Thursday, March 09, 2006

"That Vicious Beast You Call a Pet!"

The third installment in our Man Against Beast series, Man Against Beast III: The Beast Wins:

Jonathan was a weird kid, even by the weird standard of my childhood friends. He was pale and big-headed (if they ever make his biopic, his adult-self will certainly be played by Philip Seymour Hoffman). He was too smart and quirky for his own good, and he would have fit very nicely into a 19th century British novel about effete intellectuals who faint too much.

We went to school together, and our fathers worked together at the university's anthropology department. One Sunday, his whole family came out to the farm for a barbecue. After eating, we boys goofed off, running around the yard as boys will. This is where the trouble began.

Prince was a good natured and friendly dog, but he did like a little sport, particularly a good chase, and the sight of my oversized, translucent friend dashing this way and that clearly excited him. He gave a playful, tail-wagging little lunge after Jonathan. Jonathan's response was to shriek and run in the opposite direction. This all seemed like great fun to Prince who gave chase. This sent Jonathan into a full-blown panic, arms flailing, yelling "Help! Help!" as Prince pranced about nipping at his heels.

We raced after them, trying to catch Prince and shouting assurances to Jonathan that the dog was harmless. He would have none of it. After a lengthy, frenetic circuit around the yard, Jonathan finally scrambled up the white, rail fence in front of our house, perched at the very top of one of the posts, and furiously screamed, "Get that vicious beast you call a pet away from me!"

I'm going to tell you right now, the world is a cruel place, and we all have darkness in our hearts. We laughed at that poor boy. Certainly we tried to hide it, suppressing our smirks as we caught Prince, but laugh we did. An eight year old boy using full blown, Victorian phrasing in the throws of misguided hysteria is just unavoidable funny. Prince was thereafter regularly referred to as "that vicious beast you call a pet."

Finally, the "beast" was restrained, and Jonathan was coaxed down from the fence. Then we chopped him into little bits and threw him on the chicken house roof. Really, it was the kindest thing to do. The world is no place for a boy like that.


  1. Oh man. I should have seen that coming.

  2. Hey, that's life on the farm.

  3. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Can I say that every time I hear this story, and I have heard it often, it still makes me laugh? I must have a very dark heart indeed.

  4. That's why I love you. [aww!]

  5. Yeah, the boy had to go. I mean, survival of the fittest. He was being chased by a pink fluffy dog. Yeesh.

  6. Anonymous8:30 PM

    I have to say that every time I hear this story I laugh, also. And periodically, when we talk about the boy's father we say, "oh remember, he had the weird kid who yelled at Prince calling him 'that vicious beast you call a pet'" !