Making men out of boys by breaking all the rules.

Skate or live
Boys will be boys, but sooner or later they come to be men. Being serious about being serious is a very good sign in that transition.M.Angel Herrero / / CC BY-NC-SA

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story

“Dog’s not supposed to be inside the fence.”

I smiled at that. Rules are a comprehensive illusion concocted by people who take long vacations on exotic maps, dine on descriptions of sumptuous feasts and mate with none but the most breath-taking portraits. Naso was comfortably asnooze on the cool concrete of the skatepark at Rio Vista Park, looking like nothing so much as a lumpy puddle of russet-colored fur, and the drafters of the infinite rules did not even bother to rage in impotent fury at her lazy effrontery.

“She’s never taken a piss on concrete. I doubt she ever will.” I said that. I was talking to The Skatepunk, but he was going to some lengths not to talk to me, skating up and down a fake concrete office plaza, grimly concentrating on the stunts he was practicing.

“Did you ever think about that, what it is that you’re teaching a dog when you house train it? Naso here has not only never peed on a sidewalk or a paved road, she almost never pees except right on top of another’s dog’s old urine.”

He smiled, a flash of pure delight. “Dogs got display” — he hiked his leg up off the skateboard in pantomime — “but bitches got aim!”

“Pain in the ass after a hard rain. It’s two or three days before she can pee reliably, and for all I know, every dog in the Valley is going through the same thing. We think we’re teaching them to distinguish inside from outside, but that’s probably not even possible. What we’re really teaching them is that we will only love them if they pee where all the other dogs pee.”

“Peer pressure!” He laughed so hard he screwed up his trick.

“I had a Labrador mutt that I raised from a puppy. I was all over her and she was eager to please as only a Labrador can be, and she was trained-up perfect in just two days. But she always peed in the exact same spot in the back yard, tail wagging high and ecstatic every time: ‘I’m a good dog!’ She was, too, never an accident. But there’s a nine inch circle in that yard where nothing will ever grow again.”

He smiled at that and he jumped off his board, somehow kicking it up so it landed in his hand. He came down to sit near me on the crappy aluminum bleachers. Not next to me, but close enough that we could see each other’s faces. It was late, coming on ten at night, but there were still a few boys gamely working under the lights.

“My grandpa told me about you. He said you talk too much.”

“That’s funny. I don’t remember saying much of anything. I liked your granddad, though. I’m sorry I was a disappointment to him.”

“If he’s talking about you, he likes you — at least well enough to talk about. When he’s done with someone, he’s done for good. He found your story online and sent me the link. I liked that bit about Sun City as a zoo for old people. I made a sign for our back door that said ‘Please don’t feed the geriatrics.’ My grandpa scratched that out and wrote ‘Soylent Green is old people!'”

Continue reading this story at

Sun City
Volume One of The Naso Diaries

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