by Brian Kerstetter
Why are we always attracted to people who don’t give a shit about us? This predicament is not unique to human beings either. Dogs feel it, too. One dog in particular, Fatface.
O. is not a dog lover. I’ve never seen someone’s mood change as quickly as when he sees a dog. In the elevator of his building he goes out of his way to bully the dogs being taken out to relieve themselves. O. lives on the 34th floor, so this gives him plenty of time to piss a dog off by staring at it, tapping it with his foot, and pulling its leash while the owner is looking up at the numbers of the floors changing. He also likes to say mean things to the dog-owners, “What kind of dog is it, a mix between a rat and a goat?”
But, as Nature would have it, dogs love him, especially when we are traveling. In a good mood, he ignores them; in a bad mood he insults them in his Swiss English, calling them “a dumb stupid looser animal.” But the dogs always come back for more. For my part, because I am such a good person, I pet the dogs and speak kindly to them, and as a result they don’t give a sh_t about me. In California a Rotweiller tried to lift its leg on me. I suppose I should take that as a compliment, most dogs simply ignore me and lay at O.’s feet.
Then there was Fatface. During our trip to Easter Island we stayed in couple of bungalows on the ocean. Behind our rooms was an overgrown field where a handful of chestnut horses stood around. At night I slept with the sliding door of my room open, so I could hear the ocean and smell the salt in the air. In the morning I woke up to find what looked like a dirty, brownish-tan dog with a chubby, swollen face that made it look Asian or Icelandic. Imagine Bjork magically transformed into a dog, voila!
Though he looked sleepy and disinterested, Fatface was a pleasure-seeking Epicurean. One evening we took a bottle of wine onto the back patio to watch the horses and two German backpackers camping up on the hill. O. turned his back on Fatface because he liked to turn his back on Fatface and photograph the clouds that were purple with yellow holes in them. One cloud, I remember, looked like a big old fluffy Krispy Kreme doughnut. Fatface tried to eat our cheese and stick his tongue in our wine glasses, just to get our attention. I gave Fatface a chunk of my cheese and poured a little pool of wine onto the cement. He ate and drank what I gave him, looked up at me with his chubby dog-face and went to lay at our feet.
During our stay on the island, we took nine photographs of Fatface – two from profile, six from straight ahead, and one (my favorite) from directly on top of his head. Even though O. doesn’t like dogs, he does like FREAKS and I think he liked the fact that Fatface looked like an overweight Chinaman. Most Chinese are small and thin, so O. liked his strange fatty face. In the eight photos we took of Fatface, he looked 1)bored 2)hungry 3)confused 4)sad 5)thirsty 6) drunk from the wine 7)happy from the wine 8) blinded by the camera flash. When I look back, one thing saddens me – we didn’t get to say goodbye to Fatface. The morning we were supposed to leave O. charged into my room. “What is that smell?” he asked. “Fatface slept with me last night,” I replied. “Forget that poor dog,” O. said in a hurry, “the retard at the desk gave us the wrong flight time, put the pedal to the metal, we’re going to miss our plane!” Of course there was a misunderstanding between O. and the guy at the front desk, and we arrived at the airport two hours early. In our hurry to catch our plane … well, you know the rest. We never saw Fatface again.