Friday, July 5, 2013

Life’s a Bitch

An interview with the late Leona Helmsley’s dog, Trouble. Trouble, a Maltese, has recently inherited $12 million in the convicted hotelier’s will.

Q: So how does it feel to be the richest dog in America?

T: It’s OK, I guess.

Q: How has having $12 million changed your life?

T: It hasn’t, really. I’m a dog. I don’t have extravagant tastes.

Q: Were you aware that two of Mrs. Helmsley’s own grandchildren were given nothing?

T: I heard about it, yes. It was all over the news. I feel very badly for them — they lost their grandmother in the prime of her life.

Q: She was 87.

T: Exactly. She had so much to live for.

Q: Do you have any knowledge about why they might have been disinherited so cruelly?

T: It had something to do with not naming their children after Harry.

Q: Harry Helmsley, Mrs. Helmsley’s late husband? Her third husband?

T: Yes. Of course, he was not actually related to the grandchildren in question.

Q: Well, how could they be expected to do that?

T: That’s nothing. The other two have been required to visit his grave every calendar year in order to get their money.

Q: What was it like to live with such a despotic woman?

T: Look: my life has been, and will continue to be, exceptionally comfortable. I have no complaints.

Q: Not one?

T: Well, maybe one. The food’s undergone a vast improvement. Nowadays I get a bowl of Also, which I like. Most dogs do. It’s tasty. Day in, day out, I don’t mind it. But before, she insisted her chef made me this dish — literally, the dish was edible.

Q: How odd!

T: Yeah, it looked like your regular dog bowl, right, but it was green and made out of some molded lime gelatin with iceberg lettuce and onions all embedded in it.

Q: Wow.

T: And in the middle was always something fancy like tuna salad or beef tips, but all dolled-up. Honestly, I could have used a bone every now and then. I’m a dog, you know? And she’d stand there expecting me to eat it, like she’d done me some big f*cking favor. Sorry, I don’t usually use bad language.

Q: That’s OK. You were under duress.

T: Despite my name, I’m no trouble. I’m pretty laid back. I used to bite people, but I’ve stopped that now. There’s no need. We used to have this running joke: “you’re the bitch,” “No, you’re the bitch.” It wasn’t very funny, but I played along.

Q: Certainly. Are you aware that Mrs. Helmsley has asked that you be buried with her when you die?

T: Ain’t gonna happen. I had my lawyer already look in to it. In the State of New York, you are not allowed to inter animals with people. I dodged that bullet. I’m going to be cremated instead. No muss, no fuss.

Q: Thank you for your time, Trouble. And best of luck for the future.

T: Sure thing.

(Note: Trouble’s inheritance was later reduced to $2 million, the remainder going in part to Leona Helmsley’s two disinherited grandchildren. She lived to be 12 years old and was, indeed, cremated.)

Eat and Stay Slim, Better Homes and Gardens, 1968

Also from this book: Liquid Diet
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