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Musing: An Awful Offal Story
The following occurred three years ago when we lived in Murrells Inlet. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent, because there are no innocent parties.
Quite the traumatic event unfolded today for poor Roscoe during our morning walk. He was minding his own business—in quite the euphemistic way we dog owners use regarding our canine’s bathroom habits—when he was attacked by a most unexpected set of villains. Awful. Horrible. Seared into our memories forever.
To properly explain how such a heinous thing transpired, I need to provide a wee bit of background.
A multi-dog household like ours produces a significant quantity of—how do I put this delicately?—output. When we lived on a large piece of land in the mountains far from any neighbors, disposing of such matter was easy. If a bear does it in the woods, then a little heap of hound won’t matter.
Living on the edge of an environmentally sensitive salt marsh in an actual neighborhood, however, changes things. We need to be responsible with our refuse.
Fortunately, a official receptacle to deposit such deposits sits along the path of our morning walk. We’ve chatted with the guys who empty those cans. Our hats off—and noses closed—to them for their responsible ways.
That leaves only the matter of transporting our matter to the collection unit. The best solution we’ve found is to store our doggie donations in a small grocery bag.
Sometimes, our dogs aren’t even the producers, as we might discover some other person didn’t pick up. Sad, but true, and we add other canine stock to our stockpile. Or is that a pile to our stock?
Never mind. You get the picture—and are probably thankful we haven’t gone scratch-and-sniff.
Since we now have involved the nose in our story, we’ll tell you our doggie bags are lavender scented. Because, you know, lavender masks the odor of what’s inside. Just like the Axe Body Spray your co-worker in the next cubicle spritzes after his lunch-time workouts covers his smell.
Just like that.
Anyway, the small receptacle bags accumulate in the larger receptacle bag until we have a sufficient quantity to transport to the even larger receptacle. Today was one of those days.
The morning dawned bright and sunny—perfect for our jaunt. Two humans, five canines, and a grocery bag reeking of doggie delight and lavender. Just another morning of paradise at the coast—sea breezes mixed with the smell of salt water and lavender dog crap.
We expect everyone—for clarification, I’m referring only to canines—to make their morning donation during our walk prior to dropping our droppings in the drop box. Everyone except Roscoe had completed their duty (or doodie).
He would have been on schedule. He’s timely with his habit. Unfortunately, his early attempt to perform his business was interrupted when a squirrel distracted him. He was in the proper poo position when the chittering and chattering little tree rodent appeared not three feet in front of him. Choices had to be made. Roscoe chose squirrel. Squirrel chose tree. Roscoe forgot his current appointment. Poopus Interruptus.
I wasn’t too worried as nature would call soon enough—and I’m not referring to the squirrel—and refocus his concentration. Just before we reached our disposal depot, he signaled his readiness. He hunched his body and fired. Bombs away.
To retrieve the debris, I freed my hands of their burden by gently placing the grocery bag on the trail. Delicately, so as not to disturb its contents. I stood, reached into my pocket, and extracted a sweet lavender scented bag—empty and waiting for its purpose. I opened it to prepare for receiving its just reward.
Roscoe finished. Such events require festivities. His celebratory dance began. He jigged. He jagged. A lightness in his paws he hadn’t had just a moment earlier.
As he continued his performance, I bent over to pick up the prize. Focused on his movement on the ground, I wasn’t supervising his movement in the air. What happened next is all my fault.
In his buoyant bouncing, his leash became entangled in the waiting grocery bag. What had been properly on terra firma now lifted into the air and became a catapulting container of crap. In an amazing feat of gymnastics, it somersaulted around the now taut rope. A single handle wrapped itself around the leash, leaving the bag firmly attached and the contents dangerously exposed.
If only I had moved faster. Alas, I confess, I did not. I was stunned by the events. I was frozen in fear. I both understood what was about to happen and refused to accept it.
