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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Comedy · #2270927
A cat and a boy take it upon themselves to rid their neighborhood of a dog.
Old Fraidy Cat's Academy for the Riding of Dogs (Editor's Pick 5x)


Old Fraidy Cat was my Mama's cat, although I held the belief that he belonged to me. Actually, whether I or my mama knew it or not, Old Fraidy Cat was his own cat. Mama found him one Sunday afternoon at the Old Regular Baptist fried chicken affair. She had just finished her third game of Bingo and was looking for a means to offset her Sunday evening boredom when she first saw him.

         He was just a little, bitty fellow. He was sitting on a stool halfway pushed under a table while he chewed on a chicken wing. Beside him on the stool were the well-polished bones of an extra crunchy six-pack.

         Mama had been without a cat for a year or two, and her eyes got excited when she first found him. Mama told me all about how she came to acquire Old Fraidy Cat.

          She watched him as he gnawed on several chicken wings, then discovering his urgent need for just one more, he jumped up on the table, scattering three or four Bingo cards, and took the last chicken wing the Bingo Players Association had fried on Saturday night.

         Those tender ladies shooed and hollered at Old Fraidy Cat as if he had committed blasphemy. One of those ladies turned the color of embarrassment as she shouted, "Get that hellcat, he stole the piece of chicken I was saving for the pastor."

         Her frustration didn't make any nevermind to Old Fraidy Cat, he was going to console his stomach. He was not attending the get-together that particular Sunday for the sake of conversion. Not that anything was wrong in being a Baptist, Old Fraidy Cat just had no intention of becoming one. Old Fraidy Cat was a twice confirmed, non-denominational cat.

         Old Fraidy Cat was a cat. Now, when I say Old Fraidy Cat was a cat, I am meaning to say Old Fraidy Cat was not one of those cats you might sometimes see an old woman talking to.

         She might be actually holding a conversation with it, calling it Honey, and telling it, "You poor thing, just wait right there, Mama's going to run right in the house and get your dinner for you." And if you looked real closely at the cat in question, you could see that grin it was trying to hide from her.

         That cat might be dressed in the latest fashion, with a sissified bonnet setting on its head and wearing two pairs of lace trimmed mittens on its paws. Or maybe that cat was stuffed into a four-legged sweater, a matching skirt with wool pom pom balls and a ribbon around its neck. No sir, Old Fraidy Cat was not one of those kind of cats. Old Fraidy cat was a bona fide cat.


Old Fraidy Cat opened one eye and yawned. On the far side of the mountains, night was riding away on the sun, and twilight chased it. That ignorant boy thinks I am his cat. Harrumph. Whatever gave him that notion was mistaken.

         Although if I was looking for an owner, I might consider allowing him to put his name on me. There is only one thing in this world I have a greater aversion to than being claimed by an owner. His name is Bob the Dog. Yeah, you're right, he's a dog. One day, I might expound on that, but right now, I am going to find a red rosebush in the shade and help myself to a nap.


Yeah, Old Fraidy Cat was a cat a boy could be proud of owning. He did not come talking at the door when it was dinnertime, acting as if Jericho might fall again if he wasn't fed.

         If you were of a mind to give Old Fraidy Cat a scrap of throwing out, he would take himself a sniff or two of it. If it went on the air in a way he took a notion to, he would accept whatever you were trying to give him. If the smell did not please him, he would rub up against you a time or two and walk on off. That was Old Fraidy Cat's way of saying he declined your offering.

          Old Fraidy Cat was a bona fide cat. Old Fraidy Cat would catch his own dinner after he went away from you. Chances are, Old Fraidy Cat would bring himself back to wherever you happened to be before he partook, so you would know that Old Fraidy Cat knew he was a member of the feline persuasion.

