Lady in the Box

It was a bicentennial year now written in history. Rocky was number one at the box office, would-be angels donned Farrah-Faucett hair, and gas cost sixty cents a gallon. Captain Kangaroo spent every breakfast with me while I picked away at my blueberry pancakes and slurped down my Tang. A reluctant bath and quick brush of the teeth were sure to follow. I still remember the many mischievous afternoons getting into trouble, and countless nights, alone in my room, thinking about what I had done.

One crisp morning, I found myself sprawled out on the cold linoleum floor of my hallway, trying to color within the lines. My first childhood crush, the blond-haired Trisha Parker laid on her back staring at the popcorn ceiling while Disco Duck blared from my record player. The meandering smell of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies tempted our nostrils from the kitchen as Lady, my Irish Setter, stared at me through her big puppy eyes, begging for a morsel. Mom hated when I fed her, so I had to be sly.

I peeked around the corner to see if she was around. The coast was clear, so I crept into the kitchen and snatched one. Lady’s vigilant gaze tracked my hands as she licked her face wildly. In one swoop, she gorged herself on the treat, leaving a trail of drool on my fingers. Trisha knew I wasn’t supposed to feed the dog and turned me in.

For my punishment, I had to pick everything up off my bedroom floor. Mom wanted it clean before supper. Trisha couldn’t contain her smug smirk on the way to my room. She reveled in her deed while I stomped around my room hurling clothes into the hamper and chucking my Lego’s into the toy box. Lady trotted behind, with a boisterous wiggle of her tail. Didn’t mom say EVERYTHING off the floor? She did, so into the box Lady went. With a slam of the lid, I proclaimed the room clean. Trisha and I went outside to walk our pet rocks. After ten minutes, mom came screaming after me, and that was the day I learned puppies aren’t a toy.

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