Risk Management


The police officers were interviewing the neighbors about a dog that had been running roughshod through the town for days. It upset a checker game, chased a cat into a storm drain, knocked over garbage bins, dug up all of the potatoes from the community vegetable garden, defecated on the greens of the municipal golf course, and pilfered support hose and giant brassieres from the clotheslines of widows. It even interrupted a city council meeting, zipping up and down rows of the elderly and infirm sullenly waiting for some botched verdict. The policemen touched the tips of their pencils to their red tongues, as a lady with mascara smeared across her cheek said the dog must have been a pit-bull, yes, she was certain, a pit-bull frothing at the mouth with a giant chain around its neck, the kind you'd use to sink a body to the bottom of a river. A fat man beside her disagreed. He described the dog as lanky, with long hair and bangs, some kind of loping foreign hound that could track a pride of lions across the Sahara for days without any water. It was the middle of winter, but the heat kept peeling off the asphalt like black washcloths soaked in chloroform. One of the officers knelt in front of a girl holding a headless doll upside down by the foot. She said the dog was clear like water, like a ghost trying to get in out of the rain. She kept touching her throat, trying to show the man where it hurt.