“Security!” she shrieked. “Somebody call Security!”
Max and I were walking down Kaheka Street next to the old Pagoda Terrace, a building in transition from budget hotel to budget condo development. The street was largely empty on this early Sunday morning and quiet save for the hum emanating from the Pagoda’s ancient window air conditioners in their final effort to ward off the morning’s high humidity.
“Somebody call Security now!”
A damsel in distress with a voice like the proverbial saw cutting glass. Exactly the situation I have learned to avoid because all my interactions with K Street people turn out badly for me. I have grown to accept that I attract the demented that apparently look on me as a kindred spirit. Whacko Velcro, that’s me, a glue trap for the deranged.
I looked around for a place to hide. No luck. I pretended to be blind and deaf but the whole dog walking thing didn’t support that play. Max, the traitor, was thrilled by the idea of meeting a silly new friend and enthusiastically pulled me towards the woman.
“Are you Security?” she queried.
I bit down on my tongue lest I snarkily point out that a) few security guards wear a “uniform” consisting of a ball cap, tee shirt, shorts and flip flops and b) even fewer security guards patrol with a tiny white dog who at that moment was crouched over, pooping on the lawn.
I got a closer look at said damsel who I came to think of as the “Old Yeller”. She was built squat as a fire plug with disheveled hair, the charm of a crone and more faded tattoos than the boiler room crew of a Seventh Fleet warship. Worse, she had that whale-eyed look that dogs get before they bite. That look so common to those lost souls who roam the K Streets seeking a portal back to reality or a kindred spirit that looks like my identical twin.
I should have run. I should have immediately grabbed Maxwell and beat feet for safer territory near Don Quijote. But nooooo….once again I just had to be the knight-errant of the K Streets, the frou-frou dog paladin, the chevalier of stupidity. But I digress.
I asked her what was wrong.
“Somebody is getting beat up in this hotel. It’s terrible. I can hear them screaming,” she bellowed, pointing to a ground floor room in the middle of the hotel wing. “You have do something, you’re Security,” she added.
“Look lady,” I replied, “I’m not Security, I’m just a guy walking his dog but I’ll call Security for you.” She smiled, bobbing her head and rolling her eyes like two cherries on the pay line of a demented slot machine.
I spotted one of the groundskeepers that Max and I greet each morning on our walks. I approached him and told him about Old Yeller and the alleged crime in progress. After sucking air through his teeth for an inordinately long time, he used his walkie-talkie to summon a couple of Security personnel who, curiously enough, wore real uniforms with shoes and were not accompanied by Maltese.
After briefing the guards I looked behind me for confirmation of the story from Old Yeller but she was gone, having vanished somewhere between the dumpsters and the parking garage. It was then I first felt that familiar shivering premonition of impending humiliation creep up my spine. But, in for a penny…
The guards and I moved cautiously to the room that Old Yeller had pointed out. We strained ears for sounds of a domestic argument, perhaps a drug deal gone badly, maybe a robbery. Instead, we heard a very noisy couple getting their freak on. Instead of calls of distress we heard repeated shouts of “Oh Baby! Oh Baby!” accompanied by the soundtrack of our lives and I’m not referring to that late 90s Swedish rock band.
I wanted Max to dig a hole so I could crawl in and die.
The guards looked at me like I was the conductor of the crazy train, next destination crazy town. One asked how old I was and if had I ever heard those noises before. The other asked me to tell him again about the “invisible screaming lady”. The first guy suggested it was time for me to go home to my wife and maybe take a nice nap. They walked off shaking their heads, their faces filled with equal parts pity and disdain.
And so it had happened again. The universe again conspired to twist my act of good intentions into a debacle of biblical proportions. I turned around to slink away, pick up Max’s poo and take the Walk of Shame. That’s when I saw Uncle Fish standing next to the groundskeeper, scratching the Malt and commiserating with my dog,
“What did he do this time, Max?” he asked quietly, shaking his head and giving Max a fish food treat. “Poor dog.”