Life is sometimes like a horror story. A Stephen King story, to be exact.
Our puppy, Juno, has finally started to grow. To get a belly. To waddle like the roly-poly puppy she was meant to be, before some cold-hearted criminal dumped her on the roadside. Two weeks ago, Hick decided she was big enough to sleep on the porch at night. To roam the grounds by day. A chicken hawk would have to be the world-class bodybuilder of chicken hawks to lift her now.
I am not so sure that Hick was looking out for Juno's best interests instead of his own. Since both boys were spending the night elsewhere, Hick would have needed to put Juno in her pen at dark. Thus, he decreed that she could sleep on the porch. I was concerned. The temperature that morning had been 39 degrees. And was expected to plummet again overnight. Because we live in what the chief meteorologists refer to as "outlying areas." Juno's thin puppy-fur did not seem like a warm coat to me. Plus, Hick refused to get her afghan out of her pen. "She'll be fine."
I argued for the afghan. It has holes to trap Juno's body heat. She slept on it every night since her abandonment, once my mom caved and decided not to let her die. Hick grudgingly compromised. He would not get the afghan, but he would get the wooden kitten house off the back porch and put it by the front door.
The kitten house is a contraption Hick made when we first got two kittens for the boys. Not to be confused with the hotel of cardboard boxes later constructed by Genius, who christened it "The Cathouse." Much to my embarrassment. But getting back to the small-animal safe-house...it's a rectangular box one foot tall and two feet long, with a round hole in the front the size of a two-liter soda bottle, with a hinged top so you can open it up and scoop out recalcitrant baby animals for meds if need be. The last resident was our full-sized long-haired calico, who was a pariah of sorts, always on the run from the other four cats. She moved in with the neighbors, so her little wooden apartment has been empty, save for a fringe of long white hairs around the entrance.
Hick set the box between the front door and the window. He said Juno went in and out of it twice. She would be fine. The next morning, I arose to hear whimpering outside the door. I stepped out and saw Juno shivering so much that she could hardly stand. I fetched her some Ol' Roy Hearty Loaf puppy chicken. She wolfed it down while shaking like a paint-stirring machine at Lowe's. I scooped her up in a towel and took her in the house. Hick was in denial. He declared that Juno had slept in the house and been plenty warm all night, and was just cold because she came out when she heard me get up. In any case, I held her until she warmed up. By then, the sunlight was hitting the back porch, so I put her down on the warm towel in a patch of it by the back door.
That afternoon, The Pony and I reclaimed Juno's afghan. I made Hick rinse it with the hose and hang it to dry on the sunny porch rail all afternoon. Except Hick marches to his own drummer, and hung it over a metal chair in the yard, so it was still damp. I tossed it in the dryer and went with The Pony to inspect The Box. We thought Juno's post-supper belly was too big to allow her entrance. The plan was to take off the top door, turn The Box on its side, and line the bottom with the afghan. That way Juno would have an open-sided sleeping box, with easy entrance, and a roof over her head.
The Pony lifted open the top door. It came off in his hand, because the hinges had rusted off. On the underside of the lid was A DINNER-PLATE SIZED WASP NEST!!! The Pony dropped the lid. Thankfully, the nest was inactive. I'm not even sure if it was this year's nest. But it was wasp nest of colossal proportions. I could only hope that our little Juno had NOT been in that box with it. Overnight. In the dark.
It made my skin crawl. I felt like Jack Torrance at the Overlook Hotel, gazing at the wasp nest under the glass bowl, the underside teeming with live wasps.
Hick's reaction to the scenario? "Huh."