RIDDLES AND TRICKS
Three separate streets are within my view when I sit in my porch rocker. My house, with its paint faded from the intense sun, sits at an intersection where these three meet. Just under the sidewalk edge at this intersection, there are three wide-mouthed open storm drains facing each other in a sort of triangle, letting rainwater rush full force down into the dark bowels of the storm system. I recall as a child always walking faster past these cavernous drains. You know, kid imagination and all. Mostly my neighborhood of pastel-colored cookie cutter houses has the older generation living here. Maybe we sort of gravitated together because it’s quiet. A lot of us sit on our look-alike porches, and watch the dog walkers, the wishful thinking pseudo exercisers, or the birds hopping around the spot where we entice them with grocery store seeds. That’s what I was doing when “the incident” happened. After being cooped up inside for two long rainy days, the air felt comfortably fresh and cool. It was a pleasant evening, and I didn’t even need a shawl to cover my fragile, 87 year old frame.
A small dog wandered by, sniffing at trees and bushes as he passed, so intent on identifying previous bush wetters that he never even noticed me. I clucked to myself, mentally criticizing his unknown owner for letting him run free. There is a leash law, after all! And if he was fenced, they -the unnamed owner- should have at least made sure the gate was secure. Tch. Tch. I reached for another handful of store-bought birdseed as the dog sniffed around the nearest storm drain. The large, slime-encrusted hand that reached out from the opening under the sidewalk grabbed his slender legs, and before he could resist or yelp, he disappeared right into that drain. You laugh? I know what I saw! I’m not senile. No, just because I walk with a cane and have major wrinkles and spend my days sitting and observing, doesn’t mean I’m senile. It wasn’t some sort of trick and there is no riddle to find an answer to here. I know what I saw!
That was yesterday. I watched intently from the porch, my heart beating loudly, for probably an hour and never saw the dog again, or the hand either. If I tell someone I’m sure they won’t believe me. They’ll just say “Oh, grandma”, or “Oh, Mrs. Lantry, you were just imagining that.” So no, I’ve told no one except you. But last night I locked doors that I don’t usually lock. And I sat inside my house by the window and watched that storm drain until it got too dark to see. I won’t be sitting outside in my porch rocker any more. Ever.