March 11, 2011
Is This The Year of The Dog?
For King and his little pal, Louis, who are both gone now.
Here comes the dog down the hall with a gerbil in his mouth. In ten years I never hit the dog, except for that day. Mistake #1.
Ok, so it’s Thanksgiving Day a few years back and the whole fam-damily’s over at Mom’s. My sister’s two boys had pet gerbils they kept in a fish tank with a flimsy wire lid, and the dog found them. Without thinking I slapped the gerbil out of the dog’s mouth. The gerbil wasn’t dead. (Dam) It had a broken back and was pulling its tiny little self around by its tiny little furry front legs. (Oh man)
One more good chomp and the gerbil would have been out of his misery, but no, I picked just then to smack the dog. Did I hit the dog when he ate the Christmas desert off my Mom’s good serving platter while we were at midnight mass? NO. Did I hit the dog when he ate 3 pounds of Halloween candy while Holly and I ran to the beer thru? No. So why now?
Well, it was a holiday so Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bill where there. Uncle Bill rode the boxcars cross country when he was fifteen, was a marine at Guam or Midway or someplace bloody and laid tile floors for a living until his knees gave out. “Take him out side and hit em with a rock”, He grumbled.
“The dog or gerbil, Uncle Bill?”
“Just hit em with a rock and get it over with.”
“But Uncle Bill, I can’t hit the tiny little fellow with a rock.”
“You gotta do something, hit em with a rock!”
“Hit him with a God Dam rock for Christ sake.”
“ I killed 8 men in one day and you can’t hit a gerbil with a rock?”
Who’s got a rock?
Well, you know I couldn’t hit the poor little broken backed, furry legged stupid fucking gerbil with a rock. Mistake #2
Did you know that if you call around to enough places you can actually find an emergency vet that is open on Thanksgiving night? Yeah, go figure. Off we go on ½ hour drive to the emergency vet, (you’d think the gerbil would have had the decency to die on the way). My niece offered to run over the gerbil with her Camero, I can’t imagine why I didn’t let her do it, maybe I thought it would be worth it just to get out of the house. “Hit him with a God Dam rock.”
The vet asked us if we would like a minute with the gerbil to say goodbye, and could we please pay before services where rendered. “Do you take checks?”
Long drive home, crying little boys, disappointed uncle, snickering dog, and my mother doesn’t keep any liqueur in the house!
“Yes Uncle Bill.”
“How much did you pay that vet?”
“$45 Uncle Bill” answering = mistake #3
“You know that vet got your $45 and took the gerbil out back and hit him with a rock.”
Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bill are gone now too, and I miss them all.
Hit em with a rock Uncle Bill.