You know what’s crazy? I’ll tell you what’s crazy™
Who killed Boo Boo.
We pull up to the trailer in the middle of nowhere. It’s less a trailer home, and more a mobile Gulf Stream, the kind of thing your grandparents might have driven to the Grand Canyon on vacation.
It is silver like microwaved tin foil. It is on blocks as mobile as an anchor at the bottom of a sludge filled lagoon.
There is a worn sign on a tree that says: BEWARE OF DOG.
I get out of the truck and immediately realize that I made a mistake. I paid attention to the weather man and he was 100 percent wrong. There is no sun. There is no warm. It is spitting from some cloud based urinal a million miles above. The ground is saturated and oozing with mud and I’m wearing my new dress shoes.
I walk like a ballerina on her period, prancing on the balls of my feet to the trailer’s front door.
The windows are broken and the door is hanging by a thread.
Inside the trailer I hear a woman crying.
I knock politely on the door.
“whose there?” the voice within demands.
There’s anger mixed with fear.
I suddenly realize that the woman within may still be very raw, very scared from the invasion of life and love just a few days earlier.
“I’m the news guy,” I say. “Here about the break in and the dog.”
“I’ll be right out,” the woman says sniffing back tears.
My photog and I set up on a tarp that is oozing liquid coming up from the saturated Earth. I look down at my shoes and try and find two patches of dry.
I am standing here because a family pet, a dog was beaten to death with a hammer during a break in. I shouldn’t care about my shoes being ruined, I think to myself. But I’m angry.
“Should’ve put on my winter boots, God Damn it!”
My photog laughs.
Just then, the man exits the trailer.
He is wearing a ripped shirt and his readers are tucked into his collar. He has an M on his baseball cap and a big bushy beard. His face is worn and sad. He has a boil that has a hair protruding from it.
I make a mental note not to stare at the large facial blemish with the squiggly hair.
It’s a week before Christmas and the man begins to tell me a story that would make the Grinch sad.
He and his wife went shopping for an hour. While gone, thieves presumably looking for his wife’s powerful cancer medication break in. When they don’t find her drugs, they steal the family’s 60 inch TV.
Somewhere along the way, the family’s 12 year old Champion Blue dot Pit Bull named Boo Boo decides these two burglars are scum bags who need a tooth in the ass.
But the bad guys are ready and they club the poor dog with a hammer, crushing his little skull.
Just then, the woman exits the home. She is crying, big wet tears from a sorrowful place deep inside, rolling down her face.
She tells me that she has stage four cancer and now her Boo Boo, a dog she calls her son is murdered.
“I’ve never had an animal murdered,” she will say over and over.
She tells me that she nursed the dog from 5 weeks old, feeding it from a bottle. She shows me a picture of the little pit sleeping under the covers with her husband.
The entire moment is everything that the week before Christmas should not be.
It’s sad and brutal and feels hopeless.
“They were after my cancer medicine,” she laments. “Boo Boo was just protecting his home.”
She points to the blanket on the edge of the lawn. There is a tiny tail sticking out.
“I want justice for my baby laying dead over there,” she says.
“The dog is over there?” I question.
“Yes. we are keeping it out in the cold, pending an autopsy,” her husband says calmly, like this somehow makes sense.
I look at the scene and feel a sense of sorrow.
The trailer is half the size of a school bus. The windows are broken. The front yard is a soiled tarp, and spilled cat food.
The woman is dying of stage 4 cancer, her husband is sad and resigned to the fact that coal in his stocking might be as good as it gets this year.
I signal my photog that we are done. “We’ll get the word out,” I say honestly. “Hopefully someone saw something and they’ll call the police.”
The family thanks me for coming.
I wish them Merry Christmas.
It feels real. But it also feels hollow.
I feel like I am leaving a third world country.
I feel like this place is without hope, without light.
Who kills a dog after stealing a family’s TV?
I look at the grey clouds, full of tears floating from an altitude that knows no end.
Santa needs to find this chimney most of all, I decide.
This family deserves more.
Can a crime story about their dead dog and stolen merchandise possibly be all they get this year?
I wave good bye as we leave the saturated dirt and get on the pavement that leads to civilization.
I will tell their story. I will try and find the men who would murder a dog with a hammer.
Most of all, I hope to somehow bring this family Christmas solace.