Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tea and Mocha

Writing today's 500 words seems inordinately difficult for two reasons:

1) Thanks to Mr. Goins retweeting a note about yesterday's letter to him, I had a few visitors to this blog. As my blog has rarely seen anyone in the past, not even me, the attention is a bit unnerving. That said, sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to comment, tweet me, or simply read what I've written. I'll do my best to fully engage this kind community of writers.

2) One of my three dogs keeps chasing me from room to room, making it a challenge to settle and write.

This dog, a wee thirteen pound black-and-tan dachshund we'll call "Mocha," is not, in fact, chasing me in the sense of a "game of tag" or "Friday the 13th" movie. That would be ridiculous. She is almost entirely blind, entirely deaf, and her old joints appreciate a boost climbing the stairs. As to explanation, allow me to proceed briefly and with delicacy, after which we'll continue with today's writing exercise.

By way of example, imagine a tableau, thus:
Living room with three folding chairs, a sofa, a loveseat, occupied by, in no particular order, three married couples and a single woman, engaged in pleasant conversation. Hot tea, slices of Dutch apple pie, fruit salad among them on the coffee table. A Bible study, it would appear.

From the kitchen a low slung dachshund plods, her chin flecked with grey, eyes unseeing; she navigates through the doorway by whisker. In the past she skulked along the baseboards like a greasy ferret, but in her oblivious dotage she has abandoned subtlety and simply rotates twice to lie down unnoticed under the coffee table. Minutes pass. In the distance, a faint train whistle.

This we'll call the "before" picture.

For those nearest the coffee table, there is no warning. They are speaking; they are happy. The little dachshund curled inches below their tea and pie and fruit salad has fallen asleep, and in falling asleep has fully relaxed, and in fully relaxing has started venting toxins. Out of kindness and propriety we shall restrain ourselves from employing similes or metaphors or adjectives describing this scent, except that it is "bad." Wicked, sizzling, bad.

The results are beyond etiquette. Mouths clamp shut. No one is happy; no one is speaking. It's purely up to the hypothalamus now--fight or flight, fight or flight--flight it is.

And so they flee in all directions, keeping in mind that during an emergency the nearest exit may be behind you. Forks crash, chairs wobble. And the room is clear, save for the dog.

They will carry on in the family room. No one is sure how exactly to add this to the prayer list.

This is the dog that curled up alongside my chair a moment ago. Her senses are almost gone but she is a black specter that somehow tracks my movements. She has fallen asleep.

The calendar rustles as I pass. The daily quote is an Irish Proverb stating that God's help is nearer than the door; if that's true then God's help and I must be sharing the same trousers because I am already out.

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