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Driving Ms. Crazy

I don't usually star in soap operas, but I ran out of face on Spacebook, so I'm telling the whole story here instead.

I don't want you to be disappointed, so I'll warn you at the top: The answer to the question that you'll have when you finish this story is "No idea." It's still a mystery, half a lifetime later.

All of my daytime adventure buddies have loved me, but Mom hasn’t loved them all in return. Especially — let’s call her “Daisy,” as in “whoopsy Daisy,” like what you say when you’ve made more than a few bad choices, and don’t much care about getting it right.

Daisy was the kind of person who worked with dogs because she didn’t work well with people. But not in the sweet way you’re thinking; the other way.

My regular sleepover buddy had other plans the week that Mom disappeared, so Daisy came to stay at the Stuck House until Mom came home.

I hadn't seen Daisy in a while, and a sleepover with her would have been fun if she hadn’t brought her stupid boyfriend along.

The Boyfriend was cool when it was just us guys, but Daisy turned into a different flower when he was around: all burrs, and thorns, and venom. I spent the week looking out the window for signs of Mom while Daisy and The Boyfriend argued behind me.

At long last, after World Wars 1, 2, 3, and 4 had ended, and while World War 5 still raged behind me, a car I didn’t recognize swung around the corner and stopped in front of the Stuck House.

The street outside my Stuck House was just a round nubbin of a road, barely big enough for a car to turn around comfortably. Only 3 other houses studded the nubbin, and none received as many visitors as mine, so this strange car could only mean one thing.

“MOM!” I shrieked, running to the door to greet her. In the time it took me to run from the window to the door, another car had appeared in the nubbin and parked directly behind the first.

I spied Mom inside the first car, but neither she nor the stranger behind the driving wheel moved. They stared straight ahead at the mirror.

As we all watched, a third car got in line. The follow cars were twins, with the same markings on their pelts and dancing lights on their hats.

“You can’t park there!” I shouted through the screen door. “You’re blocking the exit! That's a safety violation!”

A door on the mismatched car opened and Mom stepped out. Instead of greeting me with open arms, she turned her back to the Stuck House and addressed The Law.

“Which house are you here for?” she asked.

“One thirteen,” said The Law that dismounted the car behind her.

“That’s my house,” Mom said. “But I am literally just now getting back from a week-long business tri—.”

Just then, the car that Mom arrived in made a break for it. It jumped over the curb beside the Law-mobile and sped out of sight.

“MAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHMMMMMMM!!!” I barked to get her attention back on me.

“Do you have a roommate, Ma’am?” The Law asked.

Her head started to turn back toward me as she said, “No, but my dog sitter…”

I jumped high on the door and made a racket just like the fleeing car had done. It worked! Mom stopped talking and looked in my direction. I jiggled my hips so she would know I was waggling my tail.

“Who’s inside that house, Ma’am?”

“My dog si—" Mom almost-repeated.

Then, to my surprise, the door opened all open-sesame-like. “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!” I screamed as I ran joyous circles around the front yard like I’d just scored a goal.

“Oscar! Oscar! C’mere, Oscar!” Mom squawked, finally opening her arms for the hug I’d been waiting for all week. "How did you get out?"

I brought it in. I was so happy to see her that I didn’t even mind that she hung possessively onto my collar. I was right were I wanted to be.

“Ma’am! Who is inside the house?” The Law interrupted.

“My dog sitter, I guess. Or, at least she said she’d be here when I got home. She didn’t respond to my last message.” Mom unholstered the Witch (📱). “Let me see if she…”

“Oscar! Oscar!” Daisy’s voice hollered. She stepped through the swinging door and squinted into the bright sun. Then her eyes went wide and her body turned to stone.

A new voice came from behind the other car. “Ma’am, can you please step over here?” it ordered Daisy as if it were a question.

“Look who it is, Daisy! It’s Mom! And she brought backup!” I cheered. “They’re peace officers. That means you don’t have to fight anymore.”

Daisy pointed her whole arm toward the door. “He’s in there!” she yowled.

“Daisy, who’s in the house?” Mom asked.

“I was gonna tell ya,” Daisy slurred. “My b’fffriend… he’s going through a rough time and…”

“Ma’am, do you have any kind of identification?” Mom’s Law asked.

“Yeah, here.” Mom pulled her wallet from her butt and peeled one of the cards out of its slot. She handed it to The Law without taking her eyes off of Daisy on the other side of the driveway.

I was having trouble understanding Daisy’s words, but her waving arms and screechy voice meant that whatever she was telling Her Law wasn’t as boring as Mom’s conversation. I tried to help, but Mom hung on tight to my collar.

“Please, whatever’s going on here, I had nothing to do with it,” Mom said. “I literally pulled into the cul-de-sac less than 2 seconds before you did. I can show you my boarding pass.”

“Yes, we saw you come in from the freeway,” The Law said. “We know you aren’t involved.”

“Oh good! Then let’s go inside,” I panted. “It’s hot out here.”

“…but we can’t let you go inside,” The Law finished.

“Can I at least go inside and change my clothes?” Mom begged. “It was freezing when I left Boston.”

“We can’t let you go inside, Ma’am,” The Law decreed.

Mom sighed like she’d suspected it. “Why not?”

“Because your roomma— your dog sitter was having a domestic dispute…”

“Oh my god, is everyone okay?”

“…and her boyfriend…”

Is everyone okay?

“… he called and asked us to intervene.”

Mom’s frustration paused and she did surprise instead. “Wait. He called the cops on her?”

“Boys get scared, too,” I reminded Mom.

“I tried to make him leave,” Daisy hollered to Mom across the driveway. “I told him you were coming home, but he locked himself in the bedroom and won’t come out!”

