Dog Bit Man

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

If you're an avid reader of like minded blogs you'll know of the author that I contend is swiftly becoming the Don of the blog world. I speak of the pyjama wearing, cheese sandwich consuming former Petrocelli-like Richard Cronin who pens (taps?) The Beirut Taxi.

Richard's blog is amusing, intelligent and incisive.....but he knows fuck all about dog bites. In his latest offering he complains of being mauled by a vicious cur of enormous proportions.....and then shows us what appears to be a bee sting. Richard's story, Dog Bites Man, has prompted an act of self plagiarism and forced me to retell a story that last appeared on my blog some years ago. Of course that post is now obliterated so I'm hoping you'll forgive the self plagiarism bit, but it's essential I relate a real dog attack to our man in Cork, Ricardo.

Let me transport you back to 1988. I was a young British squaddie with boundless energy and a desire to get involved in anything that might attract the word 'action.' It was November 19th, which is the date of the eve of the Battle of Cambrai, my regiment's most glorious campaign. After an initial fantastic success in the latter months of 1917, the gains made by the British Army were lost; come Christmas almost everyone of my cap-badge wearing forebears was dead. As I type this Jona Lewie's Stop The Cavalry plays in my head.

Anyway, let's get back to 1988. There I was in the squadron bar with a few muckers remarking how the tradition of marking Cambrai by attacking the neighbouring regiment had been largely forgotten in recent times. It didn't take too many more bottles of Herforder to encourage us to mount our own Cambrai campaign. So off we trotted, clad in our usual off-duty uniform of desert boots and flight jackets, heading for the Royal Hussars barracks armed with spray cans of silver paint (my mate Matt had been covering repaired crash damage on his Cortina). My can must have been less full than the others; the significance of this will be made clear in a while.

We sneaked up to the Royal Hussars Officers' Mess, where a mess ball was in full swing, and sprayed our squadron name 'CYCLOPS' in massive letters on the outside wall. One of my more perceptive colleagues (there were only three of us)  indicated that we'd left a pretty decisive indication of the identity of the guilty party on that wall. So we added the other squadron names: 'AJAX,' 'BADGER,' HUNTSMAN,' and 'NERO.'

Then we did the same on the wall of the Sergeants' Mess.

Then on one of the Royal Hussars squadron accommodation blocks.

Then we stole a four-ton truck from the vehicle compound.

Which broke down.

In the middle of the parade ground.

It was as we were making our way back from the Royal Hussars parade ground to our own regimental lines that we heard a distant shout that went something like: 'This is the Royal Military Police....stay where you are!!'

A chorus of three voices returned the suggestion: 'FUCK OFF!'

My two colleagues made off like Vanessa Feltz chasing a departing ice-cream van but yours truly had the flash of inspiration to repeat our suggestion in silver letters on the ground.

But I was short of paint.

I rattled that can like I was making out with Madam Palm and her Five Sisters but I only achieved 'FUCK OFF R..' before a closely located torch beam was switched on and the words: 'Stand still; RMP!' were shouted in my ear.

In true boundlessly energised, British squaddie style I threw my almost-empty can in the direction of the blinding torch light and took off down the road.

Then I heard three words that really, really confused me.

'Go, Dog, Go!'

What the fuck does that mean?

I found out seconds later when I heard a growl, smelt the unmistakable aroma of Pedigree Chum, and felt sharp canine teeth sink into my forearm.

The bastard RMP was an accompanied dog handler.

As soon as I hit the ground with a massive German Shepherd Dog attached to my arm I heard the word: 'Release!'

My hairy German attachment immediately released my arm and sat down like a good pooch.

It was then that I made what was probably my second biggest mistake of the night. I mistook my canine friend's obedience to be capitulation and took off again like Sir Jimmy Savile en route to a TK Maxx sale.

Before I'd gained three feet of distance on the four-legged resident of Alsace the fucker's teeth were embedded in my right hip and he wasn't for letting go this time. It was then that I made what was probably my biggest mistake of the night. I repeatedly punched the dog in his face.

I think that the feeling of a canine tooth, gradually gouging a groove into your pelvic bone, is enough to make any boundlessly energised  British squaddie piss his pants. So that was me, nicked and banged up with wet keks and an injury that, now healed, is very apparent on my right hip. Admittedly the scar is kinda lost among other marks of battle, some that were, like the bee-sting mentioned above, etched in Richard Cronin's homeland.

Anyway, this isn't intended to black cat Richard (nor black dog), but might be regarded as proof that men that sleep in the altogether are superior to those that rest in British Home Stores PJs.



Anonymous said...

Did your 2 mates get away? What was the punishment? Tell us the truth, or make it up; it doesn't matter. Your readership needs to know......


Richard said...

To be fair I was writing for the chattering middle classes who have not seen the terror of war up close or engaged in random acts of vandalism (same thing?).

Your story does prove the point that the dog is not to blame.

my bite might look small but the bruise is huge (it's hard to get a grip on taut muscular flesh?)