I know know this: Bobby Orr killed Bernie. Many decades ago I always thought it was his mother. Bobby Orr is dead now too. He died in a drug deal gone bad in New York City and they found his body in a back alley in the first stages of Rigor mortis.
Glenn was fearless. His whole life he was fearless. Since the moment he came out of the womb he was punching, kicking, cheating, stealing and fearless.
Somebody put Bernie’s stiff dead dog body in a bucket. He stood straight out in an advanced stage of Rigor mortis. And not only that but his eyes were wide open.
Somebody told me that Bernie was in the backyard dead. When I went back there to believe it, I wasn’t expecting him to be standing straight up in a bucket, staring at me with wide unblinking eyes. This was, without a doubt the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life.
I ran out of the backyard. To this day, I always wondered who:
1. Put Bernie in the bucket.
2. Took Bernie out of the bucket.
3. Disposed of Bernie’s dead body.
I come to this conclusion. It was either Gunk or Glenn but most probably Glenn. Because he was more fearless than Gunk.
Technically, Bernie was a family dog but he seemed to be with Glenn the most.
The dog was named after a truck driver that my mother was banging at the Carteret Holiday Inn. She met him at the bar there, He was married with kids and on the road all the time hauling truckloads of cheese from Wisconsin to New York.
The Holiday Inn in Carteret stood on the edge of the New Jersey Turnpike at exit 12. It had a huge oversized sign that stood separate from the building. You could see this sign from miles and miles away.
This was the same Holiday Inn that Carol Dooley worked at as a housekeeper for awhile when her and Rebel lived with us before they bought property at Pioneer Plantation.
A few years later this was the same hotel where Barb and Gene held their wedding reception.
And then perhaps a decade after that, this was the hotel I used to sneak in the back door and empty the ice machines for my 8 coolers of Lobster that I used to sell for Beverly’s boyfriend Ronnie.
Bernie (the dog) would wear a denim jacket. I think it used to be Bonitas but she grew out of it and Glenn put it on Bernie. (the dog) So he was a cool dog and that’s probably why Bobby Orr killed him.
Bobby Orrs father was a notorious coke dealer/mobster in Carteret.
He drove a big maroon Cadillac and was always getting pulled over by the Carteret police.
One time, me and my brothers decided to have a porch sale and our mother let us put all our stuffed animals outside for sale.
Bobby Orr walked around the corner, stepped up to the porch, announced that he was “Taking them all.” He then produced a fresh fifty dollar bill to pay for them.
We jumped for joy but our happiness didn’t last long as Joan our mother called Mrs. Orr to investigate and as it turns out he took the money from his fathers stash. Turns out nine year old Bobby Orr was walking around with at least a thousand bucks on him.
I’m in the middle room and I looked out the window to see this:
Glenn was leading a small gang of kids down the middle of Whitman street. Bernie (the dog) was one of the members of the gang as he trotted next to Glenn with his denim jacket on.
Some sights from your childhood you never forget. This was one of them. It was also around the time that Bonita had given herself a haircut. Fuck Bobby Orr. This was a good damn dog and he didn’t deserve to be murdered.
Usually around five o Clock one of us would go out the side door and ring a cowbell. This was a signal that it was dinner time. With nine siblings if you missed dinner you probably didn’t eat.
Here, on this sweltering Summer day in Carteret, Glenn and the gang, that included Grant, were holding a bunch of “punks” that they had just cut from the railroad tracks. “Punks” were the tops of these huge wild weeds that grew over 7 feet tall in the fields by the trestle.
When they dried out you can light the end and it would slowly burn down like a cigar. Punks were particularly handy when we had fireworks or to light cigarettes.
Carteret, a place where you can hear life going by so quickly without you. The constant line of low flying 747’s landing at Newark airport only a few exits away. The ghostly howling of the Turnpike only a block away.
The freight trains screaming and creaking into the late night.
The great gas station heist was still a few years away. Billy Danielle always knew that Frank Zappa was god. He raced pigeons then and to this day he still does, although like everything else it’s become digital. The pigeons have a Radio Frequency Identification tags on them.
I saw Billy a few months ago and he works at an oil refinery off exit 13 now.
His paycheck is so large and complicated he had no idea how much he makes an hour when I so impolitely asked him.
At this time there was still a log cabin in our backyard. Carol and Rebel gave it to us for Christmas one year. One time I caught Glenn drinking and smoking in it. This is because he drank a whole jar of pickle juice as a child.
But now back to the more shocking moment of this story. Bernie (the dog) is dead. He is in a bucket, stiff as a board with his eyes wide open behind the pool. Fin.