Posted 03-20-2004 at 06:06:30
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Yesterday I let Elvis out front to take care of some dog business. I was standing at the kitchen sink and I heard...
"Yipe! Yipe...yorr, yorr, yorr!"
He came whooshing past the kitchen window like a bear was after him. Nothing but a brown blur. I dried my hands and went out to find him and see what the matter was. He was standing under the house, nothing but his nose poking out.
"What happened, baby? Come here, let Mama look at you." I simpered.
It took me ten minutes to coax him out from under the house, and when he came, he was limping on one of his hind legs. I got a knot in my stomach. My first instinct is always snake bite. He wouldn't let me touch him, so I put him in the house and called Fred and told him what happened.
"Do you think it could be snake bite?" I asked, staring worriedly at Elvis.
"Could be." He confirmed. "Also could be a wasp sting or a mosquito bite. You know what a wimp that dog is. He could have backed into a palmetto bush and scared himself."
"Well that wouldn't make him limp, Fred." I was starting to feel foolish as I DO know what a wimp that dog is.
"Yeah, but he's also a faker."
"S'cuse me?" This was a new one for me.
"He's a big old faker!" He reiterated. "I merely THREATENED to kick him one day and he limped around for a week."
"What symptoms do I look for if it IS snakebite."
"In about ten minutes he won't come when you call him. Or look at you. Or breathe."
"Thanks for the reassurance."
"You asked." He chuckled. "Keep an eye on him and give me an update in a few minutes, but if he got bit by one of those big old rattlers out there in the palmettos, you have no time to do anything."
I hung up and sat there staring at Elvis. He sat in the middle of the floor staring back at me. I've known this dog for almost ten years and he is sharp as a tack. This was just the kind of stunt he would pull if he thought I was putting him out for the afternoon where it's hot and sunny, when he could be laying in the house in the air conditioning.
"How you feeling?" I asked him.
He walked a few feet and flopped down on the living room floor.
"If you knew anything about me, you would be able to tell I'm dyin' here." His eyes said.
I wrinkled my nose.
"Something smells fishy in here, old dog." His limp had completely disappeared. He wriggled around until he had his back to me. In effect telling me that he had nothing more to say on the subject.
Since there appeared to be no life threatening issue at hand, I didn't bother to call Fred back. Imagine my surprise when he pulled into the yard later that afternoon in a strange truck pulling a trailer with a bulldozer on it.
"What in the he..."
"I got to thinking about this whole palmetto/rattlesnake situation. We really need to get those palmettos out of there. It's the only way we're going to get rid of the snakes. So," he patted the tire of the bulldozer, "we're going to devote the W H O L E weekend to cleaning out the lot of them."
Elvis was standing next to me on the front porch.
"You old drama queen! Look what you've done with your faking!" I hissed.
His head was sinking lower by the second, and his tail was quivering.
"Now you've got me out here cleaning out palmettos all weekend! I oughta kick your.."
"Yipe! Yipe...yorr, yorr, yorr!"
Next thing I know he was under the house again, and Fred was laughing.
"Well he better hope he never actually does get bit by a snake because he's a dead dog...do you HEAR me Elvis?"
I knew he could hear me. I also knew that the would pull this stunt again, and that I would fall for it hook line and sinker like I always do.