Yesterday morning, I walked my new puppy before work. I was joined by my sister and her dog. For those of you who knew Beatrice (the dog I put down recently) you can imagine what a freeing experience this was- what with my new dog not (a) attacking my feet, (b) mauling my sister's dog, (c) gulping down various carcasses at a frantic pace and (d) darting out into the road in an attempt to bite the shit out of any tire or pedestrian passing by.
This was a normal walk with a normal dog.
A puppy, really.
The worst behavior I've seen from this dog is getting sleepy in the middle of the walk and plopping down on the sidewalk, legs shooting straight back, and eyes shutting tight. He's chomped on a dried leaf or two and bounded through the grass in playful arches. That's about it. He can hardly be classified as aggressive.
So, you can imagine that when Crabby McCrabberpuss, aka Sir Jogs-a-lot, trotted down the street where my sister and I were walking, and yelled out, "CONTROL YOUR FUCKING DOG!"- well, I was both amused and surprised. There was nothing that needed controlling, really. Was he having some Nam-like flashback? Did my gopher-sized puppy morph into a vision of a rabid frothing-at-the-mouth pit bull while Mr. Grouchy-pants jogged on by?
I'm not sure.
While I was ready to laugh it off and repeat it as a good story at work, my sister became irate. "GOOD MORNING TO YOOOOOOOU!" she sang to the man as he jogged farther and farther away. She used a particularly you-were-just-an-ass-to-us-and-I'm-going-to-out-chipper-you voice. Warbly and sing-songy. Almost early morning KETC programming. My sister could have had her fist shoved up a cute little lamb puppet. "GOOOOOOD MORNIIIIIIIIIG!"
Certainly Mr. Douche-for-Manners heard her, but he was clearly unimpressed. He jogged on.
"Did you hear that asshole?" my sister barked. "He called your dog a FUCKING DOG! A FUCKING DOG! Did he SEE your dog? It's a PUPPY! What kind of asshole calls a little puppy a FUCKING DOG? I draw the line right there. That guy's an asshole."
I was semi-enjoying my sister's rant about Mr. Potty-Mouth and was curious to see if it would fizzle out or continue for the duration of our walk.
"I know that douchebag!" she continued. (We both seem to favor the word "douchebag," by the way.) "He's a parent at [call my sister to find out the name] School! And he was a total dick to his daughter once. Seriously. He told her to 'get out of the goddam car' one time. She was in kindergarten! Now he's calling your puppy a fucking dog?! That's it! I know where he lives!"
My sister is definitely the outspoken sibling in our little family. Our great-uncle says she's never had an unspoken thought. And she knows this about herself. If she's thinking it, she's saying it. And she was thinking this guy needed to be told what an ass he was.
At the top of the hill and past the park, my sister and I parted ways. She walked down towards her house, and I towards mine. I had getting ready for work to do. The sky was becoming lighter. I'd have to hurry to have enough time to drive through Starbucks on the way.
I had just hopped out of the shower when my cell phone rang.
"B? It's me. Your sister. I did it."
Oh, God. She's killed a man. Holy shit. I'm not lying for her. No way. No how.
"I called that guy. I looked him up in the buzz book and called him. His answering machine came on and I said, "Um...hello...my name is Amy Hauser? And I'm a mom of a kid who goes to the same school as your kid? Yes....um....my sister and I were walking our dogs this morning? It was our first walk with my sister's new puppy? She put her dog down last week. Anyway, as you jogged by, you yelled out, 'CONTROL YOUR FUCKING DOG!" and...And then he picked up the phone. He said, 'Ma'am?! Ma'am?! I don't know who you are, but you are calling my house at 6:50 a.m.'"
My sister was spilling the story out almost faster than she was able to form the words. She was giddy with excitement and I knew there was more to be revealed.
"He kept going on like that. 'Ma'am? Ma'am?' Oh, like now all of a sudden you have manners and call me ma'am, when minutes ago you were calling my sister's dog a FUCKING DOG! What an asshole. So, I said, "Listen. I've seen you before." She said seen as if she were squinting her eyes knowingly. "I've seen you before. Up at school. And you were verbally abusive to your daughter. We all saw it. And this morning you were verbally abusive to my sister's dog. If you want to be an asshole in your own house, that's your problem. But once you take it out on the streets," (she actually said "take it out on the streets") "it becomes the community's problem. And I want you to know that next time I see you doing that to your daughter or my sister's dog or anyone else, I'm HOTLINING YOU!"
I imagine her phone was covered in spittle, such was the fury of her words.
"Then, do you know what he said?"
"He said- get this- get what a douchebag he is. He said 'Your dog tried to bite me.' He actually said that. I mean, did he see your dog? A tiny puppy?"
"What did you say?"
"Well, I burst out laughing. You know. The kind of laugh that's so loud you say it hurts your ears?"
I do know that one. It hurts to think about, even.
"Yeah. I burst out laughing, and then I yelled 'PUSSY!' and hung up."
"I told him what he was. A pussy! Only a pussy thinks a puppy is going to bite them!"
"I guess so."
"It felt so good. You know. Like I was standing up to every bully there ever was. Pussy. What a pussy."
"Yeah, I guess he is a pussy."
That was about the extent of our conversation.
This morning we walked again. The streets were dark and empty. There were no thumping sounds of running shoes rhythmically hitting the pavement. I think he got the hint.
"I saw that man's wife yesterday afternoon," my sister told me. "I felt like going up to her and saying, 'Hey. I guess you know you're a lesbian, because you're married to a pussy." She had a point there, as well.
Here's what I know: If you're not prepared to have my sister call you and tell it like it is, I'd suggest removing your name from the buzz book. And the phone book. Perhaps you could move in the middle of the night and forward your mail on, too. Because she will find your ass. Just sayin'.