         Old Fraidy Cat was not one of those finicky, fashion oriented, modern day cats, all the time whining for a taste of your dinner after he had already ate his. He did not sneak around and relieve himself in your tomato patch, because Old Fraidy Cat was a gentleman; he possessed a whole slew of manners. Whenever Old Fraidy Cat needed to answer the call of nature, he would walk on off into the forest for some privacy.


Bob the Dog ambled along the rural road thinking. Up there ahead of him, he could see the Holloway house. For some time, Bob the Dog had been contemplating on the merits of expanding his sphere of influence on Turkey Creek. He already controlled a large swath of this section of Kentucky, but his nature suggested there was more for him here.

          I can roam unscathed from the other fork of Turkey Creek, up Cold Fork Hollow and onward to Long Branch. I have already whipped every dog, some of the stubborn ones twice, and scared away every cat in those areas.

          Well, almost every cat. There is a cat that struts around these mountains carrying the name Old Fraidy Cat. What kind of name is that? I encountered him a few years ago. He ain't nothing but a sissy. Back then, I carried him around in my mouth, getting my slobber all over him, and sometimes sinking a tooth or two into him.

         I'll teach him who's Mister Dog in this part of Kentucky. Yeah, that Holloway house is the home of the only residents that are putting up some kind of resistance. I think every member of that family is mule-headed and opinionated, including that cat.

         It seems every time I make a visit to that house, there's a smart-mouth boy hanging around. Where in the world did that boy find so many rocks and sticks? He throws them with both hands. And that slingshot he carries . . . Whoo! Don't ever get yourself in the way of that slingshot, if you find yourself the recipient of such good fortune, your reward will be the carrying around of a couple of pumpknots on your head for a few weeks.

         That boy has a foul mouth on him too. He throws as many cuss words at me as he does rocks and sticks. I have you know young man, I am not a slunken-ribbed, mangy dog. And I am not the cousin of a mail order jackass, nor do I have a circle of stupid clinging to my noggin.

         Bob the Dog nodded his head. Yeah, I think that boy shoots some kind of steel ball from that slingshot; whatever his ammunition is, it raises up a knot as big as a Concord grape. It's painful too, enough to make you wonder if you have become a mad dog.

         I am beginning to come to the conclusion that boy does not like dogs. As for myself, I do not like boys, especially that particular boy. I'll sink my teeth into him again, see if I don't.

          Dang that boy. He doesn't even have a proper name. He calls himself Jamie; Bob the Dog rolls off the tongue in a much better fashion. I think I'll mosey on up there and take possession of that residence. There's nothing to hinder my plans except, that snot-nosed brat and a gutless cat.
Bob the Dog's feet picked up speed.


While Old Fraidy Cat was settling in for his nap, I was doing some speculating. The thought entered my head as to why Old Fraidy Cat always slept beneath a red rosebush. There were several pink or yellow rosebushes he could have slept under.

          I skipped on past that thought after a second and began to wonder if I should take myself down to Scarberry Rock, or if I should make an all day trip to Caney Knob. Caney Knob fell off my list, as I should have already been a third of the way there if that's where I was headed; it was a far piece to Caney Knob.

         Today was a Thursday morning, and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do to entertain myself. It was early in the month of April, and a warm wind fiddled its way through the branches of the sweet apple tree, wafting the scent of the apple blossoms toward me. The sweet scent . . .

         The sun had just crept above the ash and oak treetops high on the mountaintop a few minutes before, so I had an hour or two to decide what kind of pleasant activity I was going to involve myself in today.

          Right now, I think the best thing I can do is settle back here on this porch and trade words with Mister Louis L'Amour. Mister L'Amour creates some beautiful scenes that stare up at you from the pages of his novels. I might learn myself a dab or two while I am reading.

         I reached back to my left-hand hip-pocket* and extracted Jubal Sackett, opened it up and began to read. Jubal and I had been keeping company for parts of the past three days.

          Jubal Sackett was a man of the mountains and forests, a man akin to the ways of my heart. I perused the words of Mister L'Amour for the next half hour as I thought about what was going to attract my attention next.

