The chase is on.
I slam my car into park and climb out. “Napoleon Dynamite the Second, get back here! NOW!” My tone borders on shrieking.
This is ridiculous. I can’t believe I left work to come home and chase down my dog—no, my daughter’s dog.
I scan the streets. Napoleon is nowhere in sight.
Mrs. Clancy, my elderly neighbor who called me out of a meeting to inform me that the dog had gotten loose and was digging ferociously in her flower bed, comes ambling out of her front door, baseball bat in hand.
“Mrs. Clancy, put down the bat. Napoleon may be a nuisance but he’s harmless.”
“Tell that to my flowers!”
My front door opens and Krissy, the fourteen year old babysitter strolls out. “What’s going on?”
“Napoleon got loose. I’ve been trying to call you all morning but the phone was busy.”
Guilt splashes over her face. “I wasn’t on the phone, I swear. I was just about to give Allie a bath.” We both look down at the cordless phone, still in her hand.
“Did the carpet guy come?” I try to ignore the fact that she’s been yakking on the phone all morning instead of playing with my daughter.
“Oh – yeah. He left about fifteen minutes ago. Carpet looks great!” She gives a “thumbs up” and a gigantic smile. Her pathetic attempt at looking responsible falls flat on me.
Behind Krissy, the door swings open and my three year old flies out, buck naked. “No bath, Mommy!” She tears around the side of the house, free as a bird.
“Krissy—grab Allie before somebody calls the cops and reports my toddler for indecent exposure.” I turn to Mrs. Clancy. “Which way did Napoleon go?”
She points the bat towards her back yard.
At this moment, a brown rust-bucket of a car loudly turns the corner. As it nears, it suddenly speeds up and squeals away down the street. But not quickly enough for me to miss that in the passenger seat sits my fifteen year old daughter—yes, the one who begged for a dog for two years until I finally (and stupidly, I might add) relented—who is supposed to be shopping with Melissa. Instead, she is in a car with a purple-haired, tattoo covered stranger who looks twice her age and ten times as experienced.
“Yo, Adrienne!” I yell at the car, Rocky Balboa-like. If I had a pair of boxing gloves I would definitely give the tattoo guy a round he wouldn’t forget.
I can't help noticing several blinds in nearby windows being slitted open and the beady eyes of nosy neighbors peering out, probably wondering about the maniac loose in their neighborhood.
You’d think they’d be used to it by now.
An hour later, still no Napoleon. I trudge into the house. Mrs. Clancy follows me.
“My precious flowers,” she whines.
“I’ll pay for the flowers, Mrs. Clancy.” I dig through my purse for a twenty and hand it to her. She leaves, mumbling about how it’s not nearly enough to cover new bulbs.
Krissy drags in a naked, screaming Allie, who she finally dragged out of the sandbox. I cringe at the trail of sand she is tracking in. But I cringe more at the thought of the other places I’ll find sand. Ew.
The door opens again. It’s the rebel, Adrienne. “Look who I found!” She says cheerfully, likely hoping I’ve forgotten about her lying, speeding away, and her undesirable male companion.
Napoleon, the curly brown-haired mutt, trots in, leaving more muddy prints on my new carpet.
“You’re grounded,” I tell Adrienne. She makes a face and stomps off towards her room.
I look at Krissy. “And you’re fired.”
“So I’m not getting paid for today?”
I glare at her and she slinks out the door.
“You’re filthy!” I scold Allie, who now sits, decorating my new carpet with sand butt-marks.
“And you’re history!” I tell Napoleon. He wags his tail and licks my hand.
A knock sounds at the door and—go figure—it’s the cops.
“Let me guess. Indecent exposure?” I ask.
Mr. Policeman nods. “Yes, Ma’am.”
I would cry right now but I’m laughing too hard. Oh, I’m going to wet my pants!
And then, as if a mind-reader, Allie claps her hands and says, “Go potty, Mommy!”
And so she has. Right on—yep—my new carpet.
The chase is definitely on, alright... but this time for my sanity.
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