Growing up

not all dogs go to heaven. this is the first of a few that are in hell.


Maggie was the curly-haired terrier that lived across the street from us with her soon-to-be-divorced cardiologist and housewife parents.  She was orange and brown and weighed about as mush as I did in 1983 when I met her one spring afternoon as she came bounding across her parents’ front yard, across the street, and at me, jumping into my face and knocking me onto the pavement in front of my brother and Stephanie, the cute girl who lived a few houses down.  My heavy backpack glued to the ground and my legs in the air like a sprayed-with-Raid cockroach, I lay there for a few seconds while trying to keep stinking mongrel spit from coating my hot pink face.  A few seconds later, I slowly rose to my feet and stared into the cur’s shit-brown eyes while declaring, “I am Muskrat:  chaser of amphibians and small reptiles, navigator of a blue Mongoose, and defender of this land.  And I will have my vengeance.”

But there was no vengeance.  Only frightened running from the bus stop to my parents’ front door every day after school, like Ralphie, Flick, and Randy running from Scott Farkus and Rover Dill, but without the background music.

Fast forward two years later.  I’m a little bigger and stronger now, and I’ve found a natural affinity for shedding tacklers and delivering stiff-arms in games of “smear the queer” and backyard football.  After one such contest at recess, I jumped off the bus and stood on the street at our bus stop.  Then I saw a figure I hadn’t seen in quite some time–a blur of orange curls bounding straight for me.  It was my old nemesis, Maggie.

I dropped my backpack onto the ground.  The kids who’d just disembarked slowly backed away.  The beast continued her acceleration as I stood there, gritting my teeth and staring at her approaching breastplate.

I remembered my Social Studies teacher’s telling us about the colonists’ not firing ’til they saw the “whites of their eyes” during a Revolutionary War battle and decided I would do the same.  As soon as Maggie’s eyes were visible, she leaped for my stomach, and I kicked her in the chest as hard as I could.

I let out a bellow that would’ve made Howard Dean jealous, a sound I can only imagine would come from Chewbacca and a basset hound’s lovechild.  Maggie crashed to the asphalt, rolled over a few times, and then looked at the circle of pre-pubescent children staring down at her.  She slowly rose from the gravel shoulder, shook, and trotted the other direction, never to chase me again.

And from that day forward, any time I saw Maggie from afar, I’d release that bellow at her, and she’d sprint the other direction like a frightened bunny.

Call me Maximus.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


  1. Lol…”smear the queer” I haven’t heard that term in years. Ahh, the bruises and the fun.

    Oh, and little rat dogs have it coming.

    Jim’s last blog post..He Blogs, She Blogs IV

  2. avatgardener

    Mean Mr. Muskrat masters mongrel Maggie.

  3. Sounds like you made Maggie your Biatch!

  4. Never heard of smear the queer.

    SciFi Dad’s last blog post..This Is The Meal That Never Ends…

  5. Jim, Maggie was no “little rat dog”! She was huge! Either that, or I was very small in the 3rd grade.

    AvatG, I like the sound of that–“masters.”

    WeaselMamma, That was the goal. Yes, I think I did.

    SciFi Dad, You missed out on a wonderful game, then.

  6. Just did a survey for a customer whose ratty akita immediately started humping my leg as soon as I got on the porch. She said, “Oh, he’s just establishing dominance.” I wanted to say, “Well, perhaps you should grab his run chain before I establish a boot in his skull.”
    I settled for smiling, bumping him off with my hip, and surreptitiously banging him on the head with my clipboard when the lady turned her back.

    Shieldmaiden1196’s last blog post..Exhibiting my meme-ory

  7. man, wouldn’t like to meet you on a dark night…

    and I am shit scared of dogs.

    SSG’s last blog post..ignorfamous

  8. you bad, bad man, you… kicking that poor innocent little doggie… tsk tsk. 😉

    ChurchPunkMom’s last blog post..Tagged!

  9. Heh.

    I don’t think Maggie knew what hit her..

    Then again, maybe she did, and decided that your shoe just wasn’t worth the trouble if you were going to wear it _AND_ kick her with it.

    You mean, mean person!

    You’re not much of a dog person, are you?

    I bet you play more with the little kitties, don’t you?

    Jormengund’s last blog post..Awhua?!??

  10. Howard Dean–god, that brings back memories.

    prefers her fantasy life’s last blog post..Tuesdays With My Card-Carrying Gay Buddhist Buddy (Part Two)

  11. Shieldmaiden, How awful! I kinda like it when a dog “establishes his dominance.” Woof.

    SSG, Most people line up to meet me on a dark night. I’m hurt.

    ChurchPunkMom, Right. Innocent.

    Jormengund, What are you saying? I like the dogs I’ve owned. Just not all the ones I’ve been around. And no, no cats for me.

    PrefersFantasyLife, He was entertaining.

  12. Hahaha. Liking your style.

    SSG’s last blog post..ignorfamous

  13. My special lady friend once got bit in the ankle by one of those shitty little Mini Pins. I don’t really know what this has to do with your story, Maximus, but it seemed an appropriate comment.

    A Free Man’s last blog post..Every single one of them named Jennifer

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.