Over the long holiday weekend I decided to try and ‘up my exercise’. The weather was good and I had this dog that is constantly staring at me trying to mind-meld walks out of me. So what the hell, right?
So I woke up early on Saturday morning and we jumped into the jeep and headed to Patuxent River Park. We hadn’t been there since the winters end for fear of getting poison ivy. Okay only one of us had made that decision. But it is the one who owns the car and has susceptibility to contact dermatitis.
We arrived and walked about a mile in to the cornfields in the upper trails. They must be setting that corn to feed because - well it’s September, the stalks are about 10 feet tall and the corn looks like shit. It seriously looks like a bum's teeth in there. So with my wealth of farming knowledge (what I know from the television) I figured they were just letting stuff rot so that the pigs and horses could eat it. Because as humans we like to dis those animals on a regular basis. This was a harvest form of dissing.
The trails around the cornfield – I only walk the perimeter so I don’t fall victim to vertigo, confusion or hysteria – are rather overgrown. I suspect that is because the farmer is ignoring the corn for a purpose right now. Or he is dead. One of those. It is so overgrown that it is rather jungle-esque at points. Points that stretch on for 300 yards or so. But I am outdoorsy. I was wearing an L.L. Bean backpack. I bought it AT L.L. Bean’s actual store in Maine. No internet shopping. I’m just that outdoorsy.
I really like my new backpack. It is green and has zippers all over it. I lose my shit in it all the time.
Speaking of losing my shit… As Hambone and I were making our way through the dead farmers tractor tire paths (circa 2008) which was overgrown to my knee and about 12 in over my dogs back, we heard a violent rustling in the woods to our right. And a Chupacabra bounded across our path. I shit. you. not.
It looked like something that would attack Hogwarts. I immediately went into my emergency stance – which looks a hell of a lot like I am taking an outdoor potty break. But with arms extended forward and while chanting “what the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck????”
My dogs emergency stance looks exactly like his 'at-ease' stance except with his ears pitched into a bobbed-like haircut and a gassy look on his face. I expect he was saying to himself ‘what-the-ever-loving-fuck was that??” Rightly so.
Frighteningly, I could no longer hear the Chupacabra. Which was unsettling since he just bounded into a field of totally dead sundried corn stalks. In my mind THAT would make a sound. So clearly he was waiting to pounce on us and kill us. He was fucking with us. He saw the girl with the new backpack chatting happily with her slow retarded dog and decided to play with his food before gnawing into their vacation fattened limbs. Jerk Chubacabra.
But he must have been tired because his attack seemed very delayed and clearly I needed to do more squats at home because the position I was in was starting to burn. So I ran. I would say “we ran” but I had recently adopted a “save yourself” mentality and I sprinted right by my belovedly overfed basset hound with few regrets. He noted that the slower of our ranks would likely be eaten first so it became a bit of a foot race…. until… I ran open mouth and wide-armed into an Indiana Jones worthy spider web that spanned the distance between the cornfield and the woods.
Flashbacks of bot fly infestation and the Top 10’s I created at Discovery Health flashed before my eyes and I screamed and flailed more while savagely trying to remove the web from my face hair and arms. The asshole dog ran past me. Being ridiculously competitive I momentarily said 'fuck the spiderweb - I am not losing a footrace to a 10 yr old fat Basset Hound'. And then I hit another spider web. This one with an occupant. A spider about the side of a half dollar that was black and white landed on my boob and caused me to fall to the ground screaming while still at a relatively high rate of speed. I was not handling any of this well.
And the bloody backpack was not making it any easier. It had all these pointless straps and ties everywhere – all knitted together with spiderweb pieces and corn bits and hair. I’m not sure why I took my hair down. I guess it was to do a savage run through of my entire head of hair so that I could assure myself that the spider was not in there. But them once I let go of it, it just went everywhere. And stuck to the spider webs like crazy.
I relocated to spider on my left shoulder and re-lost my shit over that. Attacking cornstalks and tree branches to try and hang the insect on those so that I could move away… but it was all just so crazy. I wish I knew that the spider died or got off of me – but without that knowledge I just needed to distance myself from this spot. I began to run again. This time with the aid of a freakishly long tree limb stuck out in front of me to catch any upcoming spider webs. The dog thought I was chasing him to hit him with the stick so it kind of motivated both of us. About 5 min later I ran out of steam and started to walk again.
Who was I kidding? I am not a runner. I am barely a walker. And the spider bite would ultimately be the death of me. I felt okay about it but decided to text Yenny our location in case they wanted to come looking for our bodies. In a very Egyptian moment I guess I decided that Hambone was going to die with me - though he had no obvious wounds or issues.
Yenny confirmed that she knew where we were. I texted her about the Chupacabra and she didn’t understand the importance. (Is it possibkle to hear a *yawn over txt?) I moved past it and envisioned her crying at my funeral saying something nice about me and the new information she had researched about the elusive monster. My friend Alyssa would produce a Discovery show about it 'a-la-Bigfoot'. It would be really big (no pun intended).
While I walked further cussing openly about how much the outdoors sucked, I heard sounds coming from behind me. I got into my sprinting-relay-race-position. I must have looked like quite a scene. A grown ass woman with hair EVERY WHERE, sweat all-over, skinned dirty knees and wild look of terror on my face. And a big stick.
And this woman comes into view. She was jogging like she was on the boardwalk at Venice Beach. As if we were NOT in waist deep weeds at the far, far edge of a dead farmers corn field in a park that detectives couldn’t find with a map. And she was so TAN. Like as if she owned her own tanning bed and used it with the frequency of a toilet.
“Did you hear someone screaming? Was that you screaming?”
“Uhm, wha? (why are you so tan?)”
“Are you okay?” At this point her Venice Beach companion running dog arrived happily by her side. It was a very dirty, very wet, yellow dog. And then the Chupacabra arrived shortly there after. WTF????
“Uhm.. yeah I’m fine. I just kinda lost my shit over (your fucking ugly ass demon dog) a spider web I ran into.”
I raised my tree limb to show the solution I had cleverly devised, while keeping an eye on the heaving hell-beast slowly circling Hambone.
Hambone looked like the queen mother stripped nude in the middle of a Capital One Viking credit card commercial. He was all eyeballs and panic without movement.
“Oh. So you are fine. Okay.” She seemed slightly dismissive with her tan body language. Why was she so tan? Was it like real tan with fake spray-tan layered over top of it? It was SUCH a bizarre color.
“Is that your dog?”
“Uhm yeah, duh." (she seemed to say) I was getting getting attitude for not having been in trouble now. Is that right? Cause that is shitty lady. You are a weird color and I feel like your personal style initiatives are totally misguided. Why is your dog so ugly? Who would adopt a hell-hound like that? I have NEVER run into this issue before. But that animal is pure unrelenting evil. I am surprised it hasn’t eaten your other dog yet.
“Well did you want to run on with us?”
“No. Thanks. You go on.” I don’t run and I want your weird body to clear all of the spider webs ahead of me so I can safely return to my car.
And I did finally get to my car. And the dog looked like this:
Later, I would relay this story to my father in his kitchen and he would yell to his wife -
“Joyce, our daughter was chased through the woods by a rum drink.”
“No dad! It was a Chupacabra! Not a Cuba Libra! Ugh.”
And then Hambone ate pounds of pit beef from a catering bag left in my vehicle planned for a dinner party. He briefly turned into a meat fountain and then recovered to be a walking fart bomber. The day ended finally. I had earned the alcohol I consumed. I am an indoor girl. I need to accept that. I still resent my backpack.
Educate yourselves - "How Chupacabra's Work"