Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bookfield, Three Dogs

Sometimes, when you are out in the middle of the country, and you see a gravel road, you need to make a choice. How many houses are at the end? Sometimes you can tell a lot by mailboxes. The uniform, apartment like cluster of a condominium or trailer park differs from the boxes of individual residences. This gravel road only had one box, but the gravel was new. It could be a new house built by a young couple with kids. I couldn’t see the house from the road. I wondered how far it was. The gravel was a big grade stone, very loose and difficult to ride on. The going was slow. The old farm house that I finally saw was in the middle of a meadow of weeds. The house was shabby and generally unkempt. The paint was peeling off in patches, exposing a darker gray under the whiter gray. It also appeared to need a new roof. A shutter was hanging on askew by one nail. There were some good sized oak trees scattered about.

As I wheeled my bike up the dirt path to the house, about 20 yards away an elderly lady inside opened the door and sicked her dogs on me. Three little dogs came out barking. They were maybe mid calf high at the shoulder, built stocky and had short thick brown hair; could have been some kind of terrier. They had wide mouths, which translates into a strong bite. They were fierce little devils, snapping, barking and bearing their teeth. I began defending myself with my back against one of the large oaks, holding my bike out and throwing small rocks. I was able to keep them away from me, but not scare them off. The old lady just watched us from inside the screen door. Finally she called, “Go away.”

I replied “Please call off your dogs Ma’am.”

I threw the rocks, and the little dogs would retreat, just to come back. They were small and sneaky, and tried to get between the bike and the tree to get me. I’d sway the bike to and fro to repel them, but they worked like a tag team. This went on for some minutes. I was having a bad day; I was hungry, and losing my patience. My anger rose in me. I just wanted to kill one or all or these dogs. These were not real attack dogs, and I probably could have injured them if I really wanted to. Their owner just stood there. I knew she probably wouldn’t buy a book, and I just wanted to make sure she called off her dogs.

“Go away!” she repeated.

I was really pissed now. “Ma’am call off your dogs or I’ll cut their heads off and eat them for lunch.”

“I’m getting my shotgun!!!” And with that, she went back into the house.

Fuck, I thought, but replied, “Have a nice day.” I had no doubt that she would shoot, so I had yelled that I was leaving, made one last lunge at the dogs, hopped on my bike and rode off at the best pace I could manage given the gravel. Fortunately, the dogs did not follow. I never looked back. Going down that gravel road had been nothing but a hot and aggravating waste of time.