Thursday, January 24, 2008


Not long ago, I was on a message board that was discussing conversation stoppers overheard in public settings. For instance, overheard in a restaurant was "You heard I was arrested for arson, right?" One stopper uttered by a writer to a friend over a coffee at a diner was "I think I'm going to have to kill Jess." Friend: "No! I really like Jess." Writer; "Nope, he's going to have to die."

I related the following, then realized, "Duh!" I'd been wanting to post this on MY blog since it happened, but didn't have time. After posting it on the message board, I decided to copy it here. The following is a conversation stopper I inadvertently supplied this past holiday season:

A friend and I had just survived Hell Week at our respective jobs and wanted to go to the lobby bar at the Ritz that Friday night. I had suggested taking a cab because it was my turn to drive and I wasn't in a Dedicated Driver mood. I wanted martinis. And since it was my turn to drive, I said I'd pay for the cab. She called later and said her son, Zac, offered to be our DD, knowing the week we'd both had. Zac is graduate assistant and he and his dog Kye were home for winter break. His friend, Anya, joined us that night.

The setting: Lobby bar at the Ritz Carlton. Mahogany bar; mahogany fireplace; Holiday decorations of pine roping intertwined with twinkle lights; pots of poinsettias; red and gold bows; our favorite local band setting up while piped-in jazz softly played in the back ground; overstuffed wing chairs, elegant wood and glass cocktail tables. Nearly everyone well-dressed, many women in cocktail dresses for office parties; lots of Coach, and Prada, mine being a knock-off. Our favorite waiter, Tony, fawned over us, and lied, "you girls are looking great tonight." ( We love Tony.)

Kathy, Anya and I ordered our martinis and Zac's soda and started to relax and unwind. During a lull in the conversation, I remembered an event Kath had related to me earlier that evening, but she had been interrupted and never got to finish. I took a sip of my martini and leaned back in my chair and casually asked:

"So, were you able to get the blood stains out of the carpet?"

Zac sprayed a mouthful of soda and began a bizarre combination of laughing and coughing.

We both looked at him in surprise. "What?!" we innocently asked in unison. Then we noticed the people at the table next to us, and Anya, warily watching. Anya may have moved her chair back a little. We started laughing hysterically. I may have peed a little.

Innocent Explanation: Earlier that day; like at 4:30 am, Kathy was getting ready for work. She had a 7:00 am flight to Chicago for client meetings and then a 6 PM flight back home, which is St. Louis. Late the night before, the client had called about needing something for the meeting, which meant she had to stop by the office to get it before catching her flight. So she was getting ready, thinking about her day, cursing the client for making it necessary that she be so rushed and up so early. After she dressed and finished drying her hair, she walked into the living room to a horrific sight.

Kye and her dog Cody had been playing as usual, but somehow, Cody's tooth had gotten snagged on Kye's leather collar. The collar had then gotten twisted around Kye's neck and was choking him. Cody had also been cut somewhere because he was bleeding profusely from someplace around his mouth. Kathy rushed over and tried to get the dogs apart. Nothing. The collar was so tight around Kye's neck that she couldn't get her fingers underneath it. His eyes were bulging. His bowels evacuated. Kye was dieing.

She found a pair of scissors, was finally able to get them between Kye and the collar, which was tricky because Cody was still trying to get his tooth lose and wouldn't stay still. She said she kept saying "oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god" while thinking that she did NOT have time for this. She yelled for Zac, but his room was in the lower level and he was sleeping. The leather of the collar was thick and she didn't think the scissors were going to cut through in time to save Kye's life. She kept screaming for Zac. Cody was shaking and bleeding. Kye was barely moving. "oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god god oh god oh god oh god."

FINALLY! The scissors cut through. The collar fell off, the dogs separated. Kye collapsed to the floor and took a deep, choking breath. Cody shook his head, spraying blood everywhere.

She ran to get a wet towel, still yelling for Zac. She got the blood off Cody's face and inspected him and never did find where he'd been cut. Kye was still lying on the floor, quiet but breathing regularly. She went downstairs to get Zac and tell him he had to deal with the mess in the living room because she had no time. But Zac wasn't home. A text message revealed he had decided to stay at a friends rather than drive home after a party.

She caught sight of herself in a mirror. A bloody stinky mess. With no time to spare, she had to shower again while not getting her hair wet, then change clothes, which was tricky, because due to Hell Week, everything decent for a business meeting was in the laundry or needed to go to the cleaners. Kye was now up and moving, coughing from time to time. She put the dogs downstairs, covered the mess with towels, got ready (wearing something she'd already worn that week, but oh well,) and called Zac as she sped to work and told him to go take care of things.

She had called me while waiting for her flight home that evening and told me what had happened, but had been interrupted by a gate change announcement and had to hustle to another terminal to catch her flight, but "oh, let's get together tonight and unwind." I knew that she and her sons had recently repainted the now blood-speckled walls, and the carpeting was new. And eggshell in color. The reason it was new was due to storm damage a few months earlier. I had gone through all of the storm damage and repair drama with them, which is why I had asked, "So, were you able to get the blood stains out of the carpet?"

(both dogs, by the way, are fine.)

(and yes, they were able to get the blood stains out of the carpet with the help of OxyClean)

ALL of the above is true. (except for us looking good that night. As I said, Tony lies. And we tip him well because he's so good at it)