by Kyle Levine
A story of a dog relating to the movie The Pink Panther.
It all just seemed so fabulous to me. The diamond, Inspector Clouseau, Dreyfus, the Phantom- all of it was so incredible that it occupied my every waking thought. I began to steal little objects from around the house, wondering who would notice and when. I would spend my days devising brilliant schemes to rob my brother, Ryan, for the promise of the thrill of the crime. Naturally, my family caught on very quickly to my little game, and fought back, with Ryan attempting to take my prized possession, a signed soccer ball from the soccer team of AS Roma. Braeden, my older brother of 16 years old, became my ally against Ryan. In everything we did, Ryan would be the subject of our game, our experiment to see how far we could go against him. My parents hated this game, thinking it was somehow driving the three of us apart, when in fact it would bring us together. We tried to convince them that we did love each other and it was nothing but a game. But as the days wore down and we finished the original movies, my passion subsided, and in their eyes, we grew closer again.
However, there was still this something inside of me that squirmed with the knowledge that there would never be any Pink Panther for me to enjoy. As we grew older, we spent less of our precious time occupying ourselves with games that we would now consider silly or frivolous. There was to be no more mystery solving or role playing games. We did play some new games though. We played video games, we played mini golf, and we played rousing games of basketball together. But, with the agely increase and the loss of childish games, came a massive increase in brotherly competition. Supposedly friendly games of 2 on 2 with our father turned into arguments between Ryan and I. The arguments between Ryan and I were always the biggest because there was something about being a twin( Ryan and I were twins) that made you need to be better than the other. Most of the time, the friendship between us outgrew what I called “ The Battle of The Twins,” but any argument between Ryan and I would escalate rapidly.
One day, I was inside the house searching for a movie to watch for that night. On impulse, I searched for The Pink Panther, but upon scrolling through the list of options I noticed that a new set of Pink Panther movies had arrived on On Demand, with Steve Martin as bumbling Inspector Clouseau. I immediately called for my family, and we unanimously agreed to watch the new, and hopefully improved, Pink Panther.
Just as I was starting the movie, my mom stood up from her seat.
“ I’m going to go check on Cooper.” Nodding absentmindedly, I hardly noticed as she walked to the front door of our handsome summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and opened it. What I did notice however, was when she screamed about a minute later for my dad to come join her. Confused, my brothers and I shared a quick glance, but we quickly shook it off in anticipation for The Pink Panther. After about five minutes, we were growing impatient and I was elected to go outside and check on mom and dad, to see when they would be ready to start the movie. However, as I opened the door and walked outside into the cool, fresh coastal air, my parents, and Cooper, were out of sight.
Cooper was our family’s Australian Labradoodle. My brothers and I had been begging for a dog for ages before my parents finally relented, sharing the good news that Cooper would soon become the newest Levine on Christmas of 2012. After spending the next few weeks deciding on a name for our newest addition, Cooper arrived on a plane from Seattle, Washington on the 23rd of January. Not wanting to subject Cooper to multiple flights, my mom spent a personal day off from work driving to New Jersey, a 6 hour drive from our home in the suburbs of Boston. Over the next 5 years, Cooper integrated into our family smoothly, until it would soon become a struggle just to leave him home alone for barely an hour or two.
I look back on that fateful day in January, and I will always be eternally grateful to my parents, even in times like these where we would panic ourselves searching for Cooper. I called for my parents and they answered my suspicions, saying Cooper was missing again, probably wandering around the streets. I would have shrugged it off if we hadn’t been in Maine at the time, where coyotes and porcupines emerge at night, so I retrieved my brothers, paused The Pink Panther, and set myself to work looking for Cooper.
We called for him for at least 10 minutes, searching the surrounding area with flashlights and adrenaline in our bodies, but it was my mom who was the hero of this story. My mom was far worse off than the rest of us. While we were a little nervous for Cooper’s wellbeing, but deep down knowing that we would eventually find him as we always do, mom was scared for him. She sprinted around the neighborhood, showing no signs of stopping until she arrived at Colt’s house. Colt was Cooper’s best friend in Maine, and as a result my parents had become very friendly with Colt’s owner, Ron. There, my mom found Cooper playing with Colt while Ron watched, on his phone. According to Ron, he had been calling my parents, but they both had left their phones inside our house when we had gone to look for Cooper.
After Cooper played a little with Colt, and stubbornly stole one of Colt’s favorite toys in front of Ron, we took him home, where he watched the movie with us, sleeping at my mom’s feet.