Saturday, April 28, 2012

Open-Air Procedure

Open-Air Procedure
Skadi meic Beorh

“Where’s the scissors, daddy?”

“Why?” (It’s never a good thing when Lorelei wants the scissors.)

“Mama Dog’s got a tick.”

I cringed, imagining the scissors as a medieval surgeon’s tool in the hands of our expressive six year old. “That’s alright,” she said as she yanked a pair of wire cutters from a cabinet drawer. “This will work.” From another drawer she grabbed a sandwich bag. She opened the back door and flung the squealing screen wide. An idyllic early June warmth blew in on a breeze smelling of fresh cut grass and jasmine. I was reminded of both Ray Bradbury and Jean Shepherd, and thought I might later take a walk down the long ally behind our happy turn-of-the-century neighborhood.

Apparently Mrs. Kiplinger’s flat-coated retriever had an unnoticed tick. I watched through the window. Mama Dog was on her back, smiling, as Lorelei had the wire cutters lain against her skin. I wanted to look away, but my morbid curiosity got the better of me.


The tick was disconnected from its food source–possibly without its head. It was bloated with blood and purplish, looking more like a plucked grape than an insect. Lorelei then withdrew my tweezers from her dress pocket (tweezers I will never use again!) and placed the pebble-sized lump into the sandwich bag. She held it up to the sunlight, studying it, a mixture of satisfaction and horror painted across her cute freckled features. Then she dropped the helpless creature to the ground and lifted her foot. Her new white sneaker wavered there for a second or two before slamming down on the bag.

“Sissy!” squealed our youngest daughter Annabel as she ran to her big sister, suddenly disinterested in her stuffed animal tea party. “Why you steppin’ on jelly, Sissy? I want some jelly…”