“Windsor, you son on a bitch, get your ass off my lawn! Go on .. get the hell outta here!”
That was Old Man Jenkins. He and his wife Margaret live next door to us and the source of his rage was none other than our pet bulldog, Windsor. My husband Tom would run out of the house, apologizing profusely.
“Sorry, Mr. Jenkins! Windsor’s a handful but he’s just playing. He’s really lovable once you get to know him.”
“Get to know him!? Are you freaking nuts, Peterson? That bastard just crapped on my fruit trees!”
“Fertilizer, Mr. Jenkins?” Tom suggested sheepishly and dragged Windsor away.
“FERTILIZER!?! I think you mean shit!
“Hush now, Aaron!” chastised Margaret. “Using such vulgarism .. why, there’s children next door!”
“Don’t hush me, Margaret! That damn dog’s a menace! If you can’t control your frigging mutt, Peterson, I’m gonna call the cops. Or maybe I’ll just put a bullet between his beady little eyes.”
And the kids started crying.
“Now, Mr. Jenkins, please don’t say that. You’re scaring my kids.”
“Well, that’s just too damn bad! You solve this problem or I will .. permanently.”
Tom brought Windsor back inside, promising the kids everything was going to be ok, that Old Man Jenkins was just sputtering angry syllables that he didn’t really mean.
The next few days we kept Windsor on a short leash. Old Man Jenkins seemed to calm down and busied himself with his fruit trees.
On Saturday morning Margaret Jenkins approached me in the grocery store. “Thank you, Alice, for keeping Windsor out of our yard. Now Aaron can care for his beloved fruit trees in peace. In fact, he’s been so preoccupied he hasn’t noticed the family of critters living in our wood pile. They’re just so darling, I even named them – Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar!”
And off she went, chuckling surreptitiously.
Sitting down to dinner later that day, we suddenly heard Old Man Jenkins yelling at the top of his lungs. We never heard him scream like that before so we knew it had to be something awful. Please .. not Windsor! We raced outside, stopping dead in our tracks: there stood Old Man Jenkins, pricked by at least 100 porcupine quills.
“Excellent aim, Balthazar!” exclaimed Margaret. “Guess he knows you’re just a mean old ‘prick’, Aaron!”
Old Man Jenkins learned a lesson that day: don’t mess with Margaret; she’s one smart cookie!
NAR © 2018