She turned onto the street where she had been living for the past two years. The neighbors were all standing around chatting uneasily as people do when there has been some sort of event. Police cruisers were parked infront of her next door neighbor's home. She wondered uneasily what had happened to her neighbors where two police cars would be needed. She instantly thought of domestic violence, having seen that personally in the home where she grew up. They always send two police units, one for him; one for her. Her neighbors didn't seem the type, but certainly people had spoken that way of her own parents who seemed rational to outsiders. She noticed that people seemed to stop talking as she drove up to her house. As if a collective mute button had been pushed. Neighbors seemed to lean foward inperceivably and again she wondered what her neighbors had done. She collected her purse, and unstrapped her her two young children from thier carseats. They climbed out of the car and toddled into the house. Having just gotten home from kindergarten and preschool, they were hungry and in need of a nice soothing Barney episode. They had no interest in the somewhat standoffish neighbors whom had welcomed them to the neighborhood at first, but later cooled significantly when it was discovered that the religious beliefs were not the same. they seemed not to notice the police cars with lights flashing. They made a beeline for the house where chocolate milk and the nearly worn out Barney tape was ready to go. She watched as her children went into the house knowing they would be fine for a minute or two while she joined the gawking that seemed to be intensifying. Just as she was about to make her way across the street, a police officer got out of his crusier and began to swager over to me in the way that police seem to move. A mix perhaps between attitude and cramped muscles from having sat too long. She stopped, waiting for the officer to make his way over. He pulled out a notepad and seemed to review his notes. It seemed to take forever as my curiosity intensified nearly to the point of fear. What was going on?!? Finally, she could no longer patiently wait for the officer to finish reading what could have been an epic novel for the amount of time it was taking. 'Hello Ma'am, I'm officer ..... ' her mouth was dry and her heart was pounding. She thought to herself as her panic increased, 'Is it my husband?' Had he been mauled by escaped circus monkeys? Had he been randomly hit by a piece of space junk? Had he been mangled in some freak accident where they needed his dental records for positive identification?!? She watched 'Law and Order', she knew the drill. Police were always sent to the victims' kin to personally inform them of their tragic loss. In the few seconds it took the officer to finish reading his miniature police notebook, she knew that she had become a widow. She feared that she didn't know where the fusebox was to the fuse that kept turning itself off due to the extra load of the Christmas lights. She could not dry her hair without losing power in her bathroom. Would she have to live her whole life in a house with a blown fuse because her husband had failed to leave a chart or something? It also occured to her that she didn't know how to hitch up the boat to the SUV, nor did she actually know how to start the boat. She was almost too lost in thought to pay attention to the officer. "we've had reports....." she wondered if she would have to sell the boat..."and we can see that the gate is open"...gate?!? she thought...what gate? The officer was looking at her expectantly because he had finished speaking, but she hadn't heard much...just a few bits and snatches about a gate being open and something about kids being chased. "My husband was chasing kids?", She asked incredulously. The officer gave her a hard stare, as if trying to decide if she was joking, intoxicated, or maybe just dense. "Your DOGS, Ma'am, are those YOUR dogs?" He pointed to two Doberman/Rottweiler mix dogs who were sitting at my front door panting happily with their tongues lolled out to the side as if they had been out for a happy jaunt about the neighborhood. Her eyes opened wide with suprise, and she began to walk toward the wayward dogs. She held her arm out and pointed to the backyard gate that was standing wide open- through which they obviously had exited the backyard to begin their romp through the neighborhood. With heads down, and eyes lowered they both slunk past her and into the backyard. She closed the gate and returned to where the officer was standing. He looked at her again and asked, "is that your cat?" and he pointed up to a tree where she noticed there was a brown cat whose fur was standing up in all different directions. The fur seemed to have something on it...was it...drool?!? Yes, infact it did appear to be drool. The drooled victim was indeed her cat, Elizabeth. She was a lazy fat cat who occupied the majority of her time sitting on the wall where the dogs could see her, doing that thing that cats do with thier tail- the slow motion tail tease. The officer suddenly looked relieved. He informed her that this case would be considered a 'domestic dispute', and he would be leaving. He advised her that he had been called because of vicious dogs chasing school children up and down the street, terrorizing all who came near. The officer talked into his shoulder like they tend to do, and after a cursory wave, both police cruisers were gone. Her neighbors skulked back into their houses. Great! She thought to herself. Now they were not only the misfit heathens, they had heathen dogs too! The Homeowners' Association called and left her terse messages all afternoon about the rules surrounding 'out of control dogs'. In the time it took her to go pickup her children from the school, not 3 minutes from her house, go to the grocery store, that was only 2 minutes from the school, to pick up ONE ingredient for dinner; twenty minutes max had passed. Her dogs had wreaked havoc on ALL of the neighborhood children in a mere 20 minutes. In fact, her dogs where out of shape, well socialized, friendly dogs who had broken loose to teach the cat a lesson. Elizabeth, the cat, was okay. She did enjoy a trip to the vet later that evening to get a once over just to make sure she was alright, sadly cat pride is a very fragile thing, not fixed up by a bandage. For the rest of the day, she didn't answer the phone, nor did it escape her attention that the 'dog catcher' truck was suddenly parked out in front of her house. Her dogs were current on their vaccinations, and rabies shots. She had the paperwork to prove it, the problem was just that the application for thier offical dog tags was never submitted. They were illegal residents. After reflecting all afternoon sorting out the earlier events, she was mad at the dogs for getting out, she was mad at the neighbors for making such a big exaggerated deal about the incident, she was grateful that the dogs were chasing children, not playing in traffic, she was grateful that her husband was not reduced to mere teeth to be identified, but she was mad at him for not sending in the dog license papers. Thanks to him, she was hiding in her home so that the lousy dog catcher didn't catch them! She wasn't even aware that there was still such a profession as 'dog catcher'. She pondered for awhile what qualifications one would need to be a 'dog catcher'. Was there a 'dog catching' certificate that one must obtain before being handed the keys to a rolling dog cage? These were thoughts she had time to ponder while her kids enjoyed an extended 'Barney-fest' upstairs. She wanted them kept quiet, so as to not alert the patient city employee surveying her house, who was just waiting for movement inside, signaling that he should 'move in'. Maybe this hadn't been covered on 'Law and Order', but her imagination was pretty good. Finally, the employee got tired of waiting for us, and he drove off in his truck to go round up some other illegal pooches. Maybe pooches with less patient and less determined owners who, perhaps, were not willing to sit in a darkening house to avoid doggie prison. The gate earned a padlock that night, she had a strange desire to be informed of exactly where the fuse box was, and her husband was oddly cornered into promising to teach his insistant wife how to hitch the boat to the SUV. Never were the heathen dogs allowed to 'terrorize' neighborhood children again. Sadly, thier careers as hoodlum, heathen dogs was over. If they could've only heard the combination, there could have been a sequel, "Terror Two".
Labels: escaped dogs