Today I feel compelled to discuss the importance of flashlights.
When Prometheus ran into the woods last night, again, I sped to the foyer for the flashlight I’d purchased against just that eventuality. But I couldn’t find it. Luckily, the puppy returned at my call this time, before any accident could occur.
This morning, my wife informed me that she’d “borrowed” the flashlight and “might’ve” left it in the garage. Boy was I steamed. I said her carelessness had endangered our lives.
Unsurprisingly, she downplayed her negligence: “Don’t be such a drama queen, Richard. One night without a flashlight isn’t the end of the world!”
“Really, Sophia? Why don’t you tell that to Frank!”
“What’s Frank got to do with this?”
“I never told you about the night my brother found himself without a working flashlight? Well listen up, ’cause there’s a lesson to be learned.”
As I explained, one cloudy fall evening when I was eight and Frank was eighteen, I’d adjourned to the back porch for another of my vain attempts to raise a caterpillar from the dead. In the midst of my experiment, Frank and our German shepherd, Sheba, returned from their nightly walk. I couldn’t help but notice my brother’s sorry condition, which the porch light clearly illuminated. His jeans were ripped and bloodied at the knees; and his face and hands look liked bears had clawed them.
When I asked him what the heck happened, he said his flashlight hadn’t worked. He always carried it on their nightly constitutionals, to aid in traversing a mile-long unlit stretch. That evening, he’d reached the halfway point of the unlit swath when full darkness fell. He’d attempted to switch on the device, only to find that its batteries had been removed! Without street lamps or even moonlight to guide him, Frank had no choice but to trust his dog’s shepherding instincts to steer them safely back to civilization.
Unfortunately, Sheba’s shepherding instincts were on the fritz. Rather than maintain a straight path for them on the road, she suddenly veered off to investigate unidentified rustling in the nearby woods. She tore the leash from Frank’s grasp, but not before yanking him over the curb – which he promptly tripped over, tearing his jeans and bloodying his knees in the process.
The balance of his damage occurred when Sheba failed to return on command, and he blindly followed her into the woods. He found her, thankfully, but only after mauling his face and hands on a sticker bush she’d run through.
I felt bad for my brother, but not as bad as I did for myself … after Frank belatedly noted my Dr. Frankenstein experiment and exclaimed: “Wait a minute; are those my batteries?!!!!!”