Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Don't Be That Guy: Caught Holding the Bag

Don't Be That Guy: One of the best things about being one out of several billion is that there's always somebody doing something stupid. If you keep your eyes open, you can usually wait for a stupid person to try something first. Watch them fail, laugh, and be sure not to repeat their mistake. Or read my blog and get the skinny straight from the Nerdery.

Here's a glorious true story from the Nerdery's backyard.

A young lady--we'll call her Red--was house-sitting for a family in Chicago while they were out of town. The home-owners owned several dogs, and so much of the house-sitting involved basic pet care needs: feeding them, taking them out for walks, cleaning up after them...

Especially that last one.

After a few days of taking care of the pets, Red stopped by the house to find a dead dog. Worried and a little bit emotional, she called up the home-owners. The dog happened to be rather old, and so they reassured her that they weren't unduly upset. Red wasn't sure what to do with the cadaver, so she asked the owners, who said their vet could take care of the cremation and then bill them for it.

All Red had to do was get the dog to the vet. In Chicago. In the summer.

Unfortunately, as a young city-trotter, she doesn't have a car. So she'd be forced to take the deceased dog on the El--that's the elevated train system for those of you who are urban-impaired. Suffice it to say that Red was not looking forward to lugging a worm-bait doggie onto the train on her way to the vet's dust farm, so she decided to improvise.

With what I can only imagine to be a thick pair of rubber-gloves and a lot of TLC, she hefted the meat puppet into a piece of travel luggage. Maybe with a trash bag for an additional liner, or maybe she wasn't planning on using that luggage piece ever again. In any case, onto the train she hustled her postmortem cargo in a conveniently wheeled travel bag, settling rather embarrassedly into the conveyance's vinyl seat.

I'm sure at this point Red was casually sniffing the air, nervously checking to see if the truly manifest canine was emitting a noticeable odor. Maybe I should've doubled up the trash bags? Could I get a citation for this? The thoughts must have come in a constant stream that made the distraction of a stranger addressing her seem welcome.

"Hey there."


"What's in the bag?"

A pause. Red didn't want to be just another urban horror story: "So I was riding the train and this lady next to me had a frickin' dead dog in a travel bag. No, she wasn't a taxadermist; it wasn't stuffed. She just had a rotting pup in her carry-on." So she decided to lie:

"Oh, just some jewelry and stuff."

Moments later, the stranger snatched her precious parcel and made a clean getaway. I can't imagine Red put up too much of a fight, though, if only for fear of the contents tumbling out in the middle of any potential scuffle.

Now, imagine the dirtbag mugger's reaction when he carted the bag off to some secluded place and checked out his haul. I'd like to think he went straight to a fence or pawn-broker with the bag:

"Hey, Earl, whaddya got?"

"A nice bag of bling, Jimmy. Check it...out?"

He opens the bag to find a plastic garbage bag. Curious, he unwraps the secreted contents while Jimmy leans his head close over the package to get that first glimpse. Then comes the dramatic reveal: there's a delay in the realization, as Jimmy's face freezes in momentary puzzlement as he tries to make sense of what he's seeing. A wig? A stuffed animal? Then there comes a whiff of decay.

"Whathehell?!" Jimmy half-gags and covers his nose and mouth as the realization dawns.

Earl, shocked and disappointed in his haul, overturns the bag to see if his victim tried the classic hide-the-valuables-under-the-dead-dog ploy. The corpse canine plops onto the floor as he shakes out the contents.

"Earl! Whathehell, man?!" Jimmy shrieks louder this time. "Not on my f---ing floor!"

"Maybe it's in the dog?" Earl suggests, making a hesitant gesture.

"No, no no no!" Jimmy stomps, stopping Earl before he can touch the dog. There's an awkward, tense silence. "Is this some kind of prank?"

"What? No," Earl defends himself. "This lady was on the El with this carry-on, and she said it was jewelry, I swear."

Another pause.

"She must be some kind of sick-o," he concludes.

So, for all you highwaymen out there: keep in mind that your average Chicagoan is probably not going to volunteer that she has a haul of valuables with her on the El. So if you are told that, think twice. It might be a putrid pooch.

Dead-dog-mugger: don't be that guy.

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