Thursday, August 23, 2007

Farming Michael Vick

Farming Michael Vick

Merci awakens from a sound sleep in the kitchen, looking around for the source of the strange sound. She hears the thunk as Samaritan’s fifty pounds hit the floor in the bedroom. She shakes her head. Samaritan’s been sleeping on Jan’s bed again. They meet in the living room and follow the low rumble to Jan’s typing chair at the computer desk where Buddy sits, glaring at the computer monitor, growling and grinding his teeth.

“Buddy, is something wrong?” Merci asks quietly.

“Huh?” Buddy shakes his head in momentary confusion at the interruption. “No. Yes! I was just reading another story on some guy named Michael Vick.”

“Well, if he makes you growl and grind your teeth, maybe you should stop reading about him,” Samaritan, well aware of Buddy’s love of food, suggests. “If you grind down your teeth while you’re still young, Jan will have to grind up your food when you’re older.”

“I can’t help it. These stories make me so angry. Here’s a guy making boohoos of money –“

Cotton, lounging on top of a printer, snorts and interrupts, “Boohoos? I think you mean beau·coups.”

“I do? I wish you would stop reading the dictionary. You confuse me when you correct my English. Anyway, he makes lots and lots of money playing football, a sport where grown men are called strange things, like ‘The Refrigerator.’ I’d probably like that guy. We could raid the fridge and pig out together. Well, not here. We’d have to go somewhere there’s actually food in the fridge, unless Jan breaks down and buys some good eats, like pork chops and bacon.”

“I thought you were going to tell us about this Michael Vick. Instead, as usual, you start talking about food.”

“I’m getting there, Merci. I just got sidetracked for a moment. Where was I?”

“Sitting on the typing chair,” Samaritan tells Buddy.

“Oh, right. I was reading this news article where some guy named Stephon Marbury defends Vick. He calls dogfighting a sport - like hunting. A sport? Do these dogs have a million dollar a year contract? Retirement benefits? A comfortable bed? That’s what Michael Vick had. But his dogs were treated like cardboard throwaways. It’s bloody torture, not a sport!”

Samaritan opens his mouth to speak, but Buddy continues, his voice rising. “No! Guys without hearts abuse these dogs and teach them to tear into one another and fight to the death for their amusement. And when they lose, they are often “rewarded” with a painful, violent death. How could a mentally healthy human commit such atrocities and call it “sport”? They can’t! They’re psychopaths, all of them, I tell you, psychopaths, and I –“

Merci interrupts him, quietly but firmly. “Buddy, calm down. Your eyes are glazing over. You’re all upset and there is nothing you can do about it.”

Buddy looks down at her from the typing chair and bellows, “Yes, there is something I can do about it! I can farm him! But I can’t do it alone. I need help to capture Vick and operate. Who will volunteer to help me?”

Samaritan looks puzzled. “It’s a long story,” Cotton explains, from atop the printer. “It was before your time. When you get a chance, read “Buddy Is Farmed” in the Funny Farm journal.”

“You guys are my friends. I’ll go with you,” Percy volunteers. He stops at the typing chair, on his way back from the litter pan. “I’ll hold him down while you operate, Buddy! We’ll teach him to be mean to dogs.”

Samaritan, not realizing just what Buddy intends to do, but not wanting to be left out, volunteers too. Merci sighs. “I guess I better go with you in case you get in any trouble and someone has to call Jan to bail you all out of the pound.”

“Great. I appreciate your support, guys.”

“Where do we find him?” Percy asks.

“I don’t know yet. Somewhere. We can probably find him on the internet. You can find anything on the internet.”

Samaritan has a question. “Is he local? He has to be local because we’re walking.”

Buddy waves a paw. “No problem. We’ll just get a map and borrow Jan’s car while she sleeps.”

“No!” Merci is adamant. “You never did get your driver’s license, Buddy, and I’m not riding with one lawbreaker to farm another.”

“That’s just a technicality.”

“Buddy, maybe you better go back and review “The Driving Lesson.” You are a terrible driver even without the engine running.”

Percy resolves the problem. “Never mind. I’ll drive. I learned to type without taking a typing course. How hard can driving a car be?”

“No, Percy –“ 

“Merci, we don’t have time to argue. We have lots to do before we can hit the road”

Merci mumbles, “Yes, I’m sure ‘hit’ is the correct word.”

“Samaritan, find Jan’s dullest pair of scissors, a used razor blade, a needle and thread, and a bottle of alcohol. Percy, you pack some drinks and snacks. It will probably take us at least 20 minutes to get there, take care of everything and return home. Jan will never know we are gone.” 

“Are you sure the four of us can hold this Vick guy down and operate without anesthetic?”

Buddy stops snapping orders for a moment. “Yes, Samaritan, we can. He’s a sick man and we’re doing this for all the bait animals he used to train his dogs, and all the dogs, fighters and non-fighters, he tortured and killed.”

Buddy sits taller and straighter in the typing chair. “And then,” he thunders, “we’re going after Stephon Marbury and all the others who think dogfighting is sport. If farming doesn’t stop them, we’ll –“

“Buddy, what is all the racket about this time?” Jan demands as she enters the room, fresh from a long, cool shower.

Buddy climbs down from the chair. “Nothing,” he mumbles, “just planning some surgery without a license.”

Jan glances at the monitor screen. “That’s funny. I thought I closed the browser before I took a shower. Sometimes I think you guys play with the computer when I’m not around. Next, I guess you’ll be driving the car. I don’t remember reading this article. It’s just another piece to stir up controversy. But sometimes I wish someone would teach Vick and all these psychopaths a lesson they’d never forget!”

Buddy grins. “Don’t worry. We will.” 

Posted by Buddy, Journalist and Farmer

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