Mobbed - Random Musing Title Card

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    Musing: Mobbed

    We heard them long before we saw them. A growing chorus of chaos moving unseen in the forest. A cacophony of chirps, chatters, and chittering headed directly for us.

    The dogs’ ears rose in full alert. We humans exchanged nervous glances. No obvious exit from the trail offered us safety. Our limited choices? Continue toward them as confidently as we dared. Or turn tail and flee.

    The volume grew. The echo of shuffling feet suggested a horde larger than any we had ever encountered. They walked with purpose. Their destination, whatever it might be, was behind us. We wouldn’t deter them with our existence. In fact, we feared our presence might attract their attention. They would surround us, close off any escape, and descend upon us.

    In our hesitation, we let the time to avoid them pass. Before we could evade, the first of their pack emerged from around the bend.

    We locked eyes with the leaders of their mob, a pair with an obvious air of authority. When they spied us, they hesitated in their stride. After considering their options, they knew they were as limited in choices as we were.

    Recognizing that fate had divined our encounter, they continued toward us. As their followers came into view, we realized how terribly we had underestimated their number. Dozens and dozens of them stretched as far as we could see. A hundred or more, we realized, shuffled forward in the heat of the summer morning. They dutifully trudged forward, spread wide across the path.

    Their leaders turned and issued a call to the pack. They commanded their charges to pass us without incident. Would their instruction be sufficient?

    “Alright, students, stay on the right side of the trail.”

    With the directive issued, the pair of teachers turned back to us. On the last days of school before summer vacation, they shepherded their wards to a reward earned in their hallowed halls, but received by venturing into the wider world. Their destination? The neighborhood movie theater.

    They could have arranged buses. The weather, though, was too perfect. Sunny. Warm. The trip was simple enough to do on foot along our neighborhood greenway.

    Unless, of course, you encountered a pair of humans walking a small herd of Siberian Huskies. That is, furry kid magnets.

    With a smile and a shrug of shoulders, the adults continued to lead, hopeful—ever so hopeful—they could control their charges. Their eyes, though, glistened with the same doubts we felt.

    We passed the front of the line. The students’ heads rose as they took notice. Their conversations shifted to focus on us. The common phrases we hear all the time filled the air.

    “Snow dogs.”

    “Where’s the sled?”

    “They’re so cute.” The dogs, of course. The humans were irrelevant.

    Like salmon swimming upstream under the watchful eyes of grizzlies, we continued our trek, praying to reach our destination before getting scooped out of the water.

    Passed 10 kids. 20. 30. 50.

    We’d reached the halfway point. The end was in sight. The pair of teachers bringing up the rear watched our progress. Hope twinkled in their eyes that the rest of our pass would remain uneventful.

    Then it happened. A girl reached out her hand with an offer of an ear scratch.

    Roscoe melted. He adores kids. He loves attention more. A kid who offers attention puts him into Siberian heaven. He tilted his head to accept her offer. His silky ears contacted her fingers. To his glee, she stroked.

    The mob’s focus turned to us. Kids broke rank. The orderly lines devolved into a swirling mass of humanity.

    In zombie movies, a requisite scene shows the point of view of a human character as the undead descend and devour. The screen doesn’t do justice to the feeling of being in the middle of such a swarm.

    Roscoe loved every second.

    Which is good because Landon doesn’t appreciate the attention of strangers. Roscoe and I sacrificed ourselves as a diversion, providing an opportunity for my Ever Patient Partner in Life to escort Landon and Frankie to safety.

    Before anyone gets the wrong impression, despite my weaving of this tale, the kids were great. When I asked them not to approach Landon, they didn’t. They willingly gave all their attention to a wriggling, tail-wagging, ecstatic Roscoe.

    When the end of the line finally arrived, the teachers offered their apologies.

    So did I. After all, I was the one walking the fuzzy diversions.

    The roar grew fainter as the mob moved down the trail toward their destination. Hopefully, they enjoyed their movie. We certainly savored the quiet that descended on the trail as we headed home.

    Roscoe led the way. A bounce in his step. Head held high. Best walk ever, in his opinion.


    Thank You For Reading

    Hope you enjoyed today’s story. Roscoe loved making it happen in real life.

    If you have questions or thoughts, drop them in the comments below.

    2 Comments

    1. B J Kays on June 17, 2024 at 4:31 pm

      As a retired elementary teacher, I got a chuckle out of your story. Herding kids is a special kind of adventure.



    2. Susan D on June 19, 2024 at 1:04 am

      Roscoe sufficiently soothed the savage herd!



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