         I had consumed the fourth chapter of Jubal Sackett, much to my benefit, when I heard Old Fraidy Cat growl. Ordinarily, a boy might ignore the growl of a cat, but Old Fraidy Cat had educated me on the fact that his growl was the precursor of imminent possibilities.

          I reluctantly laid down Jubal Sackett and stood up to see how the land was lying. I allowed my eyes to meander thoroughly across the contours of the land before me. Nothing struck me as out of kilter; and I was thinking of seeing what old Jubal was up to, but right about that time Old Fraidy Cat let himself out another growl.

         Something is fixing to bring itself to a brew; all I need to do is decide whether I want to remain a spectator, or if I should become a participator.

          Directly, I heard a noise from down over the hill. I descended the eight steps from the porch and began to walk across the yard. I was aiming to investigate this timely occurrence.

         I started toward the barbed wire fence separating the yard from the hill in a leisurely fashion, thankful that I had myself a pocketful of blue marbles for my slingshot in case I needed to defend myself.

          Blue marbles will fly straight and true when shot from a slingshot. I sometimes speculate on why that is, but the answer evades me. Red marbles are the next best color to shoot with, although from time to time, red marbles will veer to the right or the left when approaching the target. Another unanswerable question.

         Of a sudden, that noise repeated itself. It reminded me of a string of dud firecrackers exploding. Pop pop, fizzle. Fizzle, fizzle. My feet got in a hurry, and there I was, standing by the barbed wire fence and looking down the hill.


Bob the Dog was running now. Lickety-split. The closer he came to the Holloway house, the wider the grin upon his face became. He did not take the time to arrive at the footbridge leading to the residence. His excitement carried him over the bank of the creek fifty feet shy of it.

         He split the waves of that creek and was across it in four jumps. Clambering up the hillside, Bob the Dog's upward motion was arrested by a somewhat over the hill aroma of spaghetti and meatballs. Smells like Campbell's, Bob the Dog thought. Libby's incorporates too much carbohydrates in theirs, and its smell is distinctive. Bob the Dog's eyes fell on a likely pile of discarded tin cans. "Whoopee!" Bob the Dog jumped face first into the pile.


I was mildly surprised as I gazed down the hill. There in the midst of a pile of old tin cans, that had been lying there for perhaps twenty years, was a dog. If my eyes are seeing right that's Bob the Dog, I thought. I hadn't seen that dog since he bit me last July, but there he was, down there trespassing as if he possessed an engraved invitation.

          Now, I don't hold any prejudices against dogs as a species. I have been the owner of several dogs myself, but this particular dog made my list of exceptions. I realize it was my mistake. A year or so ago, on the day I first saw him, he looked so hungry I gave him half of my baloney sandwich. As I consumed the other half of that sandwich, that dog snuck up and bit me on the calf of my leg. I managed to scare him away with my slingshot and a couple of blue marbles.

         After that day that dog started showing up here about every day. He chases my Mama's chickens and leaves piles of his DNA in his wake everywhere he has been. He killed and ate my Mama's favorite bantam rooster. RIP, old George.

         After a couple of weeks of cleaning up after him, I decided to offer that dog some friendly advice. I skipped over the formalities and delivered my advice in a casual manner in the form of rocks and sticks bouncing off his hide.

         Since I considered it to be a special occasion, as I was giving away free advice, and I knew Bob the Dog was in sore need of some, I also presented him with a blue marble.

          Mister Dog did not show the proper appreciation for the time and logistical effort I spent ensuring that blue marble would strike him right between the eyes; he just barked and yelped out his displeasure, moaned a couple of times and slunk off elsewhere.

         Mister Dog did not even thank me for the pumpknot. I believe he needs to hold a couple of weeklong sessions with Miss Manners. That dog must have inherited a stubborn streak from one of his parents, because he did not care to avail himself of my advice.

