Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Garage - Track

Jun. 11, 2004 - 5:17 p.m.

Animals and Assholes


Kind of a tough go for local wildlife yesterday. With temperatures and humidity both in the mid-90's, critters were trying desperately to find shaded shelter any way they could. For many of them this meant coming to the conclusion "If I can make it across this two lane highway, I just KNOW that lawn on the other side is at least 20 degrees cooler!" And so they stepped out without further thought, or a glance left or right.

This really didn't result in the mass extermination you might think. We live in such a secluded area that there is very little vehicular traffic not only on our immediate street, but even along the "main" roads of town. Make that: "town". You have to go some miles before really seeing traffic conditions that befit this, the most densely populated State in the Union.

So the vast majority of animals who bolt from one side of the road to the other will survive to regale grandkids about "the pioneering trek of '04", and how cubs today have it easy by comparison.

Of course, "majority" is not the same as "all". Someone always ends up being a statistic. In the animal kingdom, these are generally the slow and the unlucky.

I met both yesterday.

I'm an animal lover, despite my propensity to eat them. I've had pets of numerous species over the years, rescued abandoned wastrels, watched "Animal Crackers" maybe 200 times, and so on. I just have a soft spot for things I was put on the Earth to dominate.

So when I spotted a Painter Turtle in the road on my way home yesterday, cowering on the mid-stripe and too afraid to go forward or back, I pulled over and trotted out to save her. The poor thing was tucked up tight, and must have been there for a while because her shell was near blistering to the touch. I carried her to the shade of some bushes on the side of the road she was pointed towards then waited around a few minutes til she poked her head out. Satisfied that I hadn't just given a free lift to a baked turtle corpse, I started the Mighty WRX and pulled back onto the road.

And immediately ran over a snake.

Dammit! It was a young Garter, maybe a foot and a half long. He was probably making for the same cooling bushes I'd just placed Miss Painter under. Who knows, maybe they were even secret lovers, brazenly defying their families' wishes by meeting at clandestine spots like the Forbidden Road. He brought her mealworms. She gave him tail....

Whatever his story, it was over now. I had turned my eyes from the rearview mirror to the road just in time to see him disappear under my right front quarterpanel. The WRX was only doing maybe 10 mph, but from that distance it might as well have been 90. I made a U-turn up ahead, on the off chance that he'd managed to fit inside the grooves of my tread and escaped unscathed. But when I returned to the scene I saw he was now the approximate size, shape and thickness of a clip-on necktie.

This was now the second snake I'd committed Vehicular Manslaughter on in just over two months. I have become the Scales of Justice.

Well I felt bad, but what are you gonna do? I considered erecting a small shrine with a tiny cross and flower arrangements on the side of the road as a memorial, but then I realized that might tip the off parents if he was having an affair with the turtle. I fought back my tears and drove on.

It was only another mile or so the the Dangerhouse, but by then I'd regained my composure. It helped that I was jamming to the cd that tuff517 burned for me in a swap, and was belting out my new favorite song - "I'm Not A Virgin Anymore" by Poe - at the top of my lungs. Nothing like a good tune to make you forget minor mishaps like wanton killing.

I had just downshifted to 2nd and was about to turn into my driveway, when the cutest little hedgehog bolted out of the side of the road and ran right under my car!!

I slammed on the brakes, but again...too late. There was an immediate "THUP - bwup." as the front, then back, wheels slammed into the hapless ex-mammal. I skidded to (another) stop and got out.

Draw a chalk out line around this one folks. It wasn't pretty - spreading blood, sightless stare, spreadeagle limbs. The whole stereotypical cruel death scene.

They say that after you commit your first murder, subsequent killings become easier. They're right. I kicked the corpse into the weeds, went inside and had a sandwich. No tears, no tiny shrine. Just hunger for salami and provalone. I bet this is how John Wayne Gacy got started.

I was only inside for maybe 10 minutes when the phone rang. It was NewWifey(tm), and she sounded awful, like she had a wood rasp lodged in her throat.

"Honey, they're sending me home. They say I'm too sick to work today."

This wasn't completely unexpected. The night before she had mentioned that it felt like someone was pouring molten lead down her esophagus, and the heat was blistering and scarring her neck tissue from the inside out. Then she set the alarm for her usual time and went to sleep.

NewWifey(tm) does not call out sick. She'll make it in if she has to drag the IV-stand behind her. She was sent home forceably once before, when the boss noticed blood oozing from her eyes. She was so mad that she made us a bookcase by way of defiance. I was not looking forward to witnessing her indignant wrath again, although it would be nice if we could have a matching set of end tables.....

