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#1 Sep 02, 2017 2:27 pm

New Historian
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The Three-Day Dog

Anyone who knows Kingston will know that one of the city’s less salubrious attributes is its preponderance of stray dogs – including dead ones. When a stray dog gets killed by a car/truck/bus, before long someone will employ “the Jamaican solution” to dispose of the carcass: with the help of an old tyre and a gallon of gasoline, job done. If that is, the said dead dog happens to lie within sight or smell of human habitation. If however the canine corpse lies somewhere out of sight – and more importantly smell - then it just languishes there in the fierce tropical heat until nature’s solution – time, flies, maggots and john-crows – disposes of the carcass. Eventually.

Every morning my father and I would drive from our house to Excelsior School on Mountain View Avenue, where he taught and I attended upper sixth. I’d drive. Technically speaking these were driving lessons from my father, when in fact the most he’d be doing was reading his newspaper, and occasionally keeping an eye on things outside the car. On this morning as the car approached the top of Mountain View Avenue, despite the stifling heat dad and I hurriedly rolled up our windows in preparation with our rendezvous with “the three-day dog”.

For the past three days, a rotting carcass had lain on the central divide of Mountain View Avenue, stinking up the place for yards around. But because nobody lived nearby, nobody bothered to deal with it. As we passed the gruesome apparition, windows tight, we caught a glimpse of the strangest sight: standing directly over the stinking carcass was a woman – a white woman! We both did a double-take. Dad said:

“Wait, isn’t that Mrs. Walker?”

Mrs. Walker was a fresh-faced English teacher at Excelsior, recently arrived in Jamaica with her two daughters.

“Turn around,” he said. “At the next intersection, do a U-turn!” It wasn’t easy with the fast-moving traffic but with the help of dad’s frantic hand signals I managed to do a quick turnaround and come up the other side to get a better look. And sure enough it was indeed Mrs. Walker, standing directly over this stinking, writhing mass of worms that used to be a dog, peering down at it. What the hell is going on? We did yet another U-turn, passed her again, before continuing our way on to school. What was that all about?

A couple of days later, I asked dad if he had found on what was going on with Mrs. Walker and the dead dog. He then regaled us with a strange tale. As it turned out, Mrs. Walker had a dog called Spot, whom they had brought over from England. Spot had been missing for the last three days, and that morning, Mrs. Walker had recognized the carcass of her beloved Spot, by its spot. Dad was about to leave it there, but curiosity got the better of him.

“So … what did you do then?” he asked.

“Well,” she said, “I couldn’t just leave poor Spot lying there, could I?”

Dad’s eyes widened.

“So …?”

Mrs. Walker and her two daughters got a large sheet of plastic and some rubber gloves, returned to the carcass and lifted the thing into the back of their station wagon. Dad was aghast.

“So … what did you do?”

“Well, we drove it home.”

“You … what?”

“Yes, it smelled awful but we had to give Spot a proper burial, didn’t we? But there was no place in the garden to dig a big enough hole, so we decided to cremate him.”

“You … cremated the dog?”

“Yes, well we tried. We made a bonfire and put Spot on it, said a prayer, and lit the fire. But after a while the fire sputtered and went out, leaving a lot of smoke. We didn’t have enough wood to make a proper pyre.”

By this time the stench from the half-burnt rotten dog had become unbearable; and neighbours came running to see what the hell this stupid Englishwoman was doing. Someone took charge, fetched some gasoline and an old tyre, and: whoomp! Up went Spot in a blaze of purifying fire.

Mrs. Walker profusely apologized and thanked her pissed-off neighbours, then she and her daughters buried the ashes of their beloved Spot.


The next morning, Spot came home.

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#2 Sep 02, 2017 3:42 pm

Expat
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Re: The Three-Day Dog

I had a sneaky feeling what the punch line was going to be, but it still raised a chuckle.

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#3 Sep 02, 2017 4:56 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: The Three-Day Dog

I didn't see that coming.  Hilarious!

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