          By the way, Mister Dog, those are my tin cans. And I will defend them. I would not mind a dog rummaging around in those cans, if he would limit himself to that particular activity. But you know as well as I know, that a dog will move right on to the next mischief he wants to make. Mister Dog, it was you who started this war between us, and I just don't feel the need to see you flaunting your achievement, if you call biting someone from behind an achievement.


Bob the Dog was reveling in a world of rusted tin cans: Hormel, Treet, Borden's Evaporated Milk, and Log Cabin Syrup among others. Try as he might, all of Bob the Dog's efforts to scavenge food were wasted, all that remained in the cans were the desiccated corpses of chemical preservatives. Bob the Dog gave up and looked up the hill. That was when he saw me . . .

         I was still standing beside the fence at the top of the hill when Bob the Dog's eyes located me. Of a sudden, it seemed as if I might be looking at two dogs.

         Bob the Dog's left eye lit up in greeting, and a smile settled on the left side of his face. And his tail twitched three times. The right side of Bob the Dog raised its hackles, and a pent-up snarl worked its way from that half of his mouth. His left side took two steps toward me, and his right side followed suit. Then, Bob the Dog started coming at me with both sides, carrying that snarl with him.

          I stepped one step backward from him, half expecting Alfred Hitchcock to pop out of a rusted Campbell's soup can, then I reached into my right-hand hip-pocket to unlimber my slingshot. But my slingshot wasn't there . . .

          I don't know what I was feeling at that precise moment, maybe it was fear, or anger, or was it frustration? A soup of these three ingredients perhaps?

          It was a blue marble moment. I was not entirely disabled by not having my slingshot in my pocket, although I admit the stirrings of uneasiness had become active in my gut. I reached into the front pocket of my jeans and selected myself a blue marble. I stepped back to get my bearings and adjust my aim. I let her go with my right hand because it's more dependable. Whoosh!

         There isn't anything quite like watching the flight of a blue marble. You are able to work out its characteristics of flight and come to the correct conclusion of where that marble is going to strike when it lands. The blue marble I just let go of seemed to be headed directly for Bob the Dog's right ear. I watched it as it homed in on Bob the Dog.


Directly, I heard Old Fraidy Cat yawn. I looked in his direction, and he was getting to his feet. He stood up and stretched himself out like one of those homemade accordions you can see all over the southern states.

          Old Fraidy Cat was riled up, and judging by his countenance, something was about to place itself in the way of harm. Right then I realized my not having my slingshot in my pocket was not the misfortune I had thought it to be. Old Fraidy Cat was fixing to let himself loose a spectacle that I might have missed had I shot Bob the Dog with my slingshot.


Bob the Dog was in midjump when that blue marble snuck up on him and struck him on the right ear. It slung him sideways and landed him flat on the ground like an uncooked corn fritter Mama had dropped on the kitchen floor. I think he laid there incapacitated somewhere close to seven seconds.

          As I stood there observing his recovery, I was hoping I could retrieve that blue marble, because I wanted to employ it again. Bob the Dog staggered to his feet and wobbled.

          Sorry, Bob the Dog. If you remember correctly, I promised to present you with a blue marble every time we laid eyes on each other. This part of Kentucky belongs to me, Mister Dog. And I will not relinquish my rights to it.


There I was, climbing up a hill and minding my own business, when that Holloway boy threw a blue marble at me. Doggone him, always interfering in my business. Where's that boy's parents, don't they have any control over him? My goodness, harassing an innocent dog such as myself. Despite the lack of support from the local population, I will continue my operation to annex this area.


Old Fraidy Cat was in the midst of waking up properly. I believe I am going to need to train my boy to serve me a nice, warm cup of Maxwell House whenever I wake up from a nap, preferably bergamot flavored. I was dreaming a terrible dream about Bob the Dog, and I could sure use a saucer of coffee right about now.

