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Rated: E · Short Story · Animal · #1989774
Two generations dog and family 960 words
He wasn't part of the family, yet the community associated him with our family: kind of like the bald eagle mascot suit worn at a Seahawks football game. Only, Arthur wasn't that cute. Arthur was, well, Arthur. He was a scruffy free spirit who hung around our house. Oh, but he didn't like everyone in our family. In fact, he loved Davey and barely put up with the rest of us.

Arthur and Davey went to the Dairy Queen in town for chocolate ice cream cones nearly everyday during the summer. Arthur would gobble his down then wait for Davey's to fall onto the sidewalk. Arthur was never disappointed, he was always treated with another ice cream and the sidewalk was wet but clean when they walked back home.

We think Arthur knew something about Davey--sensed something--we didn't know about. Davey was a typical ten year old boy. He got into his fair share of mischief, but he was a bit of a loner and day dreamer. Davey had friends but not really close friends.

Over the years, Davey got taller and Arthur got mattier and scruffier; but, they stuck together like Abbott and Costello.

Then Davey met April.

It was funny, once we looked back on that meeting. Arthur was the one who introduced them.

David--he was seventeen and didn't think Davey fit him anymore--David, went out to his truck early one summer morning and threw his fishing gear into the back of the truck bed with the intention of driving up to Rambler's Pond. He looked around but Arthur was nowhere in sight. David placed two fingers upon his lower lip and blew a loud whistle between his teeth. "Here, Arthur. Here, Boy." Something was wrong and David knew it. Arthur was always waiting for him, but this day the dog was nowhere to be found.

David forgot about fishing. He jumped into his truck to search for his devoted side kick of the past seven plus years. He drove everywhere in town and asked everyone he saw if they'd seen Arthur. By noon, David had the worse knot in his chest. Arthur had disappeared. He turned his truck toward home. Here he was seventeen years old and crying because he couldn't find a stupid, ugly dog.

About three blocks from our street he saw Arthur sitting on the sidewalk about half-way down the block. David turned onto the street, parked, and jumped out of his truck. "Where have you been all morning? I been going crazy lookin' over hell's half acre for you." David hugged and ruffed up Arthur's fur as he chided him. But, Arthur didn't acknowledge the attention. Instead, David got the impression that his friend was merely tolerating his attention. Something was wrong and David stood up looking down at Arthur. As he stood, a young woman came out of the house Arthur was sitting in front of.

"Hello, is this your dog?"

"Well, uh...well, y-yes and no." David, took a step back from the girl and toward his truck as he stammered. "I mean, he's a dog, and all, but, Arthur is his own--he doesn't belong to anyone."

"Oh, I see." The girl stopped at the edge of her walkway and the sidewalk. "I only ask because he's been sort of hanging around here the last couple days."

"Has he caused some trouble? Anything I can fix?"

"Oh, no. Nothing like that." And she laughed.

David heard the the most spine tingling, melodic laugh he'd ever had occassion to experience. He stood frozen at the edge of the curb unable to move or think. All he could do was gaze upon this figment of heaven who stood before him.

"My name is April." She smiled and slightly cocked her head to one side as she looked at him.

David melted into his socks.

"And your name is...?"

David shook his head and looked away from April. He knelt down next to Arthur who licked his face. David felt the world adjust itself back a bit to normal and the knot in his throat relaxed enough for him to cough and laugh. "Uh--my name. M-my name is David. David Thornton. I live a few blocks that way." He jerked his head behind and to the left, showing the direction he ment. "And, this is..."

"Arthur...Yes, you said already." April stepped to the sidewalk, knelt down next to Arthur, and scratched behind his ear. Arthur leaned his head into the scratch and groaned in pleasure.

David felt a tang of resentment. "Careful, you will have a shadow for life if you keep that up."

April kept scratching.

Without looking at her, David asked in as casual a voice as possible. "So, ah, how long you here? I mean...I...haven't seen you around before and...um...Are you visiting or..."

"We, my parents and I, moved in about three days ago."

"Oh, nice." David smiled and quickly looked away from April's green eyes. Instead, he concentrated on pulling a burr from Arthur's furry fore leg.

Arthur stood up and barked in David's face. His tail wagged his whole body as he barked again.

David stood. April stood simultaneously.

"Shush boy."

"What caused him to do that?"

David shrugged his shoulders. "It's his way of saying...um." David chanced a look at April. "Would you like an ice cream from the Dairy Queen?"

April smiled and David almost missed her answer. "Yes, that sounds wonderful."

David watched her for a moment savoring how her light-brown hair curled around her face. "Uh, yea. Sweet. Do we need to tell someone?"

"Yes, come and meet my parents." April walked casually toward the front porch of the house. David followed stumbling a little over his own feet. Arthur jumped into the back of the truck.

David and April wed a couple years later. Not long after, Arthur was laid to rest in the back yard next to an elm. However, Arthur wasn't finished with David. Before he died, Arthur showed up on the front steps one morning with a puppy as scraggly and scruffy as himself. April named him Arthur the second.

Arthur the second turned five and David, Jr. celebrated his fourth birthday. Dog and boy were inseparable. The town refered to the scruffy dog as 'that' Thornton mascot.

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