“So this is the dog you told me about? ” said the hot redhead in the skimpy.
“Yup. This, dear friend, is your new best friend, Karlo. ” said the killer brunette dressed like a sexy secretary. She stroked the ears of the German Shepherd affectionately, and Karlo wagged and rubbed his head against her hand.
He really was a magnificent animal, healthy and strong and full of energy, but smart enough to be well behaved. Everything about him radiated a sense of life in full bloom, from his bright and eager eyes to his easy, relaxed panting to his powerful hindquarters which flexed smoothly as he wagged, anyone could see that he was the unaltered perfection of his breeze.
And judging by the relaxed confidence in how he held himself, he knew it.
“Hello Karlo. ” said the redhead. “You and I are going to get to know each other quite well, I think. ”
“I’ll say! ” said the brunette, and they both laughed.
Karlo wagged even harder, his whole back end movinjg back and forth. He didn’t know why humans did that strange kind of barking, but he knew it made them happy, and that made Karlo happy.
He loved humans even more than the average dog did, and when they were happy, that meant they were getting closer to the Next Part.
And Karlo loved the Next Part.
“He certainly looks like a strong, healthy, vigorous animal. ” said the redhead.
“Oh he is! ” said the brunette. She took a document out of her purse and unfurled it. It was so long, it rolled across the floor to Karlo’s front paws.
“As you can see, he has a very long pedigree. The longest ever, in fact. And here’s what the vet who did his last physical said… ”
She tooks a letter out of her purse and put on a pair of glasses that only made her sexier because it made her look smart. “Ahem. ‘I can verify. with absolute scientific certainty, that Karlo is the healthiest. most vigorous, most dextrous, and above all the nicest dog I have ever had on my examining table. He’s a very, very, VERY good boy, and my favorite patient ever. Your eternal friend, Gregora Gospodo, Doctor of Vetrinary Medicine and Passionate Animal Lover. P.S,, I have scheduled Karlo for another checkup two weeks from now, and as usual, there will be no charge.’ ”
“Wow!” said the redhead. “Karlo must be the best dog in the world if his vet says all those nice things about him!”.
“He is.” said the brunette. She held up the most official and real looking document ever, “This government document says so. ”
“I totally believe you! ” said the redhead. “So… about his special skills… ”
Karlo stood up, ears fully erect. This was it. He knew those words. They meant it was almost time for the Next Thing. He wagged so hard that his rear paws danced with one another and his panting was the best loudest panting ever.
“Yes?” said the brunette in a super sexy sultry voice. ”
“Would it be possible to get a… demonstration?” said the redhead.
Next Thing! Get to the Next Thing! Karlo was delirious with excitment.
“I thought you’d never ask. ” purred the brunette. “What do you want him to do first? He knows a lot of very impressive tricks. ”
NEXT THING! NEXT THING!
“Oh, I want to try them all. ” said the redhead. “But first… I have all this chopped steak left over from making ouir human food last night… is it okay for me to feed it to him?”
“Only if you have a very shiny bowl!” said the brunette, and they both laughed.
The redhead put a huge super shiny bowl of chopped steak in front of Karlo, and he started wolfing it down like he hadn’t eaten in a year.
This was it. This was the Next Thing. Eating chopped steak out of a shiny bowl was the BEST THING EVER. And here he was, doing it! He was in Doggy Heaven.
The sex with the human ladies afterwards would be really good too. Third best thing ever, easy. Second if the redhead remembered he liked having stuff in his butt now.
Karlo’s meal was interrupted by the sound of a machine gun quite close by, and a large section of the wall falling forward, revealing a small, mean looking human who definitely smelled Wrong to Karlo, and without having to think about it, Karlo slid up behind the Bad Man. growling low.
“Now listen, you stupid bitches! ” said the little man. “I want some fucking answers and I want them now, or I’m gonna shoot you so full of holes they’ll be able to use your bodies to filter coffee. All I did was slip into the Now to visit my pal Joey in the Angry City, and the next thing I know, I’m in this cuckoo nuts place where everybody has the puniest, smallest, most cowardly and sick looking dog on their front lawn and everyone in the red light district has claw marks on her back and a big smile on her face. Nothing makes sense to me here and I want to go back to Gunsville RIGHT NOW! So you dizzy broads are either going to tell me what the hell is going on around here, or I am gonna make Swiss cheese out of ya. YA GOT IT? ”
The brunette said, “Can I speak now? ”
“Sure. ” said the little man.
The brunette smiled sweetly and said “Karlo, hochspringen!”
At that command, Karlo tackled the little man to the ground and wrapped his forelegs around the little man’s torso.
“Oh no!” said the redhead, her voice quavering with concern. “Is Karlo going to hurt that poor little man? ”
“Not if he’s smart enough to relax and go with it. ” said the brunette, smiling smugly.
And when the redhead saw what Karlo did with the little man, she was extremely shocked and surprised.
And intensely jealous.
This was supposed to be HER turn!
There was nothing better in the world, Bob decided, than to be sitting here in the stands with the rest of the town to watch the two local baseball teams battle it out on the diamond on a sunny Saturday like today.
Everyone he knew was there. It was like a great big extended family picnic. Over there, fanning himself with his hat and looking annoyed at something as usual was Mister Pointer, who had been Bob’s science teacher all through high school.
