Tonight at dusk I headed off walking toward the nature preserve. That’s where I do most of my thinking about writing. Walking in nature is the obvious choice for contemplating story and characters. There is plenty of time to consider what has happened and what’s missing. There’s a rhythm to the steps, and there are no Internet distractions to split one’s attention.
But halfway down the street that leads to the preserve two dogs could be heard barking loudly. They live behind a six foot chainlink fence with slats to obscure the view. The pair always bark with that deep belligerent tone that only big dogs bring. Passing the fence, on the sidewalk beside their yard, the sounds weren’t coming from the usual direction.
Then a mid-sized Rottweiller trotted out in front of me at the cross street. Barking, yet not overly imposing, this dog didn’t seem like one I couldn’t take if need be. I didn’t want to have to kick it in the face. But I would.
I stopped, and I said, “Okay, you be a good boy,” in that tone hopefully reminiscent of its owner. I started off to the right and into the street away from him. I assume all strange Rottweillers are male, and I wasn’t about to scrutinize genitalia. This one parked himself about fifteen feet away and barked randomly into the air.
Then the other one rushed me, from behind, where I had just walked up the sidewalk! This one was gigantic, and barking viciously. His jaws got within two and a half feet of me.
Now this is that dramatic moment, the one that requires the build up and the proper execution. I had no idea whatsoever what would happen next. Doubling the wild Rottweiller population jolted me. Instantly I jumped and stomped my boot down.
“Get away from me!” I barked back in my own savage voice. Why the hell are these demon dogs gallivanting around the street?
At that moment I had no way of knowing if he was about to jump me, nor if his partner would join in. Probably. I stepped back slowly while pointing my index finger at his eyes.
“I’m watching you!” I kept repeating. He barked at me, and he took a couple steps forward, while I continued retreating across the street away from his fenced-in yard.
He trotted out into the street, but luckily a car was approaching with its headlights on. The two dogs stood their ground barking randomly, as I fled back to the opposite sidewalk and moved on down the line.
I worried about using too much force or too much volume, as that’s how I had been bitten by a wild German Shepherd, way back when. There’s a fine line between establishing street cred and angering the vengeful beast. Today it worked out, but do keep an eye open for those rogue hounds.