Dognapper

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Illustration by Bob AulWhen I pulled into the parking lot at the grocery store, I found a spot next to your luxury car and let my friend go inside alone. I started to read the newspaper, bothered occasionally by the dog barking in your car. He was a cute fellow, and he barked in a manner more friendly than vicious—little white spots on his head like the thought bubbles in a cartoon and a wagging tail. But your car windows were rolled up, and the temperature outside was already near 80. I waited 15 minutes, then 20, then 25. The dog stopped barking. The temperature warmed. People came and went at the store. I got out of my car and looked into yours: the dog was sprawled out in the back seat, panting. His eyes flickered up at mine for a moment, but he didn't move otherwise. So I ran an experiment: I got back into my car, rolled up my windows and promised myself that I would call the animal shelter when the temperature in my car became uncomfortable. That happened in about 15 minutes, when I figure it had to be near 90. Sweating, I got out of the car and thought: Do I call the shelter? Have someone in the store page you ("Will the asshole with the dog locked up in his car please pull his head out?")? But what if you weren't in that store? Or in any of the several other stores in the center? I thoughtlessly pulled at your car door handle and—what's this?—it was unlocked! Your dog scrambled dizzily out of the back seat, dropped to the asphalt and sat panting at my feet. I looked around; nobody was watching. I scooped him into my car and drove away. I had a hard time explaining to my friend where I had disappeared to, but let me tell you now: your dog is alive and well and living in the lap of lower-middle-class poverty with a family that loves him. You probably haven't noticed he was gone.

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