What do you think?
Wet Dog Smell
Jayne: That woman murdered her dog.
Latisha: What!? What woman?
Jayne: Across the street, there, with the red bag walking into the green building. See her?
Latisha: Yes. She looks like a respectable person. You think she murdered her dog?
Jayne: Have you seen Rear Window? It’s one of my favourite Hitchcock. Classic. I was watching it last night…not the new one, the old one, with wonderfully handsome James Stewart…
Latisha: What!? No wait. You just said the woman murdered her dog! Why are you changing the subject? Did she murder her dog?
Jayne: Oh yeah, I think so. Pretty sure in fact that she murdered it.
Latisha: Okay…then you must explain. Why do you think that?
Jayne: Well, mainly because she doesn’t have a dog anymore…not yesterday or the day before…in fact, it’s been three days now.
Jayne: People are creatures of habit, they don’t change unless they have reason to. If a person walks their dog everyday and then suddenly stops, that would be unusual.
Latisha: So, she stopped walking the dog. Yes, I can see how one would leap straight to murder.
Jayne: That’s why you’re an editor and I’m the writer. You cant see past the obvious. I’ve lots of reasons to think she’d have murdered it.
Latisha: Like what?
Jayne: James Stewart in Rear Window broke his leg and because he was stuck at home, had nothing better to do then look out his window at the neighbours. Eventually, he started suspecting that one of them murdered their wife.
Latisha: And, from that movie you have come to the conclusion that red-purse lady murdered her dog.
Jayne: You’re mocking me. Do you want me to explain to you or not?
Jayne: I haven’t broken my leg but I come to this coffee shop everyday around six. I grab a coffee and sit down here. From this table I’ve got a great view of the street and I watch people walk by. [silence] Red-purse lady, I call her Maitland…
Jayne: Because that’s the name monogrammed onto her book bag. Anyway, Maitland walks home from work with her bag every day. At six-twenty on the dot, she unlocks the door to that green building there across the street and climbs four flights of stairs to her apartment.
Jayne: Clockwork. Now watch, its six-twenty-three…just wait and watch…There! See, her light just went on.
Latisha: Yes I see.
Jayne: Everyday for the last three weeks, you can see the light peak through her window there beginning at six-twenty-three. It’s her flat. And up to four days ago, at six-forty exactly, she would exit the building with her small…I think it was a Yorkie, dragging behind her on a leash. She walked around the corner and was out of sight for twenty minutes at which time she’d reappeared and re-entered her building. Seven o’clock on the dot.
Latisha: You do know her.
Jayne: I could’ve been a spy, sadly my talents are wasted on my writing. [laughs] Anyway, she did this every day, even on the weekend. Until four days ago…
Latisha: …When she murdered her dog.
Jayne: The dog - which I think originally belonged to her ex-boyfriend - when they broke up, for some reason, became hers. Which is unfortunate because Maitland began to hate it.
Latisha: What made you assume she hated the dog?
Jayne: Mostly, it was how she dragged it on the leash. The dog would stop to pee on that lamp post and half-way through its business, yank. She never looked at it, never talked to it, just yank, yank, yank.
Latisha: I know a lot of people who hate their dogs, they don’t kill them.
Jayne: You’re right. But she did.
Latisha: Okay, let’s assume you’re right. How did she murder her dog?
Jayne: I think in the end, she had ran out of options. She drowned it.
Latisha: This is insane! These are incredible accusations. What are you basing all this on?
Jayne: When Maitland and her boyfriend were together, they would take the dog for a walk everyday. Arm in arm, laughing and talking. They were happy, the dog was happy…
Latisha: Everyone was happy.
Jayne: Then suddenly, three weeks ago, the boyfriend wasn’t there anymore…
Latisha: Maybe he’s sick?
Jayne: That thought entered my mind, but, for three weeks now, the lights come on at six-twenty-three. Before they broke-up, the lights were on already when she got home, meaning her boyfriend was already in the flat before she arrived home. He does not live there anymore. Besides, I haven’t seen him. God, I hope she didn’t kill him…[silence] No, couldn’t have.