         Now that I've opened the subject, I believe I smell dog, and it ain't just any dog I smell, that stink is coming from Bob the Dog.

         It's about time I taught that dog the meaning of etiquette. I mean, that's my boy that dog is messing around with. It ain't like he's the only boy in the world. Find your own boy, Bob the Dog. I wish I knew where my dancing shoes were, I'd dance on that dog's head for ten or twenty minutes. Oh well, I guess I will have to ride him barefooted. Won't that be fun? Yehah!

         When the last dance has been danced, Bob the Dog will know every nook and cranny of Old Fraidy Cat's Academy for the Riding of Dogs, because I am aiming to perform my entire repertoire for him. His scalp will be as tender as the flesh of a watermelon.

          I don't think Bob the Dog has the makings to graduate from the academy, but I plan to present him with a certificate of participation.
Old Fraidy Cat ambled from beneath the red rosebush he had slept under and strode toward Bob the Dog. A sour countenance was displayed on his face.


Bob the Dog squeezed his mange-ridden back under that barbed wire fence, took one dismissive look at me, and headed across the yard, salivating at the sight of a cat he thought he could have some fun with.

         I knew that dog was a no-account claim-jumper, or he would have never taken himself a notion to visit the Holloway residence. That dog is severely uneducated, I thought. He is in the need of obtaining himself a diploma from Old Fraidy Cat's Academy for the Riding of Dogs.

         Old Fraidy Cat's Academy for the Riding of Dogs is the most prestigious school of its type in the entire confines of Eastern Kentucky. I know this to be a fact, because I am its founding member and maintain a perpetual deciding vote on its board of directors. Cats from miles around come to Turkey Creek to enroll in Old Fraidy Cat's tuition-free academy. Old Fraidy Cat will accept donations, if you are of a mind to give him one, but he does not solicit.

         Bob the Dog strode across that yard wagging his tail, bouncing on his toes and making a Welcome Wagon type visit to every one of my Mama's rosebushes. He was wearing an expression on his face as if he happened to be the tax paying resident of our house.

         I don't think Bob the Dog realized the gravity of the situation. I mean, those rosebushes he was peeing on were in the territory of Old Fraidy Cat. Old Fraidy Cat did not take it kindly whenever someone sauntered into his yard and watered his rosebushes. Did Bob the Dog honestly think he was going to invade Old Fraidy Cat's domain without any repercussions?


Old Fraidy Cat was not a kitten anymore, as he had been when he first made the acquaintance of Bob the Dog. Old Fraidy Cat had matured into a big, ornery cat. I don't think Bob the Dog was going to enter Old Fraidy Cat's name in his address book, nor follow him on the society page of the local newspaper, after they became reacquainted.

         Bob the Dog left that last rosebush behind and ambled to a halt in front of Old Fraidy Cat.

         "Hello there Mister Cat," Bob the Dog spoke with just a trace of malevolence in his voice.

         "My name is Bob the Dog. I was in the neighborhood and decided to drop by and introduce myself."

         Bob the Dog kept on talking, rambling from this to that. Old Fraidy Cat remained silent. Despite the expression of boredom that had attached itself to his face, I think Old Fraidy Cat was downright pleased Bob the Dog had chosen this particular day to pay his respects.

          Every now and again, as he suffered through the discourse of Bob the Dog, you could see Old Fraidy Cat unsheathing his claws in anticipation of his own introductory speech.

         Old Fraidy Cat was a cat of few words, the fact is, I have never heard him speak. Mama told me he overcame this handicap when he took up dancing.

         When I say dancing, I am not speaking of ballet or any other related shenanigans. Be patient, and when Old Fraidy Cat begins to dance, you will know what I mean. Old Fraidy Cat did his dancing with his claws extended, and preferably latched onto a dog. Old Fraidy Cat's favorite venue was on a dog's head, right there on the tender spot between the ears.

