The Short and Eventful Life of Scamp

Nothing is more traumatic for a kid than losing a pet that he loved. I will herein attempt to recount just such an event in the creator’s life, with a few side trails down the path of psychoanalyzing the American teenager’s brain pan. This is the story of a black and brown mongrel mutt that we rescued from the gas chamber at the dog pound, by the name of Scamp. Scamp was a jovial dog that loved all little kids and freely roamed the streets on which we prowled. It may be that the ensuing tale of woe regarding Scamp’s short life actually caused the initiation of leash law’s in my home town.

Our neighborhood had exactly two teenager’s and about eleventeen little kids, of which I was one. Karl Stefka and John Zamonik were probably around seventeen when they entered my field of vision. The reason I say this, is that I only remember a year or two of them riding bicycles and hanging around the hood. Subsequent to the events that I will describe, I seem to remember them spending inordinate amounts of time polishing the chrome air cleaner covers of their Ford Mustangs.

The event that led to the demise of Scamp was precipitated by a series of interactions between Scamp and said teens. It seems that, although he had a great love for all little kids, Scamp had a deep hatred of teenagers on bicycles. One theory is that Scamp had been previously owned by some crabby old bastard that regularly chased teenagers off his front lawn with a shout of “Jeeve’s – release the hounds!!”.

Scamp had an almost pathological hatred for Karl and John, probably caused by the increasing escalation of the warfare between the two sides. On any given day, one of the boys would tool down our street, triggering Scamp to go chasing after them, barking loudly. If it were just left at that, Karl and/or John would now be on the Olympic bicycling team, as trying to escape Scamp required some serious mad bicycle skills. Instead, the boys escalated by carrying rocks, sticks, baseball bats, golf clubs, and the like, in order to fend off the relentless attacks of the ever resourceful Scamp. Scamp eventually formulated a stealth attack technique, in which he would hide in wait at various locations, and then shock and awe their asses before they could whip out their weapons.

This all ended on one momentous day in which Scamp returned home, presumably after a day of chasing Karl and John. Scamp was soaking wet and completely green in color. He reeked of some toxic substance that he had been immersed in, probably formaldehyde from the local leather mill. Scamp’s testicles were swollen to the size of grapefruits such that he could barely walk. We hosed Scamp off as best we could and rushed him to the vet. The vet said that there was nothing he could do for Scamp, so he had to be “put to sleep”, which I assume meant that he was off to the gas chamber.

We never did prove that Karl or John were involved, but we all knew. Do they regret their actions? Did they have other options at their disposal? Do they even remember this brief involvement with the life of the creator? Probably not, but it is strange to think that the things that we do or say at some point may seem of little or no consequence to us, but have a major impact on someone else’s life. In fact it may be that some simple thing that you have said or done will be remembered and passed from mouth to ear to mouth for generations. You probably all have some story in your family like that, and the person that started the gossip chain doesn’t even remember that they did it. So the moral of this story is to “Be careful little mouth what you say” and “Be careful little hands what you do”. And while I believe that “to err is human, to forgive divine”, I hope that Karl and John are placed into a boiling vat of formaldehyde some day.

All content copyright of Christopher Hammond