Jan 21, 2013


Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with horror films, horror literature, etc. But what happened to me last night is so patently ridiculous that it needs to be shared. I apologize for the non-theme content, but this needs to be exorcised from my person.

Here goes.

I'm a good brother.

And it had been a good day.

As you may have read in last night's post, I took a few hours off to head to the theater to see Arnold triumphantly return in The Last Stand. It had been a mighty good time; we laughed where appropriate, and on more than one occasion I blurted out some variation of a curse word in shocked surprise at the violence or brutality I saw unfolding on screen. It had been glorious.

I then returned home to the two dogs I told my vacationing brother I would watch for the week. One of them, Lucy, I've watched before, and she is an angel. The other is a new addition:

Roxxy. The devil.

She is the catalyst in the evening that went so extremely wrong.

The perpetrator.

At this point, Roxxy is eight months old, which means she is a gigantic ball of enthusiastic, uncontainable energy. And that's all well and good because puppies! I have never watched her before, but the good part of me agreed to take her in for the week; otherwise she would have been boarded, and considering she is a shelter dog, I would not hear of her being sent back to a similar environment for that length of time.

So this is what happens:

I return home. The dogs freak out in happiness because I'm awesome. I take out Roxxy first, since she flips out otherwise and slams against either door through which she is watching me walk Lucy. Roxxy takes a couple pees and a nice sized poo (much to my relief, because she'd already been with me over twenty four hours and hadn't yet done so). I  take Roxxy back inside and switch off the leashes so I can take Lucy out for her turn.

I should probably mention that I live in a townhouse complex, which means there are no fenced-in backyards - only very spacious common areas. This means all dogs must be on leashes at all times.

I should also mention I take them out through my back patio door.

Lastly, I should mention that my door has one of these locks:

Can you see where this is headed? If not, allow me to continue.

Roxxy, with her undying energy, propels herself against the patio door, paws outstretched, over and over. During one of those lunges, she brings her paw down over the latch, sliding it down into the locked position.

I'm now locked outside with a just-as-confused-as-me Rottweiler. It's 40 degrees and falling. It's about eight o'clock on a Saturday night. My cell phone sits on the coffee table in the living room, not five feet from where I stand...on the other side of the very locked door. 

I immediately start thinking of what I can do. I figure that maybe the lock isn't fully engaged, so I try rocking the door open, pressing up with my palms against the glass to raise the door off the track a bit.

It doesn't work.

I try repeatedly opening the door with great force, hoping to somehow break the mechanism (which, if successful, would have proved it to be the most insecure door in the history of doors). 

It doesn't work.

I try the front door. Locked up nice and tight, which is what I generally do after arriving home from anywhere. 

I try the small kitchen window right next to my front door. I tear the screen permanently and bend the corner nearly in half, finally ripping the entire screen free from the jamb.

For nothing, it turns out, as my windows are surprisingly secure from the outside. 

During this, Roxxy is on the other side of the window barking her head off, wanting to know why I am messing around when I should be inside entertaining her. 

I go to my neighbor's house - let's call him Carl. 

I explain the situation to Carl and ask to borrow a screwdriver, figuring I can jimmy the small separation that appears between my patio door and the jamb and try to work loose the lock. He lets me borrow a flat-head, and on my way back to the patio door I have a genius thought. As I look at the lock box on my front door knob (because my home is currently listed for sale) I realize that if I could just get the code from my realtor, I could unlock it and retrieve the spare key. I would have to call her cell phone - a number I don't have memorized (who would?) and, again, is stored in my cell sitting uselessly in my home. I realize the only way to retrieve this number is to get into my e-mail and find one of the many trails in which she and I had taken part to snag her number from her signature. 

I ask Carl if he has a computer. He doesn't. (Can't say I blame him.) 

Using Carl's kitchen phone, I call the only friend of mine whose phone number I have managed to memorize.

He doesn't answer.

I leave a message telling him it's me, acknowledging that he's probably not picking up because he doesn't recognize my neighbor's number, and tell him to call this number back as soon as he can.

Meanwhile, I go across the street to knock on another neighbor's door, whom I know has a computer.

No one answers. 

I go back across the street to Carl's. I use the phone to attempt to make up variations of what I believe my parents' house line to be. (My mother does not answer her cell phone, you see, because she keeps it in the car for some very inconvenient reason.) After a few wrong numbers (all of whom I was incredibly tempted to ask for help, anyway) I ditch that idea. I try locating the number through automated information instead. I'd've been better off trying to dissect a dead frog with a hammer. 

In the meantime, I look across the street to the neighbor's house I had just attempted and see that another of them has arrived home, confirmed by the newly-arrived car in front. I go back over there to knock again, hoping someone will actually answer this time.

No one does. 

I should note that all this time, Lucy is leashed to my arm. She has no idea what's going on, and she is freezing to death. There's nothing I can do with her. I have no backyard where I can stick her, and I can't even accept Carl's invitation to come inside his house where it's warm because I would have to leave the dog tied up outside somewhere, and that's something I just wasn't going to do. If suffering was to be had, we would do it together.

Carl gives me the cordless phone to let me make calls from outside. I try calling the only uncle whose number I remember in an effort to get my parents' house line. No one is home. I leave a voice mail along the same lines of the one I'd left for my buddy explaining I am next door and that's why they don't recognize the number and OMFG PLEASE CALL. 

As I make my way back across the street to the unanswering neighbor's house for one more attempt, Carl pops out of his house and says my buddy has returned my phone call. I run across the street and grab the phone. I've nearly interrupted his Spam-A-Lot (haha) so I kind of feel like a dick. I have him access my e-mail through his wife's phone to retrieve my realtor's cell phone number.

He does.

I thank him and hang up.

