“Take me to the car, Jack. I can't see.” I held out my hand.
They both stopped fighting. We went quietly to the car. I had to sit in the driver's seat for a few minutes until I could see well enough to drive the half mile home. Why didn't I call someone, ask for help? I wasn't thinking that clearly. I was a horse smelling water and had to get home. Now.
When I did get home and called O, he couldn't understand what I was saying. He got home quick.
After a ménage à trois with Prince Vicodin and his other brother Prince Vicodin, I was able to sleep. Sort of.
I've been treating with ibuprofen since. The rest of the princes keep calling me though.
But what I really want to write about is coyotes.
Before Thanksgiving, O was up in the mountains winning at an overnight high-stakes poker game, and I was relaxing by the fire and working on my previously-mentioned oral presentation when my dog Sam wanted out. As I hooked his leash to his harness, his body tensed and his tail stood straight up. I looked out into the shadows cast by the pines and there he was not ten feet away – a coyote at the edge of the porch. Long-legged, about 45 pounds, stock obviously threaded with dog blood. Silent, stiller than the night. Then gone, Sam barking and snapping after him, my hand freshly rope-burned. One leap over the fence and he was a piece of the night again. Not a leaf crackled under his paw.
I told O about him the next day. Coyotes had already taken down three dogs in the neighborhood, and any number of cats were missing. The foxes are long gone.
A few nights later, I came into the kitchen and heard Sam barking his head off. O had let Sam out and went for a smoke in the garage. I threw open the sliding glass door and ran to where I saw his white body against the dark ground. The coyote was already jumping the fence, about a quarter acre away.
My heart was pounding. Sam was fine, if a little hoarse. I grabbed his leash and gave it a pull. He turned and followed me back into the house. I reached with my right hand for the inside door handle and grabbed air. I stopped and looked. The handle was gone. That's when I realized it was in my left hand. I looked down, thinking I'd pulled it out by the screws.
Here's what I saw:
O came back in from the garage. I held up the door handle for him.
As he installed a new handle the next day (those things are a pain in the ass), he grumbled that at least he knew if he were ever trapped under a car, I'd be able to lift it off of him.
Tuesday, the boyos wanted to go to the park by our house, the one that borders the open space that used to be a bit of a wood before they tore it up for condos that will never be built. There's only a fringe of scraggly willows and cottonwood along a wash at the bottom of the hill now, spared I suppose, for scenery. I sat in the car, not wanting to sit in the cold and snow, and told the boyos to stay on the playground, not to go past the split rail fence into the open space. We noticed the coyote warning signs posted on the lamp post. The boyos went to the edge of the park. Then they turned and ran back to the car.
“Mommy, come quick! Coyotes! We heard them! They're playing!”
And they were, several hundred yards away. I got out of the car and watched them – a mama and her two almost-grown pups crossing the open space. Papa lay on the ground, watching from the trees. Their fur was rough and red in the last light, their tails full and bushy. They were having fun, hunting and running and chasing their tails, yipping in those orange-spiral sounds. Absolutely wonderful to watch. A dog barked, and they disappeared into the scraggly trees along the creek, the sad bit of home they have left now.
What can you do with something so admirable from a distance and so dangerous at close range?