March 25, 2010
They came at me from out of nowhere, growling madly and gnashing their thin, needle-like teeth. Alone, they could be dangerous; in a pack, they were terrifying.
I climbed onto a near-by patio chair, but it wasn’t high enough to escape them. They clamored for me, their cries and yips and snarls echoing in the semi-enclosed space. One lunged for my leg as I sprang from the chair into the tall planter that formed a half-wall on the south side. It got my sock and I screamed as I tried to shake the creature off. I succeeded in losing my shoe, flinging it against the north side of the patio with a thud, but the berserker held onto my cotton anklet with a deathlike grip.
The pack was going wild. The group below encouraged and maddened the one that held me captive; their bulging, insane eyes insisted on bloodshed. They would show no mercy.
I tried to scream, but no sound would come. The best I could manage was a dry, shrill exhalation as I swatted at the beast on my leg with my bag. “Help me,” I gasped into the indifferent cool of the morning.
The screen door opened. Mrs. Goldman stepped out onto the patio and into the mayhem. The pack spun away from me and swirled around Mrs. Goldman’s thin legs, still snarling and whining. She ignored them. The old woman walked towards me and, grasping the beast in her mottled hands, rescued me from its clenched jaws.
Bringing the creature to her face, she pursed her crinkly lips and kissed the ball of its round head. “You are such a naughty boy, Nacho,” she admonished. She looked around at the rest of the pack. “You are all very naughty. Get in the house, Pedro. You too, Peanut. Vincent, you heard me – get in the house.”
The pack clicked its way through the open door, disappearing into the darkness beyond. Mrs. Goldman stared at me. “You stepped on my aloe vera,” she pointed out.
Still shaking, I climbed down from the planter. I stood there a moment, trying to catch my breath. When I could finally speak I said, “You have to do something about those animals, Mrs. Goldman.”
She waved her hand dismissively. “Do you have my mail or not?”
I reached into my bag and handed her a small bundle of letters. “Mrs. Goldman, I’m serious.”
She turned her curved back to me and shuffled towards the door. “They’re Chihuahuas, young man. Deal with it.”