A favorite memory
We had been drinking. A lot. The Other Girl and myself had been sitting out on the back porch, draining bottles of wine, chain smoking, and talking non-stop since Mom had gone to bed hours earlier. The Boyfriend in the Basement would occasionally step out the sliding glass door to partake in the weekly recap of funny stories about Mom, or the rehash of the week's events outside of life with Mom (my sister's domain - I barely have a life outside of Mom). Big, lumbering Sadie lolled about our feet with the occasional walk to the grass to pee, or stroll through the side yard investigating the bushes. We were having a good night, letting frustration and stress ooze out with each ridiculous anecdote.
The Other Girl smelled it first. What started as an unpleasant waft of "What is that? That doesn't smell right?" quickly became a "Shit! Is something electrical on fire? Is there a gas leak somewhere?"
Even Sadie seemed alarmed, plodding in from the side yard at a quick pace - well, as quick as her 180 pounds and various ailments allowed. Myself, The Other Girl and The Boyfriend in the Basement began to investigate, scattering in separate directions; one to check that nothing was on fire upstairs to endanger our sleeping mother, one to scan the outside of the house to make sure no electrical wiring was frying the walls, one to see if there was a busted gas line somewhere in the yard that might blow us all up. We noted that the smell was strongest on the side of the house, but as we met up again in the basement the smell had quadrupled in strength, so much so that Sadie lay on the carpet desperately wiping her muzzle with her front paws over and over. "Sadie smells it too!" my sister cried. I was suddenly thrust into a Lassie episode, "What is it girl? Is it gas? Is it fire?" Now I was scared. I quickly called 911 - well, as quick as a girl with a bottle of wine sloshing around her insides can.
After checking again that there was no fire upstairs, and in fact, no smell at all to disturb Mom's sleep, we gathered in the back yard to wait for the 911 responders. What we got was a full-on fire truck, siren wailing and lights spinning, bouncing catastrophe red off the sleepy facades of houses up and down the block. Good gawd the neighbor's must be thinking "What now with those people? Can't they make it a month without an emergency?"
We hustled to the front to meet the firemen, five of them, all decked out in their fire gear and rather handsome. As they strode towards us I babbled incoherently that there was a gas leak or an electrical fire somewhere. The captain, half-way into the front yard, stopped in his tracks and said "Smells like skunk."
Oh. My. Gawd.
Sadie had been in the bushes. The stink originated from the bushes. It became overpowering when Sadie hurried back to us. It knocked us out downstairs when Sadie came in and laid on the carpet. Sadie was desperately wiping her muzzle, not to warn us, but to remove the offensive stench from her snout!
Sadie had tangled with a skunk. We had drunkenly lost our shit. The firemen soberly laughed at us all.
In an effort to give their visit some purpose, The Other Girl did a little flirting with the captain, giggled girlishly when he spoke, made him smell Sadie's nose to confirm what we all now knew: we were inebriated idiots.
We waved goodbye as the firemen pulled away, checked on Mom - she had thankfully slept through the whole thing - emptied a bottle of vinegar on Sadie's muzzle, emptied the last bottle of wine in our face holes, and stumbled into our respective beds armed with yet another tale of life in Stumped Town Dementia that would induce grins and giggles for years to come.
Thank you, Sadie, for the memories.