It wasn’t his fault that he always looked pissed off about something. That was just how his face looked when he wasn’t doing anything in particular with it. Figuring that out had been a spectacular relief to Bob, who had stayed up nights wondering what he had done to make Pointer mad at him. Turned out so had every other one of his students.
Old feller must have wondered why his class got way more calm and relaxed all of a sudden, thought Bob with a chuckle. Probably thought we were all stoned.
We were, but that’s wasn’t why.
And so Bob had got Jimmy “The Zipper” Jackson to draw one of his whiz-bang cartoons explaining this fact, and they had snuck into Tino’s mom’s workplace and made a zillion copies. and starting passing them around.
They also hid some of them in various places in the school, because adults could not be relied upon to be reasonable about things and they might decide the cartoon wqas dirty or disrespectful or something and take them away.
And over there, leaning against a post, was Andy “Slick” Templeton, a man who was born to make a million bucks because not only was he both clever and smart (a rare combination), but he also seemed to be born with all four horseshoes plus a bushel of shamrocks up his butt because he had the best luck of anyone Bob had ever known.
Bob smiled when he thought about how funny they had thought it was when Slick had asked them all to invest a quarter each in some cockamamie scheme of his, and had given them handmade share certificates with real serial numbers and everythingin return. They had joked about what they would get when they were rich.
They were fifteen at the time, so the general consensus had been “girls”.
Then they forgot all about it until two weeks later, when Slick showed up with a crisp five dollar bill for every one of his investors. Seems the tip he’d gotten about someone who was giving away a brand new pair of tractor tires ’cause she was selling her farm and wouldn’t need them any more had been right on the money.
Our quarters had gone to pay his older brother to drive him to get the tires then drive him to the customer he’d lined up, plus fifty centers to get “Tiny” Trevor to do all the lifting and toting.
The tires, Slick had figured out, were worth three hundred dollars if you bought them at the feed store, so he offered to sell them to the ever-growing Mendoza family for a hundred, and just like that, 20 quarters turned into five bucks for 20 people.
Now Slick ran the bank, and would soon own it.
Heck of a guy, that Slick.
And over there was a kid whose name was Leroy but nobody ever used it because to the local population, he was just “the Stephenston boy”. Everyone knew he was retarded, or crazy, or something because of all the crazy things he did. But he was so gosh darn lovable nobody ever got really mad at him.
Not even when he had wandered into a Town Hall meeting wearing a top hat, a white shirt, a dinner jacket, and a tie… and nothing else.
And then there was Anthony Papiillion, who everyone knew had a thing going on with Bobby…. but wait, who was that sitting in front of him?
Seems like everyone noticed him at the same time, because everyone, including the players, stopped what they were doing to gawk at the bizarre figure.
He was, quite simply, the blackest Negro anyone in that town had ever seen. He had the kind of skin that made your realize that most black people were actually brown people. Not him.
What’s more, he was dressed in a funny kind of business suit and had an expensive briefcase in his lap. And he had an air of quiet authority about him of a type that Bob had only ever seen on top quality brass, the real leader types, when he was in Korea.
Nobody in Hopetown had ever seen a Negro that looked like that. None of them had even seeing a HUMAN BEING of any race or persuation who looked like that. He might as well have been a Martian.
So they stared.
Reacting to the sudden silence, the man unhurriedly folded his New York times, put it in his briefcase, and addresss the crowd in a deep, cultured African-accented voice.
“Hello, my friends. ” he said. “I am Professor Bokomoso Govender. I teach political science and sociology at a university which, if my guess as to local era is correct, will not be built for 37 years. I mean you no harm, and I am not here for your women. I’m here because I apparently made some kind of navigational error when traveling to see my politician friend in the capital city and somehow ended up here. You can believe me when I say that I will be leaving here at the earliest opportunity. I am as uncomfortable with this experience as you are. ”
“So there is no need for any action by the three policeman who are creeping up on me like I was a rabid gorilla. I will do harm to none. That is why I am warning them, for the sake of their careers, to refrain from any rahs actions, as I am a diplomatic attache to the local South African embassy, and as such, have full diplomatic immunity. Therefore. my brothers in blue, arresting me for whatever charge you dream up to justify acting upon your fears would do nothing but generate needless paperwork for you and cause you to look foolish in front of your peers. ”
“But I can tell right away that the people of this town are good people, generous of disposition, with a strong moral fiber and an understanding of the virtues of forethought and restraint. So surely my fears are without basis. ”
“If so, I apologize. Please resume your game. I will cause no further disruption. ”
And with that, he took his paper out of his briefcase and resumed reading.
After around five seconds of stunned silence, a lively hubbub broke out as everybody talked to everybody about the strange creature who had just spoken.
Bob ignored at all because he was still trying to understand what the hell had just happened. The blackest man on Earth had spoken to the whole town in better English than any of them had, and had handled the situation with such elegance and grace that not only was nobody upset out it, but the three policemen has slunk off with their tails between their legs, ashamed of what they had almost done.
And that didn’t make sense at all. That sort of thing just did not happen in Bob’s world.
And the worst part was, if you took away the African accent, that Negro boy had talked just like people do.
And not just any people… important people. People with power, people with authority, people who enjoyed the respect of their communities.
Their WHITE communities.
To Bob, it was like his old dog Tag had suddenly sat up on his hind legs and asked Bob to make him a Tom Collins.
This would take a lot of thinking about.