I was walking my dog on some wooded trails near my house when I passed a creepy guy. I’d been deep in thought, probably day dreaming about the cookies I’d made and how I wished I had stuck a few in my pocket. I wasn’t thinking about being alone out there with my 9-pound dog, who, as far as protection goes, would have about the same effect as being pinched by a toddler if she chomped down on an attacker.

Hair started rising on my arms, and I was getting that prickly feeling on the back of my neck. I nonchalantly quickened my pace while I thought about worst-case scenarios. He could have turned around and was now following me, and would soon close the gap between us. It was a cold, cloudy, ugly, miserable day and we were probably the only souls in that million-acre park with nothing but lonesome trees to hear my screams.

I was getting frantic. I couldn’t outrun him, or outfight him. I had to make myself unappealing to him, but how? And then I came up with a brilliant plan. I started talking to the dog.

“I can’t believe I got cooties,” I said loudly, as if the dog was deaf. “I itch all over.” I feverishly scratched my head. “This is the most stubborn case I’ve ever had. They’re everywhere.”

To prove it, I extended the scratching to my arms and back. “I sure hope you don’t get the cooties from me. You think fleas are bad, they’re nothing compared to these cooties. They get in your hair and all over your bedding. It’s almost impossible to get rid of ’em.” Then I let out an exasperated shout, “Oh I HATE these cooties.”

I got the idea about talking out loud from hiking in grassy areas where snakes could be lurking.

“Listen here, snakes,” I say. “I’m a big, mean, snake-stomping machine and you had better crawl out of my path unless you want your eyeballs to squirt out of your head when I come down on you with my size 11 shoe. You better get on down the road and don’t look back or I’ll flatten you into a snakeskin belt. You better take your rattling behind on out of here or I’ll twist it off and give it to a baby for a play pretty. You better…” and so on.

I jabbered about the cooties for about fifteen more minutes, scratching like a flea-infested orangutan in a kid’s movie, not daring to look back or slow down. Finally I came up to the road. Only then did I turn and see an absolutely empty path.

“We scared him away,” I told my dog. She looked up at me and said, “I’ve been itching like crazy this whole time with all this talk. You better NOT give me the cooties or I will rain down an unholy ocean of barfing and diarrhea all over the house.”

She may be little, but I don’t doubt that she could do it. I had to explain what I was doing on the way up our street.

Yes the neighbors think I’m crazy, but I’m still here to tell about the close call I had today. I might be crazy, but crazy like a fox. No?