I’ll be the first to admit that I’m skeptical of the so-called “power of suggestion”.
However, my experience yesterday afternoon has made me a believer.
I wish I could say my experience was a positive one, but alas, nothing could be further from the truth.
In any case, I should blame Roxy for the outcome, since it was her fault we didn’t make it out the door at the usual time.
Valuable daylight time was lost, as I crawled on all fours pulling her out from under the sofa after she decided it was a good time to play hide and seek.
As a result, when we finally made it out the door, the sun was already setting.
Nevertheless, we headed to the forest where we always walk in the afternoon.
Upon arriving, I don’t know whether it was the sound of crows cawing or the fact that I could no longer see the sun shining through the trees, but I started to feel trepidation.
Suddenly, I began to notice how tall the trees looked in the dark shadows that abounded in the forest at this time.
My heart started to beat faster.
My senses became more alert and every twig that cracked under my feet, seemed to announce that the worst was yet to come.
My muscles clenched as I dragged little Roxy and told her this was not the time to pee.
The faster I walked, the faster my mind raced.
I think I even started to hallucinate and spied a man with a chainsaw hiding behind one of the trees.
Why, oh why, had I been foolish enough to take this lonely trail?
I started to believe this trail would be the last thing Roxy and I would see.
My hands started to get clammy.
And then I spotted them; a couple walking toward us.
I felt relief, quickly followed by dread, as I remembered the countless episodes of Criminal Minds I had seen where “couple” serial killers had butchered their victims.
Had it come to this?
Would Roxy and I be the victims of a violent crime?
My hands began to tremble.
I heard myself whisper, “Roxy, stop it. Stop trying to squat. We have bigger things to worry about.”
The couple loomed closer.
The man was missing his two front teeth. The woman was wearing a sweatshirt with a large neck hole like the one Jennifer Beals wore in Flashdance.
I couldn’t believe it.
We were going to be murdered by two toothless people sporting fashion trends circa 1980.
I sadly acknowledged that this was not the end I had envisioned for either of us.
Roxy was supposed to have a good fifteen years left and me? Well, I still hadn’t seen Rome.
Suddenly, I felt a renewed surge of energy.
There was no way I was going to croak before seeing Rome.
I quickly devised a get away plan.
I would command Roxy to sink her tiny teeth into their flesh, and then we’d run.
We’d run faster than them.
I took a deep breath.
Who was I kidding?
Roxy, still sporting a full bladder, wouldn’t be able to get very far, and I’d be lucky if I made it to the next trail without hyperventilating.
Besides, something told me we’d fall while trying to outrun our captors; the same way victims in slasher movies do.
This is it. And not in a good Michael Jackson way, but in this is it, as in, this is the end.
I knew what would happen.
They’d get rid of me first, and then they would barbecue Roxy.
Why, oh why, had we gone out so late!
Nervously, I noticed they were five feet away.
I felt the anxiety wash over my body.
I started to feel a panic attack coming on.
Maybe if we lay down and played dead they’d walk past us.
Two steps in front of us.
The toothless man smiled a toothless smile.
The woman looked at me like I was a deranged mental patient who’d been given a weekend pass.
And then something unexpected happened: they walked past us.
One minute they were there, and just as quickly they were gone.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
My heart stopped racing.
The palms of my hands stopped sweating and Roxy was finally able to do her business.
And then, another noise.
A new noise.
It sounded like footsteps crunching leaves behind us.
Without giving it another thought, we started to run.
We ran from the wooded trail and into the street.
Cars drove past us. People walked on the opposite side of the street.
I had escaped the power of suggestion in one piece.
And then I heard a noise.
I heard myself whisper, “Roxy, is the man standing by that tree wearing a mask?”
Have you ever been a victim of the power of suggestion?