Monday, May 12, 2008

Easy, Cujo. Easy

I did one of those things the other night that you shouldn't really admit out loud.

The walk to the shops from here is deceivingly fast during the day. So I thought I'd feel safe enough doing it at night, reasoning I'd have Miss Jazzus with me. So off we trekked. To the shops. A puffy girl and her quietly shit-scared-at-being-found-out-by-the-other-dog-for-getting-favoured dog.

But I found that at night, wouldn't ya know, isn't it a long way? Past all those trees that look like people waiting in the shadows? Damn those bloody C-grade horrors I watched in my youth*

Arriving in the lights of the local mall, I was about to choose a pole to tie Jazz to. And no sooner had I stalled (to test her to see if she'd sit immediately, and oooh she did, the good grrrl) than a kid comes bowling up asking, "Can I pat your dog?" He was so confident that I immediately got paranoid about his intentions. Not, like, "he wants to ask us for her paw in marriage" intentions, I mean like I suddenly became unsure about leaving her tied up out the front there if she'd already drawn attention to herself. She's so boodiful and we get stopped all the time when we take her out (when she was a pup, we wouldn't get down a street with her without someone cornering us for a chat, we met so many really nice "doggy" people who all had a dog they wanted to reminisce with us about, on seeing Jazz - she's one of *those nice dogs* who'd fit in to anyone's family really easily.... that is, until they discovered she's a maniac who eats her own poo and teases her older sister mercilessly and then wonders why her face gets ripped off and then they'd be all 'Uhhhn second thoughts, you keep her'.

It was very near nightfall when we left. But me being me, I just could not get what I needed and get out faster, could I? No. I had to go traipsing up the very aptly-titled "Specials" aisle (they do it weird in this store, they put a lot of the specials in their own aisle, tucked away in the part only the freaks like me and the tall thin guy with the art student haircut go: the organic section ......) and look at toe socks - which always look so annoying to me, who would want that much fabric between each toe, I ask you - and strange beverage mugs with way too much text on them to bother even beginning to read.

And because of this meander, it was quite dark when I went back out. Greeting my poor pup as she showed the whites of her eyes from beneath Halti, a small group of young inebriated teens at her side. I calmed my churning insides and made eye contact with her, doing a bit of the old, "Oh, hello, patting the dog, were you? Heh heh... hope she wasn't annoying you, heh. Heh. Hmm..." just in case they had flick knives.

"Ohhhhhh, your dohhhhhg, she's so cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute," one of the girls cooed, swaying at me and smelling like she'd just swilled lighter fluid. And at that point, gee, wasn't I relieved I hadn't left the LGBB chained to the pole while I perused the shelves for bargains instead.
"Yeah. She's a beauty," I chortled jovially. I didn't want the hairs on the back of my neck to be raising, but geez, y'know, when it's dark and you're not used to being out at night in a new neighbourhood and there's a bunch of young guys with a couple of girls, all nursing their own cans of alcohol, well.... I just absent-mindedly started calculating the number of metres to the nearest police station. And when I lost count, I made my polite g'byes and rescued Jazz from her pole.

We walked home then, both of us with quickened steps. She's nervous walking at night! Hah. Not me. *buck-toothed grin* Ok, ok... me too.

When we got to the dark bit (the dark bit is kinda dark during the day too, it's a short cut via a lane to our street but it's one of those "cut through the churchyard, down behind the car shop" numbers, not wise at night, I daresay), I could hear the group of teenagers behind me in the carpark. Deciding not to tempt fate or the Boogie Man, I chose to walk down the less dimly-lit main road and we kept a cracking pace the rest of the way home.

When we rounded the bend near our place, I wondered why it is you don't recognise how shoddy the street lighting is unless you're a rather unfit, shopping-laden nervous Nelly with a dog who's so submissive with her halter (which is exactly why you bought it to save drugging her with the doggy equivalent of Ritalin). And just as I was thinking it would be a good place to ambush someone at night, I saw three more youths heading my way. Two guys and a girl (I can't be sure about the pizza place, but maybe?). I kept hold a bit tighter of Jazz's lead, wishing I hadn't bought the washing powder because it was weighing me down. But it had been a good bargain! And anyway, it might be a good whacker if I needed to take a defensive swing now.

So I plastered a half smile on my face and tried to look all non-confrontational but also not an easy target and angled my head towards the ground. They came closer to us and we to them. Then one of the boys crossed to the other side of the road. Hmmm, I thought, I wonder why he's done that. I hope this isn't part of their ambush method. So just in case it was, I can't believe I did this but you know I did .... I pretended to tighten my grip on Jazz's lead as if she was trying to make a bit of a lunge at them (she wasn't, she was just so in the zone - the "get me the hell off this dark street and take this thing off my muzzle, it makes me far too docile to enjoy your company, where is the fun these days?" - that all she was doing was trotting like a Lipizzaner in a prize show). And then, I muttered as the girl and guy went past me, "Easy, girl."

Needless to say, once they passed me I could see this couple were just the cutest skinny-legged kids.

Easy girl. Hnnnnngh! How very Brett Craig of me.

* Can you add to the list of thingsIhavetotellyouoneday the "horror" flick Steve and I watched a few years back, called Bloody Pompoms, about - oh, yes, you guessed it - a cheerleading camp with a crazed "something" killing all the cheerleaders.... and, ok, I'm about to ruin the surprise... it ends up being .... A KNIFE-WEILDING POM-POM. Oh God, I loved it.

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