Every Wednesday the pool boy comes. (Don’t get excited, ladies. Our pool boy is overweight with an underbite and wears shockingly tiny shoes.) He makes our pool sparkle and then he leaves. But last Wednesday he forgot to close the gate behind him.
Thursday morning was the usual shit show. Grady lost one of his school shoes. Jason lost his cell phone. I lost my car keys. And Annie Bea knocked her cereal bowl onto the floor. That’s when we realized, “Where’s Hammy?” When food hits the ground, he’s normally on the job in 2 seconds flat.
I looked in the backyard and started calling for Ham. No answer. Then I saw the open gate. My heart sank. I ran into the house, “Jason! Hammy got out of the yard! He’s gone!”
Somehow my sheer panic and overreaction didn’t calm the kids’ nerves. Grady became hysterical.
Grady: But Hammy is my only pet. Now I don’t have a pet!
(Good to hear how much he loves his fish. Poor Steve.)
Annie Bea: Don’t cry, Grady. Mommy and Daddy will find him. Right, Mommy?
Me: I don’t know. Watch out. Get out of my way.
(Just some more positive reassurance from dear old mom.)
Jason races out of the house in his flip flops to tackle the neighborhood and save the day. I can hear him screaming, “Ham Sandwich! Ham! Haaaaaaaaaaam! Ham Sandwich!”
(I imagine the neighbor calling 911: “I’d like to report a Jewish man screaming for ham.”)
Meanwhile, Grady’s still crying about not having a pet. Annie Bea’s mumbling something about mermaids as she admires her tiara in the mirror. And I’m finishing getting dressed to run out and help Jason canvas the neighborhood.
As soon as I opened the front door, Hammy came charging across the yard and into the house. He’s back! Grady instantly stopped crying. Annie Bea casually glanced away from the mirror and muttered, “Oh, hi Ham.” And I continued out the door to look for Jason looking for Hammy.
Me (running aimlessly and screaming): Jason, I found Ham! Jason! Where are you? I have Ham!
Jason (somewhere on another block screaming): Ham! Ham, where are you? Here Ham. Come back, Ham! HAM!
Me (still screaming from another block) Jason, I have Ham! JAAAAASON! I have HAAAAAAAM!
911 Operator: What’s your emergency?
Neighbor: Now there’s a girl screaming that she has ham for the Jewish guy who’s looking for ham. And I think they left the kids home alone. With the ham.