It was Christmas morning in Beachwood Canyon. My boyfriend, who had unofficially moved in with me a couple month's earlier, had just opened a mystery present from his mom. Bobby was thrilled with the ventriloquist doll she sent. Blondie was curious. I could see the wheels turning in her head as if to say: that looks like a small person, sort of. She cautiously walked over to Bobby to sniff the thing he was holding so tenderly.
The doll was a replica of the famous Charlie McCarthy dummy, the side-kick of vaudeville actor Edgar John Berggren. The duo's popular radio show was credited with saving the world in 1938. When Orson Wells "War of The Worlds" radio hoax caused wide-spread panic, most people were busy listening to Edgar and Charlie instead. Now Bobby's puppet was creating panic with my dog.
“Get away, this is mine,” he said in a menacing tone that scared both of us. I pulled Blondie close to me and we both watched as Bobby put his hand in the puppet and tried to work the mouth and the eyes, moving his own like they too were being manipulated by someone else.
“I always wanted to be a ventriloquist. She remembered,” Bobby shook his head in joyful disbelief.
“What will you name him?” I managed to utter under my breath, trying to ease the tension in the room.
“I shall call him Eddie,” Bobby proclaimed. Placing his hand back inside the dummy, Bobby made Eddie bow and shake his head yes and no, sending Blondie immediately into high alert. Someone or something was in her home and she didn't like it. She started going crazy, barking and snarling, lunging at Eddie. Bobby stood up so that Eddie was taller than she was and chased her around the apartment, scaring her until she dove for safety behind me.
“Stop it. Do you want her to like Eddie or not?” I asked. “Let her smell him and see that he won’t hurt her.” Bobby stopped the chase and put Eddie in his lap motioning for Blondie to approach. Hesitantly, Blondie crouched down and walked over, nose first, and sniffed Eddie while Bobby watched. I don’t think Blondie ever did trust Bobby or Eddie. She saw how stressed I was with my live-in boyfriend and I saw how tense Eddie made her feel. But who could blame her with an introduction like that?