The Accidental Extremist
Because bad trips make great stories.

Like Dogfood For Chocolate [When Animals Attack]
Thursday March 25th 2010, 4:08 pm
Filed under: Mountain Madness, When Animals Attack

The defendant claimed temporary insanity.

The defendant claimed temporary insanity.

I lived in paradise: a 500-person fishing village on the pacific coast of Nicaragua, where I taught English and watched the sun set everyday. Problem was, the stores in paradise didn’t sell any chocolate.

And, I like chocolate. “A day without chocolate is a day wasted,” my grandma always said.

“Megan, chocolate isn’t good for you,” said Juan, the manager of the hotel where I worked. “Here, have a tortilla.”

After a month in paradise sans chocolate, I had to get out. I joined a group passing through our tiny town to travel to a slightly less remote town on an island in the middle of a lake. Reason given: I wanted to hike Volcán Concepción, the first active volcano I would summit.

After a twelve-hour slog up and down a rainy, muddy, fog-shrouded mountain—and a less-than-climatic summit (no leaping lava, no spectacular lake view)—we arrived back to town and nursed our sore bodies and misguided expectations with fried food and liters of beer.

I had to make a stop after dinner, I told my companions, still hopeful I could make the trip worth my while. Sure enough, in town’s only grocery store, I found it: a Snicker’s bar. It was too expensive—three dollars, a third of the price of my single hotel room—but, it was chocolate, so I handed over all my money and tucked my treat into the back pocket of my jeans. I limped to the plaza and sunk into a bench, savoring my last moments of abstinence.

And then, a dog—a stray dog, huddled in a group—broke away, darted towards me, and with a well-timed and well-aimed jump, clamped down on the Snicker’s bar and snatched it from my pocket. It hesitated, and then it took off running.

Now. I did not travel to Nicaragua, trudge up and down a volcano for twelve hours, burn thousands of calories, drink a liter of beer, and pay 60 córdobas for a Snickers bar only to have a stray dog steal it out from under me. So, I too took off running.

It sprinted a block up the street—those little mangy legs moving faster than they ever had—and ducked into what I thought was a convenience store, but what turned out to be, I noticed only after I was already inside, mid-grab, a nice, normal Nicaraguan family’s home.

While it may socially acceptable for stray dogs to dart in and out of Nicaraguan homes—doors are usually left wide open in the evenings, inviting in the breeze—it is decidedly less so for wide-eyed gringas.

After I realized where I was—it all happened so fast, reaching for the Snicker’s bar, looking up and seeing an elderly woman sitting in a rocking chair, a man standing in front of a TV—I said, “ay dios, lo siento. Es que…¡el perro me robó el chocolate!”

As there really was no better way to explain my behavior than ‘the dog stole my candy’ I yanked the bar from the mouth of the equally as shocked dog, apologized again, darted out of the house, and arrived back to the plaza with an amputated Snicker’s bar in my hand.

The dog apparently had a quite a grip on the bar when I so lovingly ripped it out of its mouth, securing itself a hearty bite of more than half the bar. I thought about cutting off the infected portion and eating the rest, but seeing as better sense had finally caught up with me, I threw it away with a sad sigh. —Megan Kimble

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It takes a true accidental extremist to write about chocolate theft above climbing a live volcano. Christian, get this girl a Snickers bar.

[Reply]

Comment by Bob Howells — Surefire Writing 04.01.10 @ 10:06 pm



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