He walked across the parking lot with an odd gait, sort of a hay-wagon-with-a-bent-wheel kind of gait, the sort makes the rear of the hay wagon jerk to one side rhythmically. He bunged up his knee the other night. He and his buddy had gone out to the other side of town to see if they could get a view of the northern lights where the sky wasn’t aglow from sodium lights. A dog bolted across the four-lane. His buddy swerved to miss it. Didn’t wreck, which was good since it was his mother’s car. Well, probably for other reasons too. Parolees don’t like to attract attention. Act out, but do so in a “nothin’ happenin’ here, sir” kind of way.
They pulled over onto the berm, resolved to catch the dog and return it to its owner. What other logical conclusion could they reach? It was near zero. The radio said with the windchill was minus thirty-five. The dog was obviously in danger from the cold. And cars. So off they went. Following the meandering dog track footprint marks in the skiff of snow. Along the berm. Across two eastbound lanes into the median, where they disappeared as if the dog had just lifted itself from the face of the earth. After more searching, they discovered the reappearance of the dog paw footprint tracks on the other side of the Jersey barrier. Not only was it a lost, cold, worried dog, it could leap tall barriers in a single bound. The act spoke of desperation. They must find it. The pursuit continued. He and his buddy vaulted the Jersey barrier. Only he slipped as he went airborne. By some kind of incalculable physics, he cleared the wall and landed on the tubercle, that “second knee cap” just below his knee, where leg muscles attach to make leaping possible. He hobbled across the dark highway and found the tracks again. This time they went under the guardrail and down the steep embankment, stony road fill laying unpredictably near the angle of repose, the steepest slope soil will tolerate without succumbing to the inexorable pull of gravity. Rather than succumb to that same inexorable pull, they broke off the pursuit. In the first level of video Dog Pursuit, they had failed. Tough game.