You Dropped Something

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The garage door was open to the stark blue sky of the Utah high desert. Jerry worked on his wife’s car on a Saturday. He gently brushed some touch-up paint into the ding in the driver’s side door. Some inconsiderate jerk that didn’t leave a note.

He heard the jingle of a dog collar. He looked out of the garage to the end of the driveway. There was a big German shepherd with that sheepish look and unmistakeable squat. The leash was attached to an older guy with gray hair and slacks.

It finally happened. He caught them in the act. The entire subdivision used the little green strip of his grass between the sidewalk and the street as their dog toilet.

The man was scanning in all directions, but Jerry was motionless in the shadows of the garage. The dog was even looking side to side as he worked that last log of Purina out onto Jerry’s manicured lawn. They moved on into the weekend sun and left the gargantuan pile of feces in their wake.

Jerry stood up and looked down the driveway at the mound. He wore the same expression he did when the paper airplanes came over the cubicle wall onto his desk. His moment was slipping away. Enraged, he grabbed a spade from the wall of the garage and ran out squinting into the light.

He scooped up the turds and walked off in pursuit. He didn’t know what to say. He was determined to think of something. For the first time in his life, he would come up with something before 24 hours passed. He was so mad he held the shovel with one hand, way at the end of the handle, despite the heavy load.

They were almost out of sight around the corner.

Jerry knew what he would say. He stood taller.

Jerry yelled, “Sir! Excuse me, sir!”

The man turned and said, “Yes?”

Jerry waved with his free hand and said, “You dropped something in my yard.”

“Oh!” The man reversed course and walked toward Jerry with a smile on his face. Jerry was surprised at the smile. Didn’t he see the shovel? The dog even seemed to be smiling. Jerry smiled back. We’re all gentlemen here, he thought.

The man stopped a few feet in front of Jerry, extended a hand, and asked, “Thank you. What did I drop?”

Jerry swung the shovel in a wide arc with one hand and slammed the point of the shovel into the concrete at the man’s feet. The dog jumped back as the poop flattened into a steaming circle.

Jerry shouted, “Your dog shit!”

The man looked more sad than shocked. Jerry turned back to his house.

Jerry smiled to himself at how hard he flung that dung at the ground. As he walked up the driveway, he noticed several little brown flecks on his shoes.

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About Eric Chandler

Husband. Father. Pilot. Cross Country Skier. Writer. Author of Outside Duluth and Down In It.
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