Hello. My name is King. I am a police “Sniffer” dog.

I’m a pure-bred “Alsatian.” I say “Alsatian” because, as an American in the service of our country and municipality, I resent the connotations of, “German Shepherd.” It carries a whiff of World War Two, of armbands and leather-jacketed thugs, barbed-wire, search lights, interrogations, reprisals, and other “unleashed” German policing methods.

So Alsatian I am. Alsatian-American.

Hey. Speaking of “Whiffs”… You breeze past me most mornings, getting off the 7:11 originating New Canaan. I’m with the guys in the body armor and rifles posted at the entrance between Tracks 28 and 29. I try to catch your eye but you steadfastly avoid looking at me, or the soldiers.

Yeah. So, I should tell you:

You are seriously giving off what we in the security game call “Hits.” That’s our “Term of Art” for it.

Like, you smoke a little weed most mornings. No, the “Curiously Strong” mints and your heavy hand with the bay rum don’t entirely mask it, there, Mr. Subtle. To my nose, you’re carrying some pretty good Mendocino in that shoulder bag of yours, along with that abused laptop. What IT hasn’t probably seen! Gross.

Yeah, I’m nosy. Only natural. The sensitivity, or what you might call, the “gain” of your nose compared to my nose is like your eyes, versus the Hubble Space Telescope. You lose! I’m all nose. Baby. And teeth. 500lbs-per-square-inch!

Wait, don’t start giving off your “Alarm” hormone! I’m not going to bite you, or, worse, rat you out, friend. So relax. What you should be alarmed about, maybe, is communicating with me, a dog!

How is it I’m communicating with you? Well, I can’t really say. But here we are. Communicating. And anyway, you say a lot to me, just wafting by.

You smell paranoid. And that’s not a criticism.

I should tell you, first off, that I–and many of my littermates–agree with you: This forced embrace of surveillance is suffocating. It’s borderline molestation. Everyone’s on edge, between atomic, biological and chemical dangers, “chatter” about this and that and “credible threats” locking down parts of the city. Nerve-wracking.

Let you in a secret: it’s really just make-work for creatures like me, dedicating our lives to channeling you, funneling you, forming the blue- or green-uniformed gantlet you now must run. At the train station, in Midtown, downtown, wherever, I sniff out potential revenue in even the most trivial of misdemeanors, in unknowing violations of this or that statue, regulation, or code. Of course, some of us, Dog and Man alike, simply enjoy manhandling you. And that’s the real behavioral aspect! You and we are pretty much on the “Same Page” when it comes to conditioned reflexes, right? You’re getting used to it. Smiling obligingly at the grubby rubber fingers probing your goods. It’s “for your safety” and dreadfully important, I can assure you.

It’s not just you, Mr. 7:11 out of New Canaan. You’re all easy marks. Framing any of you’d be a breeze. But finding real evil-doers? Get serious. We don’t care. As far as that goes, “The worse the better,” as someone, probably Kropotkin, said.

But back to our amazing noses. The smell of fear coming off you people is unbelievable. Yes, I did say, “You People.” Racist? No. Speciesist? Perhaps.

I mean it’s a regular anxiety bouquet steaming off of you people. Every last one of you is worried. By the way, we can tell when you’ve been unfaithful, when you’re drunk or sick, and sick with what. We can smell your weed as I’ve pointed out and whatever else shouldn’t be in that shoulder bag, there, Travis Bickle.

And a bunch of you, are, well, just plain Goofy. Haha. Goofy!

Dogs have amazing lee-way when it comes to… to doing What to Whom. And, like your own security and police services, we attract types from across the spectrum. We are an excitable lot, and the rigor of our renowned Schutzhund training keeps it in check.

But if we sense you’re an actual douche, we will fall on you… like the arrested wolves we are.

But not you. You’re a “Dog Person.” You relate to us. Also, you were raised similarly, moved from various cages until you were fully trained. Also, like us, you seem to have been yourselves arrested: Your manhood has been retarded back into adolescence to judge from the number of grown men wearing baseball caps and shorts. Adults of our respective species would howl and wear business suits. You wear shorts and caps, we bark. Both are adolescent behaviors.

Speaking of barking, I’ll let you in on another secret: we only respond to commands in German or Czech. That’s the way we Schutzhunden were trained. If you don’t know how to “Bark” your commands convincingly in either of those two fine tongues, simply use our Password of the Day:

You can find the Password online in the current day’s (+1 UTC) issue of Mlada Fronta (based in Prague, http://www.mlada-fronta.com).

Scroll down a little and look below the heading Aktuálně and use the first word you find below it. Today, 1 October, that word is: Týdeník. That’s all you’ve got to do. If you see us coming, just use the Password of the Day. That way we’ll know you’re one of us.

A lot of us are on your side. We are, after all, Americans. And it might give our noses a break. You guys are really stinking it up around here, these days.

And that’s saying something, when you consider where this nose has been.

Good Luck,


PS: In case of a Civil War (I smell things), I was thinking my code name could be “Rex.” Too obvious?

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