The Joy Ride


     A hot and lazy August afternoon found Stanley sleeping behind a log at Ships Point Park. He could hear the quiet lap of the waves and feel the gentle breeze that barely ruffled the fur on his back. Peace.

     Two people settled on the log. The scent of skunk cabbage and talk of a joy ride piqued his interest. As soon as they left Stanley pulled his Miriam and Webster out of his back pocket. The description filled Stanley with excitement and a sense of purpose. Maybe later. For now he sighed, laid on his back, all four paws up and admired the puffy white clouds overhead. Cool.

     Back down on earth Stanley headed for the top of Tozer Rd. A grey van was parked on the road and facing the downslope.  He pawed the door open, put his shoulder hard against the doorjamb and pushed. It moved slowly and Stanley jumped in. He didn’t know he had company. Donny was in the back of his van, under the covers and sleeping it off.    

     Stanley stood with his back legs on the seat and paws on the steering wheel. The van moved slowly at first, then picked up speed alarmingly fast and began to tear down Tozer. It broadsided a telephone pole and Donny was jarred out of his stupor. He grabbed the driver headrest and looked in the rear view mirror at the same time Stanley did. Both yelped! With both rockets firing the van picked up speed and charged to the bend in the road. From the back seat an incredulous Donny yelled ‘LEFT! LEFT! GO LEFT!!!’  Stanley had no idea what left was but Donny had his arm out Stanley’s window and was leaning hard that way so Stanley did too. The van barrelled along Tozer and bounded onto the dyke. Wendy was walking her dog and they were forced into the bushes. Stanley leaned out the open window and barked furiously at Tyler. Donny recognized the editor of the Fanny Bay Flyer and ducked down behind the front seat. Word gets around!

     Stanley felt a sense of excitement and joy.  So this is a joy ride! He stuck his head out the window and howled. Up ahead the fork in the path was coming up in seconds. Stanley looked back at Donny and barked ‘which way?’ Again Donny yelled ‘LEFT, GO LEFT YOU CRAZY DOG!

      Stanley cranked the van over hard and they reeled onto the overgrown pathway. Not far down the path there is an old yellow crane in the bushes. That is where the joy ride finally stopped. Stanley looked back to see if Donny was alright. He had passed out after the last wild turn and now looked quite comfortable wedged against the back doors. Don’t drink and drive.

     Stanley forced the smashed door open and staggered onto the path. He followed his nose to Ships Point Road and back to the safety of the log on the beach. Exhausted, he flopped down and a thought came into his bony head. The skunk cabbage.  Did he dream all this?  As he rolled over the van keys slipped out of his pocket and were buried in the sand under the log. And gone forever.   

So was this real, a dream or just an experience lost in the sands of time?