Once Upon A Time: The Dog

Dog sunny Day Afternoon
Dog sunny Day Afternoon (Photo credit: allert)

Once upon a time there was a dog. He was a small dog, and he didn’t shed his fur. So when he got really shaggy, his owner had him trimmed and he went about looking like a large rat. If it was still early in the year, his owner would put a little doggie trench coat on him so he looked like a Sherlock Holmes dog/rat.

The dog’s name was Hobbes, if you haven’t already guessed, and according to his owners he spent almost all of his day curled up in the sun like a cat. If anyone came to the door, he would bark madly and then greet them by dancing and trying to lick them. If the newcomer was particularly foolish and picked him up, Hobbes would lick them on the mouth, in the mouth if he could, and often up the nose. This level of intimacy usually got him put down quickly and he would usually go off to the patch of sunlight. But occasionally, seemingly at random times, Hobbes would decide to stay with the person and join them throughout their stay, watching them sharply out of his warm liquid brown eyes for their moods and responses.

What his owners didn’t know was that Hobbes had a second life and a third life. As soon as his owners left Hobbes would head downstairs and boot up the computer on his nose, go online and type away as “H-dog, the playa” trolling the internet for cat videos and pics of lady maltese poodle mixes.

By 10 am, Hobbes had to report to his job as a spy. He’d spend the next few hours decoding briefs from the Madagascar rebel lemurs or sending in a robot dog drone to sniff out a gang of rabid alley mongrels. At a moment’s notice Hobbes would need to log out and race upstairs for his owners. Perhaps they noticed the excessively high usage and wondered how three emails a week added up to four terabytes of data. But they never had a very good handle on what a terabyte was. Hobbes’ owner thought it sounded like what a dinosaur might do to you.

Sometimes the assignments would last well into the night, and Hobbes normally worked the midnight to four a.m. shift on the world satellite surveillance. On this particular night he noticed a great deal of activity near his own assigned station. A great horde of ravens, several thousand in number, were converging on the local cemetery for a gathering.

One of the most interesting thing about humans is that even when they notice something out of the ordinary they ignore it because it couldn’t be that important. For centuries humans have noticed that ravens flock to cemeteries, but no one has bothered to check on what the birds do there.

Bizarrely, a gathering of Ravens is called a conspiracy, which is far more accurate than its originator intended.  Hobbes knew this particular conspiracy involved a rather high ranking dignitary and a plot to sacrifice four of the conspirators number as a “road kill motor vehicular accident.”  As you can imagine, these are far more common than anyone would like to think.  Occasionally the birds will harass some larger animal until it blunders out into the road, but the timing on these “hits” can be dicey.  The preferred method is a triplet attack on the passenger side of the vehicle.  The first bird causes the driver to swerve across the median, and the second and third force him or her well into the other lane while distracting from oncoming traffic.

But Hobbes was onto this particular gathering.  He’d been listening in to the Raven chatter and knew that the hit was planned for later that day, at a nearby freeway.

Getting permission, Hobbes arranged an intercept.  Every piece of the plan was placed in action.  But with one wrinkle.  To execute the plan, Hobbes would have to disobey the humans and venture out of his jailed enclosure.

At ten minutes from the alloted time, Hobbes began the pee-pee dance for his owners.  As they always did, Hobbes owners ignored him for a minute, hoping he was just being disruptive.  But he was persistent, leaping on his owner’s leg and offering a little encouragement.

At eight minutes to the hit, Hobbes was released.  Now he had to waste a minute waiting for his owner to become bored and go back inside.  A bright bird distracted his owner and threw off Hobbes’ timing by half a minute.

Six and a half minutes to the strike, Hobbes burrowed under the fence.  His back up, a surly orange Tomcat called Sunshine, handed him his rocket pack.  Hobbes took off low, keeping to the treeline, nearing the circling raven flock above the freeway.  As he approached the flock, Hobbes let loose the Eagle sirens.

Even humans know that Ravens and Eagles are sworn enemies.  At the sound of an eagle’s cry the ravens form instinctive protective formations.  But Hobbes was prepared.  Half a dozen Sea gulls had been painted to look like eagles, and hung high in the sky above the ravens.  The flock broke up and scattered to give battle.

Below, the dignitary drove on mindlessly, talking on his cellphone.

Hobbes rocketed back.  Horrors, his owner was in the back looking for him.  It was too late for him to cover.  Hobbes landed in the front yard, passed the jet pack back to Sunshine and rolled himself in the nearest dog doo to give him a cover.  Then he slunk back to the back of the fence for his punishment.  Scoldings and a full bath later, Hobbes settled down.  It had been a good day, despite it all.


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