Someone walks by with their tiny dog and Lucy nearly tears my arm out of its socket. I tie the leash around a lamppost in front of my townhouse to give myself a break.

I call my realtor. Her voice mail confirms she is out of town for the weekend and not listening to messages or reading e-mails until Monday. I nearly cry. I leave a message anyway, explaining I've been locked out and need the lock box key. The tail end of her outgoing message had advised me, in the event of an emergency, to call the phone number she provided.

For the hell of it, I do.

I successfully reach a fax machine.

I hang up and retry my mother's cell phone.

No answer.

I call automated information to reach the local real estate office for whom my realtor works, hoping their recording would provide a different emergency hotline.

It doesn't.

I go back across the street yet again to the unanswering neighbor's house, and along the way, yet another neighbor - let's call her Elaine - pops out with her dog. She can clearly see I am distressed. She asks what's wrong and I explain the situation. (She can see that I have lashed Lucy's leash around the lamppost that sits in front of my townhouse.) She asks if there is anything she can do to help, and I ask if she has a computer.

She does.

I ask her if I can hop on it for two minutes to shoot an e-mail to my mother, father, and brother, hoping that at least one of them is in front of their computer (or smart phone) at that very moment.

She lets me in and I send this e-mail:

[number removed] 

 It is the number for Carl and his wife next door, I am with them. CALL ME. 
Part of me considers adding that I'm fine and this should be considered only a semi-emergency, but then I remember the odd, odd fact that my mother leaves her cell phone in her car for no particular reason, so I send the message above as-is, deciding a little alarm on my parents' part is warranted, and it will give me some spiteful satisfaction.

I go back to Lucy, who is shaking from the cold. Though I keep telling Carl otherwise, I am beginning to freeze. I stand with her for a few minutes.

I go back inside Carl's house and he has his phone book waiting for me, open on a very specific page: locksmiths. I start flipping through, really regretting that this is what it's come to. 

As I do, he asks: "Why not just call the operator directly, give them your parents' city/state, and ask them for the house line?"

This was something I had briefly considered much earlier, but then quickly dismissed, as there was no way my parents had allowed themselves to be listed in any possible way. But, figuring I literally had nothing to lose, I call. A very impatient and rude operator asks for the city and state. I give it. I am transferred elsewhere, and the line rings for what feels like full minutes. Someone finally asks what listing. I tell her.

And just like that, she gives me the number.

I am beside myself, thinking I could have avoided a whole lot of damage, cold, and embarrassment, if I had just called the goddamn motherfucking operator. 

I finally get my mother on the phone. Through unrestrained fury, I explain that I've been literally locked out of my house by an eight-month-old puppy, and I need her to come with the spare and let me in. Naturally she agrees, but here's the rub: she lives an hour away, and it's getting so much colder. Lucy is cold to the point that she is crying. I give the phone back to Carl, explain that all is "well" - my mother is coming - so I am going to continuously walk the dog to keep us both warm.

And I do. I walk Lucy around my complex about three times before expanding our journey to a neighboring barracks-like 55+ community. We walk for a long time and we're successfully keeping the cold at bay. I also take this time to marvel at how many people still have up their Christmas decorations, and also how many people have dogs that look like baby sheep. Lucy stops and attempts to piss so much that after a while she's shooting out dust and rain checks labeled "urine."

After a while (I have no watch, so I can't say specifically how long), we head back to the house. We walk up to the back patio door to see if I can check on Roxxy. She trots over to the door and becomes insanely jealous that the walk I am giving Lucy is much longer than the one she got. She begins barking and jumping up against the door again, as if recreating the event that has led to this disaster. If I could have somehow breached that glass and punched her in the face, I would have.

I sit there against the patio door for about ten minutes and watch an audioless portion of This Means War, with Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon. Even without audio I can somehow tell it's terrible. 

At this point Lucy is so cold that I am concerned. I sit down next to her and start rubbing her chest, sides, and stomach, trying to generate some heat. It seems to be working, as she sits perfectly still and lets me, for once not being incredibly distracted by all the outdoor smells surrounding her. 

I bring her to the front of our townhouse row and start walking her back and forth to keep our blood pumping. At one point a cop drives by, and I secretly hope he'll think I look suspicious and pull over to talk to me, because this story of mine is so fucking unbelievable that I feel the need to tell someone. He passes right by, not even slowing down. Why would he? Not many robbers take their dogs on a job. 

Finally, I see the headlights of my mother's car as she makes the turn into the complex. She sees me and flicks her high beams to let me know salvation has arrived.

She unlocks the front door. I push Lucy inside, Roxxy away from us, and shut the door again. I immediately hug my mother and apologize for having flipped out on the phone. She's a mother, so she's just glad I'm okay.

My body is somehow freezing and on fire at the same time. My head is killing me, the need to...er...evacuate is overwhelming, and I am starving.

We go in, share a cup of coffee, and discuss Ben Affleck's suspicious snub at the Oscars.

I ask her if she, during the drive, listened to the very angry voice mail I left her, in which I derided her for leaving her cell phone in the car.

She says no.

I tell her to erase it without listening to it.

She laughs and agrees, and leaves soon after.

I eat, I take head pills, and I settle onto the couch. Finally, my tumultuous night has come to a close. I can finally enjoy some semblance of a relaxing, trauma-free night.

Then Roxxy shits on the living room floor, right in front of me.

I had no choice. I killed her, right then and there, on the spot. Here is her body:

(Just kidding.)

But seriously, I'm the best fucking brother who has ever lived.

1 comment:

  1. YOU ARE THE BEST FUCKING BROTHER WHO EVER LIVED MAN!!! I wanna see the baby-sheep dogs.

    I'll be over as soon as I can tomorrow night, pending this flight from Rome doesn't ass fuck me like the one out here did.