         Bob the Dog's attempt at friendship had not fooled Old Fraidy Cat. He had taken himself the knowing of what that dog was up to. About that time, Old Fraidy Cat began to tremble all over, then he spat himself out a growl at that dog.

          I could sense the introductory formalities were winding down, as both Bob the Dog and Old Fraidy Cat were as tense as razor wire fences. Out of the tension, Bob the Dog began to speak, with his best smile almost camouflaging the lie on his face.

         "Yes sir, I heard you all were looking for a good and honest dog. I am packed and ready to move in. Folks tell each other that I am a good dog. I've never been in trouble with the law, and I have a sweet disposition."

         That was all it took. Of a sudden, Old Fraidy Cat commenced the hostilities. Before that dog could even think of dodging him, Old Fraidy Cat leaped high into the air and came down into a foxtrot position on Bob the Dog's head. All eighteen of Old Fraidy Cat's claws were clawing and gouging as that dog began to perform a mad dog rendition of the same dance.

          Man oh man, it was a sight to behold as Old Fraidy Cat served that dog up a generous helping of his favorite dance. Whoopee! I thought as I eyed the spectacle unfolding itself. I wish I had a glass of Kool-Aid and some popcorn, both of these ingredients enhance the taste of entertainment.

         I laid down in the grass and settled into a comfortable position. A way of passing the morning pleasurably was just beginning to present itself. I hoped for my benefit that Old Fraidy Cat was going to give an extended performance; he did not let me down.

         After he landed on Bob the Dog's head, Old Fraidy Cat began the proceedings. He warmed up his audience with his preferred version of the foxtrot, and followed it up with a rousing interpretation of the twist. Chubby Checker would have hung his head in shame at that sight.

          Old Fraidy Cat went through his entire repertoire three times in order to impress his opinion upon Bob the Dog. My favorite dance of the whole morning was when Old Fraidy Cat came out of the last step of the watusi and blended it perfectly with a feline approximation of the limbo.

         Old Fraidy Cat was a limbo hellcat on four paws. Of a sudden, he reared up on his hind legs and sank his claws experimentally into Bob the Dog's raised up hackles.

         That cat of mine, with no hurry in his heart and a grin on his face, adjusted his grip to make sure it was secure. Then he leaned back till his left ear was making contact with Bob the Dog's back. He repeated this step six times till on the seventh step he catapulted himself high into the air and came in for a landing on that dog's back with all eighteen claws extended.

          Bob the Dog did his own version of the limbo when Old Fraidy Cat's eighteen claws made their initial contact with his backbone. Bob the Dog flung himself three feet into the air and came down on his haunches. The only thing that saved Old Fraidy Cat from getting dislodged were his quick reflexes. He was still halfway attached to Bob the Dog's back, jumping up and down as if he thought it was a trampoline.

          I reckon Mama was telling the truth when she mentioned that Old Fraidy Cat had flunked out of his court-ordered, be nice to neighborhood dogs, summer classes.

         Mister Bob the Dog began to run himself around in a bunch of little, erratic circles, trying to shed himself of that fun he had a hold of, all the while he was yipping, bucking and whining. I believe I caught a glimpse of a smirk on Old Fraidy Cat's face as he sank in his hind claws a little deeper, simply to maintain his position.

         That dog tried every trick he had ever heard of in an effort to dislodge the fun riding on his back. When he realized these efforts were futile, Bob the Dog ran right through my Mama's rosebushes three or four times without his navigator working, I reckon. He squalled a little bit louder each time he did it. Old Fraidy Cat came out of these episodes unscathed, as Bob the Dog was taking the brunt of the rosebush's ire.


My name is Bob the Dog. I am presently in a world of shit. Pardon my expression, but these words are the only ones I can find that accurately depict my situation.

