.
“I said leave, asshole!” she snapped.
Just as his mouth opened, another shelter employee emerged from the back room. He was a tall, powerful-looking dark-skinned man. At his side a large Great Dane stood, growling and ready to strike.
“How much to adopt that dog?” RJ asked.
The man smiled. “Nothing your sorry ass can afford.” With one more shove from the woman, RJ found himself standing outside the shelter, the door slammed in his face.
At first, he couldn’t believe what just happened to him. It was as if they already knew his intent with the dog, but how could they? The place had only just opened. He tried to peer back in through the window, but found the blinds had been quickly drawn and the door locked.
A day of failure brought RJ to his local bar to drown his sorrows. He was out of business. With no dogs to go into a fight with, he wouldn’t be able to make the easy money he had always counted on. The depressing idea of having to look for an actual job just made him hit the beer all the harder.
He was on his fourth glass when she walked in. Unaware if it was the alcohol, or the fact that the just wanted to see the bitch again, he wasn’t sure whether she was real or imaginary. With clear eyes and a few hard blinks, he stared at the woman, and knew without a doubt she was the same chick from the animal shelter. At first, she sat alone at the bar, taking in the room carefully. Her eyes narrowed towards some of the men, and he soon found himself caught in her eyes. The angry look she gave to him earlier was gone. Surprisingly enough, she flashed a playful smile and began to approach his table.
Her tight clothing revealed a perfect figure. The type that brought out the animal in men. They howled and whistled to gain her eye, but she refused to break her focus on RJ. Her walk was sultry, as her hips swayed with each stride. She stood before the table, and leaned over to whisper in his ear, “You’re the guy from early today,” she said with a coy grin.
RJ was quick to turn on the charm as he offered her a chair. “I am, but with the way you acted earlier, I swear, I didn’t think you wanted any of those poor dogs to find a good home”
On the inside he was biting into his cheek to prevent the swears he wanted to spew forth at her. The woman only smiled to his words. “I am sorry about that, I get carried away sometimes.”
“But why were you angry at me?” he asked.
The woman explained that she had dealt with a lot of people that day, all of them appeared to be ready for the responsibility of a dog and yet none of them proved it to her. “I was just at my wits end with people in general. I am sorry for how I acted. Can I buy you a drink?”
RJ was already feeling the affects of his past four beers. However, if someone else’s buying he wouldn’t refuse it. As the mug came to his hands, she slid herself next to RJ, and rested her head on his shoulders. “I hope you weren’t mad. I just need to make sure the dogs go to a good home. Marius, my co-worker, has been working with a particular German Shepherd for a while. But it’s oddly aggressive, we’re pretty sure its part wolf.”
She had named his favorite attribute in a dog. Aggression.
RJ smiled and placed his arm around her. “Perhaps I could take him in? I’ve worked with dogs like that before. I don’t mind training him.”
It wasn’t a complete lie, but she still looked rather unconvinced. However she broke free from his embrace as she announced an idea. Tomorrow, RJ could return to the shelter and they could see how the dog reacted to him. “If he likes you, I’ll let you take him home,” she explained.
He smiled and agreed, and just as she turned to leave, he called aloud to her, “I never did catch your name!”
The woman turned around. “Nevaeh” she said. “It’s ‘Heaven,’ backwards.”
She vanished out of the bar. RJ felt as if he were on cloud nine. Tomorrow, he had to be sure to play his cards right. If he could pull this off, his dog-fighting career would be saved.
RJ hardly slept through the night, because he was so excited at the prospect of getting the part-wolf. He woke at the crack of dawn, and rushed to his basement where the smell of blood and death lingered. To him, blood scent was the smell of victory. Like a child on Christmas morning, he went to the far end of the room, RJ’s hand fumbled around in the darkness until he found the light switch. He smiled at the chains and training devices he used on his dogs to make them more aggressive were hung with care and delicacy. He was careful to keep all of his gear in pristine shape good condition. He smiled, realizing that he took better care of his tack than of the dogs he owned and fought.
He cooed at his metal devices as if they had ears. His favorite of them all latched into the dog’s soft padding of their feet. It made it painful for them to stand as metal claws dug in. It drove many of his dogs insane with rage. RJ rubbed his hands and imagined how his new dog, trained with the devices, would unleash hell to the first canine it encountered in the ring.
It was just a matter of time.