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Tico Rips the Carpet

Humor by Lance K. Pugh   December 1, 2009


It happened many years ago. 

During my childhood our family went to church every Sunday, this being where I first began hating ties, cufflinks and tie clasps.  Sitting on a hard bench for an Eternity was one matter; spending an hour getting dressed for the occasion was quite another. 

After an especially long Sunday sermon, several times during which I affected all the known signs of narcolepsy, my parents, for reasons unknown to me, invited the Minister to our house for a cup of tea. 

To the surprise of us all he accepted, stating that he would be over within the hour. 

Well, my mother, father, sister and both grandmothers took off at a dead run to the car.  I barely got inside as the then brand new 1957 Plymouth station wagon burnt rubber as we rocketed home.  It was during this launch that I overheard my mother assigning cleaning duties with the efficiency of a drill sergeant preparing for the Inspector General.   

We were all handed aprons and flew to our tasks, as we had less than 45 minutes to convert a comfortable home into a Shrine of Tireless Toil. 

As time drew down my Nana was assigned to keep watch for the Minister’s car, which I was beginning to think was a horse-drawn hearse, for the mood of the house was a blending of panic and fear. 

My Job was to vacuum the living room a half-dozen times.  The room had vaulted ceilings with an ocean view and a carpet that seemed more like acreage than pile.  I was sweating when the word came down: “He’s here,” squeaked my Nana, with a voice full of half-sung hymns and a brow full of concern. 

If I could only use one word to describe the Minister, it would have been STERN.  He entered the house with a gaze that would have melted a spider, seeming to sense the nature of our activities since leaving church. 

He was escorted into the living room while tea and cookies were served.  I was as good as incarcerated, as I was to sit still with my hands folded and basically, pretend to be dead, though with my eyes open. 

We all sat with strict posture while listening to the Minister’s opinions on all and every thing.  I looked around and smiles were evenly applied to the visages formerly reserved for focused fear.  Only I heard a sound that I knew would soon instigate a tremendous change in the local universe. 

Tico, our itchy-butt Chihuahua, peeked around the corner, eyeing us all sitting around the living room, with teacups perched on our knees.  It seemed that Tico was allergic to spicy food.  His only known cure was to scratch his hind side by scooting along the carpet propelled by his front legs, with his rear legs pointed skyward. 

In Tico Land there were only two types of itches: those that could be resolved by a quick rub run across the carpet and those that required a more determined effort.  I looked into Tico’s watering eyes and immediately recognized that I should not have fed him some extra spicy taco filling earlier that morning, for he needed a long length of carpet more than a politician needs a fundraiser. 

Tico furtively stole across the room and, to my astonishment, sat down at the far end of the carpeted room, all the while brandishing a most wicked grin. 

I believe that it was during the Minister’s admonition for the attention to detail that Tico began to rev up.  He assumed the position and scooted around in a little circle, this to warm up for the main attraction.


If you’ve ever witnessed a Top Fuel Dragster smoke its tires then you will appreciate what happened next.  Paying tribute to the fastest quarter-mile dragsters, Tico lit up the rug and rocket test-bedded across the room, howling as he accelerated towards us. 

Teacups and saucers rattled as jaws dropped and  the conversation stopped as Tico the Dragster roared to the end of the carpet and disappeared around the corner.  I could have sworn that I smelled smoke, the kind you step into only at night when you are barefoot. 

Though we all knew of Tico’s carpet tunnel syndrome, we were loath to admit it under the circumstances as the collective silence became deafening.  It was then that I uttered the saving benediction that unhoisted our collective petards: “Gotta’ admire the spirit in that paralyzed dog.” 
(Lance was last seen heading for the Drag Races.  It seems that he still has a little dog left in him.  You may scratch for him by barking to:



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