Hey man, we’re having a little get-together in the park this weekend. I would love it if you could make it. We’ll have snacks, and you can bring a six-pack or something if you want. We’ll probably throw some tunes on the portable speaker, catch up, and just enjoy the afternoon.

Oh, one other thing, almost slipped my mind: Could you bring your massive, poorly trained dog?

No sweat either way, but if it’s not too much trouble, do you think your hulking, ill-mannered ogre of a pooch could join us?

It’s looking like it’s going to be a perfect day, and we were just saying, you know who would love this? That scowling, near-feral beast you keep pent up in your studio apartment twenty-three hours a day. You think you could bring him?

As soon as you arrive, could you immediately take his leash off and then, after the fact, ask us if we’re cool with it?

Could you reassure us that—despite his size and general demeanor—he’s actually very friendly?

Once the spread’s been laid out on the picnic blanket, could he run across it, stamping one muddy paw in the open red pepper hummus container, and another squarely on our son’s face?

When one of the picnic-goers wrinkles their nose at your colossal, questionably domesticated dog’s foul stench, could you give us a sympathetic “what are you gonna do” look, as if your dog’s repulsive odor is some mystical external force, as uncontrollable as the weather?

Man, it’s going to be so great to see you!

When your big, stinky mutt chases after another dog in the park, could you meekly call his name and say “come,” a request you may as well be making of the moon, for all the effect it will have, as your dog’s atavistic predatory instincts overwhelm what perfunctory efforts you’ve made to train him to live peacefully in a large, urban area?

Could you wait until the other dog’s owner starts calling out “Excuse me? Whose dog is this?” before you sheepishly amble over? When you return, could you make an offhand comment about how unreasonable the other owner is and how they shouldn’t bring their pup to the park if they’re not ready to “play” with other dogs, even though any definition of play that encompasses the depraved behavior of your gigantic, ungovernable hound would necessarily also include a spider’s “play” with a fly, a lion’s “play” with a gazelle, etc.?

Gosh, we haven’t seen you in forever. Can’t wait to see how big he’s gotten.

Could you make sure your huge, putrid, unschooled mongrel is producing sufficient qualities of drool? Can you make sure every time he stops by the picnic blanket, panting like the bellows of hell, that he opens his cavernous maw to reveal thick, noxious cables of saliva stretching from fang to lip, splitting to hang down in great stalactites, and finally painting my chinos with his toxic-smelling oral discharge?

Could your dog’s dead, obsidian eyes track the movements of our two-year-old son with the ravenous, malignant interest of a famine-starved hyena?

Heck, if we get enough people, I’m thinking we could even play some Spikeball.

Could your dog treat any of your attempts to wrangle him with a practiced insouciance, leaving just enough time between command and response to make clear that he is choosing to do what you say rather than obeying? Could he regard your authority as fundamentally illegitimate? Could he consider the ancient agreement his ancestors made to enter the glow of man’s campfire a rank betrayal, a tenuous covenant forged in a moment of weakness, but always temporary, to be revoked without warning in spectacular fashion in a long night of blood and teeth?

One last thing, if it’s not too much trouble: Could you grab some tortilla chips on the way? See you soon!