the Dog Faced Boy,
made the scene sometime in the early eighties as a pup from the Tampa backwoods. Born to a bitch in the redneck scrub pine and palmetto bush near Gunn Highway and Sheldon Roads, he ran away from his litter under questionable circumstances and found me one summer afternoon.

This handsome dog was known by many names in his younger years, "The Boy", "Young Stud", and "Satchel Mouth" among others. He quickly established himself as a loyal compatriot who had a way with the ladies.

People ask, how did you find Satchmo? Well, he actually found me. At the time, I lived in a ghetto apartment in Tampa near the University with this guy named Forrest. We were in shit with the Banano brothers because one of them had drank my vodka from the freezer without asking. I'd pulled a gun on him and they left saying they would return with the other 6 brothers to kick our asses. This guy with one arm called The One-Armed Bandidi was hanging around selling us quaaludes, percodens and other assorted downers. My girlfriend had cheated on me several times and I was going through a prolonged drinking binge. I attempted suicide by drowning and when that didn't work, by drinking paint thinner. That is another story altogether though. Needless to say, things were bleak. One day I decided to throw all my notions and ideas out the window and start anew.

On this particular day I was working at my grandfather's Palm Farm and we'd dug this huge queen palm tree. In the bottom of the hole was this red clay so I took some up and there in the mini palm rainforest, with the sprinklers sending a mist that cooled my Florida sunburnt back, I made a little idol of Pan, the Greek God of the wood. I figured he'd be a better role model for me than all the criminals and low lifes I'd been hanging with up to this point. I did a little jig and for a moment there, up in the trees, there was a quiet rustle, a strange presence. It was the kind of feeling you get when you look down along the trail and smell something and see the mashed down weeds and say to your partner, "Something big slept here," then get the hair raising on your neck.

Regardless. I put the idol atop one of those barrels we burnt oil in to keep the trees from freezing in the winter and went about my way.

Minutes later this young (like 17 year old) girl showed up acting like she was shopping for trees. We talked for about a minute and she invited me to meet her after work and go swimming up at this pond in the woods. I said sure. When work was over I didn't expect to see her but there she was. We got in my grandfather's truck and drove up into the woods. She told me she was a minister's daughter and lived up the street. When we got to the pond, it was a perfectly round, crystal clear, spring fed lake. You could see the fish in the water.

She asked me if I had any pot and I was like, uh no, then I looked on the floor of my grandfather's truck and there was a joint. I thought it was pretty strange, but we still smoked it and then swam out to the middle of the pond. She put her arms around me and we started kissing. Things were going pretty well, stoned in the lake with a cute teenage girl smooching me when I looked around the side of her face and saw this little black dog moving through the dry weeds toward the beach. When he got to the water, he jumped in and swam directly out to us. He made his way out and put his paws on my shoulders.

Now here things get weird. In my mind, I felt I had to choose between the dog or the girl. I felt this overwhelming idea that I could only have one or the other. Don't ask me why, but I chose the dog. I was stoned. What can I say?

I took her to the top of her drive and dropped her off. Never saw her again. I have, however had the dog for along time now.

Now, don't laugh. Something similiar could happen to you someday, up in the trees. You may feel a presence, something big moving around up there. If Pan calls to you my suggestion is let him know you heard him. Let him know you smell him. He's not a bad guy.

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