Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dirty Backseat of a White VW

Our bicycle ride to Bainbridge Island was quite a trek. It was obvious for everyone to see that I wasn’t really a serious biker as I claimed to be. It was a typical Pacific Northwest Spring weather- overcast, cold and drizzly. I fell down twice and scraped my knee on the uneven roadside curb. I was with a bunch of other English as the Second Language (ESL) students. The head of the team was our athletic teacher, Ms. Susan. She had a reputation as a strict, no-nonsense teacher. She wasn’t the type who’d give you a passing grade if your English weren’t up to the standard. So she wasn’t loved among U.S. college bound students who are eager to get the certificate, the proof of their English proficiency. My English was definitely not good enough. I was in trouble.

You okay? My older Swiss classmate ran up to me with his bike. He pulled me up from the ground. The beat up bike I borrowed from a friend for the trip was lying in the muddy ditch. Ms. Susan passed by and looked at me with such disdain in her face, I felt I committed a grave crime. The extremely polite Swiss fellow traded his bicycle with mine, citing that my borrowed bike was too tall for me for everyone to hear.

It was a long ride back to Seattle. We were all exhausted. No one but Ms. Susan was still on the bike, huffing and puffing, her enormous thigh muscles bulging out, climbing up the Capitol Hill, which was ridiculously steep.

I arrived dead last of course at school as the sun was going down. Ms. Susan was waiting for me since the bicycle I was riding was one of four she personally brought in for her students for the trip. She smiled when she saw me and patted me on the back. You made it. She said, half-heartedly.

She needed some help putting 4 bikes in to her white VW Jetta- two in the trunk and two in the back seat. There were no covers for the white interior of the car. Does she expect me to shove in the muddy wet bicycles into her immaculately kept Rabbit? I didn’t care. I was completely spent and couldn’t think straight. As I was struggling to put the bikes inside, I heard a strange noise that of an animal, a choking puppy perhaps. A high-pitched short howl it was. Then I saw Ms. Susan’s face: her mouth agape with her hands covering it, with an expression that of horror and anger then resignation.

After a while, the scratching and moaning noise stopped. He didn’t know if he should feel relieved or worried. Then he noticed on the rear-view mirror the flashing blue and red lights. It was a police cruiser. He was getting pulled over.

He loved all animals. Ever since he was a child, he always surrounded himself with dogs, cats and all kinds of different birds. Being in a dog breeding business kept him close to what he loved the most: puppies. He couldn’t get enough of them. The little wet noses, warm tummies and wagging furry tails. He wasn’t professionally trained nor had a vet degree. Just an animal lover fell into the trade accidentally. His Korean purebred Jindo dog couple just had a litter and he was on the way to a buyer outside of town.

Sir, your right tail light is out. The patrolman said grimly from behind his shades. Oh yeah? He replied while handing over his driver’s license and registration. There was a light thunk in the back of his well worn VW white Jetta. They both were startled.
What was that? The patrolman asked. It’s just-
The patrolman removed his shades. Can you open the trunk for me please?
It was a site to behold. Six puppies were laid inside the trunk- some of them bubbling in their mouth, pink tongues hanging out, twitchy paws. The stench hit their faces like a brick. There was a puppy with a torn up electrical wires in its mouth on one side. It apparently tore a hole on the side of the trunk in desperation and chewed off the tail light wires.
What the hell is this?! The patrolman exclaimed.

He had to explain the situation. In the end, the patrolman cited him a ticket for broken tail light but did not arrest him under one condition: Puppies would sit in the back seat like some foreign dignitaries.

It was a dangerous ride to the buyer’s house. Puppies made mess in the back seat. They were everywhere, yapping and running around being puppies.

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