Month: April 2017

Broken Ankle

“Look what I got with my birthday money!” Mike said as he ripped open the cardboard box Amazon had just delivered.

“A skateboard?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “A long board. I’m going to let the dogs pull me on it because they need to run and they never can because we can’t walk fast enough.”

“Should we discuss the danger and potential problems I see with this?”

“You can, but I’m still doing it.”

“Okay,” I shrugged. “In that case, have a blast.”

“Oh no,” I said a few days later as I held the door open so he could limp inside, long board in one hand, leashes of panting dogs in the other hand. “What happened?”

“Arrow stopped right in front of me, and I think I sprained my ankle.” Mike spent the rest of the evening giving Arrow a nasty scowl and refusing my medical suggestions.

“I’ll be right back,” Mike said the next morning. “I’m going to the doctor to have my ankle checked.”

“What?” I asked, shocked.

“They have an opening right now, so I’m just going to go.”

“Wait!” I called. “I’ll drive you!”

“On a level of one to ten,” the doctor asked, “how much does it hurt?”


“One is the lowest,” the doctor explained.

“Yeah,” Mike said. “It doesn’t really hurt.”

“What about when you walk on it?”

“Probably a three.”

“It really  doesn’t hurt much?”


“Okay,” she said. “I’ll go look at your x-ray and be back.”

“You are kind of embarrassing to come to the doctor with,” I told Mike after the doctor left the room.


“Because you aren’t hurting, and you keep saying you’re sure it is fine. She probably wonders why you’re even here. Even I am kind of wondering why we are here after all that you just said.”

“You are broken!” the doctor said suddenly swinging open the door. “Your ankle is broken!”

“Are you sure?” Mike asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“Is it just a little broken?” he asked.

“No! It is very broken. It’s one of the worst breaks I’ve seen. I can’t believe you said your pain was a one. Did you take pain medication?”

“Just two Advil before I went to sleep last night.”

“And you’ve been walking on it?”

“I’ve been trying to.”

“Don’t take one more step on it,” she ordered. “I’m getting you crutches, and you’re going to have to have surgery.”

“It’s that broken?” Mike asked.

“Yes,” she nodded. “It is very broken.” She left the room shaking her head.

A nurse with a tray of Ace bandages began wrapping Mike’s foot and leg tight to help the swelling go down and then strapped him into a clunky boot.

“Do you have any questions,” the nurse asked, handing Mike a pair of crutches.

“How long will it be before I can skateboard again?”

I left the room shaking my head.

Prodigal Puppy 2

“My good friend, Matt, is a lawyer,” Mike told me after I sobbed my court worries to him – I was not going to under worry this time. “I’m going to call him and ask what we should do.”

Mike told Matt all about the incident while I pulled myself together.

“He offered to go to court with you if you’d like him to,” Mike told me, holding the phone away from his face.

“I don’t ever want to go back to that place,” I said.

“Yes,” Mike said into the phone. “She would love it if you would go with her.”

Weeks later, I stood by courtroom 3 with my purse full of pictures of our sturdy fence and vet reports.

“Hello Sharla,” Matt said in a calm voice.

“Matt!” I hugged him and nearly cried on his suit coat. “Do you need to know the details of the case?”

“You can tell me if you want,” he smiled. I explained the entirety of what had gone down, and he listened politely. We walked into courtroom 3 together, and he handled the shouting man with no trouble.

“Thank you so much for coming with me,” I whispered to Matt as the shouting man declared people’s crimes. “I know this case is way beneath you.”

“It’s no trouble,” he said, even though I’m sure it was. He looked around a bit and probably saw memories of his days just out of law school. “The last time I took a case to trail it was for murder.”

My jaw dropped and he laughed.

“We’ve got this,” he said.

“But this judge really hates my dogs,” I explained. “He said, ‘prison,’ and he said, ‘death to dogs.’ And he didn’t even know what to do with me and had to take a recess to think about it.”