“Does he have a weapon, Daisy?” Mom asked.

Daisy suddenly remembered something that she needed to tell her Law, and turned away from Mom.

Mom’s Law aimed his arm at Fred's driveway. In a bossy voice, he didn’t-ask, “Ma’am, can you please wait over there until we’ve taken their statements?”

It made sense that he would pick Fred’s place, since Fred’s family were the only neighbors who weren’t already standing in their driveway.

Mom pointed her mouth skyward so that me, Daisy, and all the neighbors would know that she was talking to us. “Somebody please tell me if the man locked in my bedroom is armed,” she asked the neighborhood.

…And why are you all home at noon on a Friday? Don’t you have jobs? her thought bubble added.

Mom pet me sullenly as we watched the silent movie of Daisy telling her side of the story. While her back was turned, one of the Laws snuck into the Stuck House behind her.

Joanne scooched over one driveway to watch with us. “She’s been fighting with him all week,” Joanne whispered. “I wanted to call you, but I didn’t have your number. What happened?”

Joanne should have known that it's impolite to bark over a movie during the most suspenseful part. At least all the other neighbors were polite enough not to offer Mom support. Instead, they gawked from a respectful distance.

“I don’t think she’s met the boyfriend like we have,” I told Joanne. “Daisy only comes while Mom’s away. But not in a creepy way or anything.”

Then a Law poked his head out of the Stuck House door and said something to Daisy’s Law. Daisy’s Law told Daisy to step into Alan and Beth’s driveway, so of course Alan and Beth came to join me, Mom, and Joanne. Even The Boyfriend came out to join the party with his own Law, but The Law made him sit for a time out on the curb instead.

Daisy’s Law herded her to where she couldn’t see The Boyfriend before picking up the conversation. Meanwhile, the other two Laws crouched low to the ground to hear what The Boyfriend was confessing into his hands.

“Can I use your bathroom?” Mom asked Joanne. “I just flew in from Boston and I haven’t been to the restroom since somewhere over Illinois.”

“Oscar can’t go into my house. He’d scare Fluffykins,” Joanne said.

“What if you just ran inside and told him to hide so I can eat his lunch while Mom’s on the potty?” I suggested.

“Okay.” Mom said to the ground in front of her. Then she glanced up at Alan and Beth.

Alan and Beth searched for something in the clouds.

Mom let out a glum sigh and went back to sweating and petting.

Daisy’s Law finally lost interest and sent her to join me, Mom, Joanne, Alan, and Beth in Fred’s driveway.

Daisy flopped on the ground next to me howling, “Klarrrrr, Klarrrrrrr, I told him you were coming, Klarrrrrrrrrr!” The more Daisy drooped toward her, the stiffer Mom’s pets became. “He wouldn’t leave. He’s such a nast-hole. I mean, he’s going through a lot and I love him, but sometimes I—”

“Daisy, I’m really quite upset right now and I’d rather just not talk about any of it,” Mom said through a throat as stiff as her fingers.

“Klarrrrrrr,” Daisy howled again, melting even closer to the driveway as she did. “You can be mad. But don’t take Oscar away from me! I’m so, soooooooo sorry!”

“I’m not ready to hear an apology yet.” Mom said as patiently as she would to an exhausting puppy, not an elder. “May I please just have some space?”

“Don’t be angry, Mom!” I licked the sweat off her face to smooth out the scowl.

“Oscar’s kissing you! Klarrrrrrr’s kissing a BOY!” Daisy cackled. “Klarrrrrr and Oscarrrrrrr sittin’ in a tree…”

“Ma’am?” Mom’s Law walked up the driveway as if Joanne, Alan, Beth, Daisy, and I weren’t there. “We’ve cleared the premises. If you can please take me through the house so we can collect everything that doesn’t belong to you, then we can let you back inside.”

“Thank god!” Mom stood up and led The Law to the Stuck House without bothering to say goodbye to Daisy or the neighbors.

“Don’t take him away from me, Klarrrrr!” Daisy wailed after us. When I looked back, she had dropped all the way to the ground and was writhing on Fred’s driveway in despair.

“Cheeses, it’s not even lunchtime,” Mom grumbled.

We took The Law on a tour of the Stuck House, where Mom showed him the purse that wasn’t hers, the suitcase that wasn’t hers, and the buzzing toy that Daisy and The Boyfriend only played with in bed.

Mom and I each drank a bowl of water, and then Mom hid in the shower for a very, very long time. I was just escorting her to the kitchen for lunch when there was a knock at the door.


When Mom opened the door, The Law was waiting on the other side.

“We’re taking your dog sitter into custody,” The Law said. “I just wanted you to know that we were finished.”

"I love custardy!" I said.

“Wait, what?! What did she…”

“We’re charging her with assault,” The Law began.

"No thank you," I said politely. "I don't care for assault-y snacks. I'll take the custard."

“Since it happened in your house, we can disclose…” The Law began until Mom held up a stay hand in his face.

"Never mind. I don’t want to know. Can you just move her car?”

“Ma’am, she’ll only be downtown overnight until she sobers—”

“She’s parked behind me.” Mom paused to let The Law look over his shoulder at Daisy’s car sniffing the butt of Mom’s. “I assume her keys are in the purse you took? So would you like to give them to me, or are you going to move it yourself?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Mom and I stood in the doorway watching The Law squelch his big body behind the wheel of Daisy’s tiny car.

“First time all day I don’t mind him calling me ma’am,” Mom grunted. Then she closed and locked the door.

1 Comment

What a great story! Poor Oscar spending a week in hell and poor mom coming home to waayyyy too much excitement. Funny, witty and great writing.

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