Wilbur was now a more obedient pig than before, but that was not the same as being a good pig. Wilbur still had a mind of his own, and with that mind came desires, urges, and needs.
Though Wilbur was now forever banished to the backyard, he still longed for the freedom of the front yard. Wilbur would spend hours staring out the front screen door, imagining himself as “Mr. Big shot front yard pig” carousing our front yard, and our neighbor’s yards as far as he could see. I would see Wilbur stare longingly out the front door and I would say to him “Don’t even think about it big fella, that is one problem neither one of us needs.” Wilbur would just stare ahead; little did I know that he was biding his time, waiting for his chance. That is one thing about Wilbur, he is a very patient pig; and very determined.
One day while I as at work, Jeff left to run some errands. He swung the front door shut and hopped into Rhea’s Mustang. Jeff hadn’t noticed that the front door had not closed tightly, but Wilbur did. After Jeff drove away Wilbur walked up to the front door and gave it a push with his snout. It was if Wilbur had said “Open Sesame!” because the door swung open for him. I’m sure Wilbur was feeling very pleased with himself as he walked out into the sunshine of the front yard.
“Mr. Big shot, front yard pig” was back! Wilbur spent an hour or two strutting around the front yard smelling the new smells, and snouting the different plants, when he thought to himself, “Why confine my wishes and desires to this small yard, when I can go anywhere?”
So Wilbur decided to go exploring. While humming the song “Don’t Fence Me In” to himself, Wilbur started strolling down the sidewalk.
When Jeff got home he noticed that the front door was wide open and wondered why. He found Rhea in our bedroom watching “Judge Judy”, and asked her if she left the front door open for a reason. Rhea had worked the night before tending bar, and had not got home until the wee hours of the morning so she replied, “No, I just woke up and haven’t been out of the bedroom all day. Why?” He told her that he just got back from running errands and found the front door wide open. “Oh no, the dogs must have got out!” she exclaimed. “No, I left all the dogs on the back patio before I left, and they are still there.” They looked at each other and said at the same time, “Wilbur!” They searched the entire house, and the back yard, but there was no sign of Wilbur.
Wilbur, being the lazy pig that he is, is a late sleeper; often not coming out of his closet/bedroom until after 11:00 am. He must have got up just before, or just after Jeff had left, and noticed that the door was not shut tight.
At that time I was on my way home from work when my cell phone rang. It was Rhea. “Wilbur’s gone, somehow he got the front door open and he took off.” “Are you sure?” I asked, “Did you check the house and back yard for him?” “We looked everywhere for him, but he’s not here!” Rhea blurted out. “Ok, ok, calm down. He couldn’t have gone too far.” I said. “Start looking through our neighbor’s yards; I’ll be home in a half an hour.”
As I raced home all the different possible scenarios played through my head; and most of them were not good. To half of the people in my area, Wilbur would be nothing more than 300 pounds of free bacon, and the other half would call Miami-Dade Animal Services, or the police on him. Since it was only about 2:30 in the afternoon, I was hoping that perhaps Wilbur had not yet been noticed by any of these people.
When I got home I saw Rhea and Jeff down the street looking through the front yards of our neighbors. One thing in our favor was that in our area everyone’s backyard is fenced off, so we knew that Wilbur could not have wandered into someone’s backyard where we couldn’t see him; but we had no idea which yard he had wandered into.
After checking all the yards on our street, we checked the side street with no luck. We got to the next street a block behind our house, where we saw a group of school kids talking and pointing at something in one of the yards. We walked up to see what they were pointing at. There lying in the shade of a big bush was Wilbur, sleeping. “What is that mister?” one of the kids asked me. “That is our pet potbelly pig.” I replied. “His name is Wilbur, and he has been very bad, we need to take him home.” I walked over and yelled “Wilbur! What are you doing here? You need to get home now!” Wilbur got up and grunted to show his displeasure at being woken up. As Wilbur walked by all of the children backed away in fear. “Don’t be afraid” I said. “Wilbur won’t hurt you. Here, come and pet him. He loves to be petted.” I stroked the bridge of his nose to demonstrate what Wilbur liked. Though timid, each kid took a turn stroking Wilbur’s nose. “His hair feels funny, like bristles!” One child exclaimed. “Yes his fur coat is different than a dog’s” I explained. “But he likes to be petted just like a dog.”
So there we were, the whole group of us escorting Wilbur back home. When we got to our house, all of the kids petted Wilbur one more time and said goodbye. From time to time the kids will still ring our doorbell and ask us if they can pet him.