The Homesick Minivan With Justin Grimbol: Dog Story


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March 2017



My wife and I take our dog on walks as often as possible. If we are in the woods and away from traffic, we let her run off leash. She runs fast and sometimes she runs too far off and I can’t see her and it seems like she’s gone and I get scared and I call out to her, I yell as loud as I can, and I make sure I sound really serious about it too. My wife hates this. She thinks I sound crazy. “Take it down a notch,” she’ll tells me.

I usually ignore her and yell again. At this point I sound like a lunatic. Sometimes there are other hikers around and they look at me like I have completely come undone. Depending on her mood, my wife either finds this to be hilarious or annoying.

Eventually dog always comes back. She always comes back. She barrels out of the woods, coming towards me full speed.

When I was growing up I had a dog named Boo Boo. The name was based on the Ubu Production’s mascot. They produced sitcoms like Family Ties. After the shows credits would rolled, a voice would come on and say “Sit Ubu, sit. Good dog.” I loved this. But I was sure the dog was called Boo Boo, not Ubu. My parents told me the dogs name was actually Ubu. But I didn’t believe them. So I named my dog Boo Boo.

Boo Boo and I were not close. Especially when I was a in my early teens. Every time he came to my room I would get mad and tell it to fuck off. Every time he jumped on me I pushed him away.

Once he jumped on me while I was humping my pillow. I pushed him off my bed and he whimpered. My mom came in to see what was going on and saw me with the pillow. Naked. Sweaty.

The dog annoyed me. But whenever it ran away it would break my sweaty puberty stained heart. I imagined it bloody in the streets. Or swimming out into the ocean and drowning. Or eating something poisonous and puking to death. Or getting kidnapped by a creepy family and getting torture and eaten as dinner.

One night he got out while I was home alone watching horror movies.

I walked around the neighborhood, calling to him.


It was really dark out and lonely feeling.


I had a slice of cheese in my hand. Boo Boo loved cheese.

I started crying.

“BOO BOO!” I yelled. “For fucks sake come home!”

At this point I became so desperate that I started wandering around other people’s property.

I walked into fancy gated neighborhoods. Into back yards with huge pools and fancy shrubbery.

“BOO BOO!” I called out.

None of the rich people were home. Their houses were dark.

I headed into the woods and got lost for a bit. I heard strange things. Eventually I came out in some random back yard, in a less rich part of town.

“BOO BOO!” I yelled.

A light turned on.

I saw an old lady step out onto her front porch.

It was too dark. She couldn’t see me.

I kept calling out to my dog.


The woman looked scared.

“Who’s out there?” she yelled.


“Who’s the hell is out there?” she yelled. “This is not funny?”

I didn’t want to deal with the old lady, so I ignored her.

I walked onto the street and headed back to my house.

A boy named Scotty rode his bike past me. He was a bully and a master at mean nicknames. When I was eight I had my barber shave the letters OPP on the side of my head as tribute the rap song by Naught By Nature. Scotty was the one who told me that the letters mean Other Peoples Pussy. He called me pussy head for a month or so after that. And when I wore neon green biker shorts to school, started calling me bubble butt. That nickname stuck for much longer than pussy head.

“You okay?” he asked.

I shook my head.

His voice sounded soft and shaky. He was scared of me, because I was crying and holding cheese.

I kept calling out to my dog.


Eventually I gave up.

My mom came home later and she went looking for Boo Boo. She found him wandering around our neighbor’s lawn. He was covered in cuts and dried blood. He’d been doing exciting stuff out there. Maybe he got laid. He had a neutered dick, but he still liked to hump stuff sometimes. Maybe he met another beast out there and they humped. There was no way to know. Boo Boo had left and had adventures and come back. And I was glad. I had him cuddle with me as I watched horror movies. But he got restless and left. My mom let him into the backyard which was fenced in. He peed then ran in circles for a while. He looked like he was racing something we couldn’t see.


Justin Grimbol is the author of COME HOME, WE LOVE YOU STILL, MINIVAN POEMS, and THE PARTY LORDS. He lives in Westminster West, Vermont. 


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