Want to hear a monster story?
I was at Petco this fine Halloween afternoon buying dog food for Sunflower. Sunflower, as we know, is the new puppy that Erin loves and the Labrador mix that ate my glasses yesterday. For those that wearing corrective lens, when you’re forced to wear your old pair with the weaker prescription, anything and everything can set you off. It’s like shaking hands with half a migraine and getting a bear hug from the mayor of Blurryville.
Not having your glasses is akin to being lost in a major city without a map or at a taco cart without chivas carne. Gwyn Fisher will get that joke. Because Petco is the corporate sponsor of the San Diego Padres, I like shopping there but it is a master’s class in inefficiency with both customer service and smell. The place always reeks like a mischievous joker hid a mackerel in the dropped ceiling and continues to add a fish a day to create a dilapidated pier meets hobo smell. Also, checking out is marginally shorter than crossing the border into a foreign country. People with too many tattoos and pet iguanas man the counters making even the simplest transaction a study of watching paint dry.
Anyway, as I am waiting to pay for some over-priced liberal dog food for a dog that has successfully consumed my glasses, watch and wallet, I see this little girl in front of the kennels of cats. She is dressed in a princess costume and jamming a stick into the cage. Her target was a chubby tabby with black socks on its fluffy white coat. The weapon of choice was a length of dowel wrapped in rubber tape and a stuffed mouse on the end. Instead of enticing the caged cat to play, she proves, pokes and eventually strikes the cat. Beating the cat like a jacked-up screw in a Thai prison, she gleefully lashes at the cat while the feline tried to find sanctuary away from the sadistic princess.
“Hey!” I barked from across the room. “Knock it off.”
I was over 20 feet away from her. I never moved an inch towards her but I held her in my glare. My vision might be blurry but I can see a very naughty little girl beating a cat as clear as day from my position. The woman in front of me shot me a look.
“Tell her to stop hitting the cat.”
“She’s trying to play with the cat.”
“She most certainly is not.”
Mexican standoff have less tension. The little girl bursted into tears as she ran to her mom. I stood behind them while the two inept cashiers look terrified at me and the other people waiting to check out give me a look. No words, just heavy, hot, judging, disapproving, angry looks.
So much for it takes a village.
I broke first like Mr. Pink. I apologized for raising my voice and said nothing else. I wasn’t going to tell her she was a bad mother raising a Damon-esque kid. The mom was just like me trying to cash out, buying overpriced food for animals that probably have eaten her glasses at one point. Her girl was a handful in costume already for trick-n-treating for the night and the mother looked tired. Not broke and tired but simply tired. She was probably counting the minutes down to the second till she could put down the little princess and consume a quarter of a bottle of Malbec in a gulp. She knew her little girl had gotten out of hand and was embarrassed that a complete stranger had to settle her hash.
I get it but I wasn’t going to apologize for telling her daughter that beating a cat in front of me was the last thing I needed before going to work. I empathized with the cat as it tried to hid in the cramped cage because that how I am going to feel with an army of drunks in grease makeup and hooker clothes yelling at me for drinks. Much like that cat, I was going to be beaten repeatedly over and over again in front of cowards and sociopaths as I beg for help when we both knew nobody was going to save me.
My only salvation is the clock will eventually find 1am. The cat’s sole salvation was the time it took a Neanderthal to ring up a bunch of expensive pet food and get the beating princess and her mom out of the store.
Yep, I am a real monster.
In the time it took for me to pay for Sunflower’s food, I walked out of the store with the kibble over my shoulder towards the truck. And of course, they are parked right next to me. I considered walking around the block but that would have been wrong. Instead, I marched towards the truck, made solid eye contact with the mother and apologized again for raising my voice. I then looked at the little girl and told her to be safe while trick-n-treating.
No sense for both us to have a crummy night.
Most people think of October 31 as Halloween but for those us proud to call the Silver State home, the last day in October is Nevada Day. In 1864, eight days before the presidential election, Abraham Lincoln signed the rushed legislation that made Nevada the 36th state—the most beautiful and glorious state in the union. I am proud to have been raised in the southern part of the state and go through college in the best God damn college in America, the University of Nevada.
Go Wolf Pack!
I chose to live in Salt Lake City, a damn fine town, but my eyes always look out the west. Utah is wear I hang my hat but home means Nevada to me. Happy Birthday, Nevada. You hardly look 150 years old.