There’s nothing quite so bracing as when you suck down half a bottle of wine with your evening ration of non-dairy whipped topping, and decide to take the dog out for a post-prandial stroll to admire the heartwarming sunset, when suddenly — blammo. The cold, indifferent hand of fate appears out of nowhere and tears your mellow asunder.
That’s right. It’s a porcupine situation. It unfolds in slow motion. You are but an impotent bystander. Even as you yell “Berrrrtttt! Noooooooooo!” you know full well that his hands are tied. He can no more not chase that porcupine than I can get a Bettie Page haircut and go to the roller derby wearing a mudflap-girl cami.
Subsequent events will proceed pretty much according to the Global Accords Governing Porcu-Canine Relations. The next four hours of your life will be spent driving a yowling golden retriever in to Austin, sitting around in a waiting room full of parvo dogs and puking cats, and eventually coughing up 200 bucks to get the quills extracted.
I didn’t even know we had porcupines.
I had an hour to kill on the drive in, so I gave old Tidy a buzz (Tidy is my sibling). Tidy’s a physiologist, and enjoys surgical hijinx, so I always give her a heads up when there’s some revolting procedure or other in the offing, in case she wants to tag along to spectate and exchange clinical banter with others of her kind in their native tongue. In the course of normal conversation Tidy uses words like “resect” and “patella” and “anterior suspensory sesamoid ligament.” Not this time, though.
“Get out!” said the aforementioned Tidy, when I’d hipped her to the facts. “I didn’t even know we had porcupines!”
“Tell me about it,” I said. “They are pathologically reclusive. The stuff of legend. Apparently dogs are the only people in the entire Hill Country who have ever laid eyes on one. Wanna come with?”
She didn’t wanna come with. It turns out that looking at Bert with 30 barbed quills sticking grotesquely out of his snoot ranks pretty low on her “Things To Do Before I Die” list. I was as surprised as you are.
Of course, it’s at the bottom of my “Things To Do Twice Before I Die” list.