“Dog & Dad Disappear” #33

Posted on March 11, 2011


ph by Mindy Katzman

When my mother and I come home from Waldbaum’s, where she was trying to use her expired coupon for hair color, we discover that both my father AND my dog are not home.  I immediately get scared and nervous that my father has tried to sell Vito for money, while my mother is very worried about my father having Alzheimer’s.  His car is still in the driveway, and he hasn’t even taken his house key.  I can barely stand the thought of my father trying to get rid of Vito, and his disappearance is also troubling, so I suggest take a walk around the neighborhood to try to find them.

My mother just stands in the living room, looking around, and says, “I don’t understand.  Sometimes he goes to his friend John’s house.”

“Why would he take the dog?” I ask.

“Because sometimes your father does nice things,” she replies.

“Oh, come on.”

Irritated, her tone is different with me.  “That’s not very nice you think that way.  You’re not perfect yourself, you know.”

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

“I’ll call his phone, hold on,” I say.  From the home phone, I call his cell.  It rings in the den.  “It’s here,” I say.  “His phone is here.”

My Mom and I start walking around the neighborhood.  She tells me, “He’s been forgetting a lot of things lately.  I don’t know.  I think he’s starting to lose it.”

We head towards John’s house in hopes for a resolution to this mystery.  With both my mother and I looking frazzled, and thoughts of my father trying to make a quick buck from selling Vito to cancer research, we run into, right outside the house she grew up in, my arch-nemesis from school, Christine Lewinski.  With long blonde hair and cat-like eyes, she maintains the same I’m-too-good-for-you assurance she’s always had as she smiles at us.  “Myra Belotti, is that you?”

“Oh my God!  How are you?” I return with fake warmth.

My mother is genuinely concerned with how Christine’s mother is as they talk for a few moments.

“Well, what are you doing?” Christine asks.

I reply, “We’re looking for my father.  Have you seen him?”

“No, what’s wrong?” she says with her arms crossed.

My mother goes into a breakdown of how he’s forgetting things, doing embarrassing things, etc.  As my loser-like status reaches an all new low, Christine’s six-year-old daughter comes running over to her.  My mother says, “Oh, I wish Myra would have kids.”

Christine, as bitchy now as she was at nine-years-old, inquires, “Well, Myra what are you up to?”

I reply, without so much as a breath, “Oh me?  I’m great.  I was CEO of a hedge fund after running a division at Morgan Stanley, you know, down on Wall Street.  It was crazy.  I was working like, fourteen-hour days.  I had an enormous loft in Tribeca, but no time to enjoy it, because I was always at the office.  That’s what happens when you’re a V.P.  But, the whole stock market crash, blah blah blah…  So, here I am, trying to regroup and launch my next venture; a brand of cookie that’s both delicious and nutritious.  That’s it, in a nutshell.

“Wow, that’s great,” she returns.

“Yeah,” I smile, as my mother is just staring at me.

“We better go find my father,” I say as she hugs her daughter and replies, “I’ll let you know if I see him.”

We walk away.  I finally return my mother’s stare.  She explodes in laughter.

“What am I gonna do with you?” she laughs.

“I don’t know,” I say.

We finally get to Joseph’s house.  No one answers the door and his car is gone.  “Oh my God,” my mother and I both say.  We’re both getting very worried when Joseph’s wife, Roberta, an easy 240 pounds, comes out.  She’s jovial, but my mother is a nervous wreck, and I’m praying to God that my dog is all right.  She offers to take us in her SUV to find them.

We’re driving around and around.  I envision my father as an institution escapee, walking aimlessly in his uniform-blue clothes looking for a place to use his coupons.

Roberta finally says it’s possible that they went to Tara’s Inn in Port Jeff Station to watch the game.

We pull up to this grungy sports bar, and walking in I have to adjust to the low light, jukebox, and smell of beer through the floor.  After two-ton Roberta stops in her tracks, I peek around her body to see – sitting at the bar – my father – sitting next to Vito – both with a frothy mug in front of them.  Next to them is Joseph, who’s yucking it up with Dad.

I am staring, in shock, when my father turns to me and, referring to Vito, screams across the place, “They didn’t even card him!”  He cracks himself up.

Roberta drives us all home, except for Joseph who’s staying to watch the poker match.  My father seems to be in an upbeat mood, and quite possibly tipsy.  He bursts out, “I have to whiz like a racehorse.”

“We’re almost home, Ivan.  Hold it in,” my mother replies.

“Whatever you say, darling,” he says.  “Can we go to Wendy’s?”

“It’s not your car, and Roberta has to get home.”

I wonder if Roberta eats Wendy’s to maintain her svelte figure.

My parents start arguing that he needs to see a doctor.  My father screams, “There’s nothing wrong with me.  I felt bad that the dog has no fun.”

I can’t help but laugh at this.  We get home where my ex-roommate from the city, Mindy, a budding photographer, has stopped by to drop off some of my things.  As my father sits in front of the television, burping, and my mother is conveying her worry on the phone to both my sister and my brother, I take this opportunity to photograph drunk Vito with Mindy.  I wonder if I should get him fake ID.

Posted in: Aging, Humor