Lock the doors. Bolt the windows down. Never feel safe. The world is splitting. Two halves of a concentric hole. Fore!

This legend is barely urban, but beware of what might lurk in the back seat of your parents’ Suburban. Keep the windows washed and the tires filled with stale, filling station air. Remember these things, my son, for they will one day help you. The myths are merging with our forefathers’ truth.

Kids, open your eyes. Listen ever so closely with your ears. Stop and smell the rosebush. Mind the thorns. You are expected to mature at an earlier age than your parents did. Baby boomers got all the breaks. They did not even have to do their own laundry until they were 45. They spent their nights lying in an open field drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. You get gunplay in the schoolyard and the Backstreet Boys. Or so the magazines in the grocery store checkout line tell us.

Parents talking about getting you a new pet? Think that might cheer you up and yank you out of the doldrums? Think that might help you feel better about the bullies who stole your Fisher Price cell phone?

Premature malaise presents itself with icy hands. Indeed.

Have they asked your input, or is it a mystery pet of which they speak in such hushed tones? Have you been invited to attend a showing of this potential new pet at a pet store, local pound or circus? How much detail are you aware of? Do your parents wink at each other when you gather in front of the television to eat your pork chop dinner? Do they mention head cheese in everyday conversation? Take notes. Take very careful and complete notes. Go to baseball games. Take friends with you. Update your scorecard regularly. Party like it's 1954.

Did your father have a different kind of expression highlighting his face as he went out on his way out to retrieve your new pet?

Beware the new pet. Not all animals are domesticated. Some have been programmed for insidious purposes and reprogramming is too costly unless you are a jet-setter. Or an Irish setter. This pet of which they speak may have the physiological make-up and the psychological structure of a killer. What your parents do not tell you must make you wonder… Perform background checks on these and all pets… especially if they arrive looking stressed and agitated. Remember, animals do not like to kill. They just follow instructions. They do only what they must to survive in a human dominated world]. Don’t blame them. Blame evolution for their failings. Blame Martin Luther for splitting with the Vatican.

Pets are not the only source of this incredible suburban nightmare. As we watch society unravel all around us we begin to see the light. It is a light of pure darkness, so complete in its horror that most of us can only watch, frozen in mortal terror.

Say again, brother? Can you spear my dalmatian?

Having a pet trained to carry out your instructions is a matter of loyalty, punishment and reward. Hiring an unknown animal to exact your vengeance is a horse of different culottes. The animal’s behavior will be more random and far less predictable. However, it is harder to trace the true reasons for a shifty, unknown animal’s savage attack. The police rarely prosecute the people who spoke to and exchanged money and valuable prizes with an animal before it attacked another subscriber to the human race. If the animal does not eat its victim, then we know a human element is involved.

We urgently need to develop a system to explore the emotional condition of these people who have animals living on their property with suspicious intents. We need to wonder when a beast visits a close friend for a short period of time and then looks over its shoulder nervously on the way home. Someone needs to practice intervention. Have you noticed friends, co-workers or mimes showing an unhealthy interest in children’s books featuring animals? Have you noticed a proliferation of station wagons in your neighborhood with wire or steel cages showing their nasty bars through the back windows? Visit with these people and find an excuse to stop and chat with them. Perhaps you can enjoy coffee, tea, beer or prescription drugs with them and casually speak on the topic of their feelings about children and animals. Establish motive. Once you have established, in your own mind, that it is possible that this neighbor or friend is up to something devious, call an institution that specializes in illnesses of the mind… and have yourself admitted. Really, it is for your own good. Bless you. Goodnight.

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