A jumble of numbers shone from my clock as an angry pounding echoed through my house. I blinked, rubbing my sleepy eyes. The knock thundered again and this time the words, "Open the F'n door," followed.
I shot straight up and shook Cade. "It's midnight and someone's here . . . someone with a bad mouth." I felt my heart creeping up my spine because when someone pounds on your door that late, it's never good news. I even wondered if Jill's Targeter had found us. I wanted to cry. Where was Gertie and her Billy Club when I needed her? The funny thing was though, I hadn't expected the targeter to be a foul mouthed woman. I moved some of Cade's hair away from his eye. I hoped we'd be okay if we opened that door, but maybe we were about to spend our last moments as man and wife. That made me mad. There we were--about to die--and Cade wouldn't wake up!
"Cade. Get up! Someone's here."
He rolled over. "Why?"
"Who cares! She's gonna wake up the kids AND teach them potty words. We need to answer the door."
The woman pounded again. "Open the F'n door. It's raining out here!"
Cade finally got out of bed and pulled on some pants. "Who in the Hell would be coming over here this late?"
"I have no idea." We stood by the door and I probably lost two sizes as I stood shaking. I clutched a kitchen broom and figured I'd fight with it if I had to--I've gotten good at sweeping floors. I'd attack Cinderella style--like a Cinder-ninja!
But after we opened the door, I didn't know what to say. The woman didn't look like a foul-mouthed beast. She looked more like a foul-mouthed princess. She had four dogs with her, three of which she'd tied to the bottom of our railing and one which stood by her side.
"This is your dog," she said. "I've seen you walking together. How about you make sure to lock your gate next time!"
I felt like a perpetrator. The woman had seen me with that dog. She could make anyone feel guilty of a crime! In fact, she'd probably make a good living on Judge Judy! Cade took the leash as I stayed there, feeling like an idiot.
So with nothing left to do, I started sweeping the entryway.
"How hard is it to lock a gate?" the woman went on. "You're lucky I found your dog when I did. It's the middle of the night."
I glared at the dog. Pets can be fun, but it sucks when they want to be world travelers that poop everywhere. I pulled my eyes from that damn animal and swept some more. That's when Cade grabbed the broom from me and whispered in my ear. "Does this look like a good time to sweep the entryway?"
"Actually, it does." I wanted to tell him how great sweeping sounded; how it's important to keep a clean home and a clean mind. But the Foul-mouthed Princess stared at me like I was nuts.
Cade passed me the leash. "Can you take care of this? I have to get up at four."
I went to answer, but realized it wasn't a question. Cade TOOK MY BROOM--my only weapon--as he left the room and that wet-smelling dog pranced into our house. I hated the dog then. I was really upset, but as I looked down, I noticed something. It was a boy! Our dog's a girl.
I didn't need my broom anymore. I felt like one of those witches who could fly without it. The Foul-mouthed Princess had walked to the base of the stairs so she could untie her other dogs, but I wasn't ready for her to leave.
"This isn't our dog!" I shouted into the night. I hadn't used the word F'n like she had, but I still felt pretty empowered. "This is a boy! Our dog's a girl."
Her face turned as red as her hair and I have to say I loved every second of the coloration. "Ummm . . . " She peered around. "Well, maybe you can call the owner. There's a number on the tag."
"Why didn't you call the number?" I yelled as she walked down my driveway.
"Because I thought you were the owner." She walked briskly across the street. "Oh and welcome to the neighborhood."
I raised a brow. "We've been here over five years!" But she hadn't heard me. She was gone and the only way I'd catch her would be by running into the rain.
So Cade took my broom and I got stuck with a vagabond dog. I called the owner, even though it was so late the bars would close soon. He wasn't mean or anything, just sleepy. He said he'd be over in a few minutes.
He kept his word and through that time I petted the dog and found out he was actually pretty nice.
Anyway, I realized it's not a good thing to judge a book by its cover (unless it's self-published.) Princesses' can have foul-mouths; Scroungy Dogs can be nice; and brutish Spouses might like to steal brooms.
I still can't believe that woman left me with a dog, but I'm just happy my kids didn't learn any new words.