Latchkey kids earn enough parental trust to receive an incredible amount of freedom. Trust and freedom are often a deadly combination when paired with two lunatic boys. My brother and I were two such miscreants. One rainy late October afternoon, returning home famished, we desired one thing: cookies.
Our brief search of the cupboards uncovers nothing; nary a cookie in the house. Now frothing at the mouth, we’re driven to whip-up a batch of raw chocolate chip cookie dough. Brilliant, we thought. Contents of the Superdome-sized stainless steel bowl subtly undulate, a saccharine siren calling to be baked, calling for the oven. While we observed most latchkey kid “rules of the house,” we’re extremely mindful not to employ the oven. Dutifully, we resist and chow down on the gluey dough like zombies relishing fresh flesh.
Now. How much raw chocolate chip cookie dough can you eat? Even if you’re Cool Hand Luke, a few spoonfuls later, the sugar coma and crushing guilt ends your gluttonous feast–precisely our fate. So, we’re left with a mountain of cookie dough, clear evidence of waste in a home where waste is not tolerated. What do we do!? We feed our Miniature Schnauzer nearly 2 dozen unbaked cookies.
“Give it to Wolfgang, he’ll eat it.” My older brother, Andrew, the problem-solver.
In full crisis mode, I readily concede, “Ok!“ Typical younger brother response.
Wolfgang dives face first into the bowl and makes quick work, deftly concealing our problem. We carelessly watch cartoons until, maybe 20 minutes later–roughly the amount of time it takes to bake cookies–Wolfgang lumbers into the room, his stomach gingerly floating a colossal chocolate chip cookie. Rib cage now visible, every footfall releases a throaty hiss of pain.
“Holy sh*t! Look at Wolfie’s stomach!” He’s so bloated we can barely look at him.
“Mom’s gonna a kill us!” We’re really in for it now.
“Well… walk him around or something!“ My brother’s methods for problem-solving often revolve around “moving things” or simply “staying active,” like the time he recommended I go for a bike ride to “cool-out” the cold-sore on my lip, a ruse to conceal the fact that we had to return an overdue VHS tape.
Despite my efforts Wolfgang is unable to move, because, well, he’s infirmed by that enormous cookie. His labored breathing makes us think he’s on his way out. Mom will soon be home. Our anxiety skyrockets with each passing minute.
The electric garage door opener. Our trial is about to begin.
Perennially chipper, Mom busts in and throws out a cheerful, “Hi guys!”
“hi …ma.” Her spider senses tingle. Obviously something is up.
Instinctively she calls for Wolfgang, using his nickname. “Tufferton. Tufferton!”
“LORD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THE DOG?!?!”
A brief explanation is all that’s required and we’re off to the vet, who, while startled by Wolfgang’s condition, suggests, “Give him time.”
Wolfgang eventually passes what can only be considered a Titanic movement, a dark-hued PVC pipe. While graphic, we’re overjoyed that he’s back in business. Lesson learned: even when following the rules, danger is omnipresent.
Please note: Wolfgang, named after Mozart, lived a long, happy life. His unconditional acceptance, his spirit, are sorely missed.
Any latchkey kids out there?