Pick a really hot day. Go ahead, have a long, languid breakfast at the Alcove with your girlfriend and her mother, thereby ensuring that the sun is well overhead. Take excited and unsuspecting black-haired dog to Griffith Park (his favorite place) even though you know he doesn't really take to the sun. Do not, repeat, do not bring water, thinking dog will be fine with a little on the way up. Start at Boy Scout Drive, climb to observatory. Ignore creeping signs of exhaustion, already. Drink water, making sure dog laps some up at the fountain. Continue on up past the sign to Berlin (5,759 miles), leaving the trees behind. Ignore signs of searing heat, such as wilting girlfriend and the egg frying on dog's back. Focus instead on girlfriend's Italian mother, who is taking to the sun and the hill like Pliny, the Younger to Mt. Vesuvius. If she can do it, you can do it — never mind the dog. Try not to think about Pliny, the Elder (who died in an eruption on Mt. Vesuvius). Whistling the theme song from “Bridge On the River Kwai,” continue on up the long, shadeless hillside until about halfway up; dog begins to slow down, like a robot whose batteries are running out. Pick up dog, and continue on 100 yards until you look like a robot whose batteries are running out. Ask Latino family for water they brought for their Chihuahua, which is half the size of their water bottle. Don't admit that you are a cruel, gringo idiot; thank them quickly and look the other way. Find some shade the size of a dollar bill: Squeeze your dog into it and wait for him to recover enough for you to carry him the rest of the way. Consider the possibility of your dying from heart attack while carrying dog, and how stupid that would be. Don't continue to top of hill with Pliny, the Younger, but stumble on to Dante's View, and its horse water trough. Dunk dog in the trough, place in shady garden. Dunk him again. Watch dog eventually reanimate, like one of those flattened sponges at Trader Joe's when immersed in water. Cry at his wagging tail, but don't let anyone see you, especially girlfriend and her mother, Pliny. Think about explaining dead dog to your children all the way home. Make promises to God, which you will of course not keep. Once home, share beer with dog and fall into deep slumber. Dream of dog swimming lazily in the Mediterranean, Vesuvius erupting in the distance. Dog is doing the backstroke and smiling. Boy Scout Drive at Vermont Avenue in Griffith Park, Los Feliz.

—Tom Christie

LA Weekly