by Marina Rose
The story of a boy and his dog- with a twist!
| The scruffy fourth-grader left school in a hurry. He didn't know exactly what the bigger kids were selling across the street, but he knew it was the stuff the police had come to talk about, and he was planning to run all the way home.
As he turned the corner, a scrawny pit bull puppy bounded out in front of him, causing a car to screech, its windows bulging with bass notes. The boy's heart pounded and a yell escaped from his throat, which got the puppy's attention. Thoughts of the bullies at school evaporated as the puppy ran up to him and licked his legs. The boy laughed and watched for a moment as the car peeled out. He tried to continue on his way, but the puppy ran alongside with his tongue hanging out. He shrugged off thoughts of the punishment he would get if his father caught a new puppy in the house, petted him one last time, and took a shortcut home, but the puppy followed him all the way there and up the rickety back stairs to his apartment door. It made the boy sniffle to shoo the poor dog away, but by now he was petrified of what would happen when his dad got home. OK, just for a minute, he thought.
He had found a tennis ball on his way home the day before, and it was still sitting in the corner of the kitchen. The puppy picked it up and dropped it at the boy's feet. Glancing at the door with a guilty smirk, the boy gently tossed the ball into the living room. Before long, time had stopped. All thoughts of his father were forgotten, and they were rolling around on the floor- until there was a key in the kitchen door.
By the time the door was open, he was huddling in the corner, knowing that there was no way to escape what was about to happen. The angry questions came like gunfire, but he knew better than to lie. Finally, he broke into the most heartfelt sobs his father had ever heard. He scooped up the puppy and collapsed on the rip-shod couch with his chest heaving. The puppy licked his face, which he buried in his belly. His father had no choice but to stop yelling.
"So he really just followed you up the stairs?" The boy nodded without even looking up.
After a moment, his father sat down next to him with a heavy sigh. "You know what they do with pit bulls like this?"
"Make 'em fight?"
"Yeah. This little guy coulda got hurt. Bad." The boy hugged the puppy even closer.
"Looks like you saved 'im. But now you're gonna hafta take care of 'im."
The boy looked up with wide eyes and smiled through his tears. "Can I, Dad?"
"Yeah, I s'pose. To tell the truth, I'm not sure who's savin' who."
The boy sniffed and giggled as his father tussled his hair.