July 21, 2006

Bad Dog

A scene for two women [ME, SERPA] and a (self-designated) man [“JESSICA”]

Location: local park

Action: The man and women are running on the path as an unleashed dog comes toward them. The women slow their pace and tentatively meet the dog head-on; as it passes, they notice the man has run a few yards ahead, and is standing conspicuously near a tree. He rejoins them as they pass, and all is quiet… for a minute.


ME: Well. Two for two, now.

“JESSICA”: (who really ought to have the quotation marks deleted at this point): I knew you were going to say something.

ME: Shamelsss.

SERPA: What?

ME: That’s twice now he’s left me to deal with a possibly-dangerous untethered dog by myself while he ran full-out in the other direction.

“J”: Aren’t you always going on about the equality of the sexes?

ME: Oh, I see, by leaving me to be devoured you were practicing Women’s Lib.

“J”: Exactly. I thought you could take care of yourself.

ME: Running away when a family member might be attacked has nothing to do with chivalry. Well, it does, but only marginally; if you were a woman, I’d think it was equally unforgivable.

“J”: Sure you would.

ME: If I had been walking with Mom, I would have gotten in front of her.

“J”: So what—you can protect other people, but not yourself?

ME: That’s not what I’m saying; I probably could have handled the dog if it had actually been dangerous, but my main concern wasn’t the death match—it was what the dog was going to do. I was waiting to see what would happen.

“J”: So was I!

ME: From thirty feet in front of us!

SERPA: And behind a tree.

“J”: So what if it attacked you? You expected me to tackle it?

ME: Well, not anymore I don’t, no.

“J”: Where’s all that feminazi bullshit about “I can handle it! I don’t need a man!”

ME: If the dog had been vicious, A MAN might have come in handy! And for the last damn time, I’m not saying I couldn’t handle it, but you didn’t even stick around to see if that was the case—you TOOK OFF.

SERPA: For real.

ME: It’s one thing to run away from just me, but you left us both—Serpa’s practically a riblet basket!

SERPA: Hey! I’m French, dammit; I’m not a waif.

ME: Dude, you’re one big bone. And I have a “dog thing”, as HE well knows, and still he goes looking out for number one.

“J”: Well, I guess when you’re spouting off about gender equality, you’re really just saying ‘except when I’m faced with wild animals, in which case, men are great?”

SERPA: I think you pretty much proved how untrue that is.

ME: And while you make PMS jokes and earn more money than I do, you maintain that "letting me deal with a dangerous animal on my own is equality of the sexes?"

“J”: Couldn’t you handle it?

ME: YES. AND I DID.

“J”: So what’s the problem?

ME: The problem is that my first instinct is to protect others. Yours is to run away.

“J”: I would have called 911.

ME: From a safe distance, as I distracted the dog with the cunning tactic of letting him gnaw my leg off?

“J”: Is this the plan that stands now?

ME: Go ahead and make jokes; you’re the one who has to live with his own cowardice.

“J”: Yes, I was afraid. There’s nothing wrong with that.

ME: So was I. I didn’t freaking RUN AWAY like a LITTLE GIRL.

“J”: Oh, that’s real feminist of you.

ME: Maybe my feminism’s a little fuzzy at the moment; I just discovered I’m the one with the balls.

“J”: Jesus Christ.

SERPA: Does your wife know that she can’t send you to the park with the kids if there may be dogs around?

“J”: I wouldn’t let the kids get eaten.

ME: Oh, yeah, right: “Hey babe, we had a great time at the park, but I’m gonna have to knock you up again if we wanna fill all the beds in the house.”

SERPA: “Cause there was this dog…”

ME: “And he was really big, and he got hold of little Vincent…”

SERPA: “Which, yeah, you’re right, was kind of a stupid name for a kid…”

ME: “Not that it matters now…”

SERPA: “But on the bright side, we can have that ‘Harriet’ you always wanted…”

ME: “But not if you really like the name, because I think that dog might live around here…”

“J”: “And you know, it’s not like AUNT BEEDOO can do anything to save her nephew’s life…”

ME: “Yeah, not like that day she tried to get me to realize that I was a spineless fop and I should take the day’s events as a lesson in how to better oneself in preparation for parenthood, but aside from all that…”

“J”: “It’s not like she, y’know, kicked the dog’s ass or anything…”

ME: “But maybe I should have told her she would have to be the kid’s father as I’m too much of a flippin’ pussy to protect my own children…”

SERPA: “Because my first instinct is to save my own pretty face…”

ME: “I mean, come on—I could have got hurt!”

“J”: Bitches. I’ll just be running ahead of you.

ME: Why? Did you see a bear?

SERPA: Or a small squirrel?

“J”: Screw you guys.

ME: What do you care what we say? I mean, we’re technically dead.

“J”: Then how come I can still hear you?

ME: Guilt. Voices in your head.

SERPA: Haunt haunt haunt.

ME: Distant barking...

SERPA: Sound of a baby crying…

ME: “Is that you, Vincent? I’m sorry!”

SERPA: “How could I have known you’d be barbecue flavor?”

“J”: I hope there’s no dogs on your long walk home.

ME: Don't worry; we'll protect you.

SERPA: Or not.

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