Blackie is a big dog. He’s black. He ran away.
“Where’s Blackie?” I asked the family.
“We don’t know! He was tied up outside and now he’s gone!”
I looked out the back window and saw Blackie running through the field across the street behind our house, dragging his leash behind him. “I’ll get him!” I screamed.
“Go get him,” screamed my family.
“That’s what I just screamed!” I screamed.
I shoved my stocking feet into my Tweetie Bird slippers and ran out the back door. “Blackie, Blackie!” I screamed as I ran across the street. Blackie was an untrained old dog, who did not listen to his name. “Blackie, Blackie, here boy, come here you cute little maniac!”
Blackie was interested in sniffing. But when he heard me approaching, he ran. I chased him. He first ran to the left. I followed. He stopped and sniffed the grass. When I closed in, he took off again and circled around to the right. I followed. He stopped to nuzzle a dirt clod. I crept up stealthily this time, determined to stomp on his leash quickly to prevent his escape. But he heard me and ran again when I drew near. I chased him. Toward the street. Away from the street. Around a bunch of gnarled trees. Through a creek. Under a fence. Over a rock.
Everywhere that Blackie went, I was sure to go. Running behind him, back, forth, forth, back, the dragging leash always just out of my reach. Some barbed wire ripped Tweetie’s head from my right slipper.
As I huffed and puffed through the field, I wished I had a raw steak or a dead squirrel to hit him with.
Again to the right. Again to the left. This way that way. Blackie was muddy. I was muddy. Blackie loved it. I was livid.
Finally I tripped over a stump and went home. My family crowded around me at the door. “Dad, why didn’t you get him? He’s still running through the field! Look at him! He’ll run into a car and damage it! Go get him, Dad! Hurry up!”
“You get him!” I growled as I kicked off my muddy, tattered Tweeties. “You kids wanted a dog, but your mom and I always have to take care of him. As far as I’m concerned, he can stay in the field until his mange symptoms recur.”
My son went out and got him.
Later that evening I was removing chiggers and ticks from my scratched legs. The poison ivy was already spreading from my ankles to the backs of my knees. Then my wife walked in the room.
“Hey, Blair!” she laughed, “The neighbors posted a YouTube video of you running back and forth through the field chasing Blackie! Take a look! It’s a scream!”
I didn’t look, but I did scream.