A while back I wrote about winning a lantern at our friends' wedding. Then, a few months later, I wrote about how it was stolen off our porch. Then, a few months after that, I told Jerry in a spew of word vomit that I discovered that our good friends and neighbors who attended that same wedding with us stole the lantern as a prank.
I know because I saw it on their porch.
I never wrote about the time I stole it back. It was a springlike December afternoon, I was taking Toby on a walk and decided it was a good day to carry a big wooden lantern with decorative faux ivy leaves ten blocks back to my house. Unfortunately, a crazy yappy dog we always pass in a nearby garage decided it was a good day to attack Toby.
She charged across the street and started barking and biting, but Toby didn't have much of a chance at defense because he was attached to me on a short leash and ended up spinning around in frantic circles trying to figure out what the hell was happening. I wanted to punt that little barking ball of fluff all the way back to her owner, a surprisingly burly-looking older guy who works on cars all day, but I figured that was the exact type of thing that could end up in my local police blotter.
Instead, I tried separating the two by walking away while the other dog owner did absolutely nothing to help other than screaming, "BITSY! BITSY, NO! BAD BITSY!" as if Bitsy would magically listen upon hearing her name for the 15th time. One through 14 didn't do the trick, but hey, maybe 15 is the magic number. Yeah, don't bother running the few feet to come over and pick up your crazy freak dog.
But as I walked away, Toby was still spinning in circles, trying to continually face his opponent, and darted at just the right angle to slip out of his collar and make a mad dash down the street away from Bitsy the psycho biter.
Now that her adversary was out of her territory, Bitsy calmly walked back to her garage. I've never met a dog I didn't like, but part of me wanted to hold her up by the ears for awhile. Just for fun.
Instead, I had a rattled Toby on the run to deal with, not to mention cars passing by, and that stupid green lantern.
I opted to set the thing down and run after my dog. He was so shaken that I knew it wouldn't be easy. Plus, now the burly car guy and his friend decided to help. Right when I didn't need them to. They started running after Toby, causing him to run farther.
At this point, I also wanted to hang both men by their ears and, because of it, I ended up losing my temper. But I'm glad, because if I hadn't, I might have lost my dog. In a fit of semi-controlled rage I stopped, stared at the men and screamed, "Please stop! He won't come to you. You're not helping. Just stop."
Eventually I was able to call Toby to me, scooped him up and put his newly tightened collar around his neck. Then I had the option of walking back to the garage to retrieve the lantern or saying screw it.
I'm not sure what prompted me to go back. Maybe it was pride. Maybe it was just to stare down Bitsy. Or maybe it was because I went through so much damn effort for that ugly green lantern that retreating to get it was a nonissue at that point.
After all that, I placed the hideous thing back on our porch, prompting a game with our neighbors I have titled Porch Plundering. The rules are simple: Anything stolen from each other's porch must remain on the other couple's porch in plain sight. It is simultaneously a trophy and an invitation for retribution.
So when I neared our house after a long walk yesterday afternoon and noticed our table was missing, I just bent over in hysterics. The lantern had been placed gently on one of the two porch chairs. But the table between them was gone. I just kept thinking, "Those fuckers took our table!" And it cracked me up into a fit of laughter for the rest of the day. I almost couldn't relay the story to Jerry because I was laughing so hard.
But we vowed to steal our table back and get our revenge by taking their porch swing, too.
Only I guess they didn't take our table. Jerry called them last night to congratulate them for their Porch Plundering prowess and Ben, in between crippling bouts of laughter, swore on his family's lives that he and his wife, Valerie, didn't take it.
Someone really stole our table.
But I'm not upset. I think our friends have a table on their porch. And that'll do for awhile.