After lunch, the dog and I went for a short walk through the turgid summer heat native New Orleanians call ‘a bit cool for the season.’ Our efforts earned one of us a sheen of sweat and the other a drooling pant. I won’t say which one won which.
Our next door neighbor, lovingly referred to as “Crazy Shawn” since he is both crazy and Shawn, was outside working on his lawn. Or, for those familiar with Shawn’s house, his lack of a lawn. Shawn spent many years spraying Round-Up on his front yard until every blade of grass was sent to the great green fields in the sky.
Optimists who visit say beautiful things like, “He must be preparing a rock garden.”
He must. Without the rock or the garden.
Rain has eroded half-a-foot of soil from his front yard, weakening the foundation of his house, Crazy Shawn laid down tar paper to protect what was left.
Guests plagued by positivity say to us, “A tar paper garden. Doesn’t Gwenyth Paltrow highly recommend those?”
If she does, I applaud her critics’ collective restraint in their descriptions of dear Gwen.
So this afternoon, Shawn is working on his tar paper lawn, weeding away grass which has launched an attack from our yard on the quarter inch of dirt between his fence and the tar paper.
Shawn is muttering to himself.
As those who know Shawn are aware, Shawn’s mutterings are the flapping wings of a butterfly which eventually cause a tsunami halfway across the world. Only, in this case, it isn’t a tsunami we need fear. Shawn’s mutterings grow into 911 calls, stalking charges, and physical violence.
Reminds one of Wilson from Home Improvement, n’est pas? And just like Wilson, there are important fence related conflicts I don’t have time to delve into today.
As anyone on the street will tell you, it’s best to pass Shawn by when he’s muttering. They’ll tell you that then ignore their own advice — but that doesn’t make the advice any less valuable.
Do as they say, not as they do.
So I pass, ignoring the muttering mischief-maker, when one word catches my attention.
I am a renter, could this muttering be about me? My natural sense of victimhood said, “Of course, why would he talk about anyone but you?”
And seeing as many of the neighbors have restraining orders against Shawn, there aren’t many people for him to talk about let alone to.
Then he paused. He nodded his head. He said, “Really? I can’t believe it,” while yanking up a tuft of grass and tossing it aside.
Silly me. It was an honest mistake. He was wearing a bluetooth device and talking to a friend.
A silly mistake that.
The dog and I passed through our front gate and she flopped down on the lawn. While she rolled around, I listened to Shawn go on about property values.
“And with such an expensive property!” he said, picking up unrooted clumps of grass and tossing them in a garbage can.
“Exactly. How do you handle it?” he asked, after a pause.
His friend must have some really awful renters. People destroying their property. Ruining the neighborhood. It’s unthinkable and, given this alternative, it makes me momentarily thankful to have Crazy Shawn as my neighbor instead of these reticent neer-do-wells.
Loaded up with grass, Shawn turns to drag the garbage can out to the street, giving me a clear view of his other ear.
The ear I assumed the bluetooth device was hung since is other ear was naked.
There was no bluetooth device.
No phone on speaker as he answers and asks questions about those… these… horrendous neighbors.
But while researching (aka procrastinating) I discovered a conspiracy so deep, I had to turn to Wikiepedia for insight.
The Shitsticle That is Queen Elizabeth’s Dog Collection
For those not in the know, as I was until about three minutes ago when I checked Wikipedia, She-Of-Many-Hats has three breeds of dogs: corgis, cocker spaniels, and dorgis.
I, like you — unless you’re British and care for such things — thought the Queen only owned corgis. I also, like you, thought dorgis were a family of house elves in the Harry Potter series.
“So, she owns three types of dogs. There’s no conspiracy in that, Cole.”
Well, no freaking duh, Aunt Regina! It’s what further research of these dogs uncovered.
Stick with me and hold onto your bloomers.
HRH’s Corgi Collection
According to Wikipedia, at last count, the Queen owned five corgis. This “last count” caveat is important, since the last count was as of 2007. Nearly a decade has passed and no one has any clue how many corgis the Queen has, except maybe HRH herself.
And she’s keeping that shit off Wikipedia.
Oh, there’s a reason…
And his name is Monty.
The Queen’s five corgis are named, innocently enough: Monty, Emma, Linnet, Willow, and Holly.
Now aside from naming her dog Linnet, nothing seems particularly askew here.
