I work in the 5500 block of Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. During seasons when snow and ice recede, I stroll to and from work with my Seeing Eye dog, Randy.
In the 5400 block of Lincoln Avenue is a bakery whose aroma excites Randy and me equally. This afternoon, as we pass, Randy dips his head and, I assume, scarfs a blueberry muffin, jelly donut or chocolate éclair. I stop. Randy stops. I pry his jaws apart. He offers no resistance. I insert two fingers into his mouth. He complies. I remove a huge dough ball. He sheds tears, I’m sure of it. I say to Randy, “No!” and, pivoting like a shortstop, I fling the sodden wad toward the street.
That’s when I glimpse the hulking mass of the SUV parked at the curb. I hide behind Randy, frozen by fear. Did I score a direct hit? I hadn’t heard a telltale splat or a shrieking driver. But the SUV is so huge, no way I missed it. Where did that dough ball go? What if the window is open? Oh, Lord, what if the window is open? Is that dough ball plastered against the inside of the windshield? Dripping down the leather interior? Keeping Randy between me and the SUV, I edge across the parkway. The SUV whoops and growls. I jump back onto the sidewalk. What if both front windows are open and the dough ball sailed all the way through? I sure can’t tell where it ended up and the SUV won’t let me get near it. Only Randy can find the dough ball, and that’s how the whole mess got started in the first place.
In the 5200 block of Lincoln Avenue stands a police station. Randy and I slink past, expecting sirens and footfalls and nightsticks. The interrogation room. An extracted confession. Malicious mischief on my hitherto clean rap sheet. I’ll take my punishment. I just hope they go easy on Randy.