There is a mystery afoot.
For the past two weeks, I have observed an object that is clearly out of place. A metallic stranger in an unstrange land. A can of ravioli in a well-manicured neighborhood. No. That's not a mangled cliche. I'm talking about an actual can of ravioli in a well-manicured neighborhood.
The ravioli can is empty. The lid is gone, not bent upwards like some hobo snack in a 1950s cartoon. RC, as we shall call him, stands sentry beside a telephone pole at a stop sign in a 30 mph neighborhood. My RC has a last name, and it's Chef Boyardee. What such a pedigreed pantry escapee is doing on the street corner is the question.
Even if RC was a hobo castoff, I know he didn't walk three blocks from the railroad tracks. What do you think he is, some precious little anthropomorphic stomach, hopping down the street with his suitcase, on the lam from the Heartburn Hotel?
What kind of creepy cupboard-crime-spree culprit would pilfer a can of brand-name ravioli to eat while strolling down the avenue, only to leave it behind at the corner of Our and Town? That's taking a chance on being ticketed for public ingestion of pasta without a permit.
I don't for one minute think that a dog picked RC out of the curbside trash, licked him clean as his own dangly bits, and set RC up by the pole, neat as a pin, slick as a whistle, no tearing of RC's paper suit in evidence. I would more likely believe my mother's tale of the time a dog took a bite of her cinnamon roll:
Remember my friend Irma? She likes to drop food off for me about once a week. Usually, she puts a styrofoam container in a Walmart bag, and hangs it on my door handle. She rings the doorbell, and leaves. Later, she calls to see how I liked it. This one time, she must have left me a cinnamon roll while I was out. I came home, and it was sitting on the porch in a piece of foil. A dog must have got ahold of it, because a corner of the foil was folded back. A bite was gone out of the cinnamon roll. I guess the dog didn't like it.
What a crazy world we live in. Polite, well-mannered stray dogs sample porch pastries and put them back after a single bite. And regal ravioli cans stand sentinel at corner stop signs.