Friday, August 20, 2010
Bill was away for work and Tommy was spending the night with the cub scouts the night it happened.
Marie awoke to what she registered as a glass shattering as it hit the floor. Her first though was that Tommy had woken in the middle of the night and wanted a glass of water. Then she remembered that Tommy wasn’t home and George wasn’t able to get to the glasses, as they were safely tucked away with child proof latches on the cabinets.
Fully awake in mere moments, Marie rolled silently out of bed and slid into her slippers. She heard more clinking and jostling coming from the dining room as she crept down the stairs, only further confirming her worst fears: someone had broken into the house.
The first thing Marie noticed as she slipped into the kitchen was the broken window in the kitchen door, its glass scattered across the tiled floor. Then she noticed the door to the broom closet, where George slept, had been flung open.
Feeling a sickening bout of panic rise in her, Marie quickly sidestepped the broken glass and tip toed over to the closet. George’s bed was empty and the singed toys he neatly put away before bed each night lay scattered across the floor as if they were overturned in a panic.
As if on cue, she heard the scrabbling of dragon claws and the clang of dragon scales against a metal cage in the living room. The burglar was not only after the Finnegan’s fine China, but was kidnapping the family pet!
Oh no you don’t, Marie thought. From the knife stand, she drew her largest chef’s knife. Robbing her was bad, but stealing George? This burglar was going to pay for that.
Creeping along the walls, she made her way towards the living room. In the dim moonlight she could make out the back of the man stuffing the silver candle sticks that had belonged to Bill’s grandmother into a sack while a very frustrated George tried to burn a hole in the large Have-A-Heart trap the burglar had forced him into. Enough was enough.
Marie flicked on the lights.
“Hey, you! What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded, banishing her knife at the intruder.
The burglar started, dropping a vase Marie was particularly fond of so it smashed into hundreds of pieces.
“Hands up! I’ve got a knife, so no sudden movements.” Her voice was clear and unwavering. She was in charge here, she was the one armed.
The man turned slowly, his arms raised over his head. Between his sun burnt face and ruggedly menacing demeanor, Marie figured he was something like a construction worker on his honest days.
There was a click and Marie noticed the glint of mental in the light.
Crap, Marie thought, her bravado gone. He has a gun.
Without a word, he motioned for Marie to put down her knife. Slowly, Marie bent down and placed the knife on the carpet. She never took her eyes off the gun. She was too scared to look anywhere else.
Once the knife was down and Marie’s held her hands where he could see them, the burglar lowered the gun and reached down to pick up his bag.
That’s when George jumped in. He sunk his jagged teeth into the burglar’s gun arm, causing the burglar to yowl in pain. In his surprise he accidentally pulled the trigger and shot the coffee table. The bullet went though a stack of cooking magazines Marie had been borrowing from her sister-in-law. Marie hoped she wouldn’t mind the bullet hole.
A loud thump brought her back to the burglar. He had sunk to the floor, his gun forgotten on the rug next to him. He held his bitten arm to his body, his face contorted in unbearable pain.
“George, get the gun,” Marie said. She didn’t know how George had escaped his cage, but she didn’t care. He had saved her.
Carefully, she approached the burglar. Now that she was standing above him, she could see that the flesh on the burglar’s arm was deteriorating in front of her eyes, as if it was being eaten away by acid. Understanding setting in, Marie whipped around to look at the cage. There was a large, ragged hole in the metal, the sort of hole you’d expect from acid erosion. George stood at her feet, the gun in his mouth and his tail wagging. He dropped the gun at her feet. There were distinct dents where George’s teeth had clenched the barrel.
“Guard him,” Marie ordered George, pointing to the burglar. She went into the kitchen and called the police.
The police arrived fifteen minutes later. The burglar seemed happy to go with them, as it meant putting further distance between him and George.
Marie half expected the police to insist on taking George in, on account for his having bit someone. To her surprise, the officer instead scratched George under the chin, earning him George’s everlasting friendship, and said, “Looking at the circumstances and seeing as it’s his first offense, we’ll just let this slide, alright?”
Marie was not one to argue with an officer of the law (at least not when he’d just done her and George a favor).
Once the police left, Marie went back to the kitchen to sweep up the glass, tape over the huge hole in her door, and tuck George back into bed. Only George had other ideas.
After helping her find far flung pieces of glass, he waddled into his closet, grabbed his asbestos lined doggy bed loaded with his favorite toys, and dragged the whole lot into up the stairs. When Marie entered her bedroom, George was already there waiting for her. He glanced between her and the bed, his request obvious.
“Oh, alright. I guess you’ve earned it. But just this once, okay?” George gave a little nod and waited patiently as Marie heaved his asbestos coated doggy bed and toys up onto Bill’s side of the comforter. With practiced ease, he sprung up and onto his bed, fluttering his wings excitedly. He circled around his bed a few times before settling down to face Marie as she climbed onto her own side.
Marie smiled and gently stroked the top of his head. “Good night, George,” she whispered.
George heaved a content sigh and fell fast asleep.