Thursday, February 18, 2010


It happened right before Christmas. My wife and I were in the back of the house with a friend. A loud knock on the door. Cop knock? Amy – said wife – went to see who it was. When she didn't return after about ten minutes we started to wonder what had happened to her. I joined her at the door.

A large man with a an angry scowl stood just outside, reading Amy the riot act.

"What's going on?" I said, already feeling the bile rise inside me as this stranger ranted on.

"Your dog is digging holes in my yard."

"That's impossible," says I. Now in many cases that might simply be the defensive reaction of a proud puppy parent. In my case I knew it was the damn truth!


Earlier in the day, around 1pm Pacific Time, I got awakened by our dogs barking. (I'm a daytime sleeper as I like to write at night. Don't sleep anymore than anyone else, I just do it at a different time. Maybe there's a bit of vampire in me, so I guess I should get in on that craze, but that's another post.)

The dogs were going nuts. I went to the front door, saw a green Suburban out front in the drive. Couldn't see anyone there. Thought about opening the door, then thought I'd better put on some proper clothes, after all if it was a burglar I wouldn't want to be underdressed and make him feel unwelcome. So I went back to the bedroom and by the time I got back to the front door the Suburban was gone. I didn't know who it was. A solicitor, though we don't get many of those out here? Meter reader? Someone casing the joint? But they were gone and I was up "early," so I got started with my day.

End of flashback.

Around 4pm that day came that cop knock on the door. This is the time Amy goes to answer it while I stay with our guest. I join them a few minutes later to hear the man of the green Suburban belaboring the issue that our bigger dog (and since both are fairly large – one is stockier, the other taller, which is "bigger" – I wasn't exactly sure which one he meant) had been digging up his yard...earlier that day and not for the first time. And that he chased it back to our property.

Since I had seen his truck there earlier, around 1pm as stated, I asked if the dog had dug up his yard that day. He said "Yes." I said "That's impossible," but he wouldn't let me explain as he wanted to have his say and told us he was just giving us fair warning.

"Fair warning of what?"

But he didn't want to talk anymore and split.

We didn't know who he was or where he lived, but after talking with some other people we figured it out. We went to his house to try to explain but no one was home.

Frustrated, we didn't know what to do.

So we left a letter in the mailbox of Mr. Suburban, explaining that our dog couldn't be the culprit because A) when Amy's not home and I'm asleep the dogs are in the house and she wasn't home earlier in the day and I was asleep and since we knew both from his truck being there at 1pm and what he'd said about the dog digging up the yard earlier that day it was impossible and B) we have no doggy door (which he had accused us of having but wouldn't accept my invitation to view the house to see that the only doggy door we had was in his imagination – nor would he accept my invitation to see the dogs the first time he'd come by [catch breath]).

After getting the letter, he came by the next afternoon to apologize. Of course, when we left the letter we didn't know if he would get more angry and go crazy or if it would appeal to his rational self. It was the latter. And he did apologize and saved a little face by saying he had only wanted to warn us because he didn't want our dog to get out and get hurt on the canyon road. I let him save face. And while he was talking to me, Audie (named for Audie Murphy and not to be confused with a car of similar name but dissimilar spelling), the scofflaw dog in question, came to the door along with our other future criminal creature. And he could see that Audie was not the dog he'd chased from his property.

But before it was all resolved we had to deal with the heinous injustice of a false accusation and the mug shot of Audie at the top of this post. As you can see he was behind bars, paw prints on a print blotter, mug shot and all, and not looking very happy about it. He was, indeed, the Aud Man Out. But I ask you, could this dog be capable of what he was accused of:

Monday, February 1, 2010


...William Santoro

The only person to have picked all three pictures of me from the filmstrip -- numbers 2, 4 and 5. Congratulations and your "To Have and Have Not" DVD is on its way.

"You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow."