My Worm Ridden Hound named “Dog”

I am amazed at how rumors fly around this country. its a thing of beauty to watch a story go from one part of the nation to another — at the ground level — finally coming to a feather light landing as an encapsulation of some human condition within a four-character phrase. The phrase dutifully blogged and categorized.

I have done nothing to get a rumor nationwide, but there is a story Sichuan-wide about a certain cracker-laowai that bought a painted dog for 280RMB.


I was about three months into my stay in China, living in the “village” of Beibei north of Chongqing. I was sweatin and such with my goatee drooping out over my wifebeater A-shirt, wandering through the streets of the … well town … when i was brought to attention by the most beautiful puppy I have ever seen in my entire life. He was tiger striped and bright eyed, wiggling furiously with worms bulging in his stomach. His “master” had been starving him so when I offered a handful of cookie crumbs the puppy inhaled them and i felt his tiny tongue on my fingertips. I was sold.

He saw that i was struck by the dog, said something and held up five fingers. I could feel his greedy excitement and the hushed anticipation of the crowd. Unsure of what to do, I just grunted and kept cooing at the puppy. He yelled five hundred out to the great pleasure of the crowd, raising his voice and waving his hands. He gave a speech that I am sure will be remembered in Beibei forever. Actually, I am very sure it is remembered in Beibei forever … I knew deep down that this dog could not have tiger stripes, but i am a gullible man. Once when i was fifteen i argued to the death with my dad about whether or not Spuds McKenzie could talk.

I mumbled a price and he leaned in, a wide grin showing crooked teeth. I was mesmerized by his bulging yellow eyes and hairy warts … I felt the puppy try and squirm away, he saw me glance at the struggling whelp and squeezed him tighter, eliciting a yelp … i could take no more.

God sent a messenger in the form of a bespectacled old man who briskly walked up to the man and his painted puppy, peered into the fur with discerning fingers, then straightened his glasses and briskly walked away. The po’ folk gathering around watching the man En-sorcell the foreigner spread like the proverbial sea before this Wise Man … and I knew that the puppy was “fake.”

Nevertheless, I screwed up my face, widened my eyes and flashed two fingers … i felt too brazen — “wow only two hundred for a painted dog, man that’s more than 50% off” — so i belatedly flashed a half a finger — kinda sideways …

Long story short. I bought a worm ridden painted street hound for 40USD …

But then I raised him to be the Big Man On Campus. I was workin at the Agricultural University there as a teacher and “cultural ambassador” … ahem … anyway …

and this hound shed his tiger stripes and turned out to be a brilliant little black and white hound that followed me everywhere. I took him to class, to town, the river, everywhere. He turned out just like me … had a girlfriend and a bunch of bigger dogs hanging out … hated leashes and pooped anywhere he wanted … it was all good.

Eventually, it came time for Dog — that was his name — to R-U-N-N-O-F-T. I knew it had to be. But it hurt at the time and I spent three days walking around the university whistling and callin his name. I must have cut a pathetic figure …

well fast forward about three years and I’m chillin in a cafe in Chengdu just easin back you know and my friend starts tellin a story about “That Fool of a Laowai out in Chongqing that Bought a Two Dollar Worm Ridden Painted Hound for 80USD…”

I couldn’t believe it. I got indignant.

i was like, “YO! I paid 40USD, youknowhatimsayin!” and then sat down and kept sippin. They were shocked for a bit and then that was that … till the story really got a move on cuz now they had a face for the Fool …

There is a rumor going round that the Chinese are pullin the old “That Fool of a Laowai out in the Olympic Media Center that Bought a 100 dollar Censored Internet Service for 1000USD” trick again …

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