Roscoe, freaked at the sight of a bouncing bag of bunk suspended in the air between him and his human, made the disastrous decision to wiggle away. His leash, unfortunately, remained attached to me, so escape proved futile and his movement only caused the bag to dance on the line. Its contents bounced inside.
By now, I comprehended the imminent threat and stood to stop the mayhem. My standing, however, elevated the satchel of doom over Roscoe’s head, so he jumped to escape. That extra propulsion made the bag jump and the little packets of poo jump along with it.
In his fright, he twisted, so the bag twisted, and its prizes twisted. With all the jiggling and jangling, it was only a matter of time. The first lavender bag launched into the air.
Gravity, as Sir Isaac Newton discovered with apples, is a universal law of nature. I could get into the details of physics here about mass and resistance and velocity, but let’s just say that what goes up must come down. And down it came.
We held our breath and watched it descend. Man on one end of the leash. Canine on the other. Projectile falling at the midpoint between us. We held our breath. Silence descended upon us. Until a simple noise broke through.
If only things had ended there. This would have been an amusing anecdote. A tiny tale of hilarity. But, no. Now, Roscoe had a real nemesis.
His enemy started out as the world’s smelliest grocery bag tangled in the leash connecting him with his human, but things had escalated. The pouch was no longer just bouncing and twisting. No, now it was armed and flinging projectiles at him. Lavender-scented projectiles, at least until they hit the ground with explosive velocity and unleashed their unholy contents. These were the ultimate scud missiles. He had exactly one thought. Escape.
I couldn’t just step back and watch the unfolding horror. On, no, because the leash that attached Roscoe to me also attached me to my whirling furry friend. I could no more retreat than he.
People have often asked me if our use of waist belts affixing our dogs to ourselves ever caused problems when a rabbit or squirrel or other object of desire darted across our path. No, I’ve always replied, they are quite useful in controlling the situation because I can plant my feet and stop the charging fur brain from pursuing his target.
However, I had never considered this situation. We weren’t dealing with a normal event. Now it was raining bags of poo.
In Roscoe’s last buck, he finally accomplished his original goal. The grocery bag released its grip and flew high into the air. It spun repeatedly, flipped over, opened up, and floated gently to the ground like a parachute.
Its contents, however, descended at a much more rapid pace. Sir Newton could explain, but I think you get the idea.
To make matters worse—as if this wasn’t enough—the spinning nature of the bag on its ascent meant its launch wasn’t in a neat, tight pattern. Oh, no, the matter was fired in all angles, a giant firework exploding its plumes in all directions. They hung in the air, waiting on their inevitable plummet to earth.
And, yes, it rained down around us. A bombardment of an extraordinary ordnance. A holy hell of a piñata, except no child would go diving for these treats. Let’s just call it what we’re all thinking—it was the ultimate shit storm, a thundering of turds, a poonami of epic proportions.
After a few hours of tumbling terror—maybe less—my memory is hazy—quiet returned. A breeze rustled through the forest. Lavender wafted in the air—along with a slightly less appealing fragrance.
Roscoe had vanquished his attacker. The evidence of the battle was flung across the trail.
I picked up the scattered scat and repacked the grocery bag. Roscoe watched warily.
We continued our walk. I safely deposited our awful offal in its proper receptacle.
We made it home, slightly battle-scarred and wary.
Roscoe may never be the same.
Nor will I.
Gratuitous Dog Picture: The Star
The star of today’s story is none other than Roscoe P., the youngest member of The Herd. He would stick around and talk, but he’s got things to do.
On The Website This Week
Vocabulary Word of the Week – Katabatic versus Anabatic
Last month’s survey results – Who Buys From Bookstores?
Take this month’s survey – Pumpkin Spice: Love it or hate it?
Bonus Short Story
Long time fans with good memories may remember this isn’t the first story I’ve written about my canines and this delicate topic. If you need another one, I do have A Crappy Little Short Story.
Did you like today’s story? If so, share it with a friend. They’ll thank you for it. Or not.
Either way, have a terrific week. Laugh at yourself like I do. See you next Monday.
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