A Short Story From “In The Mousehole”
I received a phone call from the principal of the local school when dog was the rage.
“Would you talk to Jayson about not playing dog during school hours?” he asked politely.
I didn’t have a clue what the obviously stressed man was talking about. “Dog?”
“Yes, Jayson is the dog leader, and I think if he stops they all will. I just can’t stand any more calls.”
“Yes, from the parents. One woman even yelled at me.”
“Her son’s jeans. You know, the holes from crawling like a dog on the blacktop. I asked your son to stop the game yesterday.”
“What did he say?”
I bit the sides of my mouth. “How many kids are we talking about?”
“There’s a whole pack of them. About thirty.”
I puffed out my chest. Pure leadership ability at such a young age.
“The parents aren’t the only frustrated ones,” he continued. “One of the playground supervisors came into my office in tears. Whenever she tried to herd the dogs … I mean children … into the grassy areas so they wouldn’t ruin their clothes, they’d bark, snarl, and bare their teeth. She finally gave into their game and clapped her hands, calling, `Here doggie.’ That’s when one plunged his head up her dress and licked her leg. She was really quite beside herself. We feel it has reached a critical point. We’re worried this dog thing is spreading to the third grade. It’s like … they’ve taken over the school.”
“I’ve wondered why Jay has been coming home so dirty.”
“Sincerely, I’d appreciate anything you could do. Today when I checked the playground I saw one of the children actually lift his leg to a tree.”
“Have you considered calling the dog pound?”
He didn’t laugh.
When I gained control of myself, I promised I’d talk to Jayson.
It was a hard thing––hard to convince him why they couldn’t play dog at school anymore. Facing an obvious “pack leader” made it especially hard.