Latisha: Why not?
Jayne: The phone calls.
Latisha: That’s a relief.
Jayne: After he left, she continued to take the dog for a walk so he wouldn’t use the flat as a toilet. The first week after the breakup, she would walk the dog and talk on the phone with him.
Latisha: Why do you think it was him?
Jayne: Her body language. You could just tell, she exuded anger. Gesturing wildly, yelling into the phone. Even the dog was afraid of her, cowering on the leash. You’re only that angry to your family or ex-lover…I suspect ex-lover because he was no longer in the picture.
Jayne: Anyway, from that time on, her anger began to be taken out on the dog. No longer was he cute Yorkie, he was the enemy’s cohort. After one of those heated discussions, she spent a minute or two just looking at the dog. It was the look in her eyes that made me worry about the dog’s welfare.
Jayne: One time while he urinated on that lamppost, she broke of a piece of a chocolate bar she had in her hand…comfort food perhaps. After breaking off a piece and eating it, she deliberately dropped a large piece at her feet on the pavement where the dog was standing.
Latisha: Chocolate’s dangerous for dogs!
Latisha: What happened?
Jayne: Fortunately, or maybe not considering, the dog sniffed it but didn’t touch it. I guess he didn’t care for it. Realizing she failed, she dragged it down the block again for the twenty minute walk. Personally, if I was going to kill a dog, and I wouldn’t because I love them, but if I was going to, I would use pills. Crush them in the dog’s food.
Latisha: She didn’t think of it?
Jayne: I think she did because a few nights later, she came home with a New London Pharmacy bag. I could see a bottle of some sort in it.
Latisha: Did it work?
Jayne: No. Two days later, the dog was out for a walk.
Latisha: What do you think happened?
Jayne: Maybe the dog didn’t eat it, or perhaps he did and vomited. I have no idea.
Latisha: So you think she drowned it because it was the last option?
Jayne: It was four days ago, she dragged the dog again through the park again but this time it was only ten minutes rather then twenty and she was in a rather unusual hurry to be home. It was raining so at first I thought that might be the reason but she has taken twenty minute walks in the rain before. She grabbed the dog and hurried up to her flat.
Latisha: Do you think that was when she had the idea to drown it?
Jayne: Maybe. It must have been or why bother walk it at all if you know you’re going to kill it soon anyway. [silence] I saw the light go on and her form appear at that window. I think that must be where her kitchen sink is.
Latisha: Why do you think that?
Jayne: She will often do things standing in front of that window. Dishes or washing her hands. Anyway, that night when she got home, she stood in front of the window looking down. I can only see her shoulders from here. Now, after contemplation, I think she was watching the sink fill up with water. After some time, she disappeared and quickly reappeared with something in her hand. I thought it was some sort of frozen meat item but, also upon contemplation…
Latisha: It was the dog!?
Jayne: Sadly, I think I assumed the best at the time. I could not see her face, but I did see her struggle with something. At the time I thought she might be pulling apart a chicken…the dog was little see. All I could see was a shadow. About twenty minutes later, she came down with a large black garbage bag and threw it in the bin. The next day, was rubbish collection day. I didn’t realize the scope of that thought until I noticed an empty bin.
Latisha: Oh god, I think I’m going to be sick. Have you gone to the police?
Jayne: I saw her the day after at six-twenty, she had a bandage around one of her hands. Perhaps, the dog put up a struggle. I can’t prove it.
Latisha: You should confront her.
Jayne: And say what? Hello, I’ve been watching you, I think you drowned your dog. By now, I don’t think you’ll find a shred of evidence in her house that she ever had a dog.
Latisha: What are you going to do? She can’t get away with that.
Jayne: You’re right. That’s why I called you here tonight. I have a story idea I want to run by you…about a woman named Maitland who drowns her dog. When published, I will see to it personally she gets a copy…