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Chapter Two: My Balls!

"Get in there," Nick pushed my butt. I scrappled with my claws along the door of the pet taxi. Nick pushed my butt harder. "Nacho, stop it. C'mon. Get in the fuckin' box." The truth of the matter is, I like my pet taxi once I'm in the pet taxi. But it's kinda funny watching Nick go through all the bullshit of putting me in there. He grunts and groans and begs and grovels and finally, when Lauren's not looking, he bribes me.

"Fine. Fine," he said, agitated. He put me down, dropped the box onto the floor next to the couch, and walked out of the room. I waited a second to make sure he wasn't just trying to pull a fast one on me, then I peeked in the pet taxi to make sure he didn't somehow smuggle some Beggin' Strips in there before now. He didn't, so I backed out real fast and hid under the coffee table. A few moments later, and I saw Nick's legs re-enter the living room. The crinkling sound of the Beggin' Strips package followed. I peeked out from under the coffee table and Nick knelt down, ripping up a Beggin' Strip into little pieces. He tossed like six of them into the far back of the crate, then created a Hansel and Gretel style trail out the door and over to my nose.

Like I'm gonna give in that easy, Carter.

"Nacho. In the crate, boy. In the crate. C'mon Nacho. Go in the crate..." he stared at me, waiting, expectant. I didn't budge. "God damn it, dog." He got up and walked out of the room again. I hesitated. I stood up. I inched closer. Sniffed the first Beggin' Strip. Yes, yes that was a real-life, gen-u-ine Beggin' Strip. I ate it. Then the next one... and the next one... and the next... and well, he wasn't in the room anyways... so into the crate I went to collect the six in the back and before I'd even finished eating half of'em, Nick came up behind me and slammed the door shut.

"Sucker!" he shouted triumphantly.

Please, human, I just got like fifteen Beggin' Strips. Who the hell are you calling a sucker?

Lauren came in the room. "You aren't giving him those treats are you?" she eyed the yellow bag on the coffee table.

"Just one or two," Nick lied.

Lauren sighed. "He's gonna weigh a hundred pounds by the time you're done with him."

"He's buff."

"He's fat," Lauren answered. "Are you guys headed to your tuxedo fitting?"

"Yeahhh-uh," Nick said.

"Don't forget to pick up Igby's when you're there," Lauren reminded him. She came over and I watched their feet get real close and I heard them slobbering on each other. I rolled my eyes and sighed and laid down.

"See ya later, babe," Nick said after a pretty long session of slobbering. He picked up the taxi by the handle and a feeling of anti-gravity shook me as the crate swung at his side. He walked quick through the house, and I saw Igby staring at me from the bottom step, which he was kind of afraid to jump down.

He barked. Now in Bark, I understood him to be saying, "Hope it's not the vet, man." but all Nick and Lauren heard was woof-woof-woof.

For the purposes of this story, I'll just translate Bark to Human for you from here on out.

"Igby, quiet," Lauren called.

"Got my balls chopped off once," Igby called tauntingly as Nick carried me to the door, "Just remember, man, you can only get neutered once!"

"My balls ain't going anywhere!" I shouted.

"Nacho!" Nick shook the box a little and I lost my footing.

Igby laughed evilly as I slid and hit the wall of the crate.

"Quiet, Igby," Lauren picked him up and carried him up the stairs as Nick carried me out the door.

Nick sighed the moment the door was closed in a frustrated kind of way. He tilted me and looked down into the crate at me. I stared up at him. I wished he'd level the crate off and stop carrying me like a maniac. "I can't believe I'm taking a dog to a tuxedo fitting," he muttered.

At least it's not just any dog, man, it's me, right?

He sighed again and walked over to his car and the weird tweety sound happened and I looked around out the door of my pet taxi for a squirrel or a bird or something to bark at but before I could see anything he shoved me into the backseat of the car and fastened a seat buckle around my crate and slammed the door.

It took him a second to get in himself and get the air conditioner running. I pressed my nose against the holes in the side of the crate and snuffed, trying to breathe in the cool air. It was like a fucking furnace in that car, I swear to God.

"The air's comin' up, Nacho, no worries," Nick said, hearing me snorting and snuffling. Like a good human, he turned up the air conditioner.

Like I said, I have him well trained.

Once the air conditioning reached my crate, I curled up and tucked my paws under my chin and took a nap while Nick drove. He barked at stuff out the window periodically, but when I looked I didn't see anything except more cars and I never bark at cars because Igby told me this story once about a squirrel he saw try to fight a car and he said the squirrel did so not win that fight and he assured me it was the biggest squirrel he ever saw.

Now in general squirrels don't seem all that fearsome of a warrior, but Igby seemed pretty certain that the squirrel's inherent wussiness wasn't really a factor in the car winning the fight.

After awhile Nick turned on the car blinker.

I started barking.

Blinkers are evil. They are omens of long hours of boring loneliness to come. Whenever a blinker is turned on, humans stop the cars, get out, and leave you there for long periods of time. Blinkers mean We are There in human.

"Nacho! Jesus, shut up!" Nick yelled from the front.

I didn't.

"NaaaaaaaaaaCHO!" Nick yelled again. The car stopped. My heart raced. He was gonna leave me here in the car without air conditioning. I was gonna die. I knew it. My barking increased as my panic did. No way in hell was I going down quiet! "Oh my fucking God," Nick muttered and he got out and slammed the door. I stared at it. My barking had done nothing. I groaned and laid down in my crate and waited for the air to get stale and hot and for my lungs to dry out. Oh it was gonna be a slow death, wasn't it? I closed my eyes and waited.

Then the back door opened and Nick was standing there with my collar and leash. "You better be good in here," he said, "No barking."

I stood up and shook myself with excitement. I wasn't gonna die after all! When Nick opened the crate door I quickly climbed up him and started licking his face with all my might to show my appreciation for him saving myself. Nick seriously saves my life probably fifteen to twenty times a day without even exaggerating.

"Okaaayyyy, okayyy dude," Nick laughed as my tongue slid all over his face. His eyes had little crusty things in the corners that tasted interesting when I got them on my tongue. "Relax, relax. You ain't gonna like me so much in a second when we go see the tailor."

He put me on the ground and we walked across a crowded street, cars humming on either side of us, grinning at me with their big grille-grins. I hovered closer to Nick's ankles. I knew Nick would keep me safe and these cars were lookin' pretty mean, like Igby said they look just before they eat you and turn you inside out. Despite his protective presence and the seemingly tame nature of these particular cars, I felt so much better when Nick led me onto the sidewalk on the other side and we were out of the street.

When we got to the place we were going, Nick opened the door and let me walk in first before following me in. Nick introduced himself to a human-girl behind a counter, and the next thing I knew she was taking my leash from Nick and asking him to have a seat and he waved to me. "Be good, dude," he said. I dug my feet into the carpet.

Be good? Be good? Where the hell am I going that you're not gonna be there to make me be good?

"C'mon little Nacho," laughed the human-girl. "I'm not gonna hurt'cha."

Yeah that's what all the creepy bad guys say just before they handsaw the human to death. I know because I've watched a lot of creepy bad guy movies with Nick and whenever they said stuff like I ain't gonna hurtcha he yells stuff like don't do it! I ain't stupid.

"Go on Nacho," Nick encouraged.

Dude whose side are you on?

The human-girl pulled me through a door and though I made one last-ditch-effort to try to get back to Nick, there was no use. The door closed. I turned around to meet my fate and I saw a whole tray full of shiny instruments.

One of them was a pair of scissors.

Oh my God. Igby was right. I'm getting neutered.

My balls!