Retirement Acres is located not far, as the crow flies, from a nuclear plant. This in and of itself is not a tremendous cause for concern; indeed, many of the denizens of Retirement Acres spent their careers there. However, because of reasons, the first Wednesday of every month is Nuclear Plant Siren Testing Day. Over the years, as Retirement Acres has achieved the elder statesman status of neighborhoods that it enjoys today, this has become a source of extreme vexation. In short: many people who once had no idea that siren testing day was a thing now arrange day trips to some other part of the state to avoid it.
Nobody is more keenly aware of this than the canine residents. Most of the dogs in the neighborhood do not have enough appointments to require a calendar. Bruce would be the exception to this, but mostly his appointments revolve around food and having an available driver. He is also the newest dog in the area.
Dad spared a glance for Bruce as he listened to Mr Glenn run through his litany of grievances again. (He is not a former worker at the nuclear plant and furthermore used to work downtown, which does not have this siren menace. This was an unwelcome surprise right in the middle of his otherwise peaceful retirement.)(As a person who works downtown, I have no idea what the plan is should we actually have an incident at said nuclear plant. The phrase “only God can judge you now”, though, seems to be the popular thinking.) Bruce sat in the driveway and howled along with the rising crescendo of the siren. This had been going on for more than ten minutes.
“I CAN’T MAKE HIM STOP, BOB,” Mr Glenn explained. “HE WON’T LISTEN TO REASON.”
“It’s okay,” Dad answered. “This happens every month. We’ve got three dogs. You should hear it.”
As Dad owns and has the ability to operate a calendar, he usually arranges to be either outdoors or somewhere beyond Chez Auto on siren testing days. His hearing isn’t what it used to be, but come on. Three dogs howling in harmony might be hilarious in a kids movie. Inside the house it’s just cacophony. Especially since 426 has decided that he will voice the most vociferous disapproval and out-shout Tiller the German Shepherd. Tiller, at least thirty pounds heavier and a foot taller, has decided that this behavior is not to be tolerated and redoubled his efforts. Even Mom has started looking for other places to be.
“I CAN’T MAKE HIM UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS NORMAL. I HAD TO PUT HIM OUTSIDE, AND WHEN HE DECIDES HE ISN’T GOING TO GO SOMEWHERE HE TURNS INTO A GIANT ROCK.”
It’s true. I once tried to wrestle Bruce into a Jeep. He got so dense that light bent around him, and grabbed onto the grass like he was trying not to fall off the earth. I was just trying to get him home in the rain. Long story short: we both got soaked. Then he shook off all over the Jeep.
“How did you even get him out here?” Dad asked. Bruce continued to howl mournfully along with the siren. His song was one of deep sorrow and tragedy, of biscuits not eaten, of pizza thrown away. Abruptly, and as scheduled, the sirens cut off.
“I PICKED UP THE CAR KEYS AND ASKED IF HE WANTED TO GO TO BOJANGLES,” Mr. Glenn explained, apparently unaware that he was still shouting.
“That’s probably now how I would deal–“
“SO NOW WE HAVE TO GO OUT AND HAVE A BISCUIT,” Mr. Glenn continued. “GOOD THING THEY SERVE THEM ALL DAY.”
Great for Bojangles, Dad thought. Probably not great for Bruce’s cholesterol level. Bruce trotted to join the conversation, giving a sharp bark at Mr. Glenn.
“I DIDN’T FORGET,” he promises. “WE’LL GO AS SOON AS THIS IS OVER.”
Bruce looked to Dad, who could only shrug.
“AND AFTER THAT WE HAVE TO GO TO THE CHEVROLET DEALERSHIP,” Mr. Glenn shouted.
“You got a problem with the Suburban?” Dad asked, somewhat concerned. They’d all hear about it if the BiscuitMobile broke down.
“BRUCE ATE THE HEADREST OF THE PASSENGER’S SEAT BECAUSE IT BLOCKED HIS VIEW. IT’S A GOOD THING HE’S CUTE.”
Yes indeed, Bruce. Yes indeed.