by Myles Abroad
A chance encounter, a friend for life.
Butch, the Junkyard Dog
That autumn morning, my friend Tony and I arrived at our local junkyard, each of us needing parts. Hulks of cars, now junk, spread across acres and acres, over time rotting into the ground. We split up in search of our own make and model. Eventually, at the edge of the grounds under a bare maple tree, I found the carcass of a once proud Chevy Impala, its hood and trunk standing open, bearing witness to its cannibalization.
Thankfully, the taillight I needed was still intact. I put my toolbox down, looked in the trunk and pushed back the pile of leaves settled inside. I jumped when they rustled and a puppy's head emerged. He shook his head, his fluffy brown ears bouncing, then yawned and crawled over to me. I ruffled his ears and got to work, while he licked my face and nipped at my fingers, his pungent puppy breath filling my nostrils.
The taillight removed, I gathered my tools, petted the pup goodbye and returned to the entrance where Tony was waiting for me.
"Get what you need?" he asked.
I nodded. His gaze shifted past me and he smiled. "I see you found a friend."
I looked over my shoulder at the pup racing to catch up with me.
"I guess he thinks he's mine."
I bent down, petted him and then went into the office. I put the taillight on the oil-stained counter and looked at the old man standing behind it.
"Ten bucks," he said and then looked up as the pup followed me in and sat next to me.
I nodded at my new friend.
"And the pup?"
He spat tobacco juice into a can, wiped the drool from his whiskers and grinned.
"That's Butch. He's on the house."