Rise of the Tellers 3: The Battle of Sloppyface

He was soft. He was a white guy. He was a sun worshipper. He was mentally handicapped. He was big. He was stubborn and he ate his own poop. When I started spending the night at Bekah’s house there was a man in the household who did not appreciate me being there at all. I went to war this with guy to earn a top spot in Bekah’s home.

His name was Morgan La Guy Teller and he was a white Boxer.

To say he hated me would be inaccurate. The creature was incapable of hate. He was deaf and no amount of threat or cursing affected him in the least. He was huge. Much bigger than a Boxer is supposed to be and much heavier. He had a droopy face and he could not quite get his tongue in his mouth so it was stuck constantly out of puckered lips.

He would meet me at the door with a happy shaking butt, his tiny fingerlike tail wagging. It was a half dock and looked like a fur-covered finger swinging back and forth and pointing at everything that belonged to him. I would scratch him and kneel, get in his face and rub his cheeks. He would lap at me with slow, clumsy laps with his rough, dry tongue and he loved me. At the moment when I walked in the door he would forget about our little war. So would I. Our visits always started out great.

Then when the house would begin to settle the TV would come on and I would take a seat on the couch beside Bekah. He would stare at me for a while, his tiny tongue pointed out in confusion before snorting and climbing on the couch between me and Bekah. He would stand between us and swing his big white butt in my direction forcing me back and dropping in the spot he had made for himself. He would sit between us and look at me. His face defiant, his expression victorious. He would lay down and she would scoot over and make room for him.

He would look at me with that smug little face and behind his eyes he would say, “My bitches, my rules.”

Teth did not like that. So, the show would be paused. I would stand up as Morgan rooted himself to his spot. I would grab his collar and tug while Bekah asked what I was doing and told me it was okay, let him sit between us, there was room for both of us. I would slowly tug him off the couch and pull him to the other side of the couch where he could snuggle with my woman all he wanted. I would pull him up. I would shove his butt down. I would lay his head on the other side of her lap and I would walk to my spot and sit back down.

Wrong, sucker. I’m here. Get used to it,” I would say with a stare.

He looked at me for a while before laying his chin on her lap. I would sit and we would watch TV. But within a few minutes he was on his paws again, his tiny little butt finger wagging as he came to the spot between me and Bekah and slowly climbed back up. The butt would swing. The ass drop in its spot. He would look at me again with that dopey, quite intelligent look on his face and he would lay back down.

My bitches.”

And I would nope it again. Up I would come, while Bekah argued and Morgan planted all his weight, I would tug and the whole thing would play out again.

We had to pause our spot on the TV every few minutes. I had to shove his thick body everywhere I wanted him to go and always that patient look on his face. Always the righteous indignation in the eyes. Always a few minutes after me getting him in his spot. Here he would come. A climb and a swing and a look and a statement. “These in this house are my bitches. You are a visitor. You can visit,” He would look at the other chair in the house. “From over there.”

Bedtime. More battle with the one I called Sloppyface. He was used to sleeping on the bed. Well I was not going to take that away from him but his spot on the bed was beside Bekah. That was where I would set up. Every time that slightly exhausted look. That contemplating mind, that smug expression. He would climb on the bed before me and drop into my spot, which was his spot, which was my spot, and he would place his chin very delicately on my pillow before snorting out and closing his eyes.

Grab by the collar. Jerk him to a sitting position, shove his heavy ass to the bottom of the bed on Bekah’s side and climb in. Now he is heavy and I can’t pull the covers over me exactly right and he would stare at me and watch very carefully with droopy conniving eyes as I got into my spot, laid down. Put my head on my pillow, which was his pillow, which was my pillow, and I would fall asleep.

But as I slept he would slither like a viper up the side of my thigh, right into the narrow spot between me and Bekah. Every push subtle. Every inch taken slowly as he made his way from the bottom of the bed to the top. He would lay between us in the middle and he would sigh and slump. I would half wake up, think the battle was over. We had reached a truce. We had found a way for the two of us to sleep in the same bed.

Nope.

Sloppyface had other plans. He would slowly roll to his side. He would put his back to Bekah and nuzzle in real tight. Put his paws on me and not so subtly but very slowly he would push. He would straighten out his legs and rest. Now I am at the edge of the bed teetering. Now he would let out a contented sigh and slump.

Nope.

Back on my feet. Grab the collar, drag him to a seated position while Bekah murmured about how good a boy he was. Drag him to the bottom of the bed, flop him like a heavy wet pancake over to her side of the bed, and I would climb back in.

Over and over this would go on. One tiny little struggle after the next.

One day she gave Morgan a bath. When we tried to put his collar on, he ran off. She giggled and set it down. “Let him run around for a while without it. He is not going outside and we have a fenced-in yard.”

Nope.

I snatched up the collar and chased him down. He ran, over tables, between chairs, to the bed and around it, into the space between his and Katherine’s crates. Finally, I caught him and while he gave me a grumpy look, I buckled that thing back on him. He snorted at me and we went on.

Took about a year and a half of tiny little bouts before he finally found out that I was not going anywhere and I was in charge. A year and a half of constant little battles with the one I called Sloppyface.

While this is going on, let’s look at what else he was doing.

Morgan was a therapy dog. He went to adult daycares and visited lonely and sick people. He had one guy who would cry when Morgan would come. He was an adult with a child’s mind and he was nearly blind. His love for Morgan was complete because he felt as if Morgan could understand. “He is deaf and I am blind,” the man would repeat over and over again as he clung to Morgan and wept.

Morgan was a canine good citizen. He had been trained as well and as high in obedience levels as he could get. He had taken an exhaustive test on every aspect of behavior and he had passed with flying colors. He had the commands down and he would obey.

He knew 50 words of sign language. Was capable of understanding everything we asked him to do and everything we needed him to do.

He loved motorcycles. Every time we would be in the car and one would pull up, he would lose his mind. And we decided he had been a biker in another less challenging life because he would sniff at my cigarettes and try to drink my beer.

Morgan was the most loving creature I ever knew. When I would come back from therapy sessions, after Katherine would bring me back to human, Morgan would butt shake his way over to me and rub against me. He would let me grab his face and smush it. He would let me tug on his cheeks and call him a good boy.

Morgan was one of the greatest people I ever met. He was fun and funny, loved and loving, and caring and taken care of. My life would not have been as rich and my life would not have been as complete without this big loving dog.

He suffered from seizures and after every losing bout with one, would wander around barely able to stay his feet as he walked around looking for what we never knew. I would follow him as he swayed and make sure he did not fall down. He had to take medicine every morning and took it without complaint.

He was deaf, he was epileptic, but he was never a burden. He was one of the first Tellers and his impact on me cannot be overstated.

When I think of Morgan I do not think of the poop eating or the constant battle for dominance that we went through for that first year and a half. When I think about Morgan, I think about “Lions.”

Every day Bekah would get up. She would eat, drink coffee, and go into the office to work. Katherine would follow her and sit at a distance, watching over Bekah as she had been taught to do.

Morgan would come into the bedroom, climb in bed with me, and together we would snooze all afternoon. We were the lions of the house, relaxing as the girls worked, both of us ready to kill if any trouble arose.


This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.

Vol. 1: Teardrop Road is available now on Amazon.

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