..Jon Simonds..

In Memory of P. Diddy Rags
The Basically Brooklyn Series

Nothing adds gray to your hair quite like answering the door to the York County Sheriff's Office. Especially when the last thing he says to you is, "Your son is not in any kind of trouble." Grecian Hair Formula is not getting any cheaper these days and your son is not in any kind of trouble would have been a great place to begin, but instead the officer chose to first ask if this was the residence of one Michael Simonds.

"Yes," I said. This is about the time all that farm fresh chicken I downed for dinner suddenly is reborn.
"Does he drive a red... Plate number..."
"Yes," I said and those chickens are flying now and my mashed potatoes are caught in the updraft.
"Are you his father?"
I nod my head up and down, to afraid to open my mouth.
"Your son is not in any kind of trouble," he says.
Wanna bet? I think.
"This is just a courtesy call. We've had some complaints about his speeding. I just want to talk to him."

I told the officer my son was out for the night and the officer asked if I could call him, which I did handing the phone over to the officer. The officer walked off. They chatted. When they were done the officer handed me my phone and we thanked one another before he drove off which is when I hit speed-dial, ordering my son home.

The moment he walked through the door I was all over him about the consequences of speeding. I told him all about points on his license and how much his failure to observe the speed limit would only further widen the gap between the rich and poor.
"You get caught speeding," I yelled. "The insurance company will double our rates. Didn't I tell you to drive like P. Diddy Rags!"

He listened, nodding in all the right places and then reminded me we had switched cars a week earlier so he could take mine in for an oil change. We had just switched back that very morning. "It was probably me," he added. "But just in case, when you're driving make like Diddy."

Diddy, as we called him, was a pure white Maltese stud rescued in South Florida. I have no idea how old he was, but he was slow at everything. He had rotten teeth and was slow to eat. He could never make it up on the bed and often yelped when you lifted him, but he had his loveable points. If you howled at him he howled back in a sound that amazed visitors because you'd swear he was saying, "I rov oouuu!"

He was housebroken, always going to the door and scratching at it when it was time to go and he took forever to do that as well.

On the morning of April 9th, when the snow fell and I was cleaning off the car P. Diddy Rags crossed the road to do his thing. I didn't hear the silver 4-door Chrysler Jeep as it came speeding up over the hill. Seconds after turning to look at it I heard the sickening audible crack of Diddys' skull.

The driver never tapped the brake, never slowed. I'm not even sure they glanced in the rearview mirror. I probably should have had him on a leash. I don't know why we're in such a hurry. We should just slow down and enjoy the scenery. We're all getting off at the same exit, anyway.

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