          I haven't always been a bad dog. Mom told me I was a good dog, right before she left me at the garbage dump. As best as I am able, I am thinking. It is in my mind to raise the white flag, beg forgiveness, and skedaddle my hind end to parts unknown. But I am having a difficult time arranging the first set of negotiations with Old Fraidy Cat still expressing his opinion so emphatically.

         Everybody is pecking on poor Bob the Dog. What did I do wrong? For goodness sake! I only took myself a chunk out of that boy one time.

         Maybe I ought to entertain the idea of moving my allegiance to West Virginia. I heard a rumor that over in Mingo County, West Virginia the local authorities have made arrangements for every dog to have their own cat. But hesitation has a hold on my heart, as I was born here in Kentucky and do not wish to abandon it. But lately, I have been hearing a voice telling me to go to West Virginia, a sort of whisper in my ear.

          Kentucky used to be a good place for dogs to take out their aggression on cats, but nowadays they are raising uppity cats like this one on my head. What's an honest dog to do?

         One way or another, I aim to rid myself of this unforeseen event which has attached itself to my head. And when I do . . .

          Before this, I have managed to defeat every enemy that has presented themselves before my face, but this turn of events has shaken my confidence.

         Whoa there, you who aim to criticize me, if you had a clawing, gouging, abnormal cat stuck on your forehead right between your ears, it is my honest opinion that you would have sought refuge in a far away locale, but here I am, still aiming to get this cat's claws removed from my flesh.

          I suspect that doggone cat has figured out a way to use super glue on his claws. There ought to be a law against that . . . Once I get my bearings and defeat this cat, maybe I'll lobby the Kentucky legislature on that subject.


Old Fraidy Cat climbed from the backbone of Bob the Dog employing his dewclaws and reclaimed his seat between that woe is me dog's ears. Old Fraidy Cat's mouth was moving. At first I believed he was talking to himself. He leaned over close to Bob the Dog's ear; and I heard a voice telling Bob the Dog that West Virginia was calling his name. To this day, I can not confirm if it was Old Fraidy Cat speaking or if I imagined it.

         Of a sudden, Old Fraidy Cat must have decided Mister Bob the Dog had taken in enough knowledge for his first day of attendance at Old Fraidy Cat's Academy for the Riding of Dogs; he abruptly left his position between that dog's ears and straddled his neck.

         Grasping Bob the Dog's ears, Old Fraidy Cat urged Mister Dog's head toward that hill Mister Dog had traversed earlier, sank his claws in and spurred him forward. All the while Mister Dog was pleading for assistance. When there was none forthcoming, Bob the Dog struck out in a frenzy over the summit of the hill and made for the footbridge below.

         Bob the Dog was moving too fast to make himself a stop at the Pike County Recorder's office to register his false claim on the Holloway property, seems he was in somewhat of a hurry to cross the West Virginia borderline.


It kind of hurt mine and Old Fraidy Cat's feelings when Bob the Dog vacated the premises so swiftly that he did not avail himself of the honorary certificate of participation from Old Fraidy Cat's Academy for the Riding of Dogs. Anyway, I wish him well, and I sincerely hope West Virginia provides him with generic versions of Old Fraidy Cat and myself.

          In the distance I saw Old Fraidy Cat give a final jab of the spur and dismount in front of Willie Blackburn's house. Directly, he came walking into the yard. Nary a hair was disarranged. He looked as if he might have been coming home from an appointment at the Chinese Beauty Shop at Nolan, West Virginia, where he had been freshly starched and pressed. He calmly selected himself a red rosebush and settled in for a late morning nap.

         I laughed till I cried and walked down the hill to see if I could reclaim that blue marble. I found it a few days later and put it in my watch pocket for further use. I hesitate to actually employ it again because of the sentimental value attached to it. I wonder if I should send Mister Dog an invitation to our first year reunion? We could have a reenactment ceremony.

          I reckon not, it would probably just be the waste of a stamp.

5,763 words

*hip-pocket spelling from Merriam-Webster

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