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My Mother, the Criminal

 

Once a person breaks the law, there is no turning back. It can happen at any age. Mother drifted into crime at 92.

As far as we could figure out, Nike had been a runaway. The little guy was confused and frightened, but Mother lovingly won him over. She even taught Nike to howl on command like a tiny wolf.

All of Mother’s dogs have lived indoors and none have ever mated without her consent. She saw no point in having Nike neutered; he’d had a rough enough life already. Mother felt if he were fixed, he might stop his wolf howling, something she and all of her friends thought was wonderful.

The pound phoned when we neglected to send in the proper papers from the vet. I explained to a nice but officious young lady that Mother was going to keep Nike “as is.”

The young lady said if Nike was ever caught off our property, she herself would neuter him, then charge Mother castration fees and horrendous penalties.

I related to Mother the fact that the pound woman was a dedicated castrator. Mother held firm. “No way I’m neutering Nike. He won’t ever run loose and if that girl calls back, tell her I’m getting a lawyer to prove I signed under duress.”

No one from the pound called back and Mother, true to her word, kept Nike indoors. When Mother walks him, she makes certain he’s on a leash.

I don’t know if Nike realizes how close he came to losing the family jewels, but I’m sure if he could talk, he’d testify he’s happy. (Incidentally, testify comes from the ancient practice of swearing an oath on your testes.)

The fact is, Mother broke the law for that little guy, and as I said, there’s no turning back after one begins a life of crime.

Take the tiny worms we discovered in Nike’s Iams dog food.

Mother had me call Iams.

Peggy White, at customer relations, swore that Iams has the cleanest processing plants in the world, but occasionally, after a shipment leaves, worms can get into the food. She assured me that the critters,—which eat only grain, would not harm Nike.

Ms. White said that during shipping, someone could have nicked the sack and a worm could have hopped in. She promised to send us a coupon for a brand new sack if I would throw away the unused feed.

I agreed and bought a smaller sack to tide us over until the coupon for the replacement bag arrived. I sprinkled the wormy feed into the alley so birds and squirrels could enjoy it.

Hours later, I caught Mother spooning up the feed from the alley.

“What are you going to do with that?” I asked.

“I’ll Feed it to Nike,” she said. “Peggy said it wouldn’t hurt and this stuff is expensive.” (Obviously, Mother had been listening in on the extension; this in itself was probably some kind of misdemeanor, but hard to prove.

“I promised we’d throw it away,” I said. “We’re breaking another agreement.”

“When you’re old, crime comes easy,” said Mother. “Get out of my way!”

I reached out to take the wormy feed from Mother, Nike gave a wolf howl and sprung for my groin. I retreated.

Not only is Mother deeply involved in crime, now she’s got the wolf-dog as an accessory. At this rate, I fear neither of them will end up in heaven.

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