Edward's Animals (Excerpts)

from Hal (The Dog) Chapter 1

Hal came into the living room.

“Biscuit,” he said.

“Why don’t you ask properly?” I asked.

Hal shot me a look. “Alright, Edward. Could you please get me a fucking biscuit? You know, it’s this whole opposable thumbs thing. It’s difficult. I could haul out the box, maul it, and leave crumbs everywhere. But I know how that pisses you off. So I ask in my way. Why does everything have to be such a production?”

Obviously, things weren’t going well. I thought dogs were man’s best friends.

“Fine…” I said. “You don’t have to bite my head off.” Hal was an addict. That was the real problem: denial. “But I did just give you one.”

“Christ, Edward! That was an hour ago. Give me a break!”

“That’s a lot of bones, Hal.”

“You know what? I’m not the problem here. At least I know it.”

Was there such a thing as Milk Bones Anonymous? Why was I so attracted to animals with issues?

“I care for you,” I said.

“Go to hell.”


from Dickens (The Bear) Chapter 3

Dickens wrote with fury, his brown and yellow fingernails clattering on the keyboard. Squinting as the smoke trailed up and into his eyes, he looked like a reporter for the old Herald Tribune, a hard-boiled politico with an axe to grind. His huge white ass drooped over the sides of my ergonomic Aeron. How I had loved that chair! Now the bear had deformed it permanently. He didn’t care. He just kept writing.

I cleaned up the poo. It was like living with a teenager. The bear did exactly what he wanted, when he wanted, where he wanted. To think he was living rent-free in a Greenwich Village apartment! All he did, pretty much, was watch Reno 911 all day, then sleep all night. I was furious when he began hiding the remote, but again, I ask you: What could I do? He rolled his own cigarettes. He typed 120 wpm. He outweighed me by 600 pounds. I was beginning to hate him.





from Cyril (The Chickadee) Chapter 4

A few days later I bumped into Cyril at the Thalia, at a Herzog retrospective. We shared my popcorn, and watched Aguirre, the Wrath of God together.

“Not a lot of birds in that movie,” I pointed out, as we strolled along Houston.

He cocked a pleased yet sardonic eyebrow.

“But quite a few monkeys,” he said.

“Are you implying Herzog is anti-bird?”

“Not at all,” he replied. “Herzog is Herzog. He is inimitable.”

I invited him over.


from Paul and Pauli The Hamsters) Chapter 8

In the morning I came down to find twinned pairs of red leather hot pants on the living room sofa, and two tiny black leather masks with zippers where the eyes and nose–and mouth–went. Making coffee, I caught them screwing underneath the kitchen sink. When I went to shave they were copulating on the curtain rod. One moment one was on top then—presto!—like a coin, they flipped. I rummaged through their suitcases. I found miniature whips and handcuffs, and a vibrator the size of a lima bean.

from Estelle (The Penguin) Chapter 12

I had an interlude with a penguin. The little bird looked lonely. She was carrying a parasol, with the words Carnival Cruise Lines imprinted on its polyester. One could understand her need for shade, Canal Street was boiling; it was a blazing ninety, in our temperature. Where her black and blue plumage met the white on her shoulder, she twirled the spines of her umbrella. Slung from the other shoulder there was a Hello Kitty handbag. She fished—sorry, but there’s no other term for it—in her handbag. She pulled out a Chapstick. She coated her gums. When she waddled into the sunlight yet again I found myself a sucker for the full-figured gal. Like Rosie, Estelle wobbled like one of those inflatable toys that pop back up no matter how long you hold them down. Her feet were petite fans, and she spun her umbrella like a southern belle. When you think about that, she was about as southern as they get.