“It’s going to be fine,” Matt said, calmer than any human on the criminal side of the courtroom could possibly be. Then he told me funny stories until, suddenly, I heard the judge say my name. We walked forward, and I suddenly felt terrified – I hadn’t thought about where to stand. I assumed Matt would need to stand where I had stood last time, so should I stand next to him? Should I have stayed in my chair? Should I stand back by the railing?

“How does she plead?” the judge asked Matt.

“I understand you’ll drop one charge and she’ll plead guilty to one count.”

“Fifty dollar fine,” the judge said with the slam of his gavel.

Matt tugged my elbow as I was still looking around for the right spot to stand and motioned with his head toward the door.

“What?” I asked.

“We are done,” he explained, leading me out of the courtroom.

“That’s it?” I asked, shocked. “It’s over?”

“It’s over,” Matt said. “You just have to pay fifty dollars.”

And now I want to take Matt with me everywhere I ever go.



Prodigal Puppy

It is well-known that a while back my dog, Zuko, got arrested. He was in my backyard with Makenna’s dog, Kona, and they dug a hole under the fence and ran like hooligans in the streets of our neighborhood. It was all fun and games until they bit a tiny dog and got put in doggy jail.

When your dog causes trouble, the human responsible for them at that time is held legally accountable. So, I had to go to
court. I took a quick glance at society, and decided I needn’t worry. I assumed I would pay a fine, and Mike had already fixed the hole under the fence problem.

I knew I had to go to court, but nobody told me HOW to go to court. I walked in, went through security (because there is security, which makes sense, but I didn’t expect it) and began looking for the place people go to pay fines. After wandering around a bit, I saw my name on a screen with about twenty other names. The screen told me to go to courtroom 3, so I did. And that is when everything got crazy.

“What’s your name?” A man called to me. He was standing behind a railing that separated the professionals from those of us in trouble with the law.

“Sharla Hintz,” I answered quietly, hoping he would follow my lead in lowering our voices.

“You’re being charged with two counts of Dog At Large,” he practically shouted while a crowd of people on the wrong side of the law watched from their chairs. “How do you plead?”

I did not expect this question. I didn’t know I would be pleading. I had never pleaded before. I had not prepared a plead.

“Um, it really happened, so…. guilty?”

“Okay, take a seat until the judge calls your name.”

I joined my fellow criminals and watched as other people walked in and encountered the shouting guy.

“You’re charged with Driving Under The Influence,” he thundered at one guy. “You’re charged with Breaking House Arrest,” he bellowed at a woman, and this went on for twenty minutes. I felt sorry for these people who had their crimes declared aloud, but I also felt relieved because Dog At Large didn’t seem so terrible.

Eventually, we all rose for the judge, and I paid close attention to how the pleaders whose names were called before me responded – mostly I just wanted to know where I was supposed to stand.

I walked forward when I heard my name and stood exactly where the last guy had. He had raced his car through a residential street and caused an accident. The judge told him to pay for damages, and it was over. Compared to that, I felt the judge would be relieved at the no-brainer of Dog At Large.

“Your dog bit while at large?” the judge asked.

“Yes,” I whispered into the microphone, “and I’m here to pay any bills and fines.” The judge looked over a file he had in his hands and read what must have amounted to a novel because he didn’t look up for a long time.

“I’m not sure what to do with this,” he said finally. “Go sit back down and I’ll deal with you at the end.”

At the end he took a recess, and I sat alone and fretting on the wrong side of the railing. Eventually the judge came back and I resumed the spot by the microphone.

“Don’t worry,” he said after rubbing his eyes, “I’m not sending you to prison.”

Prison is a real possibility?

“What I want is to put the dogs down,” he continued as if he was saying, please hand me the newspaper, instead of PRISON and DEATH. “I’m not sure I can do that though, so I’m going to have you come back next month.”

“YOU WERE SO UNDER WORRIED,” I shouted at past me.