December 21, 2011
There’s a pond and garden shop a couple of miles north of town that really does the whole Christmas lights thing up right. I’ve been looking forward to driving out there with Mickey and enjoying the display because I reasonably figured that viewing a quarter acre of lighted Christmas displays on a dead end street would necessitate Mickey slowing down to at least 40/45 miles per hour. (My neck is still slightly whiplashy from our Grand Christmas Lights Cruise of 2009.) Let’s take the dogs with us, I said. It’ll be fun, I said. What could go wrong, I said.
By the time Mickey whipped the minivan around a corner on two wheels past the pond shop and onto the dead-end street, I already knew that Slevin was unhappy. He was stuck in the middle of the van with Shooter and had apparently given up all hope of seeing Christmas lights. Slevin likes Christmas lights. He especially likes the dark gray ones. But the poor guy was missing everything. He was laying on the floor of the van, emitting the occasional despairing sigh. Well, we can’t have that, can we? So I asked Mickey to pull over and stop.
Mickey is nothing if not agreeable.
Once I picked up the items from the back of the van that had been thrown forward onto the dashboard by Mickey’s spirited deceleration (my purse, the smaller of the two dogs, a large bottle of liquid detergent, a floor jack, the spare tire and an old Taco Bell cup), I exchanged seats with Slevin. I strapped myself into the middle seat next to Shooter and Slevin took the front passenger seat. What could possibly go wrong?
Mickey drove down one of the nicest streets in town, Broadway, determined to find Christmas lights for our ooohhhhing and aaaahhhhing pleasure. The faint glowing blur of red, white and green that streaked past the tinted windows of the middle seat assured me that he was giving us the grand tour, but by that time I was unable to fully enjoy the ride. I was feeling slightly carsick. I can only assume that Shooter was also because he began to give olfactory evidence of severe gastrointestinal distress.
In the front seat, Mickey’s eyes began to water. “Did that dog crap in the van?”
Needless to say, we had to cut the Grand Christmas Lights Cruise of 2011 short. I breathed a sigh of relief with what little oxygen left in my lungs that hadn’t been burnt away by Shooter’s methane as we pulled into the driveway. We were home. What could go wrong?
Mickey leaped nimbly out of the driver’s side. Slevin leaped even more gracefully out after him. That left Shooter and I. There’s no way I can explain how a 60 pound dog prevented me from getting out of my own damned vehicle. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that he did prevent me. Mickey reached in to try and pull Shooter away so that I could unfasten my seat belt. Shooter slipped out of his collar. Mickey slipped him back into it. Shooter slipped out of it again. Mickey slipped him back into it. Shooter head-butted me in the nose and anointed me with one last mind-bending fart as tears streamed down my face.
God as my witness, there will be no Grand Christmas Lights Cruise of 2012.