“How tall is this ladder?” I ask, wiping the perspiration from my eyes.
“Forty-foot.” There’s little breath behind his answer.
“No wonder it’s so heavy.” The metal ladder makes a hard clank as it hits the metal rail.
We survey the monstrosity of this place, aided by his high beam flashlight. The pictures were bad enough, but this…this is flesh and blood. The whole arena smells of shit. The pit bulls, some two dozen of them, have left their pathetic dwellings and are on alert. But not all. Several have not moved since we arrived and I fear they are dead.
“Have you noticed any changes?”
“No. Not since I’ve been aware of this.”
“How long ago was that?”
“Oh, a week ago, last Thursday—over a week now, I guess.”
“In that time you’ve noticed no activity?”
“Someone has to come here at some point. They are fed regularly. This is the third time I’ve been up here and there is always food in the bowls. But I haven’t actually seen anyone. Of course I have to work too, you know.”
“I got the impression you were retired.”
“I am, from the Marine Corps. But my wife got sick last year and my pension isn’t enough. I do consulting work on the side.”
“I’m sorry to hear about your wife. And I thank you for
“Oh, she’s doing better—Lymphoma. It’s in remission—experimental drugs. No cure though.”
“So no one you’ve contacted, with the exception of me, has found this even a little disturbing?” I ask sarcastically.
“Oh, they find it disturbing. But everyone says there is nothing they can do, because…”
“Because they have shelter, are on chains, and have adequate food,” I rudely complete his thought.
“Because they have shelter, are on chains, and have adequate food. You are correct, sir.”
“My God, it’s obvious they’re being fought!” I state emphatically. Now, something dawns on me, “Wait a minute, the other day, when I was driving to work, I saw numerous dead dogs lying in ditches, here and there. I couldn’t say for sure, but come to think of it…they could’ve been pit bulls.”
“Well, there you go, Mason.”
“We should inform all parties of this fact. I’ve seen it with my own eyes!”
“What does that prove? No, it won’t change their position, but regarding what you said before your epiphany, and then confirmed by it, yes, they are fighting them, possibly breeding them. If you’ll observe, as far as I can tell these are all females.” He shines his light on the mass of hanging teats.
“The question is who are, ‘they?’”
“Yes, that is the question.”
“Another question is, ‘who owns this property?”’
“I was going to look into that this week.”
“Amazing. No one can do anything. No one sees anything. Are the cops even interested?”
“Sure. There’s even a sheriff’s deputy who lives up the road.”
“What does he say?”
“Oh, how terrible it is…”
“But nothing can be done?”
“No, nothing, nothing can be done. That’s right, Mason.”
I deal with a lot of bullshit problems. So many that the magnitude of any issue I have before me can diminish itself pretty quickly; overshadowed by the next fucked up situation. And…I have a pretty fucked up situation I have to deal with this week.