Our life with Annie, our surly, farting Dalmatian was complicated by her partner in crime, Greg, the ever-present kid from across the street. I use ever-present in the strictest sense. Greg’s mom worked nights. In a casual relationship never addressed by any of us, Greg made a beeline to our house as soon as he got home every day, hit the pantry for a snack, and let Annie out of prison. Greg was well known for investigating our premises, keeping himself abreast of what all that was going on at our house, while he dawdled about, picking things up, questioning, “What’s this? When did you get this?” We’d chat about his day. Afterwards, he and Annie would go off on a ramble, since we lived in a rural neighborhood with many large wooded areas. They were a common sight, known all over the neighborhood.
At any rate, one afternoon he and Annie stumbled on a construction site, just as a human skull was unearthed. Naturally, the ensuing hub bub was tremendous. With law enforcement and news crews arriving, Greg and Annie managed to be front and center, part of the big story. Greg was ecstatic, carrying the news all over the neighborhood, taking full credit for the entire situation. Anxious to milk the situation for all it was worth, Greg made a hasty trip back to our house to retrieve a gag item of my daughter’s, a dummy arm and hand intended to hang from the trunk of a vehicle, giving the impression of a body is in the trunk.
Returning to the wooded area near the site of all the excitement, Greg tossed the “arm” to Annie, initiating her favorite game of “keepaway.” Annie burst from the woods, arm in her mouth, ripping through the yellow crime scene tape. Greg was right behind her, yelling his head off. It was like a scene out of a Monty Python movie. Annie, no novice, at being chased by shouting strangers, headed home, dragging the incriminating arm. Winded, she scratched at the back door, still clinging to her prize. Shortly, she was followed by Greg and a bevy of law enforcement officers, asking to see the arm. She’d hidden in the bedroom, reluctant to part with such a desirable prize, but I brought it out for their examination. I was so glad not to be Greg’s parent that day.
Oh, the skull turned out to be that of a Native American who’d probably died more than one hundred years before.