Asheville Citizen-Times 6/16/2015 – Ted Alexander, Columnist –
My brother walked into the kitchen of our mother’s home where he was house-sitting. “When did you get here?” he asked.
“Couple of minutes ago. I’m making the coffee for breakfast.”
“What happened to the donuts?” he asked.
“A dozen of them. Assorted. They were there next to the sink.”
I walked over and inspected the area. It was shiny clean. “Nothing.”
My brother shook his head. “They were here. And it wasn’t Casey — he could never reach that far back on the counter.” He hesitated. “Maybe I should call someone.”
“Who, the donut police?”
He shook his head. “Well, it’s crazy, but we’ll figure it out. They didn’t just walk out the door. I’ll go into town and get us some more.” He left.
I looked over at Casey, my mother’s Irish setter, who was snoring in the corner of the kitchen. He felt my gaze, lazily opened one eye, sighed and rolled over on his side.
I moved across the kitchen and sat down, cross-legged, opposite him. He immediately jumped up so that we were facing each other, our noses inches apart. His tongue was out and he softly panted, “Hah, hah, hah.”
Instead of the usual Purina Dog Chow breath, I detected the scent of glazed donuts and cardboard.
“I know what you did,” I said quietly.
Casey stared at me. “Hah, hah, hah,” the soft panting continuing.
“Did you have to eat them all?”
“Hah, hah, hah.” He’s drooling a little.
“Did you have to lick the counter too? I know you did it. It’s never been that clean before.”
“Hah, hah, hah.”
And Casey knew I knew what he knew.
My brother had forgotten that Casey had great jumping ability. I’d seen him in action flying over a fence, so I had a good idea what happened in the kitchen. Best guess: He lunged forward on his hind legs, and after a few attempts, using his nose, managed to knock the box of donuts to the floor. Then in an exhibition that would cause Martha Stewart to recoil and shriek in horror, he devoured every doughnut AND the box in less than two minutes. In a soaring grand finale, the counter was cleansed with jumping, mid-air licks searching for powdered sugar.
But instead of being angry, I had sympathy for the poor guy. That’s because I have dog thoughts, too. Actually, I think I’m more canine than human. I would’ve thoroughly enjoyed wolfing down the entire box of donuts myself, and in less than a minute, easily beating Casey’s world-record time.
But I’m too civilized to attempt something like that.
Maybe. After leaving my brother, I headed to the Dunkin Donuts on Merrimon Avenue for gas and more coffee. I love the java, but I’m insane about the racks of donuts smiling back at me. They’re so tempting that I’ve often wondered if before entering the store, I shouldn’t put on the plastic “cone of shame,” collar that dogs wear around their necks to prevent them from licking wounds. I mean, then I could focus exclusively on my server and avoid visual contact with the trays of donuts, left and right.
Problem is, some waiting customers might be deeply disturbed seeing me decked out in the plastic-cone collar and stampede trying to get away.
Instead, I decided to become an adult for a change. I would stay centered on whoever was taking my order. Eyes to eyes, no visual wandering to the doughnut racks. Yes, I tell myself as I enter the store, I will be focused on my waiter alone. I’ll be a man with horse blinders — my eyes never leaving my server’s face.
Minutes later, I marched out of the store with coffee locked in one hand. Well done, I think as I approach the car, doughnut-less.
I’m pleased. I truly am a man. I’m in control. I’m not a dog.
I step into the car, close the door, turn on the engine, turn on the radio, sit, turn off the radio, turn off the engine, open the door and run back into the store to get a couple of donuts. Maybe three. But I have to positively draw the line at four.
Having demolished five donuts on the way back to the car, I look in the rear-view mirror at the crumbs on my face. I am a dog.
The good news is that when I got home later in the morning, there were three random, bonus, weekend donuts on the counter.
What a pleasant surprise.
Gonzo. Down the hatch.
I’m stuffed, but no worries. No one’s home. No one will know.
I figure I’ll just lie down on the couch for a few minutes and maybe doze off.
Minutes later, I hear my wife in the kitchen. She walks into the living room, over to the couch and sits cross-legged facing me. “I know what you did,” she says quietly.
And she knew I knew what she knew.
“Did you have to eat them all?”
I sit up so that we are facing each other, our noses inches apart. I’m nervous and guilty, but innocently shake my head no, all the time, hyperventilating softly, “Hah, hah, hah.” I think my tongue is out.
She stands and heads back to the kitchen. “Well, at least you didn’t lick the counter.”
I lie down again, a contented smile crossing my face.
Little does she know.
Ted Alexander lives in Asheville. His second novel, “After & Before,” will be released this summer.
Ted Alexander lives in Asheville. His first novel, “The Fall of Summer,” a 1960s coming-of-age story, is now on sale at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe and other online and local retailers.
His second novel, “After & Before,” will be released this summer.
Contact him at TedMAlexander.com/contact.
Learn more about the author and the novels online at