For weeks, Taxi had been obsessed with becoming a toreador. All he would talk about was his upcoming course of study at NYU the curriculum that would give him an excuse to wear a jewel-encrusted bolero jacket, embroidered vest, satin sash, tight-fitting breeches, pointy-toed velvet shoes, and a flat hat. I don't know how many times I tried to tell him what bullfighting was all about that it was more than just looking dashing while waving a red cape but every time I broached the subject, he interrupted, held up his paw, turned his head, and said, "I'm paying good money to learn all about it, so I don't need your two centavos!" You can't say I didn't try to warn him.
I expected him home late in the afternoon today, the first day of the semester, so I was startled when I heard a key in the lock shortly before noon. I put down the vest I was Bedazzling for Taxi's ensemble, and went out to the living room. And there he was, staring at the corner by the front door, where a red flannel sheet that acts as his bed awaited his tired aching bones.
"T, what's wrong?" I asked. His shoulders, ordinarily squared proudly, were slumped forward. He turned his face away from me and sighed.
"Why are you home so early?" I asked. "Is your stomach acting up? Was it the surf 'n' turf from last night?" I bent down to pet his head.
Tears instantly sprang to his eyes, and he said, in a voice thick with emotion, "Could you please remove this sheet from my sight? I want nothing to do with red anymore." As I lifted it up and started to shake it out in preparation of putting it away, he turned his face away and sniffled.
"I can't look at it," he whispered. "I just can't look at it."
I asked him what was the matter.
"I had no idea that the point of bullfighting was to kill the bull!" he said. "Not one of my classes had anything to do with the vest or the cape or the hat!"
"I didn't think they would," I said. "It's an evil, cruel sport, Taxi. I tried to tell you."
"It's just bullshit!" he said. "I thought it was, like, a game, where no one gets hurt, and I'd get to wear the splendid outfit and wow the señoritas to thunderous applause!"
After a serious talk over tapas and churros, he decided that tomorrow he's going to drop his current course load and enroll in the fashion design program. He plans to design spangly sweatshirts, banners, and flags emblazoned with the words REBEL BULLS, REBEL! for his trip to Pamplona this summer.
"If I can just free them," he said, his voice strong and determined, "then everything will be just dandy."
"Said the dandy," I said with a wink.
"Que mierda de toro!" he said.fresh-baked at 09:52 AM