The Beast of Orchard Lane, Part III

I wanted to resume running down Orchard Lane into Forestville, rather than having to go out in the car for a run.  Shannon gave me a can of Mace from beside the bed.  “Use it,” she said.  “A friend of my mother’s got attacked last month by a Rottweiler when he was out running.”

I told her stepson Jonathan about it later and he laughed – typical of Shannon to have some Mace by the bed.  For me it was a very American experience, given that it’s illegal in the UK.  He told me he’d been chased by the dog a few times on the way to a friend’s house.  “So one day I was on my bike and the mutt was chasing me,” said Jonathan.  “I drop-kicked it in the head and it never bothered me again.”  I was heartened by his information but still dreaded any confrontation with the Beast.

The first three times I ran down the lane the Beast was in its pound, and tore up and down in frustration, barking.  I should mention that its pound is above head-height on the road, and that that’s often where it ambushes from. It is, to say the least, unnerving.

Yesterday I was running down the lane and noticed that the Beast wasn’t in his pound.  My heart sank, but I was glad I had the Mace.  I heard a loud bark up at his owner’s house and we made eye contact at fifty yards.  He bounded down the hill towards the pound.  Seconds later he was above head-height, barking ferociously.  I ran on, not wanting the confrontation.  I slipped the button of the Mace around to activate it.  The dog leapt down onto the gravel and began running up behind me.  I turned, stopped, and pressed the trigger on the Mace.  A feeble spurt came out no more than six feet.  The dog stopped a safe twenty feet away, barking.

I turned and began running again.  I had failed to release the Mace fully into the ‘armed’ position.  My heart was racing.  I hated myself for any harm I might do to the dog.  I turned again and it stopped, barking at me, well within range of the Mace.  I realised that it might just be chickenshit after all, so I didn’t use the Mac.  Instead, I turned back and began running down the hill again.  The Beast took after me once more, barking.  I knew what to do.  I turned back and ran towards it, not even saying anything.  It turned tail and ran back up the hill.  The point proven to myself, I disarmed the Mace and continued on my run, ignoring the chickenshit Beast, which chased after me some twenty yards behind, relieved I’d not harmed it.

See also:

The Beast of Orchard Lane, Part II

The Beast of Orchard Lane, Part I

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