Tricia had already laid in a fair supply of candy for the Trick or Treaters. What we didn’t realize was that our neighborhood is one of the ones where people drive for miles to let their kids go out for Halloween. The houses are in a suburban spacing, so the candy density is high. There is no outlet, so traffic is minimal. And many of the homeowners warmly welcome the little undercover urchins by offering full-sized bags of M&M’s or Snickers bars.
In fact in talking to our neighbor, his first question on Saturday was, “How much candy do you have?”
“About 100 pieces”, Tricia told him.
“Not enough”, he replied. “You’ll need at least 200. People come from all over to drop their kids off here.”
Not wanting to be party poopers, we decided to drive out and pick up another 100 pieces or so. Plus that gave us a chance to visit the new Wal-Mart MEGA-CENTER in town. We picked up our candy, and our obligatory impulse purchases. Then we fought our way to the front of the store, only to find all the register lines at least a dozen deep. As they say at Wal-Mart, “No line less than 10 minutes.” We looked around frantically for an alternate route and finally made our escape from the mob by the skin of our teeth via the garden center register.
On the way home we stopped in for Starbucks, which is hard not to do on the drive home, since there is at least one Starbuck’s at every intersection in Seattle. Plus, it just seemed like the edgy Seattle thing to do after an invigorating romp at Wal-Mart. Relieved at having survived the Mega-center, and now with a warm cup of coffee in our hands we headed back to our own little piece of heaven on earth.
When we opened the front door, Pippin, our golden retriever, greeted us with a doleful look that provoked a deep sense of foreboding. Her face seemed to plead, “It’s not my fault. He made me do it!” However, the Skittles stuck to her muzzle spoke otherwise.
Mongo aka “Mr. Innocent Guy”
Mongo the lab however, was nowhere to be seen, which is most unusual for him, as he loves to greet us as we return to the house. Pippin looked over her shoulder into the dining room. We peered around the corner to see if she was looking at Mongo. There under the dining room table was Mongo amidst a whole pile of trash.
Mongo was urgently still trying to wolf down whatever remained under the table. Tricia shooed him out from under there, and took stock of the situation. “There are wrappers everywhere, and there’s candy stuck all over the rug! M&M’s, Skittles, Starbursts, and Snickers.” She continued, “And there’s part of a bag of microwave popcorn, and an empty bag of Heath bars under here.”
I crawled under the dining room table to begin damage control, and start picking Skittles out from the rug. Tricia continued to follow the trail of destruction back to the kitchen, berating Mongo all the way. “Did you do this? Hmmm? Did you?” Mongo remained stoic. Apparently, he does not have a remorseful bone in his body.
“There’s an empty bag of chocolate chips in here”, Tricia called from the kitchen. She followed the trail to the pantry. The door was open. “There’s an empty beef jerky bag on the floor in here too.” Jerky made sense. In spite of Mongo’s obvious sweet tooth, he is a carnivore at heart.
In total, he ate 50 Heath bars, a 50 pc mixed bag of Skittles, Starburst, M&M’s and Snickers, two bags of microwave popcorn, a bag of chocolate chips, and a bag of beef jerky. Most of the candy went down still in the wrappers. Mongo had made his own Trick or Treat.
By late afternoon, Mongo had decided he liked Halloween, but it appeared that Halloween did not like Mongo. His belly was swollen to the size of a soccer ball. He looked particularly uncomfortable. However, his belly continued to swell through the evening as the popcorn soaked up water and swelled.
Around 9 o’clock that evening, a horrible odor suddenly cut through the air in the living room. Mongo moaned and rolled over. Clearly, Trick or Treating did not agree with Mongo. He released another copious and malodorous cloud of gas in the house before I rushed him outside and closed the back door. He was out there for quite a while before he barked to come back in.
He made two more trips before we went to bed that night. After careful consideration, we left the back slider open so he could have free access to the backyard, in case his trick or treats decided to move through during the night.
Mongo the Sleeping Angel
In the morning, Mongo looked quite a bit slimmer. I ventured out into the back yard to survey the damage. There were two big piles of unpopped popcorn heaped like birdseed in the back yard. And several lime green puddles of the rainbow, apparently from the Skittles.
After church, we decided to take Mongo and Pippin for a walk at the big park by the beach. As we drove down there, the SUV was periodically punctuated by a most grievous odor emanating from the cargo hold.
