Thomas Wictor

Priorities

Priorities

A few minutes ago, my neighbors’ incessantly barking dog came into my yard and attacked me. This is the fourth time it’s done that. I was on my way to Mom’s house to give Tim the specs for the cover of Hallucinabulia: the Dream Diary of an Unintended Solitarian. It should be ready soon. Today I also signed off on the publication of Chasing the Last Whale. Stay tuned.

I was pondering the oddness of doing all this without Mom being here. And then this matted rat-dog attacked me in my own yard.

“Seriously?” I asked it.

The dog skidded to a stop and gave me a look of pure, thwarted rage. It wanted badly to bite me, but it knew that I wasn’t afraid of it, and that if it tried, I’d jump up and down on it until it looked like the rat-dog in one of my favorite cinematic moments:

Heaven

The dog scampered back across the street and into the dimpled, flabby embrace of its owner. When Mom got sick, the dog once charged her as Tim helped her into the car. Tim used his 130-decibel voice on it, making it streak away as though turbocharged, and then I went and had a word with the owner.

“If your dog attacks my mother,” I told her, “I’m going to punt it back into your yard, and it’s going to land in your arms dead. Do you understand me?”

She apologized profusely, promised to control her dog, and did nothing. It’s the new normal: lip service. Simply saying something is the same as doing it. That’s okay. I actually do things, myself. For example, today I was about to see if I could flatten a dog with my body weight. It was an experiment I looked forward to carrying out.

After talking to Tim, I called Animal Control and told them that my neighbors’ dog keeps coming into my yard and attacking me.

“Has it actually bitten you, sir?” the bored civil servant asked.

“No. I’ve scared it off.”

“Then what do you want me to do about it?”

A few months ago, I would’ve been flabbergasted, but now nothing shocks me. “I want you to contact these people and tell them to keep their dog out of my yard,” I said.

“I can’t do that. I don’t have the authority to tell people something like that.”

He was completely indifferent.

“Okay,” I said. “Tell you what, then: The next time the dog comes into my yard, I’m going to cave in its head with a baseball bat and throw it in the garbage.”

Suddenly he was very emotional. “Sir!” he shouted. “If you did something like that, I’d have to arrest you!”

“But you wouldn’t know I’d done it,” I said. “I’ll wait until there are no witnesses, and then I’ll get rid of the body. The family will assume that the dog ran off. So I’ll kill the dog and get away with it. Just remember that the only reason I’m forced to do this is because you refuse to help me.”

There was a pause, and then he said, “That’s it. You’re going on my list.”

“Yours too?” I asked. “Great. Send me a Christmas card. I’ll send you the corpse of my neighbor’s dog with a bow around its neck. You’ll know it’s from me because it’ll have a concave head.”

He slammed down the phone.

Maybe they’ll deploy the Animal Control SWAT team to prevent me from defending myself when my neighbors’ dog attacks me in my own yard. If so, I’ll film it all. The last Animal Control officer I saw was a hundred pounds overweight. He had massive, hairless forearms shaped like jet-engine pods. They were shiny and perfectly smooth, like flesh-colored aluminum. A bunch of morbidly obese guys with assault rifles and engine-pod forearms may break down my door at any second.

“Hands up! You’re under arrest for making terrorist threats against a dog that keeps attacking you! Whew, mind if we have a seat? Got any snacks?”

Tim talks about moving to Singapore. I used to shudder at the idea. However, which would you rather have, a government that protects humans or a government that protects dogs? I’ve got my own priorities. Call me crazy, but in my hierarchy of fauna, humans come first.

I’m a cat person myself. All you dog lovers are fine. We just have different tastes.

Speaking of taste, dogs are quite yummy, I’ve heard. I don’t plan to eat my neighbors’ dog, but if I cave in its head, I really shouldn’t let the meat go to waste. I’ll feed it to the cute little orange-and-white feral cat that’s been hanging out in Mom’s yard. It used to run when it saw me. Recently, I learned that if you close your eyes for a couple of seconds in front of a cat, it’s a signal that you’re not dangerous. I did that a few times, and now the cat doesn’t run anymore.

“That’s a good puss-puss,” I say to it. “That’s a sweet kitty. Look how pretty you are!”

I can walk within two feet of it to go into Mom’s house. It doesn’t even tense up when it sees me. I may be the only human it trusts to not hurt it. After I feed it a broiled rat-dog with a caved-in head, it may even fall in love with me.

My days are full of infinite possibilities.


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