More dog days in Babylon

Our columnist’s storm-watching trip to Pyramid Lake turns into a dog-rescuing disaster.

Ready for another little desert adventure caused by a dog?

My buddy Ted and I decided it would be a hoot to head out to Pyramid on a dark and stormy afternoon. We had high hopes of experiencing big thunder thrills and then, if all went well, big barbecue thrills on the beach during a calm and magnificent sunset. Ted brought along his dog, Zinny, and his neighbor’s dog, Clyde, both of whom were delirious with approval of our little plan.

The weather when we arrived was perfect. Dead calm, very hot, with a few storms brewing in various parts of the sky. It was obvious we were going to be witnessing some gigantic meteorological happenings before the day was done.

The dogs were instantly intrigued by the grebes floating just off our beach. Both wasted no time in pursuing these elegant little fishing birds, each pooch eagerly swimming into the lake for the chase. The crafty grebes would let a dog get tantalizingly close before diving under the water to escape, and when they re-surfaced they would invariably do so further out into the lake, almost as if they were consciously luring the dogs into deeper water.

So by the time Ted and I noticed that Clyde was way out there, he was WAY THE HELL out there, maybe 200 yards off shore. We began hollering at him until we were on the verge of hyperventilation, but he was gone, out of his mind with grebe hunting. It became obvious we were gonna have to go after the poor idiot. I dove in and began swimming, while Ted concentrated on getting his dog into shore.

I hadn’t looked behind me as I swam out, or I might not have been so frisky. A very dark thunderstorm was taking shape and, in accordance with Murphy’s Law of Calamity, heading our way.

The water was still flat, at a perfect temperature, and it felt good to be swimming. I kept heading out, and so did that possessed moron Clyde. I finally looked back at the shore and saw that, while I was out there a fair piece, Clyde was out almost twice as far. Terrific. It was then that I spied the approaching thunder cell. Super. I instantly appreciated that, in the space of about five minutes, our idyllic, happy-go-lucky beach scene had become a somewhat serious situation. Typical Pyramidian melodrama.

I began to play my mental tape of lightning safety instructions, and No. 1 was, of course, to get away from water. And here I was in Pyramid Lake, not just in deep water but, it seemed to me, in deep doo-doo as well.

I was therefore instantly and emotionally inspired to yell in Clyde’s direction so hard my larynx began to shred. I threw a major expletive in there in hopes that it might somehow transmit to Clyde a sense of desperate urgency which might aid him in pulling his fool head out of his rectal oblivion.

Next week: Part Two—The Unbearable Possibility of Croaking.