The HOUSE – Angry Dog -19-


With all my fear of dogs, I knew something was going on in that house. Was it my business? No. I stretched my arm to close the gate, when the dog leaped toward me. That scared me to death. There was no time for me just to walk away. I pulled the gate with two hands, but it got stuck. I couldn’t close it. It was too late to run. I took only one step and the animal barged out on the street.

I had one second to do something dramatically.

“Lord, help me!” That was my unspoken prayer.

I didn’t turn my back to the dog. Slowly, I stepped backwards to the trash cans and grabbed the first one. The class I took with the Department of Defense was paying off. I knocked the big bin down and the garbage spilled on the road. The dog stopped for a moment. Then I used the bin to keep the dog away, yelling for help.

Somebody came from a few houses down the alley. The man was empty handed, but he pulled his shoe and tossed it to the dog to scare him. “Go away!” He yelled. A woman showed up in her bathing suit and approached the creature from a side. “Come on, puppy. Nobody is going to hurt you.”

“Do you know him?” the man asked her.

“No, but he is a good boy. Aren’t you, little doggie?”

“Don’t approach him, ” the man asked her, but it was too late. I was still holding the trash can between me and the dog, when he jumped and bit the woman’s hand.

The barking and squealing attracted a little crowd. The woman wanted to back off when the dog attacked her again. A man from the crowd took off his T-shirt and dropped it on the back of the animal. Another person did the same and they managed to restrain him on the pavement.

“I’m all right, I’m all right,” the wounded lady kept saying as she sat on the curb, shaking. Somebody helped her drink water from a bottle. Her arm was covered in blood.

A police car came again and the Animal Control showed up behind it. Somehow they made the dog get in a cage. “Who is the owner?” One of the officer asked. Nobody knew. “It came from this house,” I pointed at the next door building.

“Are they filming a show?” this tourist carrying a beach umbrella asked me. “Hollywood is not far, right?” The firetruck blocked the street and the ambulance stopped by the wounded woman to help her.

I didn’t answer. My body dropped down by the garage and I sat there trying not to weep. It was too much for one day. I wished Adam was there with me.


The HOUSE – Woman with a Heart -18-


“Do you know what happened?” an elderly man asked me from the second floor of his house.

“Somebody was taken to the hospital, if you know Phillip.” Just as I finished, I realized how that sounded.

“What happened to him?” the neighbor yelled back.

I walked to get closer. “I’m sorry, it’s not Phillip. It’s somebody from his family.”

The man crossed his chest with both arms, as a person in a coffin. “Gosh! That woman again.”

What woman?

“His mother?”

“No,” he kept talking. “His mother passed away a while ago. It’s his mom’s sister who moved here from Nigeria. She was married with a Nigerian and came back to the States without him.” He looked both sides and leaned over the window to keep his voice low. “Who knows what happened to him?”

Wow, I didn’t know what to do with all that information. I was ready to say “Good Bye,” when the man continued. “That woman is strange. She …”

“Joseph, what are you talking about?” An elderly woman with a towel around her head showed up next to her husband unexpectedly. She smiled at me. “My husband loves to invent stories, don’t you my dear? You are missing your show on the Sport Channel.” They both disappeared in the house and probably didn’t hear me saying, “It was nice talking to you, Mr. Joseph.”

Right then Adam came on the alley.

“I’ll be late. Have a nice evening.” I was almost asking him where he was going, but wisely, I didn’t. He left a kiss on my cheek and went to his car parked somewhere on the street. That kiss felt precious. He never kissed me randomly, and his little gesture of affection reassured me that I was loved and accepted in his house. That meant a lot.

As I watched him leaving, I saw the gate to the house next door cracked. Pretending I was taking a walk, I stopped by that gate and mimicked I was strengthening my pants. I bent down to catch as much as possible of the yard. A black dog was looking at me from the stairs. Growling.

The House -4-


“Hi, neighbor,” I said and stood there in the middle of the room watching my guest. “Are you hungry?’ I asked and waited. The cat didn’t move. Adam had told me about this cat paying him a visit on the porch now and then. “She doesn’t come inside, just sits there to see. Maybe she was used with the former tenant.”

I opened the fridge again and did’t find anything for cat or for me. With a handful of chips in hand and my purse strapped across my chest I locked the door to go out. The feline leaped on the rail and made his way on top of the roof. I walked down the stairs, carefully to make it on the middle of the steps – you could see spots of wood eaten by termites – and crossed in the common yard. The little cottages were tucked next to each other alongside a narrow pathway.

I closed the small gate towards our apartment and left behind the burgundy bush in full bloom.

The second house from where we lived was under construction and the builders were giving directions to each other in loud voice. The hammers and drilling and all the commotion made me hurry on the road between the garages. I could see the ocean. Said “Hi!” to a neighbor who was unloading some cabinets and took my way to the store. I really needed to eat something. My stomach was hurting.

From the top of a garage transformed in a nice deck, a dog started barking at me. Then I remembered what one of the voters told me yesterday at the voting poll where I volunteered. “I was supposed to vote by mail, but my dog ate the ballot.”

Life can be unpredictable.

Somebody Is at the Door -3-


“Is anybody there?” I ask, but the words don’t come out of my dry mouth. They are still inside me, weak and unable to move. I wished my dog was here, but he escaped from the back porch and run away right before the storm. I called and called in vain. And then I had to close the door to stay away from the unleashed wind.

“Help!” This is my only word I know, my only thought.

The front door shakes and I lean on the wall, watching.

Her Message

imagesI was on Facebook, when a young reader messaged me. I loved, loved our conversation :

“hi Rodica Iova are you an auother”

“Yes, I am:)
Did you read some of my books?”

“i think we got one or 2 of your books we got one called Pepper and the open gat and the one with the wagon i loved those books they were so cut i really loved pepper and the open gate”

“Oh, thank you! Yes, Pepper is a darling. Still around here, at one of my friend’s house.”


“Yeap! I wrote another book about her: Pepper and the man with a shack – mysteryyyyy:)”

“oh than i might have to ask my mom to order that one.pepper and the open gate left of at a good part!”

“Haha, I knew my readers would like to read the next book:)”

“it gets me pumped up to think about the ending of Pepper and the open gate!
now its my little brothers turn to read it !”

“I’m glad you are a team there.”

“i bet he’ll love it!”

“You have to tell me what he thought:)”

“I will
are you writing a new book yet?”

“Oh, yes:) A few:)”
“i wanted to ask if you could wright a book about fairies?”

“Fairies? Oh, that would be something new for me.”

“oh im gonna go now i want to play with my brothers..”

Pepper and the Open Gate

Pepper and the Man with the Shack

One Day

Pepper the dog here-

I am supposed to be well behaved, patient, obedient, ready to listen, forgiving, a good friend, trustful, low voice talker, sidewalk walker, not a jumper on people, sharing my toys with others, not so independent, funny, not cranky, cat lover, other dogs lover…
One day I’ll be all of this. Where is my bone?