South Scottsdale, AZ… 2001 or so.
A bunch of us had gone out for the night, and we all ended up at some Mexican restaurant. I can still remember the nachos, but that’s not what this story is about. This story is about puppies. Puppies in peril.
Everybody wanted to leave, but my buddy and I weren’t done with the nachos or with the night. Let’s call my friend “Ronnie”. Ronnie and I should have gotten in the car and gone home with everyone, but… we didn’t, so here we are.
Ronnie and I eventually started walking home. We cut through a shopping plaza… this one, for my friends in the Dirty South:
Get the chicken parm at DeFalco’s. Ridiculously good.
As we approached the back of the plaza, near the alley we were planning to walk down to get home, we heard something strange.
Barking. Lots and lots of barking.
It’s 2am or so, and there are dozens of dogs… in a plaza… somewhere… barking.
We eventually found the store where the barking was coming from, and neither one of us could figure out what was happening. Also, we had apparently forgotten how to read, but we’ll get to that…
Then I was overwhelmed with a sense of urgency as I realized what was happening…
These puppies were in danger!
I believed this with all of my moronic heart. Here’s why:
I told Ronnie the story of how when I was in Tent City (I’ll tell ya that story later), we used to smell the smoke of the cats and dogs that were incinerated a mile away at the…place..where…that…apparently…happens… or so I thought.
Every night a cloud of smoke hovered over the tents, and we had to lay there and imagine the terror unfolding. Disclaimer: It wasn’t happening- we were all dumb.
That night in that plaza, we convinced ourselves that these helpless puppies were DEFINITELY going to end up in the incinerator! I can’t remember why that made sense to me, but it also made sense to Ronnie, so we had to come up with a plan… to rescue the puppies.
I looked around for a solution, and there it was:
A makeshift “No Parking” sign the tenant had made from a bucket of concrete with a pole sticking out.
I picked it up and threw it as hard as I could at the glass doors.
Turns out this puppy prison had an alarm, and a loud one at that, so we had to act fast.
The glass dropped to the ground and I ran in. Ronnie came behind me, but (cringe alert) as he walked through the door, the top half of glass came down on his calf.
It was brutal…. but this was a rescue mission, and I didn’t have a tourniquet, so we had to keep going.
The puppies were all locked in cages, some big and some small. I was facing a Heinz dilemma (Google it)…. I had to decide if I was going to save one or two large dogs, or five or six small dogs. My logic was rooted in the idea that I had to carry them to safety. I couldn’t just open the doors and let them run.
I went with the small dogs. I can’t remember, but I think I ended up with six or seven in my arms. Ronnie only had like five… what a chump.
I ran out the door, then to the alley, feeling as heroic as a man can feel.
The dogs were confused. At least one of them was scared, because my shirt was suddenly soaked in urine.
I’m a grown man, running down an alley, covered in dog pee… convinced that I was doing a good thing. Quick reminder that I was old enough to vote.
We got back to my apartment, and my roommate was awakened by two grown men… and about 11 very small, very confused dogs.
I explained to her what we had done while Ronnie probably went to the hospital or something.
She then explained to me what we had actually just done.
We had broken into a pet hotel.
These pets’ owners were all on vacation or something. The dogs weren’t in danger. They were basically at a huge sleepover for puppies… and then we showed up.
We agreed that the puppies should go back, but not right now. The cops were definitely already there.
I had to work the next day, so I asked my roommate to take the dogs back in her car, tie them all to a pole in the alley, and then like… honk or something and drive away. It made sense to me. Isn’t that basically what Samson did with the foxes?!
She took the puppies back the next day, but she didn’t drive away, she did the first right thing in this story- she told them what happened.
The cops showed up at my apartment. I had a bunch of friends over, so as they arrested me, they asked each of my friends to lift their pant legs and show them their calves. They had seen it happen on the security cameras, and it left quite the mess.
Ronnie didn’t come to the hangout that night, so I told them it was just some guy I met at the restaurant… yeah, that’s it. I met a guy at the restaurant, then he robbed a puppy hotel with me.
Time to go to court. This is the best part of the story.
I had been out on bail, so I showed up to court looking like a spoiled kid from Scottsdale. South Scottsdale, that is. The distinction matters.
As the proceedings began, a door opened up on the side of the room, and like ten hardened criminals were escorted in, shackled from head to toe. Killers, life-long gangsters… terrifying looking dudes.
But they called me up first. Khakis and all.
The bailiff handed my file to the judge, and she looked them over for a minute. Then she made a face… like she was confused. Then she asked someone to look at the file- she asked them something, they shrugged their shoulders in an “I have no idea” kind of way… then she took off her reading glasses, looked up at me, and said…
“Sir… you stole… puppies?!”
Everyone in the courtroom burst into uncontrollable laughter. The judge, the lawyers, my lawyer, some guy mopping probably, and most of all… the shackled prisoners. They lost it. They were all going to spend the rest of their lives incarcerated, but I had given them this gift, this moment, of pure, unadulterated joy.
“Ma’am,” I said, ” I thought they were in danger…”
The first round of laughter was nothing in comparison to the second.
Annnnd there you have it: the absolute dumbest story of all time. Every bit of it’s true, except for name of my friend.
I hope you feel much, much better about yourself after reading it.