Until Wikipedia, bastion of all temporal knowledge, goes on to explain the following:
“Monty, Willow and Holly appeared in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony when James Bond (portrayed by Daniel Craig) arrived at Buckingham Palace to escort the Queen to the event. Monty had previously belonged to the Queen Mother, and died soon after in September 2002.”
Did you catch that? No?
That’s because the Queen’s guards fucked around with the order of information so the timeline isn’t clear. Let me untangle this little fuckery for you.
2002 – Monty dies, soon after the Queen Mum passes. 2007 – Monty is one of Queen EII’s five corgis. 2012 – Monty appears next to Daniel ‘slab of carved beef’ Craig in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.
If you’re like me, I don’t have to tell you what this means.
Which is why I’ll tell you, because you aren’t like me, you poor, silly, naïve bastard.
Queen Elizabeth is dead!
“Wait, Cole, how do you figure that?”
Thought experiment time!
You’re one of the Queen’s handmaidens. One morning you come in and find her facedown in a bowl of Fruit Loops. What is your first thought?
Wait, you didn’t figure it out?
Fine, I’ll spoonfeed it to you.
“Oh, shit! She of the lesser hat game is gonna be Queen.”
As handmaiden to the Queen, you call all of England’s top scientists together and explain what’s at stake. Then you say, “You have two hours before the Duke of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall show up for breakfast. Fix this!”
So the scientist go all Newtown’s Law and build a time grabber.
“Cole, what’s a time grabber?”
Seriously? Take a high school science class.
A time grabber is like this:
Except it reaches through time to pluck back the thing, or person, you want.
So the scientists build the world’s first time grabber, reach back, and pluck a living Queen Elizabeth off the potty and bring her back thirty seconds before Charles and Camilla walk through the door.
Only the Queen happened to be holding Monty, the aforementioned dead corgi, on her lap while toileting.
Why would she do that?
She’s royal. Don’t ask stupid questions.
I know what you’re thinking…
“But, Cole, this seems highly likely. The cost of maintaining a quantum grabbed person, let alone person and dog combo, in the present day would be astronomical!”
I appreciate your economical savvy set-up for my transition to…
The Cocker Spaniels
You’re absolutely right, of course. Without the funds to support a quantum grabbed Queen, HRH would be sucked back to October 2002 where she came from.
Which is why Buckingham Palace is now home to five cocker spaniels.
Some people think cocker spaniels ground the quantumly kidnapped in the present day. Those people have no understanding of the basics of science caninery.
If you want a dog breed to ground the quantumly kidnapped in the present, you use finnish spitzes. But that’s a rare dog breed, even for a Queen, so instead you need a lot of money to pay the electric bill needed to maintain the temporal shell surrounding the Madam of Monarchy.
“But, Cole! She has a lot of cash, she’s the Queen!”
Yes, but remember, she doesn’t want Charles or Camilla knowing about this. So a secret stash of quantum maintanence cash is necessary.
So what do you do?
Get five cocker spaniels and sell their naming rights to large corporations.
“Cole, that’s ridiculous. You can’t prove it.”
Well, the Queen’s c-spans are named: Bisto, Oxo, Flash, Spick, and Span.
I know, now you think I’m fucking with you.
But I swear to Almighty Schrodinger, this shit is real.
Bisto – a British food company Oxo – another British food company Flash – a Marvel superhero… or DC hero… or a WB coming of age character Spick ’n Span – a cleaning product from Prestige Brands
Now I’ve only done some back of the napkin math on this, but those four brands over five dogs is more than enough to fund a quantum shell maintainment unit.
And if prices go up, she can just add a sixth cocker spaniel named, Beepee.
Now onto the dorgis… the unintended consequences of a quantum grab.
According to Wikipedia, a dorgi is not a house elf, but a corgi-dachschund hybrid.
Yeah, like we’re going to believe there enough people are standing around saying, “I want my corgi to have shorter legs and a longer spine, dachschundize-it!” to require a brand new breed of dog.
Here’s a picture of a dorgi:
I’ll admit, it looks like a dog, but there’s not an ounce of dachshund to be seen.
If anything, this is a corgi-Russell Tovey hybrid.
A bunch of furries just melted.
Dorgis are neither of the aforementioned hybrids, but a parallel universe version of the corgi.
“Wait, Cole, you lost us!”
