The publication was called “Animals.” It was a homemade magazine and each issue was written by hand and contained unique photographs. No copies.
“Whoever delivers this…” I said, trembling.
“What?” said my wife, Diane.
“I don’t know.”
And I didn’t know. Was locking the doors enough? Staying away from the windows?
“Well, I think it’s cute,” said Diane. “It’s kind of amazing that Toby has kept it up this long.”
“Toby…” I thought. “Hmm…”
And so Diane reminded me that in the early days of the summer, our 7-year old neighbor, Toby, had gone door to door asking each family in the neighborhood if they would let him take pictures of their pets for a magazine he was making. They were quick to oblige and so Toby started right away.
By the end of the week, the first issue of “Animals” was delivered to every house on the street. There was no order to the magazine, no table of contents – just a photograph of each animal splashed crookedly onto the page with a brief description listing the name of the animal, the general type (dog, cat, bird, etc.), and the owner’s name.
I thumbed through it, unimpressed.
“It’s shit,” I said. “A total snooze-fest.”
“That’s no excuse. Look at this. What are they doing?”
But Diane ignored me.
“He needs to dig in…go after the good stuff. Which animal escaped? And when he did, who did the animal try to bite? Which animals are fucking? Which animal crapped in someone yard? THAT is what we people want to read about.”
And that’s exactly what the next and final issue of “Animals” had; Eight pages of graphic smut. Diane was furious.
“I wonder who helped him with this.”
I didn’t say a word.
“They saw you, you know. Every person on this street said that they saw you out there. In between the houses, climbing fences…”
With shaky hands, Diane flipped the magazine open to page six.
“This picture of shit,” she said. “Who…”
“It was a dog,” I said.
“But it’s not…”
“It was a big, man-dog.”
A few weeks into the fall, it was rare to find an animal left unattended anywhere in the neighborhood. That’s what I’d heard, anyway.
House arrest was over and I had a strip-mall nightclub to promote.