Havoc In Motion
By Jay White
Mama and the Rottweiler
My mother, in her fortieth year (1951), might have been mistaken for Elizabeth Taylor coming and Susan Hayward going, and was frequently asked by strangers if she were in “show bidnis.” Naturally, the next door neighbor, Miz Barr, a stout lady, hated Mama with intensity bordering on insanity, and watched our house almost constantly from her kitchen window—you could see her shadow on the curtain.
The neighbor on the other side, a pensioner from the Great War named “Hawkshaw” Hawkins, owned a Rottweiler bitch that only had one pup at a time—which pup, at ten months old, had invariable achieved the size and general demeanor of a yearling rhinoceros, and was meaner than two acres of copperheads. Old Hawk kept his dogs tied up and he tormented them until they were nothing but devils; then he sold them to junk yards or oilfield supply depots or self-storage places for guard dogs, and got a good price.
There was a seven foot high fence around his property but he kept the dogs on chains anyway and these chains were about eight feet long. One morning his latest protégé, named Sugar Pie, thoughtlessly jumped over the fence and hanged himself. Mama was in the back yard watering when he did it, and she threw the hose down and rushed to the dog’s assistance. Uncle Carl was on our roof fixing our air conditioner and he told me about it when I got home from school.
“Your mama was watering the lawn in a mighty fetching halter top and tennis shorts when that big ol’ pup jumped the fence, but his chain only let him down on this side to a point where his toes just touched the top of the ground, and stretched out like that he was just about as tall as Opal was herself. She had him around the chest and pinned to the fence with the length of her body and was trying to shinny him up it far enough to loosen his collar and let him down. She was doing this by trying to hunch him up an inch at a time with pelvic thrusts, and the whole time the pup was helping by pushing down on her shoulders with his front paws and down on her hips with his back paws and making a kind of strangling sound like a canine demon in throes of sexual rapture.
“Then,” Uncle Carl hooted through his laughter, “Then…the pup’s collar broke and your mama fell down on her back and her legs flew up with the pup between them struggling to regain his breath and his feet and it must have been about then that Miz Barr glanced out the window and saw what she “thought” was going on and called the cops.”
“Good Lord,” I said. “What happened then?
“Well,” Uncle Carl said, wiping the tears from his eyes with his hanky, “by the time the squad car got here, Opal and the pup had got themselves untangled and Mr. Hawkins had come and got his property and mama was back watering the lawn when the cops walked back and wanted to know what was going on. Mama smiled her smile of puzzled innocence and said, “Why nothing at all, officer.”
“We got a report of animal abuse.”
Mama fluttered her eyelashes and turned her head in an attitude of gorgeous disbelief, and the bedazzled cops went next door to speak to Miz Barr about the nasty penalties for filing a false police report.
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