They called him Spaniel.
It all went back to that time in high school. There’d been a big game, and Jimmy Sprichter had scored the winning touchdown against the Blue Rays. Everyone went back to Jimmy’s house after because his parents were out of town.(It about killed Jimmy’s dad that he wasn’t there to watch his son bring home the game. But Jimmy’s grandma was sick, so his parents had to go to Dallas to see her. For years afterwards, that was all Mr. Sprichter would talk about whenever we came over. ‘Were you there son? Were you there when my boy scored that touchdown?) Anyhow, there was a keg, and Brian Maleny had some weed. Everybody got a good buzz on. At some point, Daniel and Jenny Lovett (Jenny Love-It. She’d had it bad since middle school). found themselves in Jimmy’s little brother’s room. They’d gone in there to look at his pet snake.
“He’s so cool,” Jenny said, tapping lightly on the glass. “Hello, Mr. Snake. I like your spots. They look like tye-die, don’t they?” she said, turning her big brown eyes to Daniel.
“Yeah, hey, I guess they kind of do,” Daniel said. “Hey, there, snake. Are you a stoner? Is that why you’re all tye-died?” Jenny laughed at that. “You sure are,” she said to Daniel now. It was true, Daniel was a stoner. He started his day with a joint on his walk to school and he and the guys always snuck off into the woods during lunch to smoke a couple. But Daniel was a straight A student and he played on the basketball team, so he figured what the hell.
“I could smoke one right now,” he said to Jenny then. “You wanna go downstairs and find some weed?”
“Uh-uh,” she said. “I want to kiss you is what I want to do.”
“Yeah,” she said, playing with the collar on his tee shirt. So he leaned in and kissed her flat on the lips. And then he leaned in again and kissed her harder. Soon, they were lying on Jimmy’s brother’s bed, making out hard on the racecar comforter. Daniel’s hand was in her shirt, up under her bra. Damn, that felt good.
Jimmy’s mother had this dog, this little brown and white Cocker Spaniel named Clint, because she had a thing for Clint Eastwood. It was a weird name for him, because there was nothing ‘Clint’ like about him. He was small and fluffy and dainty. All of Jimmy’s friends hated him, even the girls, because he barked all the time and was always pulling at your leg, trying to get you to watch him prance around.
Anyhow, while Daniel and Jenny were making out Clint happened to make his way into the room and started barking.
“Shut up,” Daniel said.
“Shut UP,” Jenny said.
Right around that time, Jimmy and Brian and some of the other guys came wandering down the hall. Jimmy wanted to show them his new black-light Sabbath poster. The awesome timing of adolescent misery being as it is, it was just as they were passing by the open door to Jimmy’s brother’s room that Jenny had put her hand on Daniel’s crotch. They would have passed right by without noticing if Clint hadn’t been barking away. So all of Daniel’s friends huddled in the doorway, watching Jenny make her move on Daniel’s crotch, and Jason Lockheed came up with the brilliant “Yo, guys look at the COCKer Spaniel!” Everybody burst out laughing. Daniel pulled his hand out of Jenny’s shirt. Jenny’s hand flew off of Daniel’s pants but it was too late. The damage had been wrought. “Why Daniel,” Jimmy yelled, “it looks like YOU’RE the Cocker Spaniel! Daniel, the COCKer Spaniel!” “Daniel Spaniel!” “Yo, go SPANIEL!” Soon everybody was chanting “Go Spaniel, go Spaniel!”
From that night until graduation, it was Spaniel and Love-It 4-eva.