In the stranglehold of the hideous heat wave, all I could do was whimper, like the Wicked Witch of the West, “I’m melting!”, only meaner and greener.

After I walked Rita, we’d both lie in front of the air conditioner panting and cursing global warming, or whatever had brought this hellish doom upon us. I don’t mind telling you that it made me one crabby little crab cake. I think it made Rita a little on the cantankerous side, too, since she:

  • Got into a fight with a total stranger, which of course was a show dog, so the owner freaked out over my lower class mutt arguing with her upper class whippet, even though Snotty Dog started it.
  • Decided to embarrass her lovely walking companion by leaving a modestly-sized, though not modestly-placed, calling card on the sidewalk. Right in front of an irate old gentleman, laden down with bags full of wine. I think he was red-faced before he started yelling at me, but I’m not sure. He had one of those career drinker faces. Unfortunately, I was temporarily without removal equipment, having foolishly thought that I had completely emptied Rita out at the park a mere two hours earlier. I apologized, and when he kept on ranting, I explained to him that the world was an ugly place and you had to expect these things if you left your own home. He was not appeased and exited stage right, muttering. Maybe I should have tried to convince him it was one of those alcoholic hallucinations, like pink elephants.
  • Started calling the Neighbor Dog names when we were outside his house. They have always hated each other, I know not why, and insult each other vociferously on sight. Neighbor Dog’s owner had carelessly left her gate open, so I had to drop my grocery bags and try to restrain my pugilistic pooch while shutting the gate before Neighbor Dog could get out and get really physical. Didn’t work. I managed to catch Neighbor Dog and shove him back in and close the gate before blood was shed, but barely. They kept yelling the canine version of “Yo’ mama” insults while I picked up groceries and hustled Miss Rita home.

Hence the inability to plan any kind of movie fest this weekend, though I did catch a hilarious little gem called The Violent Years (1956) – “Untamed thrill-girls of the highway!” – in which bored teenage girls dress as boys to rob gas stations. When the fun of armed robbery palls, they attack a couple necking in their car, tying up the female half with surprisingly neat strips torn from her skirt and leaving her in the back seat of the car wearing nothing but a slip while they haul the male half into the woods to have their wicked way with him. Pretty racy stuff, but what else would you expect from a screenplay by Ed Wood? Turns out that the whole problem was caused by these misguided teens’ parents working and/or socializing too much and not spending time with them and explaining to them right (doing homework) from wrong (committing felonies). If you’re a parent, take note before it’s too late!

And if you see the Two Grumpy Old Ladies heading your way, flee. And your little dog, too!