NewWifey(tm) continued: "Listen, you've gotta call my doctor and get me an appointment for this afternoon. I have to go to work tomorrow, so see if she has Cipro and painkillers. I'm thinking Dilaudid. Anyway, just make sure they have something that will mask my symptoms so I don't have to stay home anymore. My doctor's name is Susan Smith* and she has an office in Vernon. I don't have her number on me, so look it up then call me back when you get the appointment, ok? Thanks honey...."

*name changed to protect the stinky fingered.

I jotted the name down and called information. There was a Dr. Susan Smith, but she was in the next town over. Still, it was the only one they had by that name, so she must have moved. I called and got a perky sounding receptionist.

"Dr. Smith's office."

"Hi, my name is Dangerspouse and my wife is a patient of Dr. Smith's. I was wondering if the doctor could see her today - it's an emergency."

"An emergency? Really? Um...let me see...ok, if she can get here by 2 o'clock we can get her right in. What did you say her name was...?"

"It's 'NewWifey(tm)', and 2 o'clock will be fine."

"NewWifey...NewWifey...." I could hear the shuffling of papers and sporadic keystrokes in the backgound that signaled she was drawing a blank. "Are you SURE she's a patient of Dr. Smiths? When was the last time she was here?"

"Ummm...I think about a year ago."

"Oh well that might explain it. We just moved into this new office last month, and not all of our database is entered yet. Why don't you give me her details and I'll...."

I did, and she did, and 5 minutes later I called back and gave NewWifey(tm) the directions to her doctor's new office. She needed to drive right there in order to arrive on time.

Dangerspouse saves the day again.

Now when NewWifey(tm) has an ailment, any ailment at all, her comfort food of choice is mashed potatoes. It doesn't matter if she somehow caught a strain of Spanish Influenza and vomits up anything ingested within 30 seconds, she's gonna shovel those spuds down in between heaves.

I spent the next half hour making a batch of roasted-garlic-and-rye flavored mashed potatoes and a side of guacamole, her other favorite restorative. Then I headed for the Playstation.

A little after 7pm NewWifey(tm) pulled up in the Escape. I watched from the porch as she stiffly exited the Ford and made her way across the lawn. She really did look sick, with a pained expression and somewhat unfocused gaze. She gingerly lowered herself into the recliner and motioned for me to sit next to her.

"Honey, what was the name of the doctor I told you to call?"

"Dr. Susan Smith. I wrote it down."

NewWifey(tm) was silent for a minute. She didn't have any color to her face.

"I think...I think I told you the wrong name. Dr. Susan Smith is one of our clients at work. MY doctor's name is Susan Jones. I must have still been thinking of work when I called you. Do you know what Dr. Susan Smith specialises in?"

I shook my head 'no'.

"Dr. Susan Smith is a proctologist. A very good, but very determined proctologist. When I told her a mistake had been made she insisted on seeing me anyway - said they honor our insurance carrier, and she was more than qualified to prescribe medicine for my throat. Which she did. But did I tell you that she is very determined? When I casually mentioned that I'd never been to a proctologist before, she...well...she...sigh...I got a full exam. Head to tail, so to speak. Pinkie cheaters, half a tube of KY, bite the pillow, the whole thing. It was not what I was expecting for a sore throat complaint. On the other hand, I did find out that I'm a perfect asshole."

I assured NewWifey(tm) that I'd always considered her that anyway, and offered her some mashed potatoes.

Her eyes lit up briefly, but just as quickly went half lidded. "No. No, you'd better make me something a bit more...binding. Maybe cheese. Do we have any cheese? Yeah, cheese. I'm afraid my large intestines are pretty much one long greased-up luge run right now, and potatoes would just...." she trailed off.

I didn't question her judgement, just scrounged up some leftover wedges of goat cheese from the fridge (Chevre d'Or and Crotin) along with a day old half a boule. She ate them silently, thoughtfully, and handed me the plate when she was done. I gave her the Super Pills the doctor had prescribed and tucked her into bed. Whatever they were, they took effect quickly and very soon NewWifey(tm) was snoring into the pillow. Oh - and farting nonstop. Dilation takes longer to recover from in some folks than others I guess.

This morning I called home and got the answering machine, so I knew she'd gone to work. She's putting in a full 12 hours, but not really able to talk without wincing yet or eat slippery food. But at least she's not so pale that her boss sent her home. Or for an undertaker. And now I'm sitting here working my way through 8 pounds of mashed potatoes while I wait for her. I bought more cheese, and a fresh boule. And I have her favorite jammies laid out, the sheets washed and the bedroom deodorized. And anything else she wants that I can provide to make her feel better, all she has to do is ask.

Because my wife is a perfect asshole.

Gotta run kids - don't forget to wipe. Er...write.

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