Story Go Round 11/29/2009, #9

Geezer With A Mohawk

The day the poodles exploded, I knew I would have a lousy morning. My knees ached, the boil on my toe throbbed, and fruit flies had metastasized all through the kitchen.

It started with just one: my toy poodle Bartholomew. I'd dyed him a bright shade of fuchsia in preparation for our appearance at the Eastminster Kennel Club dog show later that day. Bartholomew hated dye days but he looked so good in pink.

Right up until he exploded.

Bartholomew looked good in pink, but the same could not be said of my kitchen. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have prepared for that dinner party before dyeing the dogs.

Just then, my manservant came bursting in, feet skidding on the slippery tile floor, wild-eyed, his mustache askew, shouting - "Where's the mop?!?"

He always was a little bit, well ... dramatic.

I waved my hand, the one not holding the breakfast martini, lazily towards the closet. "It's back in there, you idiot, where you always put it."

Quickly he bowed and fetched the mop, but it seemed the more he mopped the worse the situation became, with blood and bones and scraps of pink fur clogging the drain and the red-tinged bucket of mop water turning into a sickening stew of guts and poodle brains.

I turned on the radio to drown out the squeaky viscera noises. "... the fifteenth poodle explosion verified, with hundreds more unverified reports coming in. Again, this just in: poodles all around the area have been exploding at an alarming rate. Rescue workers are still looking for survivors at the Eastminster Kennel Club ..."

I had to admit that this was very odd. I mean, usually poodles don't explode. At least not in my experience.

"Another poodle exploded," my manservant announced. "And so did your mop."

"Not my mop!"

"Your mop."

"Mr. Mopster!"

"I'm afraid so."

"Oh no." I fell back in my seat. "This is terrible. How can I go on."

"You must be strong, sir."

"I... I loved that mop."

"I can tell. We'll have a proper burial. Before then, however..."

I sniffed pitifully. "Yes?"

"Bartholomew," he prompted, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, you clean him up, " I told him, taking a sip from my martini.

"With what?"

"I don't know... a sponge or something, just get Bartholomew off the kitchen floor."

"And do what with him? There will still be ... a pile left."

"And dinner was ruined."

"Perhaps we can solve both problems at once."

I hoped he wasn't serious, and I told him so.

What if the guests exploded? The mess? The smell... I'd never get the smell out of the drapes.

"If the mop isn't... isn't... "

"We need to buy a new mop. Or five."

"As my manservant," I said testily, "I expect you to procure the mops. Go forth and get me one. The best mop you can find. Name him Alfredo and use him to finish the kitchen... I meanwhile will hit the pet store for poodles! The explosions will entertain my guests."

It was then when I headed into the main hall that I was treated to the London Philharmonic exploding orchestra.

Many poodles were gathered inside — or they were. Now they were just a big mass of ick.

"He he, whoopsies," a young girl scratched her head. "Oh, hi. I'm a dog breeder. I work with poodles. Oh! But it's totally not my fault poodles have been exploding."

"The secret," the Inspector said, "is to consider the size of the dog."

He waited for them to think about.

"It should have been obvious to us that the great dane took longer to explode than the poodle."

He paused again.

"You all realize, of course, what this means."

"No, we don't!" said my manservant.

"It all has to do with your choice of hair style," said the inspector.

I sighed. Menservants. Inspectors. All far too much trouble. I poured gasoline over the whole mess and lit a match.