Friday, August 16, 2013
The Feast Of St. Roch
It was August and it was hot. And I do mean hot.
I was sitting in my apartment in my underwear, sliding ice cubes down my chest as warm air from the electric fan washed over me in an effort to cool my body. It wasn't working.
After my little Independence Day stunt the city was awash in panic. The post office refused to deliver parcels in case it was a bomb from the Calendar Killer. The local coffee shop has police inspect all delivers made just in case if their beans were somehow contaminated with poison. I had to hand it to everybody; they were taking my threats against the city quite well.
Sadly, as the days passed, the people fell back into their daily routines. They had forgotten all about me. The post office began delivering parcels again, which included the chemistry set I had bought online.
I glanced over at my dining room table. My chemistry set was still in it's box. I hadn't bothered to open it just yet. Mostly because I hadn't found a way to make your own rabies.
I glanced at my calendar. August 16th was just around the corner. Only three more days.
Slowly, I pulled myself from my overstuffed chair. My skin burned as it stuck to the leather. Sweat poured from my brow as I made my way over to the kit. I set it up, my tongue poking out the corner of my mouth like it always did when I was concentrating hard.
I glanced down at it. The beakers were shiny and new. All the tubes were ready to go to mix my dangerous toxin to help celebrate the Feast of St. Roch.
St. Roch was the patron saint of dogs. His 'feast' as it came to be known was always on August 16th. An obscure date to be sure, but when I selected it for my next attack on the city, I thought it was the perfect way to celebrate the "dog days of summer."
Chewing on my lower lip, I went over to my laptop and being ferociously searching for how to create some animal virus like rabies. Not surprisingly my searches came back empty.
Against my better judgement I threw on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt before lacing up my sneakers. A walk around the block always calmed me down and gave me good ideas.
I stepped outside. It was wonderfully hellish. The kids on my block were trying to crack open a fire hydrant so they could play in the gushing water. I walked passed them, a smile on my face. If they managed to open it I'd come back and play in it with them.
As I rounded the corner into the alleyway that was directly behind my building, I got a sense that something was wrong. Reaching out, my hand wrapped around a metal pole. The metal was hot to touch and I felt it burn my hand, but I held onto it anyway.
Then I saw it. A skinny dog hunting around in the garbage. He glanced up at me, his fur matted, possibly by the heat. I could smell him. It smelt like he hadn't been bathed in his entire life. He was a stray.
Then he bared his teeth at me, white foam dripping from his lips. Could it be? Could this dog have rabies?
I wanted to jump for joy. My plans for August wouldn't go amiss. I had found the one thing I needed. Now I just needed to catch it and make sure not to let it escape before the 16th.
I raced back to my apartment and grabbed the animal carrier I had before my pet dog, a Dalmatian, has died. I flew back down the stairs and out the door. I raced back into the alleyway, placed the cage on the ground and stood back.
The dog eyed me suspiciously, baring its teeth. It was painful to look at. I may be cruel to my own kind, but seeing an animal in need always breaks my heart.
The dog lunged at me, snapping its jaws, white foam falling from its lips. I moved out of the way and it landed in the cage.
Quickly, I locked the door to the cage and stood back watching the savage animal slam its body against the bars.
I carried the animal back upstairs and placed the cage gently down in my living room. I filled a plastic container with water and somehow managed to slip that inside the cage without the dog ripping my arm off. It was still snarling and baring its teeth at me.
I watched as he sniffed the container before lapping at it, water soothing his tongue. I knew the animal would have to put down, but I was determined to make his last few days on Earth memorable and easy.
The next couple of days were tough. He growled every time I went near the cage. I fed him table scraps and kept his water bowl full and fresh. I even posted an anonymous letter to the police informing them of my festivities. I checked the news every night to see if anything would be mentioned about me. There wasn't.
The morning of the 16th I was rudely woken by my neighbour blaring his music. I glanced at the clock, my eyes red from lack of sleep. 5:00AM.
I groaned, rolling back over, covering my head with a pillow.
Twenty minutes later, I was no closer to going back to sleep. I got up, had a cold shower as it was already sticky and hot, before getting dressed in a light cotton T-shirt and a pair of jeans. I laced up my sneakers and checked on the dog. He was asleep, foam still dripping from his lips.
I picked up the cage and made my way downstairs. I loaded the dog into my car and drove to the park. I sat in the car, the air conditioner on full blast as I waited.
Nearly two hours passed before people started turning up. The park was full of families trying to have fun in the sweltering conditions.
I got out of the car and walked to the back seat. I opened the door then unlocked the cage before racing to climb back into the car.
The door to the cage swung open as the dog, who I named Cujo, lunged against the cage. I heard his paws hit the ground as he landed in the car park. I watched through the closed window as he began snarling, the fur on the back of his neck standing up on end.
Without warning he took off running, racing through the park, attacking everyone and everything in front of him.
I climbed out of the car and calmly closed the back door, watching with interest as screams of shock and terror flooded my eardrums.
I watched as he savaged a child, biting her on the arm with such force I could hear the bone breaking. Her wails of fear echoed across the park. He lunged at her father who tried to protect her, biting his throat. I could see the blood pouring from the gaping wound.
People were running in fear. A jogger with her dog stopped to see if she could help. As I climbed back into the car I saw Cujo sink his teeth into the poodle's neck, passing on the dangerous infection that had possessed him.
As I drove home I watched in sheer delight as people raced back and forth. I knew that the rabies virus would take a while to react in people, but the madness that ensured soon after people were bitten was glorious to watch.
I got home and carried the cage upstairs. I could still hear the screams through the brick walls of the apartment building. A spine-chilling howl ripped through the city and I stopped dead, my key in hand as I was about to unlock my apartment.
I got inside and placed the carrier cage back in the hallway closet. I got undressed and opened every window my apartment had. It was still early in the morning but the temperature was already exceeding the predication of the weather girl on channel four.
Lying back in my favorite chair in my underwear I flipped on the news. Sure enough, in the park stood a lone reporter talking about the sudden outbreak of "mad dog" that was roaming the park behind her.
I chuckled loudly as one of the dogs my Cujo had bitten jumped on the reporter growling and biting her, ripping her clean white blouse to shreds.
As the screen returned to the news room, I could hear police sirens in the distance.
"We're now crossing live to the police station where Commissioner Harris made an announcement that they had gotten a letter from the Calendar Killer again. He held a piece of paper up to the camera to show my threatening letter made from magazines and newspapers.
"This man is dangerous," the Commissioner said, scratching his chin. "We received this letter this morning; 'Out of the ashes and down the furnace-hot streets the dogs will come. Mad, savage and looking for fun. Today is The Feast of St. Roch, the patron saint of dogs. August 16th will be remembered as the day I released the hounds.'"