Buster’s Big Ride
By Buster Bluth Waneka
Once there was a dog named Buster, a handsome and very smart dog. Most importantly, he was a good-looking dog. He really loved his owners and spent all day with the girl one. Sometimes he even slept on her feet because he knew she thought that it was cute. He would remind her to get outside every day and only chewed things that seemed like they deserved it, like that stupid bed they bought. Buster didn’t mind adding character to things, even though they never even thanked him for making new furniture look vintage.
He also knew his owners liked jokes and the beach, so one day Buster made a plan. While he and girl owner were at their favorite grassy spot, the one with the all-you-can-eat garbage buffet, handsome and kick-ass Buster decided to show his owner how good he was at riffing on the rules. He was a regular old Miles Davis when it came to skatting (both meanings) in front of an audience. No matter how often they would practice commands at home, he always found a clever way to confuse his owners and keep them on their toes. Buster, however, was the only one who seemed to truly appreciate his improv at the dog park. Aside from those stupid poodles who would always try to upstage him.
Buster decided to cleverly improvise on the “come here” call and response, specifically pretending like “come here” meant “eat garbage and run in front of people walking on the sidewalk,” (brilliantly executed, maintaining nary an inch between him and passersby). When he realized his owner wasn’t giving him the credit he deserved for such a performance, he thought to himself, “Maybe I should take this show on the road. Call it ‘Riffing on the Rails’ Yeah, good old boy, that’s what you should do.” As he finished the thought, he noticed the Muni doors for the N-Judah train open less than 3 feet away. Like a sign from the heavens, and not something that deserved any shouts of “Nonobadog!” That was, of course, the most offensive word known to dog.
He scaled the stairs like a brave retriever, choosing not to hear the profanity girl owner shouted at him, and he surfed the rails. He rode the N train until he spotted a piece of bread on the sidewalk and dashed out to snatch it before any of the other greedy commuters had a chance to see it. Celebrating his carb-nabbing success, he didn’t even notice the train leave him behind.
After panting and bark-crying for a few minutes, he saw a bird fly by and decided to catch it. The bird led him atop a sandy hill and that’s when he saw it, something shiny! It was big and shiny! Biggest and shiniest thing ever! Buster ran so fast towards the shiny thing, faster than any dumb poodle, but suddenly and inexplicably found himself underwater.
Once he tumbled to dry land again, he saw the shiny thing was the water. He decided to run back at it again, but this time, he swam like the glorious hunting dog he was. As he swam, farther than any poodle ever swam, he saw a weird-looking dog swimming all alone. It was a shiny dog with fins instead of paws, and it was away from its pack. It said its name was Seal, like the R&B singer, so Buster called him Loose Seal. Loose Seal and Buster swam-wrestled together for less than a minute before the seal tried to bite off Buster’s paw. “It was almost as if Loose Seal didn’t want to swim-wrestle, which is impossible because that’s something everyone liked,” Buster thought.
Right then and there, Buster busted out the moves he learned from army and growled right at Seal. Seal barked and so Buster pawed him, which is pretty much the toughest thing ever. The Seal looked worried and acted like a scaredy-poodle and swam away. Everyone at the beach thanked Buster and the mayor gave him a key to the city, which Buster quickly ate because it was shiny and small. To thank him for eating the key, the mayor said all of the tennis balls in the city were his to keep away from whomever he wanted, and he never had to “drop” them even if his owner asked him to, over and over and over. Thanks to his brave Muni ride, everyone lived happily ever after!
…Or at least that’s what would have happened if Buster’s owner didn’t crush his dreams by grabbing his collar while he stood on the steps of the Muni as that loud shrieking noise sounded. He was so embarrassed by her!
This story is dedicated to all my Cole Valley dogs. Except for the poodles, because, as everyone knows, I really hate poodles.