Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Memories

There was a particularly lost and irresolute time in my life when I happened to be tending bar and living in a housefull of cocktail waitresses, one of whom was putatively my girlfriend. Against my wise counsel, she acquired a puppy at one point, a Goldren Retriever, whom she named Bailey after the similarly-hued, viscous-sweet Irish liqueur which said girlfriend favored, along with vodka and cocaine.

We all shared a nice suburban house in a strange little Leave-It to-Beaver enclave, just the other side of a scraggly beauty-strip from a dauntingly huge set of high-tension powerlines. One of the neighbors had a Lawn Doctor franchise, as I recall, and he proudly parked his truckfull of chemicals in front of his corner house, advertising his services to the many passersby. Then something went terribly wrong, he mixed up the dosage somehow, and suddenly his formerly-lush lawn looked like a testimonial to Agent Orange. The truck was parked elsewhere for a couple of months.

One pellucid Easter Sunday, the gals were slow to arise, as usual, and groggy once they did. One of the roommates let Bailey out into the back yard for her constitutional, and then lost her in a fog of Marlboro Lights, coffee, bong-hits and cable TV. My paramour deputized me to go find the puppy when her absence was finally noted. I wandered around the neighborhood for a bit, calling "Bailey, Bailey," softly, and feeling a fool, because the dog was never known yet to come to my call. Finally I gave up and headed back. Then I spotted the pooch, in the very yard across the street from our house. She was rooting around in their meticulously planted flower bed by the front porch.

Hearing many voices in the back yard of this place -- a brunch of some sort I supposed -- I crept over, hoping to re-capture Bailey undiscovered. As I stepped into the neighbor's yard I noted, to my horror, that the puppy had meticulously worked its way up the sidwalk, and down all the flowerbeds, addressing each of the gorgeous, evenly-spaced tulips, and biting the head off it. Just as I grabbed the rooting dog by the collar, the man of the house came around the corner, with three of his elderly, Easter-bonneted guests. They stopped, gobsmacked by the multihued carnage on the sidewalk, in the mulch.

"Hi," I said, to my neighbor, the first time I had ever done so. He looked around; his jaw dropped as he searched for words. I didn't wait. I towed the pooch brusquely backwards up the sidewalk, across the street and around our house to the back door.

"Oh my God," was my girlfriend's reaction to this story. She nearly ignited the gauzy curtain behind the living-room sofa with her cigarette as she snuck a peek at the neighbor's assemblage, several dozen strong, bedecked for High Mass, now all out on the front lawn, drinking in the full magnitude of the violation, and murmuring low. Evil looks came our way.

I washed my hands of the matter, got into my running stuff, snuck out the back door again, and took a long, long trot up the jeep path under the humming powerlines, trying to take sensible stock of my situation.


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