So, next week is the annual neighborhood “Ugly Dog” contest in my neighborhood.  No, really. An ugly dog contest. There are not too many rules. In order to enter you have to live in our neighborhood, and you have to be a dog. For the last several years it was won by a little dachshund-chihuahua mix, named Beezer (or bezoar). She is a mess, with her long white coat, brown spots, goofy floppy ears (a spaniel in her background?), and a stubby, crooked tail. It is her silly grin that propelled her to victory, as there was plenty of dog ugliness to compete with. I mean that in the best possible sense. But this year she was defeated by Joker, a new dog in the ‘hood. Joker is a stocky medium sized girl with a shaggy black coat, buggy eyes, ears that are way too small for her head, and a tongue too large for her mouth.  It sticks out to the side, twisted up to the left in a plump, pink, knot.She lives with a family that has four other dogs, all big, white, male German shepherds. Their owner is a big guy who bought the last lot in the subdivision a couple of years ago. Nobody else wanted the lot because it was at the far end of the subdivision, and next to a swamp. But he bought the lot and the swamp, put in a lake and a 3-hole golf course, stocked the lake with bass, and built an oversized white house in the back of the property. In the process he fought with the city, the county, the neighborhood association, and several contractors. There were a total of seventeen lawsuits filed, most of them against him for not paying his assessments and his contractors. He calls himself a businessman, but he seems to me to be more of a rich bully. His name is Dick Donkle. When his father emigrated from Poland to this country his name was not Donkle. He was Zbigniew Bogdonivietsky. When he arrived at Ellis Island he was greeted by Charlie Davis, a customs official who was in a sour mood. It is impossible to know why. Maybe his baby had been throwing up all  night; maybe he had lost his paycheck in a poker game; maybe his wife was getting it on with the milkman. Whatever his situation, he was in no mood for the imperiousness of Zbigniew Bogdonivietsky. He expected the immigrants to be meek, humble, soft-spoken, grateful, and awe-stricken with their first opportunity to meet a real natural-born American, their feet on actual American turf. But not this character. He was impatient, demanding, loud, and full of entitlement. Not that Charlie understood a word of the Polish that he was being assailed with, but the attitude was unmistakably arrogant. This horse’s rear end was acting as though he was more important than Charlie Davis. He picked the wrong guy on the wrong day to carry on like that. So, Zbigniew Bogdonivietsky left Ellis Island that afternoon as Zbigniew Bogdonkey. Once Zbig discovered  the mischief, he went to a Manhattan telephone book, did some research, went to the courthouse, and became Zbig Donkle. Time went on, and he bought a building, sold it, bought 2 more buildings, sold them, bought 4 more buildings, sold them, and well, you get the geometric progression. So  one day he was rich, and took great satisfaction in his presumption that that jerk at Ellis Island was living the same miserable life that he had the day they had met years earlier.

Now, Zbig was fortunate enough to meet a lovely Polish woman in New York, and marry her. Her name was Wanda. They had 3 children, the oldest of whom was Zbig Junior. Junior had gone to school and studied business, so he could do like his daddy did and own a great many buildings. In school he was a little self-conscious about his Polish given name, but he liked the “Z” because it was distinctive, so he called himself Zip. Zip Donkle was undistinguished as a student, but he had a certain charm and made friends easily. Unfortunately (I guess) he had a way of ticking people off, and he unmade friends as easily as he attracted people to him. Well, one day one of his ex-friends referred to him as Unzip, and it stuck. So Zip Donkle had to make an entirely new set of friends, changed his given name to Richard,and took on the nickname “Donk.” Thus did Zbigniew Zip Unzip Donkle become Richard “Donk” Donkle. As Donk, he was immensely pleased with himself. In fact, one of the run-ins he had with the Homeowners Association in our neighborhood had to do with the huge archway he had erected at the end of his driveway with the word “Donk” across the top in enormous lettering. The HOA board tried to make him take down the structure because it violated the covenants. He fought with them in court for a few months until the HOA bank account was down to it’s last few dollars, and then had the monstrosity moved to a new entrance that was part of the drained swamp property, and not in the actual subdivision.

Well, back to Joker and the ugly dog contest. She won last year’s contest easily, but Beezer still garnered a few votes from the sentimental residents who adored her. Donk angrily demanded a recount, even though Joker had won. The results were unchanged, so Donk went home and had a clubhouse built twice the size of the neighborhood clubhouse, with an olympic-sized pool and twelve tennis courts that nobody ever used except for his kids and a few of their rich friends who jetted in from Switzerland or wherever. The animals in the neighborhood all thought this was quite funny. It took very little effort to convince the flocks of grackles and starlings to congregate at the Donk estate daily and crap all over his place, especially on the tasteless archway.  I’ll tell you more about Donk and some of the other characters that live here another time.  It’s a good thing that our Creator gave us a sense of humor. Otherwise I would be insane.

Oh, I have an idea! Why don’t we have our own ugly dog contest. You can send your entries here, and I can post them. My thousands of readers can vote on the dozens of entries.  Maybe we can put the winning doggie on T-shirts for prizes. I would like to put up a picture of Joker, but he is being kept in seclusion, and I would have to get past too many German shepherds to risk it. Sorry.

Author: Black Magic

Black Magic is a handsome, charming, and self-absorbed cat who lives with Mike and Judy Gordon in Marietta, Georgia. He is about 7 years old, and he will remind you at every opportunity that his grandfather was Black Jack, that famous cat who wrote his own autobiography. Black Magic has a great many opinions, and despite his natural feline arrogance, he seems to be genuinely spiritual. But the reader can decide for him/herself.

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