Seriously, what were you doing during high school science?
In science, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Sigh… Fine, I’ll spoonfeed this to you.
Action: Pull Monty from historical timeline and hold him in the present.
Reaction: Alternate universe corgis come into the present to prevent an imbalance in the Force.
“Wait, Cole, that makes absolutely no—“
Ssshhh… Thinking too much hurts the brain.
But that leaves a looming question. If pulling Monty into the present pulled four alternate universe dorgis into the present, what was pulled through to balance out the presence of the Queen?
It’s a lovely afternoon in New Orleans… a lovely afternoon for EVIL.
After what we’ve experienced, Mardi’s keeping a close watch on the front gate. Every two minutes she turns to me and gives the all clear. Mostly this sounds like “ruff,” but I know what she means. Even though we don’t speak the same language, when you’ve been through the trenches with another creature a connection is wrought. We can ruff without ruffing.
Our excursion began innocently enough. An after-lunch walk through neighborhood to aid in digestion; which is society’s polite way of saying it helps us poop.
People used to walk in the evenings after dinner. Now they watch television. The loss of the evening walk is, most scientists agree, the reason so many people are full of shit.
Pardon me, I’ve veered from my tale of horror into the realm of fact. Facts, I’m afraid, are life preservers for the coward’s sanity. And I, my dear friend, am a coward.
We perambulated down one street and up another. The sun shone, but the birds did not sing. Perhaps they knew of the darkness in the light. Perhaps they were singing racist Disney songs.
Perhaps I once knew the reason but that knowledge was scared out of me.
I chatted to my four-legged companion. “Will you be voting for Beagle Sanders or Pug Cruz in the upcoming Pawsidential election?” I asked. “Or perhaps Basset Trump?”
Mardi gave me the same look you have now.
Two houses ahead I spotted an elderly lady making her way down her front steps.
She bore the marks of Cain – a light blue dress and wild white hair. I know these marks well. I went to Catholic school.
Was it morning or afternoon? I asked myself, preparing a proper greeting, so as not to draw her ire.
She glanced up. Evil was in her eye.
Most people mistake evil for cataracts.
Those people did not go to Catholic school.
“Good—“ I began, in way of a greeting, but was unceremoniously spun around, before I had a chance to finish.
The dog was flat on the sidewalk, muscles taut, attempting to army crawl backwards down the block.
“Knock it off,” I hissed, pulling on the leash.
Perhaps if the old woman did not know the I knew what she knew to be true, she would let us continue on our way.
But the pull launched my companion into action. She bolted to the side, across a lawn, and dragged me into the street. She continued moving backwards, keeping her eyes on the old woman.
“I think your dog is hurt,” the old woman said.
An obvious ploy with which to invite us into her house of horror, which was accented with a lovely azalea bush.
“Yes, she must have — Oof!” I stumbled, the leash slackened, Mardi bolted. My imbalance afforded her the opportunity she needed to get us to the other side of the street.
I kept myself from being thrown to the ground by locking my knees and pinwheeling my legs. Safely on the other side of the street, Mardi pulled forward, away from the woman.
“I think she’s hurt,” the old lady called out again, relentless in her pursuit to draw us into the devil’s pit itself!
“Yes, perhaps she is — Oof!” the dog yanked me back a few steps.
Frustrated, I knelt down and took her face in my hands. Making eye contact I firmly said, “Calm down. It’s fine.”
I wanted to explain the dangers of letting evil know you know it’s evil, but before I could, she nudge me aside.
I was blocking her view of the old woman.
“Ruff!” she said, with just enough softness to suggest maybe she hoped the old woman wouldn’t hear her. She turned, lowered herself to the ground and began crawling down the street, dragging me behind her.
Every five steps she turned, looked back at the woman, and let out another, barely audible “ruff.”
“Have a good morning!” I called, waving to the woman.
Damn, it was the afternoon.
Would my lapse show her how terrified I was?
The woman rolled her eyes, bent down, and began weeding her garden in the cruel, soulless way evil has of landscaping.
Mardi dragged me three blocks back home, all hopes of a properly digested lunch gone.
The dog knocked against the gate until I opened it.
She knocked against the front door, until I opened it.
Then she bolted to the front window, where she stands now, waiting for the woman to appear.
“Ruff,” the dog says, her hackles rising. She tucks her tail between her legs. Someone is knocking on the front door.