It was Karl's paternal uncle Otto who said that the minimum number in any relationship should be three. "Zwei ist immer zu intim!" So, for the several months that he and Karl lived together in the house overlooking St-Louis Square, their "third" was a dachshund named Pepsi, with whom they quarrelled every day.
Pepsi, after all, was a quarrelsome dog. From his low angle on life, much seemed askew: his owners' habits were anything but regular and their treatment of him grew so unpredictable that one might be petting while the other was punishing him. A walk with Otto was a brisk march on a three-foot leash, often ending in a taxi. With Karl, it was less a walk than a progressive series of meditations on walking. Karl liked bookstores and cafés. Or, to be more precise, he liked the women who worked there. In summer, this meant (for Pepsi) being tied to a table leg in the shade of a sunshade and being fed the cream from chocolate éclairs. In winter, if he hadn't rebelled, it would have meant sharing the bicycle shed with a family of rats.
Was it egotistical of him to think that the final spat might have been occasioned by a pair of gold rings in a velvet box that he had one night seized in his jaws and dropped behind the refrigerator? Perhaps. But Otto had frequently accused Karl of unnephewly conduct. This would have been yet one more example. In any event, Karl packed his Corvette with three suitcases and a cooler, waved a fisty yellow glove, and started the engine.
"Der Hund!" Otto cried.
"Take the horrible dog with you!"
Pepsi could have imagined a more dignified send-off. Never mind. Karl treated him better on the trip than he ever had before. And when they arrived in Toronto, the first thing he did was to give him away. To Brenda.
Life with Brenda was altogether different. She recognized Pepsi for what he was: a willing partner in her life and work.