There was a French lady living in Tamarindo who kept nine terriers and a pig as pets. The pig had its ears pierced for some strange reason. It was the queen of the litter and the terriers circled around her, snarling viciously at anyone who got too close. Those fuzzy brown terriers couldn’t have been more than eight pounds each, but man they were nasty. Every day the French woman walked them on the beach.
I passed them when I jogged on the beach. I tried to make a wide berth but for some reason they hated me. Maybe they could smell fear, or tell that I was American and didn’t think Jerry Lewis was all that funny? Perhaps they could sense that I loved bacon, I’m not sure, but all at once those nine little fuckers charged, showing their teeth and barking.
“Eeeeeyyyyattts!” I screamed, picking up the pace of my run. But they closed in and blocked my escape, snapping at my heels.
“Get back, you evil beasts!” I yelled. But these weren’t your Grandma’s poodles; those little mutated Ewoks were trained killers. I looked over to the woman for help, but she just stood there. How do you say, “Call off your nine psycho terriers, you horribly irresponsible woman!” in French?
“Hey! Little help over here!” I yelled to her, pointing at the carnage unfolding around me. But she just lit up a cigarette and stared off toward the sunset.
So I zigzagged up and down the beach with all nine of them giving chase, jumping around and waving my arms wildly like I was trying to cross a pit of hot coals. One terrier lunged at my testicles but missed. The other Ticos on the beach laughed hysterically, bent over holding their knees, but no one offered to help. So what if the little hairballs had pink collars—didn’t they understand that this was a real emergency?
The leader of the terrier gang growled and took a step toward me. It was fourth and long, and coach was calling for a punt. I lined up...here comes the snap...laces out...I stepped into it and.... pulled back at the last moment because I didn’t have the heart to kick him. I whiffed into bright blue air and went tumbling down. This would end badly, I thought. I was defenseless; surely they would rip me to shreds. Everything went dark.
I had so many questions for the lady. Maybe I could ask her once I was well enough to have visitors at the hospital, after the plastic surgeons pieced together what was left of my face. Of course I’d be in traction and a full body cast, the majority of damage to my man-junk region where the terriers were like little seek-and-destroy missiles. The French lady would visit me and put a box of truffles and an “I’m Sorry My Terriers Ate Your Penis” Hallmark card on my bed stand.
“Iiiiiii cwannnnt eat solwid fwood yet,” I’d say, sipping my vanilla pudding through a straw. It was exhausting to speak. I was tired, so tired, but I had so much to ask her.
I took out my dry erase board and wrote in green marker: “Why earrings on the pig? And why the little fake diamond studs? Why not those Indian feather things that are in style?” And oh, there was one more small thing since we were having a nice pleasant conversation via dry erase board: “WHY THE FUCK DID YOU LET YOUR NINE TERRIERS MAUL ME ON THE BEACH? For the love of all that is holy...WHYYYYYYYYYY???!!!”
The machines that were hooked up to me would start beeping as my body went into convulsions. The nurses would run in. “We’re losing him. Plug in those round things that look like the Perfect Pushup and get ready to jumpstart his heart. And give me 5,000 cc’s of that fancy medical talk shit and prepare him for surgery.”
They’d turn to the French woman. “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to leave. Your husband needs emergency surgery for a penis transplant,” they’d tell her. “It’s risky, and there are numerous better options, but it’s up to you.”
“Oh mon dieu pas, this man no is me husband,” she’d say as she lit up a long-filtered cigarette with her white gloves, blowing smoke in the general direction of my breathing tube. “But I will sign zee form, oui oui?”
And she did.
“What’s that, Shweeber? How’s that?”
“Sbweeber!” I’d moan.
“Fine then, Mr. Beaver, I have a very important medical question for you. The surgeon needs to know, how many times have you been sexually active—with your current penis—in the last six months?”
“With ah feemawle or my swell?”
“Yes, Mr. Beaver, with a female.”
“Inwooding dast weekwend?”
“Yes. Including last weekend.” She took out her chart and her pen and waited patiently. I tried counting on my fingers, but I only had one big nub of a cast, so I tallied the figures in my head, carrying the one, and came up with what I thought was a semi-accurate number.
“Oh my, Mr. Beaver, did you just say ZERO?”
“Dwelllllll, gib oh thane?”
“Wow, never seen that before. Okay, zero it is,” she said and wrote it down on her chart with raised eyebrows.
“Ighh whas twaking a bwreak end thworking on mythelf!” I said.
“Uh huh, sure you were. Now just calm down.” She put the clipboard aside. “We’ve been trying to match you up with a suitable penis donor for the last two months but haven’t had any luck. We need to match up the size and shape of your member exactly if it has any chance of functioning again. It’s been a long, hard ...errr it’s been a difficult task.”
“Oh no, Mr. Beaver, we’ve had plenty of potential donors. Tons of them, actually. Just last week we had two Irishmen, a midget who died in a circus accident, and an adolescent Reggaton singer come through here, but they were all too large. But the good news is that we think we found a suitable donor for you!”
“An Iwishman was foo bwig?!! Are u shurre?”
“Yes, yes but we had a miracle last night. A ten-year-old Chinese boy died in a terrible scooter accident. Everything caught on fire. It was nasty business — his violin and his penis were the only things left intact. Congratulations, Mr. Beaver, you are going to have Wu Fat’s penis!”
She opened a cooler next to the bed and there it sat, on ice in the middle of a bunch of vanilla pudding snack packs.
“Ughhhhhhh, whad dud pbuck!” I’d say.
Then it got really weird. The nurse ripped off her blouse and jumped on top me.
“Ohhh, Mr. Beaver, I can’t control myself anymore.” She licked my face. What the hell was going on?
“Oh, mon petit amoureux.” The French lady started licking my face, too. “Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” They both were really going for it. Damn, they had some bad breath...
I came back to consciousness on the beach with a bunch of wagging terriers licking my face. The French lady stood above me, flicking her ashes.
“Monsieur, are you okay?’ she said.
“Phhht phhht!” I spit out the dog saliva and pushed them away. “Whad whappened? I mean, what happened?”
“My doggies wanted to play. You ran and fell down and hit your head,” she said. “Then you kept saying something about a Chinese boy’s penis.”
“Dammit, you horrible frog woman, keep those rotten beasts on a leash! They could really hurt someone!” I got up and brushed the sand off myself and stumbled up the beach. “And leave poor Wu Fat out of this!” I cried. “That poor little bastard has been through enough!”
“C’est la vie.” She shrugged and lit up another cigarette and kept on walking down the beach with her nine terriers and a pig with an earring. I went in the other direction.
-From the chapter "Poor Little Wu Fat" in South of Normal.Tamarindo, Costa Rica, surf, ski, snowboard, diving, pura vida, Central America, Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur, Amazon best seller, travel, adventure, backpack, hiking, sharks, Endless Summer, Robert August, memoir, fitness journey, globetrotting, perfect beach, paradise, spring break, expat, live abroad, work abroad, summer reading, around the world, great read, humor, laugh out loud