So I've been working on some other personal writing projects and my friend Chris had to remind me that I still have a blog (thanks, Chris!).

Remember this post about Margot, the mutt next door whose owners coddle her like a newborn Homo sapien? Well it's been a little more than seven months since I wrote that and much of their silly, gag-me-with-a-spoon behavior has remained the same. That is, until yesterday.

Somehow, over night, all vocalized fanfare for Margot ceased and the next morning they cheered on the rising sun with much of the same verbal diarrhea - but for some dog called "Jenkins." No doubt this confused the hell out of me, and I actually became somewhat concerned about where oh where did our dear Margot go?

I think there are a couple possibilities here. First off, it's important you understand just how much I know about my neighbors without having ever interacted with them. In my worst moments when I am cold and alone and haven't eaten in days or whatever, the walls and floors that separate our two apartments become so thin that I feel like I'm actually living with this couple. Sounds and smells permeate our divide and it's as if we're one happy party of three (five if we include their dog and my cat). I can tell you that last night they made pasta with meatballs, Parmesan cheese and a dash of what smelled like Tabasco sauce. Ben must have wanted to try something new, which is odd since Beth doesn't really like spicy dishes all that much. "This has some kick!?" she borderline complained. Had I been able to see them, I'm sure Ben grinned at that very moment and shoved a huge forkful of volcanic pasta into his gourd. Maybe it was his way at getting back at her for when she told him to turn down that My Morning Jacket record he was blasting the other day. Poor guy had to turn it off right in the middle of my favorite song.

What I'm getting at here is that if I know all of the above, I'm confident I would know if Margot had died. Growing up, my family and I euthanized the equivalent of an entire zoo of animals, and I can assure you there's a period, however brief, where owners grieve a little bit after putting down their pets. So where does this leave us? I honestly think they just started calling Margot "Jenkins," which is so cruel and backward it almost doesn't make sense, for one because it connotes a doggie sex-change and for two because these two dolts practically worshiped every turd Margot laid. Something like that would be so grossly out of character for the pea-brains.

Then this happened: as I awoke today to more incessant cheering for "Jenkins," I got to the window just in time to see Ben and the beast walking to the nearby dog park. They were about 50 yards away, but even from that distance I could tell by the shadow, shape and gait of "Jenkins" that he is almost certainly
a different dog. He is still very ugly, much like Margot was ugly, but he embodies the essence of ugliness in different, almost uglier ways - like where Margot's folds and crevices and snout resembled that of a prized pig, the stocky, teetering trot of "Jenkins" mimics that of a wild boar combing the forest floor for grubs. Boy, Beth and Ben sure know how to pick 'em.

Margot, where art thou?