It was just past midnight and I felt safe that I could take Riley out for one last try at making a doody.
Sure I was dressed in the Superman pajamas my daughters gave me two Christmases ago. But Riley is 14 and hasn’t walked farther that 20 feet — without a rest — in over 6 months.
So I grabbed a wadded up Ralph’s bag. Patted Riley on the noggin — he’s deaf and can no longer hear the call of the wild — and I opened the garage door. That’s when the strangest thing happened.
He leaped up like he was 3 and there was a hot poodle with new French cut at the end of the driveway. In actuality, Riley did not run all that fast but he did run faster and farther than a man of my age dressed in Superman pj’s would care for.
After midnight or not.
But I figured after his usual 2o feet he would pull up, plop down and take a breather. But he didn’t. He disappeared into the night.
So, dressed as the Man of Steel, I had to walk down the driveway. Past our usual number two spot. Where the grass grows oh so green. I was thankful that my daughter’s gave me the dark blue Superman pj’s, even though at the time I wanted to point out that Superman wore a classic blue and not Navy. But now, at this moment, I was fairly confident that I was as invisible as a ninja. Albeit a ninja who really digs Kal-el.
But then everything went to hell.
Sometime between the last time Riley “accidentally” pooped on the neighbor’s lawn and this particular night, a new motion-sensor exterior floodlight was installed. One step I was blanketed with total darkness, the next step I was Humphrey Bogart in Dark Shadows just before he went over the wall. Or did he tunnel out? Irregardless…I was lit up like Rockefeller Center on December 24th.
And then neighbor’s garage door went up.
Now my neighbor is a kindly 60-70ish fellow, so I was not too concerned that he would see me in my underoos. But apparently not only did he redo his exterior lighting but his 20-something grand-daughter moved in to boot.
Here I am. A man of my age. Standing on my neighbor’s lawn. After midnight. Dressed as Superman. A rumpled Ralph’s bag in my hand. And no Riley in sight.
So I waved.
And I headed back home. Cursing Riley. And vowing that damn dog could stay out all night for all I cared. Except he was back in the garage waiting for me. Tail wagging. My best friend.
And my wife wonders why I drink.