When we reached West Seattle, we decided make a slight detour and take them into the Petsmart to buy them chew bones to keep their minds off the candy closet when we got back home. Inside the store was a young man stocking the bottom shelf of a display. Mongo hunched up right next to him and laid a big present on the linoleum. “We began to apologize profusely to the young man, but he waved dismissively and said, ”No problem, it’s just a routine thing here with our four-legged customers. We deal with this every day…Oh My God! That smells awful!” He staggered back from the smell. Mongo looked particularly pleased with himself.
The clerk staggered off to fetch a scooper and soon returned. He took a deep breath, held it, and approached the mess, but stopped dead in his tracks. He was staring down at the pile, apparently mesmerized. Tricia looked over to see what had grabbed his attention, looked up at him and deadpanned, “Yes, it does say ‘Snickers’ on it”.
“Oh…Okay”, the clerk answered in a stunned voice, and he began to scoop. We decided to leave quickly before he could come to his senses and ask any pointed questions.
“Come along Mongo.” We walked briskly to the door.
We tried to exit the store as unobtrusively as possible. Unfortunately, Mongo saw a dachshund on the way out. Mongo did not know what to make of this dog with no legs. He shied away, barked and made a beeline for the door in a panic, dragging me along. Apparently, Mongo wanted no part of whatever cruel fate had affected that hot dog,
We eventually got Mongo and Pippin back into the truck, and drove the last little bit to the Park. We disembarked in the parking lot, and before I could get all the doors shut to the truck, they had pulled Tricia up to the sidewalk and over the grass. Mongo released another candy-wrapper surprise and Pippin mad a big lime green rainbow pile. Apparently, Pippin had indulged in quite a few Skittles. These piles were every bit as malodorous as the Petsmart mess. Tricia and I gagged as we scooped up what we could into “doggie bags” and deposited them in the trash bin in the parking lot. Then we took them into the backcountry and let them run for a bit, to work anything else out of their system, far away from the prying eyes of anyone who might wonder why we weren’t cleaning up after our dogs.
That evening we sat on the front porch, handing out candy to all the little ghouls and goblins. We moved Pippin’s bed out to the porch with us were she slept quietly. We took Mongo out to the porch in his playpen. I had some concerns about how he would react to the ghastly creatures that would soon be marching up our front steps demanding treats. Mongo did not seem the least disturbed by the strangely dressed humans, perhaps because they all still had their legs, unlike that poor dachshund. He quickly grew tired from his big Howl-o-ween weekend, and curled up in his pen to go to sleep.
Dad signed up for the Barktoberfest Rover Romp in Auburn. The day started auspiciously, when he and Mongo got to park in the close parking lot, even though the attendant told them there were no spots left! It was warm when they debarked form Kimi’s jeep. First they went trick or treating at all the dog food vendors’ tables. Then the time of the race drew near. Just then the sun went behind the clouds and the cold front rolled over the racers. It started to get chilly as the participants milled around the start line. Dad started praying that his legs would not get chilled before he started the race. Mongo didn’t care about the weather.
Finally, the mayor blew the air horn that started the race. Dad and Mr. M started behind all the competitors who were unlucky enough to not have a dog with them. Within the first half a mile, Mr. M had dragged Dad to the front of the pack, when Mr. M abruptly pulled over to the side for a poop break. Dad quickly bagged it and then they rejoined the race. Within the next half mile, they were again at the front of the pack.
“Careful Buddy!”, Dad cautioned Mongo. “If you go too much faster Dad’s poor old knees will fly apart!” But Mongo pulled harder, and Dad hauled back on the leash, until Mongo veered off the course again for a pee break. Dad waited with an aire of patience that he really didn’t possess.
Mongo was racing again as soon as his leg came away from the tree. He and Dad soon were leading again as they neared the turn. Then Mongo saw the kiddie pool. There was a loud splash, and then Mr. M was laying in the pool enjoying a cool drink. Dad took a drink from the race attendants also, as it appeared they were not going anywhere soon.
As soon as Dad finished his drink, Mongo sprung from the pool and shook. Within moments, they were back on the course in second place. Ahead of them now were a couple with their schnauzer, but Mongo and Dad had spent too much energy on the out leg pulling at opposite ends of the leash.
All they could do was keep pace with the schnauzer family until the end of the race. Still Dad and Mongo finished 2nd, and their pace for the 5Km was 24:02, which meant they made Dad’s goal of running in under 8 minute miles. Mongo however, would have to wait till next week’s race to see if he could win a 5k outright.