Mac hung up the phone, and knew he was going to have an argument with his wife. All the same, he knew what he had to do. He glanced at his watch, and decided he could let a few minutes pass to think it over and decide how to break the news. Debbie was usually pretty understanding when it came to stupid siblings (her own beloved sister was more often the subject of these spats) but she had never liked Mac's sister. To be fair, it wasn't her so much as her alcoholic woman-beating husband.
He felt a headache coming on. He grabbed a glass of water and drank it in one long swallow. God, he hated pissing off Debbie. She was so easygoing, but when ruffled was a force to be reckoned with. Still, there was no time like the present. Mac took a deep breath and walked out the back door. Debbie was working in the garden, pulling weeds and making sure the tomato plants were holding up okay. She was wearing that ridiculous straw hat he had bought her for a joke. It was pale pink and had a ring of daisies around the brim. It was the kind of hat a little girl would wear, and it made him want to grimace and smile at the same time.
Marriage is a language of its own, and it took Debbie all of fifteen seconds to realize her husband hadn't come out for the heck of it. She stopped digging at the weeds and stood up, knocking the dirt off her gloves and giving him a curious look. He gave a winning smile, which set off her bullshit detector, and braced himself for the storm to come.
"So, babe... I have to go to Kansas City," he said. "Mary's in the hospital, and she needs me to come get her." Debbie's eyes darkened, and after a three minute fit where she cussed his brother-in-law up one side and down the other, she squatted back down and went at the weeds again.
"Do what you gotta do," she told him. "You know I'll be glad to see her leave that son of a bitch for good. Just hurry home, because we have to get that fence fixed as soon as possible." And just like that, Mac was reminded again why he loved her so much.
Michael woke up a few hours later, feeling much more refreshed. His date from the night before was also finally ready for round two. She was still in the shower when he jogged through the house, whistling and hoping he had enough to make breakfast so they could enjoy round three. Then he would get her to leave so he could enjoy the rest of his day. He was digging through the fridge when his towel dropped. He didn't stop, he was alone (if you didn't count the hot chick in the shower). He was checking the expiration date on the eggs when a thump at the front door got his attention. He sat the eggs down and reached for his towel. After listening to make sure the shower was still running, he walked to the front door and peeked through the window.
There were strangers in his yard. The sight of them walking around gave him a jolt, the fact that they also seemed to be injured put him in panic mode. He craned his neck, looking as far up and down the street as he could, and there seemed to be about a dozen people walking around with a dazed demeanor. They seemed to be oblivious to the others, and shuffled slowly from yard to yard.
He walked back and grabbed the phone. He saw one woman with a bloody face a few houses down. Whatever had happened, bus wreck or God knows what, these people were injured. He heard the shower turn off, and he calmly stepped back into the kitchen to grab his cell phone. He was describing the people to the 911 operator when his eyes roamed to the back yard, where Max had gone out for the night. In shock, he stepped back and knocked the eggs off the counter. The spatter on his calves didn't even register. He began to babble, and the emergency operator kept asking him to please repeat himself.
"My dog!" He shouted at the operator, unable to believe his eyes. "Something ate my fucking dog!"