Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Shortest Sentinel

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.


  1. It's a wonder I am still alive as I have reprimanded total strangers on the city streets of Charleston, WV about dropping their trash on the street. I used public transportation the last years of working and had to walk about two blocks to get to work after getting off the bus. In that two blocks I saw people SPITTING and DROPPING TRASH on the sidewalks in front of me! EWWW! I was livid! You don't do that! After I would get home, I would see news film about who got stabbed or shot that day at the bus stop terminal (terminal is funny in a way if it wasn't you).

  2. I thought I'd heard of everything, but a ravioli bandit?

  3. Shoes, all sizes, I see them everywhere, by themselves on the highway or on the side of the road in a pair. Bandits up this way, too.

  4. I am more aghast by the cinnamon roll only having one bite out of it. What kind of dogs are you raising over there? I've never heard of such polite canines. Or, perhaps their taste is extremely discriminating? Maybe their palate insists on only Cinnabons and nothing less?

  5. knancy,
    Such a crusader! Did you wear a cape? Or at least a shawl? Did you shake your finger at them to shame them into submission? Perhaps you pretended to be a foaming-at-the-mouth crazy loon, and they were terrified to disobey. Now if you could only ride your witch-broom up here and have a talk with my road-walkers...

    It's the only logical explanation.

    A shoe is a terrible thing to waste. They should be donated, not discarded. The Duggar family will have kids running around with one shoe.

    WARNING TO ONE AND ALL: Do not bash the Duggars here. I watch their show religiously, but not religiously.

    My point to my mother was that no DOG would take one bite and leave it there, with only a tiny bit exposed. I told her some hobo must have been road-walking, and stopped for a bite. Perhaps he was diabetic. Or cinnamon intolerant.

    She actually caught a hobo leading against her roadside mailbox one time. He bent it. Okay, she didn't CATCH catch him. Like you catch a bird by putting salt on its tail. She OBSERVED him in the act of leaning on her mailbox. I think he grew tired and walked away. I don't think she opened the door and hollered, "Shoo! Shoo, you hobo! Get off my mailbox." But she might have.