July 2, 2011

Saved by the Porn Store Back Door

To know my best friend and myself by our antics, you'd think that we're drama magnets.  I mean, even a normal night out for a few beers and some Lion King karaoke (I am not making that up.  I have never heard "I just can't wait to be king" sung at a karaoke bar before.) can end up with something on fire.  Last night, we decided to have dinner together at our favorite local pizza place.  In a way, it was foreshadowing since it was also the green room for the prior week's tragedy.  As we're sitting in our booth, digesting, my bestie reminds me that she still needs to make a field trip to the toy store since her favorite BOB stopped working recently.  We talked about the locations that were available to us, and decided on Romantix since she'd never been before.  I, having been to all of them in the area, agreed only if she drove.  That's several miles from the center of town, and I was feeling full, fat, and lazy.


Well, the traffic was bonkers.  The annual 4th of July concert was going on in the middle of town, right on the road we needed to use to get over across the river.  Every cop in Omaha was there either doing crowd control or directing traffic.  The 5 lane major thoroughfare was practically a parking lot.  We talked about how that's going to cost the city tons in overtime, the fact that I was going to need help shopping for my sister's baby shower, and the benefits of episiotomies done before there's tearing involved while waiting for another friend of ours to decide if she was going to meet up with us at our destination.  (Hey, we were headed to the Adult Bookstore, we needed to talk about grown up stuff on the way there.)  Finally, we pull into the parking lot and head inside.

You meet some of the most interesting people in porn store.  No, it wasn't anyone I knew this time.  (Though, that has happened.)  The older gentleman behind the counter was funny, gregarious, and seemingly pretty darn knowledgeable about the products.  I saw that they had the WeVibe and have always been curious about it since I've never seen it in person, just photos online.  Our host took it out of the packaging and showed us how it works.  I'll admit, if my next steady partner is interested, I'd totally save my pennies for one.  Perhaps the best part of the visit, other than the purchases of course, was the fact that they had a small, lipstick sized vibrator that had the breast cancer awareness pink ribbon right on it.  My friend participates in race for the cure every year, and has organized a few fundraisers in the past.  I told her that I would give her "a whole dollar" if she would buy that and include it in a future gift basket.

Regardless, I bought a glass dildo, and my bestie replaced her broken toy.  Somehow though, I ended up spending less than her this time, which is unusual.  The whole time we're shopping, we're giggling about how this store has a back door for the more bashful customers who don't want their cars to be seen from the street.  (Neither of us have any shame, so we didn't care.  We parked right up front.)  As we were leaving, our curiosity got the better of us and we drove around back.  Mostly just so we could make the jokes about visiting the rear entrance you know.  Honestly, it's a good thing we did because otherwise, we might have been more than just spectators in what happened next.

As we pull up to the light at the intersection to head home, we see every cop in the tri-state area hauling ass east on Broadway.  We didn't know it at the time, but they were chasing some fools who'd tried evading a traffic stop in North Omaha, shot at the cops, and took off across state lines thinking they could shake the law.  We sat through two lights as cruiser after cruiser lit up the pavement trying to follow the SUV.  When we finally did get the green light, we'd decided that there was no way in hell we were missing this action

So, like the little rubberneckers were were, we drove across the street, found a parking lot to park the car, and walked to the corner of 31st and Broadway.  (As an aside, we parked in a church parking lot, which considering our recent purchases, made me giggle.)  I'd tuned in the  police scanner app on my phone, but hadn't heard anything before we walked up to the gathering crowd.

As we're standing there asking the people around us what happened, we see the car across the street on its side and completely engulfed in flames.  I thought it was a train versus car accident since there are tracks not far from that intersection.  However, if that were the case, then they cops wouldn't have needed their assault rifles, so I quickly discounted that theory  As we're walking up to the crowd, and older woman and what I can only assume to be her guardian walk over and ask what happened.  As I started to explain, the older woman reached over and grabbed my arm in a hug and listened to what we knew.  She asked if we were ok, and when I said yes, she said she was glad, let go of my arm, and walked back to her companion.

A moment or two later, one of the bystanders told us they'd seen the chase, and almost been hit by the speeding Durango.  (Honestly, if we hadn't have made the trip around the store, we'd have been their path, so it's good we're as mature as 14 year old boys I guess.)  Mid-sentence, the gas tank on the felled vehicle explodes, and there's a fireball and clouds of smoke in the air for a moment before the fire department gets it under control.

As everyone around us is standing on anything they can to get photos and videos with their phones, I look down and see this little white dog without a collar wandering through the crowd.  Now, we're on the main drag in the city (highway 6 for those of you from out of town, Broadway to the rest of us.) and there are hundreds of people both on the sidewalks and on the street paying all of their attention to the drama across the street.  Not a person among us was looking at this dog.  This is a second puppy tragedy waiting to happen.

Not.  On.  My.  Watch.

Those of you who either read regularly or clicked the link above know about Charlie.  He was the dog I hit and killed just 6 days previously, and the reason why I was without my car for the week.  I had *just* picked Donovan (my car) up from the body shop that day, so the memories were fresh.  There was no way I was going to stand by and let another dog come to harm.  I said something to the people who were closest to him to the effect of "Loose dog, grab him so he doesn't go into traffic." but nobody reacted.  Sure, there was fire and lights across the street, that was way more interesting.  So, I grabbed the little white puffball and picked her up.  She had no collar, but was well groomed, friendly, and a healthy weight.  (Very healthy, I had trouble holding her for too long.)  After a few minutes when the crowd started to disperse, we walked over to the strip mall next door and asked the people in the hair place if we could use their phone book to call animal control.  (You can see the place where we were in the background of this video.)

They gave us the phone book and a bowl of water for the dog.  I sat down with her in my lap, and she curled up and got comfortable.  My friend called the numbers listed, but they were either closed, or wouldn't send anyone unless the animal was injured or aggressive, which she was neither.  (Seriously, we were trying to prevent that.  Why is being reactive a good idea, exactly?)

Left with no options with the official agencies, we went a little guerrilla.  She started asking people in the crowd, I started making phone calls to anyone I knew who had any ties to Council Bluffs to see if they could either take the dog to the shelter or hold it overnight.  We both came up deuces.  Though, we did come close with a lady in the crowd who was friends with one of the higher ups at the shelter.  She got ahold of them and said they were out of town, but were going to make some calls.  So, we sat there, trying to decide what to do.

By this time, much of the police tape was taken down and the charred remains of the car had been removed on a flatbed wrecker.  A few people were still pulling in to the parking lot asking what had happened, and we were happy to tell them what we knew.   The only news guy on scene that was on our side of the street walked up and asked if we were smokers.  We said no, we weren't, but told him about the dog in case he had any ideas or phone numbers.  But he was more in need of his nic-fix than he cared about a possible human interest story, so he left.

We're getting to the point of making a hard decision to leave the little dog there and head home when one of the kids we'd talked to in the crowd ran across the street and said they'd found the owner.  He was over in the other parking lot, driving around looking for his dog.  Moments later, he pulls into the parking lot, and the little lump of shivers and heavy panting in my  lap explodes in the direction of his car.  Her owner had found her!  Before he could even open the door, I lost hold of her, and she practically leaps into the driver's seat.  I think she could have broken escape velocity if she'd tried her tail was wagging so fast.

It turns out that she was terrified by the fireworks and the noise of the accident, so when they opened the door to see what was going on, she bolted.  He'd been driving around the neighborhood looking for her, and on a fluke decided to drive along the main drag asking if anyone had seen her.  Thankfully, he talked to the right kid, and he pointed him to us.  It was a happy ending for the little fuzzball, after all.

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