A true tale written by Belmar resident Vinny Falci…

I could never date a vampire. I learned this personal truth the night my dog killed and gutted a possum before my eyes. There was never any doubt Reba had a killer simmering inside. Every walk was littered with fits of bloodlust at the sight of anything alive. Piles of disemboweled toys, their squeaking innards torn from their fluffy chests, were proof enough of Reba’s hobbies. What I’d never considered while witnessing these previous actions was the sound of an animal fighting for its life inside the mouth of my beloved dog.

If my roommate Nikki had told me Reba got into the backyard with a cloth sacked filled with her favorite treats, I would have believed her. I would have believed her until the treats made a final swing at survival. It snarled and screamed like Glenn Beck at a drag show. My shaking flashlight showed me enough to know that attempts to end the conflict before Reba was prepared to were futile. Nikki’s hasty Internet research, along with frantic calls to my boyfriend and parents only confirmed my fears. This was a component of her most primal mind. She’d come inside when she was done playing. Or maybe eating. Yuck.

REBA (courtesy of Nikki Piecoro)

Pacing the kitchen made the situation unbearable. Standing by the open sliding door, accompanied by the sounds of slaughter, made it significantly worse. I had to give her time. She was, to the best of my knowledge, rusty at this. The glowing clock on the stove seemed frozen. Frustrated, I clamored around and loudly poured kibble into a bowl. How stupid. Nobody craves cereal right after filet mignon. Maybe she wanted water? Murder has to be dehydrating.

Reba finally tiptoed into the house, onto the towel I put down in advance. I’d never had to plan for this sort of thing before, and I assumed the plastic that Dexter uses has to be ordered online. I put the bowl down. It was emptied in an instant. Still hungry. Typical. Fulfilling my manly duties during the incident, I let Nikki handle any clean up on the perpetrator. Her rubber glove clad hand raised a decimated Coach scarf. Yes, eBay makes it possible to dress your dog in designer wears for surprisingly cheap.

I inspected the disheveled scarf. The violet hue that shaped the classic “C” pattern was soiled an incriminating brown. My rescue dog had used the fancy scarf like a paper napkin at a China Buffett. The concept of the blood soaked designer accessory sent me into a fit of laughter. No wonder she took so long to come inside. Visions of her blood-soaked paw holding a sterling compact to check her makeup and straighten her fur flooded my brain.

My dog had hunted, fought, and successfully killed an animal. The most my parents’ beagle ever chased was the occasional errant rabbit. Pets always seemed to have an agreement with their wild brethren. Sure the chase was key, but since I had never seen the final deed in person, I assumed they left that stuff to the lions on the Discovery Channel. Now I sat wondering when she’d strike next. Would her next venture result in a squirrel stole to replace the scarf? Maybe I needed to buy those plastic tarps. I was living with a killer.

I plundered the extensive directory of pop culture stored in my head for a frame of reference. I let her sleep on my bed. She’s kissed me on the face. She’s lived with me since I bought my house, the only other heartbeat to keep me company those first few nights of my fledgling adulthood. What’s a dead possum amongst family? She doesn’t judge me for being gay, being born with certain instincts and desires I could not control or extinguish. Who am I to condemn her for what she was born to be? Then it hit me. Buffy. Nerd that I am, my brain’s homepage is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy loved two vampires during her tenure on TV. Buffy learned to love the noble being inside of the monsters. As long as she didn’t watch them feed. I could relate. A ton.

The biggest difference was that despite my secret hope, affection for a bloodthirsty killer, and taste in older men, I was not as open minded as Buffy. I loved Reba and supported her despite her horrifying actions, but she would have to sleep on the floor tonight.

At least until I could get her to the groomers.