I'm a little behind tonight. Heh, heh! You know what I said!
The reason I'm a little behind (heh, heh, I just can't do that enough) is because I have not felt the least bit funny since 11:48 this morning. I know the precise time, because I saw it on the microwave. The reason I haven't felt funny had nothing to do with the microwave, though.
When I left for town, Farmer H was heading outside to fiddle about with his themed shacks and Goodwill swag and wait on HOS to come down and help him load some free bricks to finish the sidewalk. Which I didn't know was unfinished, it having been there for nigh on 19 years. The dogs must have followed Farmer H, because they did not come to the side porch to see me off. When I returned two hours later, I saw them run across the yard to the house.
Farmer H came to the garage to carry in two bags of groceries, two packs of strawberry water, a carton of Diet Mountain Dew, and an 8-pack of squatty bottles of Diet Coke. I gathered my purse and 44 oz Diet Coke, and closed T-Hoe's rear hatch and the garage door. I stepped through the people door to pet my dogs. Copper the neighbor dog barely moved off the sidewalk to allow me passage. I hugged and patted my Sweet, Sweet Juno, because she is bigger, and shoulders her way in front of Jack, who prances around like a circus dog vying for attention.
Today, he did not. He stood by the metal chair I use to put groceries on. I went to pat and hug him, and he did not stand on his hind legs and put his front paws on my shoulders, nor try to lick my teeth. In fact, he hung back a little bit. That's when I saw that he was quivering. Shaking. Like a can of paint being mixed at Lowe's. His eyes were sad. I felt him to see if he was wet, in case maybe he'd been swimming in the creek or fish pond. The temp was 38 degrees according to T-Hoe.
Jack was not wet. He was also not interested in the handful of cat kibble I laid in front of him. He sniffed it. Then he headed around the porch toward the front of the house. He had trouble walking, he was shaking so hard. Then he took off at a slow lope, his hindquarters bobbing to and fro from the shaking.
I was worried. I voiced my concern as I put away Save A Lot groceries. Farmer H, from the La-Z-Boy, said he could see Jack in the front yard. "He'll be fine. He's taking a poop. Now he's vomiting."
"He shouldn't shake like that. I wonder if he's having a seizure. Maybe he got into some poison."
"Nah. They was with me. All three of them dogs. We went up to HOS's with the Gator. They was runnin' through the woods."
"I bet that crazy stick man put out poison."
"HM, they didn't go over there. They was on HOS's land. They went down by the creek, then came back. Jack was fine. He was sniffin' HOS's wife's little dog's butt, and it was sniffin' his butt. He didn't eat anything. Maybe he got snake bit. We came back not long before you got home. I came in the house, and the dogs run out in the trees by the sinkhole. Then they came back. Maybe Jack eat a bad frog. They can have poison on them."
"Maybe. Our poodle Buster got stung by a scorpion at my mom's house. He shook his head and threw snot all over and vomited. But his lip swelled up real big."
"They can get snake bit. Or he probably ate something."
"Oh, no! I gave them bread for their snack last night. A couple bones, and a lot of bread. Jack only had the back bone. Not the pointy ribs part, or the long thigh. But it was a lot of bread. I tore his up for him. Maybe he's clogged up with bread and it's my fault!"
"I'm pretty sure that's what killed old Longhorn the goat. I have him a bunch of bread, and the next day he was dead."
"You're not helping! There's something about heelers and how big their chest is. I think they can twist their gut if they're too energetic after eating. Maybe Jack ate his food this morning and then took off running with you and the Gator."
Farmer H went out on the back porch. "No. Both of em's pan of food is still there. They haven't touched it."
"Jack had something white in the front yard this morning. It was oval. Like a little deflated volleyball. He came running from your shacks with it, and then Copper took it away from him. I don't know what it was."
"I'll go look at him and see if he's got any bites on him."
When Farmer H came back, it was not good news. "I found Jack under my barbershop. He won't come out. He's still shaking and vomiting white foam. He'll look at me, but he won't move. I tried poking him with a stick, but he won't move."
"I wonder if I should take him to the vet."
"HM, I can't get him out from under the barber shop. I don't know HOW I'll get him out if he dies under there..."
"STOP! Don't talk about that! Now he's under the shack and I think I might have killed him, and you're going off to help #1 move out of his house. So you'll be gone, and I'll be here worried about him, and not able to do anything."
"Yeah. I had to lay down on the ground to even see him under there. I'll call HOS and tell him to come check. Then he can call you to let you know."
"I don't want anything to happen to Jack!"
"HM, there's nothing we can do. Animals have a way of healin' theirself, or going off to die. We'll get you another dog."
"But I want JACK! You act like he's already dead!"
"No, I'm not saying that."
"I like him way more than I though I would. Now I'm used to having him."
"Yeah. Jack's a pretty good dog. I'll have HOS come down. I won't be home until around 10:00 tonight."
Sooo...HOS was supposed to come down around 3:00. I didn't hear anything from him. I went out to walk at 4:45. I didn't see Jack anywhere. Copper was sitting in the middle of the front field looking concerned. Juno came to the side porch, but her romping was subdued. She trotted out to the driveway with me for my walk, and gave Copper a half-hearted growl when he approached. While I walked, Juno went to the front yard, just in front of the decrepit picket fence. She sat looking toward the Little Barbershop of Horrors. I heard a whimper from her or Copper.
When I finished my six laps, I went out into the front yard to look for what Jack had been playing with this morning. It was a white face mask like the people in China wore during the bird flu outbreak. You know, one of those cupped paper face masks, with a rubber band on it. I guess maybe people use those when they spray paint, too. Or maybe insecticide, or work with insulation.
I gave Juno her porch snack. Jack never appeared. I couldn't see any hint of his white fur under the edge of the Little Barbershop of Horrors. I called Farmer H to ask if the reason I hadn't heard from HOS was because it was bad news. No, he said. HOS must have not come down yet. He'd call him. Then I didn't want to know, just in case Jack was dead under the shack. A couple hours later, Farmer H called and said that HOS came down, but couldn't find Jack anywhere. He was not under the Little Barbershop of Horrors any more.
So...the good news was that Jack had moved, but the bad news was that we didn't know why, and that he was now missing.
At 10:40, Farmer H got home. He said he found Jack in the chicken house, and that he came out for a minute. Farmer H looked him over and didn't see anything wrong. Jack's belly wasn't bloated or hard. He didn't act like he felt good, but he wasn't shaking any more.
We'll see how he feels tomorrow.