Monday, April 17, 2006

Bookfield, Max

Typically I feel safe riding my bicycle in daylight through well kept neighborhoods with sidewalks and leash laws. But, on this particular day I got a surprise. The road I was on made a 90 degree left turn ahead. I rode straight for the turn. There was a concrete driveway dead ahead with house ten or so yards back. The garage door was open. It was dark in there, but I saw a large male German Shepherd Dog lying down. I didn’t feel like stopping, and it didn’t seem that this dog was feeling energetic enough to bother me. So, I ignored the dog and made the left turn at a speed meant to deter the dog’s hopes of a chase.

Out of the corner of my eye though, I saw that I was mistaken. I saw the shepherd gallop down the concrete after me. As I rounded the turn I saw that the road went on for a quarter of a mile straight down a relatively steep hill and made another perpendicular turn at the bottom. I thought I could out run that dog on the down hill on the bike, and besides, I had had a pretty good start. The chase was on. I pedaled for all I was worth and kept my face near the handle bars to minimize wind resistance. I did not waste any time looking back at all because it might slow me down. I could hear the dog barking purposefully behind me. He was getting closer; I could hear it.

As I neared the bottom of the hill I saw a problem. There was no way I could make the turn at the speed I was going and I had not out run the dog at all. I turned once, quickly, just to see how far back he was, and I hit something while I wasn’t looking. It was a recessed water drainage grate. I just held on for dear life as my bike’s front wheel went in, jolting me forward, then back. A picture of myself injured from the fall, lying on the pavement with the dog ripping me up flashed in my mind. I hung on. Then the rear wheel rolled into the ditch and out with such force that the bungee cord released, catapulting my sales case off of the rack and into the air. I couldn’t look because I had to keep the bike from sliding out from under me as I recovered from the bump and tried to negotiate the turn. It was all I could do to keep from crashing.

Then, an unexpected thing happened. My sales case hit the dog when it landed. I heard a yelp and a crash. The box hit the dog’s left foreleg. The dog immediately turned to run away, crying and getting along on the remaining three good legs.

My sales case was a disaster. The hinges snapped, the lid came off, the bottom was cracked, and my demo books were everywhere. The spine of one of the books was also damaged. Fortunately, I was in one piece. I reassembled the case and strapped it together with my spare bungee cord. I was kind of shook up. I considered going back to the house to yell at the owner for not having his dog tied up. I was also a little worried about the dog. It was injured because of its owner’s negligence. But I didn’t go back until much later in the day, when I had finished selling in that neighborhood.

I drove my bike onto the side walk in front of the concrete driveway. The dog and its owner were midway down the drive. The man knelt in front of the dog. I couldn’t tell if he was examining it or just petting it. But, when I stopped the dog saw me. It stared right at me. Would it come after me again? No. It whined and ran back into the garage. “Mr. Jones”, I called. “I wanted to talk to you...” Mr. Jones cut me off, though.

“Hey, you! Why is Max afraid of you? He was hurt today. Did you hurt him? Did you hurt my dog?” By now he was yelling. I guess this was not the time to give him a lecture on leash laws, or sell a book, for that matter. I had learned to avoid confrontations. So, I just got on the bike and rode down that hill again. I gave a nod to the drainage grate that had spared me, but not my pursuer.

Parchment replaced my sales case and damaged book via overnight mail.


mr tickle said...

I <3 your doggy stories.

Sue said...

Many more will be coming Aron. Lot's of folks down there had 'em. Thanks.

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