August 31, 2002
If you believe that we
If you believe that we DON'T live in a fucked-up world, read this TRUE STORY about my day and tell me where I'm wrong.
In between thunderstorms this afternoon, after I arrived back at the Crackerbox from work, I saw a window of opportunity to cut my weed-infested yard. When I wheeled the lawn mower out of my garage, I heard a little Chihuaua puppy yelping from its pen next door. I saw the little rat-dog poking its head through the chain-link enclosure and noticed that nobody was home at the neighbor's house, so I figured the dog was just lonely. I fired up the lawn mower and cut my grass.
The dog never stopped yelping the entire time. It continued its struggles to escape from the fence by sticking its little rat-head through the triangular holes and trying to squeeze through behind its neck. It displayed a frenzied determination to get out of there. I became worried that it would hang itself and went over to calm it down. Then I saw the problem.
THE DOG WAS WORKING ALIVE WITH FIRE-ANTS! There were THOUSANDS of ants all over the pen, all over the ground and all over the dog. I saw one hanging by its pinchers from the dog's EYEBALL, for crying out loud, and I couldn't stand that. I rescued the dog and put it under the water hose to get those blood-sucking pests off. I ended up having to pluck some of the more stubborn vermin off the dog with my FINGERS as I sat on the tailgate of my pickup truck.
That's when Kristen, my 10 year-old neighbor from the house on the OTHER SIDE of me came by, walking her Yorkie down the street on a leash. She approached to see what was happening. "Mr. Rob, what'cha doing?"
"Kristen, I'm trying to get all the ants off this dog." I was plucking furiously. There were still plenty aboard.
"Can I help?" she asked.
"By all means," I replied. "I'll take the head and you take the tail." Together, we finally rid the dog of the pestiferous vectors that were attempting to eat it alive. The dog was grateful, and began running around the bed of my truck in a display of puppy-dumbass enthusiasim.
"Aw, it's so CUTE!" said Kristen. She held out her hands and the dog went springing into her arms. It wiggled and licked and squirmed in ecstacy.
"How about you take it home with you," I suggested. "It can play with your dog until the neighbors come home."
"I can't," she replied. "My Mama is taking a nap and I'm not supposed to wake her up." About that time, the sky cut loose and the rain started to fall again, heavy and sideways.
"C'mon," I said. "Bring BOTH dogs and let's get out of the rain before we ALL drown." We ran inside my house. The dogs loved it and began to play on the carpet the way dogs do. Kristen sat on my couch and asked, "Mr. Rob, would you play me a song on your guitar?" I frequently entertain the neighborhood kids, and Kristen enjoys hearing me play. I told her I would, and started down to hall to fetch my Martin.
Then it dawned on me.
I was not wearing a shirt (I seldom do in the summer, if I'm not at work or heading to the Super Wal-Mart) and I had a 10 year-old girl alone in my house with me. It didn't matter that we rescued a dog from a death worse than fate together, and it didn't matter that it was raining cats and dogs outside, and it didn't matter that child molestation is absolutely repugnant to me. I was semi-nekkid with an unsupervised 10 year-old girl in my house. I stopped dead in my tracks and went back to the living room.
"You need to go home, Kristen," I said. "Are you going to take the dog, or do you want to leave it here?"
"You're not going to play your guitar?"
"No, not today. But we've got to decide something about the dog right NOW."
She decided to keep the dog and explain the situation to her Mama when Mama woke from her nap. She had both dogs tucked like furry footballs under each arm as she ran out from my front door into the rain. "See you later, Mr. Rob," she shouted as she ran to her house.
Call me paranoid if you wish, but I could not allow her to stay here. She was absolutely welcome and absolutely SAFE, too, but no man should put himself in that situation in today's crazy climate. In an ideal world, we would have played with the dogs, I would have strummed my guitar, and I might even have given her some ice cream to eat while we watched the rain fall. I would have sent her home when she was ready to leave. But you can't do things like that anymore.
If Quinton were here, everything would be different. Then, I would simply be an adult, babysitting children during a rainstorm. But Quinton ISN'T here, and I was afraid to have a 10 year-old girl in my house alone with me, especially after I lured her over with a cute puppy-dog. Sounds like something a true pervert would do, doesn't it?
It certainly does to some people.
And that's why the world is a lot more fucked-up now than it was when I grew up.