Chapter 3 - The Fire Hydrant
The big beast stared at me with his nostrils flaring and I felt my hackles rise. I stood as high up on my toes as I could and let my tail raise over my back. I had to show this clown that I was just as big and tough as he was. He was the type of dog who took advantage of any sign of fear. As he stepped towards me with the obvious intention of going behind and sniffing my butt I gave him a little smile and let him see just how big and shiny my teeth were. I growled low in my throat.
The goliath must have lost all of his brain cells to Squeaky Ball chemicals. He continued his advance.
"Tango! Stay!” A small but authoritative voice came from behind the big Rottweiler.
The big dog stopped in his tracks. I looked to both sides of him, but couldn’t see anything.
"Hello Officer." The voice came from low to the ground. I looked down to see, of all things, a tortishell cat standing between Tango’s legs. Her voice was slow and sensual but her tail stood strait up in the air and twitched constantly, showing her agitation.
"Tango, I’m sure the officer just wants to talk. You can go lay down.”
The big dog gave a low woof and then turned and walked to the bed in the corner. He circled twice and then laid down and started chewing on a large knuckle bone without taking his eyes off of me.
“I’m Chia, the owner of this establishment. How can I help you?"
"I'm looking for someone," I said. I relaxed my posture and hackles, but just a little.
The bar is pretty empty at this early hour. Do you see the dog you're looking for?" Her tone was polite, but I noticed the nervous twitching of her tail continued. Was she hiding something? I breathed deeply through my nose but the only scents that came to me were dust and stale dog pee. The dogs that frequented this bar weren't even house broken.
My eyes scanned the room as if looking for someone, but I was really searching for clues. The bartender sat behind the bar cleaning out the drink bowls with his tongue. Between licks of the bowls, he was holding a quiet conversation with an old ungroomed poodle sitting at the bar and nursing a bully stick. She had tear stains on her eyes an a dirty pink bow in her hair. That dame had seen better days.
Standing over beside the juke box a cattle dog had just finished regurgitating his breakfast and was eating it again. My nose crinkled in disgust. In the far corner of the room I saw the big round dog bed that Tango had taken possession of and was still gnawing his bone. And to the back of the bed and mostly underneath... was that the light shining off of plastic? Like the plastic of a Squeaky Ball package?
As my gaze moved to the bed, Chia’s tail started twitching more rapidly. Bingo.
"I think I have found what I was looking for." I smiled and showed my teeth as I said it.
"But... but... I thought you were looking for someONE." Chia stammered.
I walked towards the bed, but not without effort. The cat kept curling herself around my feet trying to impede my progress.
"I see you are in possession of illegal substances." I stepped next to the bed and gestured at the package with my nose. "Where did you get it?"
She was a stubborn one. Chia narrowed her eyes and said, "I don't know, someone just left them here last night."
I didn't have time to play cat and mouse with her. My temper snapped.
"Look!" I barked at her. Her ears folded and her back arched at my tone. "You have TWO choices. You can tell me NOW where you got them from and I will walk out of here and forget I ever met you. Or," I paused dramatically and slowly wagged my tail for added effect, "I can drag you down the the precinct where I can guarantee you will be arrested for possession with intent to sell."
After standing still for a moment staring at me, Chia sat down and started grooming her tail calmly.
“So, Officer,” she said after a long lick to the end of her tail. “You need something from me.” Lick. “And perhaps I need something from you.” Lick.
She smiled at me from the base of her tail.
To be continued... (this story has become a monster with a life of its own)
Chapter 4 - The Frisbee Factory