The Man with the Dog: An Artist is Born

The Man with the Dog: An Artist is Born

Act 1: Way Lay Over

“Sir, are you the man with the dog?” said the pretty airline representative. She resembled Sally Field when she had starred as the perky Flying Nun in the old TV series. We were standing near the lounge seats closest to the boarding gate. The plane was being cleaned and refueled.

I’m wary when certain people call me, Sir.

“My name is Axel,” I said.

Her eagerness and thirst for knowledge about my canine status were not in my best interests.

“Mister Axel,” she said.

“No. Axel is my first name.”

She held a printout of passenger names and scanned the list. “Mister Lent, Sir …”

“Axel … call me Axel.” I remained calm.

She forced a smile.

It was four o’clock in the afternoon in Kansas City, my stopover from Los Angeles to Newark. A few people had plopped down their carry on bags and took seats in the waiting area.
“Yes, I am the man with the dog,” I admitted. I was dog-tired, but no accidental tourist.

Harry, my five-pound Yorkshire Terrier, was asleep in the nylon tote on the seat in front of me. 

He was a good traveler born of urbane breeding.

“Where is the dog, Sir?” she said, her pert self-turning curt.

Axel. Mister Lent. Axel Lent. Call me anything but Sir. It was hopeless.

I had left the tote loosely cinched so Harry could breathe. As if on cue, Harry awoke, stuck his cute face up, small wet black nose sniffing, brown eyes darting, and sparkling through his blond and dark bangs in the bright lights of the terminal. He resembled a miniature and debonair Ewok, the bear-like creature from the film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

The airline attendant stared at Harry in the flimsy nylon tote, then lifted her eyes. I was now the object of her suspicion. An odd grimace formed on her otherwise pleasant Flying Nun face.

“Would you please wait here, Sir,” she said. “I have to call my supervisor.”

“Yes,” I said, feeling more numb than calm.

As “Sally” rushed off, a beautiful fortyish blonde woman dressed in expensive clothing, possibly au couture, ran up to me. The woman kept checking her watch like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who was late for a very important date.

“Is there a Starbucks in this god-forsaken airport?” said the high-strung blonde.
I shrugged, then looked around.

“That could be one there.” I pointed to a Starbucks signature green-type awning in the distance.

The fidgety lady blonde turned on her stiletto heels, which somehow didn’t snap off, and peered across the long row of shops and restaurants until she saw the awning. Before taking off into the din of the terminal, she took a breath of relief.

“Thanks and what a cute doggie, and you’re not so bad, either.”

A caffeine rush sounded luxurious. I was beat. Starbucks beckoned. I was ready to follow the fashionable femme for a cappuccino, but the zealous airline gal was detaining me. I was the man with the dog. My airport drama had begun.

Eden Maxwell

Chapter one from my novella, The Man with the Dog: An Artist is Born voted a finalist in the 2016 novella literary contest by the 1888 Center for the preservation, presentation, and promotion of cultural heritage and literary arts.

Eden Maxwell, son of Holocaust survivors, is no stranger to adversity—from dodging the death grip of the Grim Reaper’s bony fingers multiple times to fighting his way out of the combat zone of gang warfare on the mean streets.

Thirty years ago, with no net, guarantees, or a rich uncle, he gave up the ‘security’ of a promising Fortune 500 fast track position for what would become an unpredictable and daunting journey. With a hunger that could not be satisfied by a life of rote, Eden had bet all on his wanderlust on a disembodied voice that only he could hear: Fitting in is not your mission.

Eden had embarked on an odyssey to discover that his dharma, his purpose in life, dwelt in the wellspring of art. On his daunting quest for fulfillment, he had earned a remarkable distinction: for many years, he apprenticed with a great Zen master artist.

Today, Eden’s paintings are in private collections worldwide—and his art has been exhibited on both coasts, including the World Trade Center and the Madison Square Garden Museum of Sport. He is the best-selling author of The Magnificent Book of Kites; and his work has been featured in numerous publications, including: Popular Science, Omni, MacUser, Art Calendar Magazine, the Drachen Foundation Journal, Adobe Illustrator Wow Book, and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Eden has been the featured keynote speaker on several national webinars for artists.

He chronicles the lessons learned on his dharma adventure of self-discovery in his book—An Artist Empowered. Eden is also the author of a novella, The Man with the Dog: An Artist is Born voted a finalist in the 2016 novella literary contest by the 1888 Center for the preservation, presentation, and promotion of cultural heritage and literary arts.

Eden is a longtime advocate for abused children and animal rights.


  1. Yes, i want more. Very interesting where this may lead. And i like yorkies too.

  2. Act 1 grabbed my mental shorthairs with rapturous splendor and they yearn for more. Bravo, Eden.

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