The Britishness is starting to seep in. I’m saying “loo” instead of “bathroom,” “chips” instead of “fries,” “flat” instead of “apartment."
I’m worried about losing my New York edge.
Can that happen? I don’t know. But I don’t want it to happen, mate.
(Jesus, did I just say “mate”?!)
So I grab the leash and take Bailey for a walk in Bushy Park to think things through.
This park is unbelievable - acres and acres of fields where you can let the dog run free and swim in clean streams.
Everybody in the neighborhood walks their dogs here, and you cannot believe the names Brits hang on their pooches.
Spencer. Arthur. Heathcliff.
Anyway, Bushy Park is the best place you could imagine for a dog to romp, but you’ve got to keep an eye out for the deer.
They appear out of nowhere. You never know how they’re going to react to the sight of your dog, so you always want to give them a wide berth.
Suddenly I see that Bailey, fresh from his swim, is happily trotting toward a young male deer.
This buck is all by himself. That’s usually a bad sign, and sure enough, it happens:
The freakin’ deer rears up on his hind legs, rushes Bailey and tries to stomp him with his front hooves.
Bailey leaps out of harm’s way, but the deer keeps coming at him. There’s nothing in the world friendlier than a tail-wagging chocolate lab, but try telling that to an enraged deer.
He tries to trample Bailey again - and again, the dog dances out of the way. But the deer is getting closer.
This is a hell of a mess, because Queen Elizabeth - that’s right, the one whose face is on the money - owns all the animals in the British parks. If the deer hurts Bailey, nobody’s to blame. But if Bailey hurts the deer, I’m in trouble with Her Royal Highness. Last thing I need now is the wrath of a queen.
So I rush up to Bailey, grab him by the collar and yank him behind me before going nose-to-nose with the buck - bellowing a stream of curses and threats you’d expect to hear from a New York City cab driver in a Times Square fender-bender.
No kidding - my rant brings new meaning to the words Joe Pesci. It's "Bambi "meets "Goodfellas," and if that buck could understand what I’m shouting about his mother, he’d stomp me to death.
Guess my New York edge is intact, after all.
The deer stares at me wide-eyed, totally transfixed. At last I run out of foul language, and the buck backs up a few steps before turning and prancing away.
I’m out of breath. I check Bailey to make sure he’s not wounded. Then I look up and see a pointy-nosed British guy in a plaid cap, standing there with a basset hound on a leash.
If you’ve ever seen the comic strip “Fred Basset”, this guy and his dog look like that strip come to life. He’s witnessed the whole thing and appears to be in a state of shock.
“Sorry I got a little rude, there,” I say.
He waves it off. “Oh, never mind. That was...quite effective, actually.”
He touches the brim of his cap, says, “Come along, Winston,” and walks off with his hound.
Winston. I mean, please.
I take Bailey in the opposite direction, cutting our usual walk short.
Hate to cheat my faithful hound out of his usual exercise quota, but after what we’ve just lived through my stomach is fluttering, and there’s no delicate way to put it:
I’m desperate for the loo.
(Next Time: LIVE ON THE SCENE WITH FOX NEWS!)