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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Romance/Love · #2157221
An event filled bonding experience
Winning entry for "The Writer's Cramp prompt: use the prompt as the last sentence. Romance/Love Newsletter Editors pick 5/8/18.

“I need your help.”

My wife Cyn rarely asks that. She knows the consequences. They are never good.

“Sure.” I jumped up from the lounge.

She was ready for that, snaring the pitcher of lemonade I knocked over in my excitement before it broke on the patio. “You goomus.”

We both laughed as only newlyweds can do. “It’s Shamus.”

“You mean your, I mean our dog?” I floundered, wondering what was up. I’d put her, I mean our dog out of mind when Cyn put Shamus off our bed and out of our sleeping quarters when I moved in.

“Shamus is out of sorts, Mike. It is as simple as that.” She looked meaningfully at me waiting for me to pick up on cue.

I tried taking her in my arms to smother her with ardent attention but it looked like the honeymoon was temporarily on hold instead. “Later, gater, but not much.”

She patted my cheek and handed over the reigns of the leash Cyn used when taking Shamus on his daily walk. “I love you.” She laughed at my confusion. “You are too cute. Now go bond, James. Take Shamus. It’s a beautiful day and I’ll have a surprise waiting.”

“Five minutes?” I asked hopefully as Shamus struggled to escape us both.

“One hour. You know how women like to primp.” She made kissy noises and pointed to the door.

Both Shamus and I retreated with our tails behind our legs. “Down by the river. There’s a beautiful walkway. You’ll enjoy it.”

Being first out the gate, Shamus began a loping run. I tripped while closing the door but was only dragged a few feet through Cyn’s flower bed before coming to my senses. I rolled up to my feet to the applause of our neighbors. Still propelled by being connected to Shamus by his leash I managed to learn how to dance while continuing on.

“What a cute puppy.”

Now Shamus is a one-hundred and twenty-five-pound mutt of no particular breed. I don’t know which enhanced superpower of genetics came on display first. He instantly stopped on a dime and his nose stuck up this grandmother’s butt. “Sorry.” I blushed.

This goodly matriarch did a little quaint dancing of her own but Shamus was not to be denied getting acquainted in ways only dogs can appreciate. “My goodness. Can’t you control this beast?”

I was about to reply no when we were off again to the races. Shamus had seen a stray cat. Or it would shortly become such when Shamus got hold of it with his jaws. The little puff ball grew five times it's furry size, hissed like a snake, and with only its tail waving in view spent eight of its nine lives darting this way and that until magically disappearing up a tree. “Thank heavens.” I sent a prayer up with the critter wondering if the cat would stop climbing before reaching a floating cloud up above.

“Are you alright?” Our paperboy, inured to the ways of violent dogs by throwing rolled up newspapers at any chance of attack spoke from his bike. “That looks like it hurt.”

My left arm connected to the leash was now only twice as long as my right. Maybe if I changed the leash to my other hand. Cyn already liked to call me her ape-man. At this rate, I would look like one in no time at all.

The paperboy looked disappointed. He had to hand me our news instead of getting to throw it at Shamus. I knew how he felt. “Thanks,” I said limply.

Shamus had seen one of his girlfriends. I was trying to learn how to fly. Only a low hanging river birch branch stopped me. Wedged in place it stopped Shamus too. He let out a bit of low pitched thunder Cyn said was a friendly bark. “This sort of business has to stop, Shamus,” I replied with more than injured pride. While I counted bruises, Shamus allowed himself to be licked all over by a poodle wearing a pink ribbon.

“Honey? Oh. There you are. Hi Shamus. Where’s Cyn?” I stared upside down at my wife’s best friend Heather.

“Hey there.” I managed to croak out while spitting leaves.

“Why, it's the pet husband.” Heather barked with laughter. “Let me help you.”

I waved the help aside, checking out my appendages to see which ones were missing. “Hmm, right arm is just as long as the left one now.”

Heather looked me up and down. “Shamus is taking you for a walk, is he? How nice.” She gave Cyn’s monster a pat on the head and took her poodle off in the opposite direction. I dug in my heels, latched onto the leash with both newly refurbished arms and held on for dear life.

Shamus wanted a drink from the river. I only wear a size eight shoe so was unable to learn how to water-ski. A wave of laughter washed over me along with the tide. “Look mommy at the funny man. “ Child and mother pointed out my spectacle and soon the whole picnic crowd joined in the fun.

I stood, bowed, and with the help of Shamus clambered up the bank with a friendly fish wiggling out of a back pocket. Surely it was time to head back home but how was I to get there?

Shamus loves chasing mailman trucks. The crowd cheered as I passed joggers, tumbling them like bowling pins. Shamus and I were home in no time. I wouldn’t have to wait to catch my breath. It would never arrive in time to save my life. “Here’s your mail.”

I wheezed, bent over as I was, the long reach of my arms caught our mail.

“Nice dog.”

Cyn was waiting on the front porch. “Did you have a nice time bonding?”

“Let’s get a cat, say a mountain lion.”

"Ooh. Tarzan home from the jungle. Jane Happy now."

My bride had honeymoon in her eyes and tomorrow looked a long time away. I left Shamus digging holes in the backyard maybe I could use as a miniature golf course someday in the far future. I knew I'd have better luck being Tarzan to my Jane. One look back at Shamus and I knew... There was no way, that I could ever win this event.

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