It was a dark and stormy morning.I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was four years ago.I didn’t want to go on my usual morning stroll with father because of the thunder and lightening ― which was all too frightening ― nor put on that ridiculous red raincoat my mother got for me.It has a large hood and blocks my peripheral vision so I can’t see where the hell I’m going or who’s sneaking up behind me ― and the big flap in the back goes up and down in the wind like an elevator without controls, lending a very inconvenient situation when my constitution arises, but I digress.I had to go for two reasons:the ole man needs the oxygen that exercise provides to keep the ‘grey’ matter from rusting.I get him “oiled” so to speak, every morning so he can drive safely to work to make money to keep me in bones; and two, to sniff out the perp in the neighborhood noticed by a twerp named Sophie the Tucker.A cute little filly ― and I mean little ― I’ve seen shot glasses bigger than her (not that I drink [hic]).Anyways, she was the first one in my Network to inform me of the sneaky prowler.She said he reminded her of a penguin or jailbird― dressed in black and white(ex-con I wondered) ― really scary ― and he smelled like her father’s feet after mowing the lawn in leather shoes on a hot summer day.I suppose I should explain “the Network.”Well, you see, they’re basically all of my pals in the neighborhood.We meet every night to say ‘hi, howya doin,’ brag about our dinner, or discuss business like this, you know, kinda like you human neighborhood vigilantes, only with tails.The Network consists of all the hip and gifted canines in the neighborhood:Cleo the Clepper (she steals your heart with her sad grey eyes), Griffin the Gravedigger (you can guess that one), Cara the Crier (PMSing allllll the time), Sodana the Sniffer (nose bigger than mine, poor girl), Jaksie the Jokester (pretended to be a mean, tough guy once with a German Shepherd and is now barking soprano), Tor the Amore (tries to get laid at any opportune moment even though the ‘family jewels’ aren’t on display if you know what I mean), Scout the Snout (even though he’s half blind, he can ‘see’ a wren from 40 yards away), Chase the Charmer (this purse puppy has gonads bigger than King Kong ― he tried to have his way with me once and I smacked him up against a tree), Popper the Popover (does flips to impress the guys), and I’ve already mentioned Sophie the Tucker (tucks her tail in between her legs to cover the goodies the guys are after ― she’s a platinum blonde, hoo-hah).So, this one night the Network all agreed with Sophie, the perp could be dangerous and needed to be ‘chased outta Dodge,’ so to speak, and I, of course, being in the detective business and the only one having a ‘real job’ and intelligence above and beyond your normal canine, was elected.Hey, I don’t mean to raise my own tail but it’s true.Anyways, we sent out an APB (All Pups Bulletin) to be on the lookout for a suspicious looking character in a penguin suit that smelled like he’d been sleeping with the fishes (it’s an industry term).
We rounded Hillhurst and came upon Pearl Street when all of a sudden, I ‘sensed’ him.Stealthily ― I crept― following my faithful schnozz― nose to the ground ― ears, up and at ‘em ― keen and alert for any sound.Then ― as if the hound gods were looking after me ― I heard rustling sounds emanating from the bushes in front of Sophie The Tucker’s house.The platinum looker was right.Something or someone was afoot.I stopped to listen ― ears twitching ― nose vibrating ― back haunched ― hackles standing on end.Cautiously I scanned the area.The lights emanating from the garage enabled me to pinpoint the exact spot where the perp was hiding.I caught a glimpse of him.I calculated my chances.I outweighed him and far more muscular.Skinny little shit.Piece of cake.He’s mine, I thought, and made my move.Faster than a speeding bullet, disregarding my own well being, and unheeding my father’s command to ‘stop!’― for the safety of the neighborhood and my pals knew no boundaries or authority, I plunged into the bushes and trounced upon this little creep ― my courage, undaunting.I was going to teach this punk a lesson.He wasn’t leaving without me chomping on some part of his anatomy.I was gonna show this palooka who’s boss ―who owns this turf.And when I get through with him he’ll be singing soprano six feet under with the worms.And nobody ― I mean nobody is going to invade my territory and have my comrades in an uproar worrying about their safety.My defense was my size, teeth, determination, and honor.A no-win situation for this stinky stumpy.
Or so I thought.He retaliated with a force I had never experienced before.He picked my ass up and set it down nice and polite with his built-in defense mechanism ― a defense so powerful it should be patented and sold.I only wished I had it.I never knew what hit me and everything became a blur.My life flashed before me.I yelped like a baby crying for his mommy.I reeled back and cowered on the lawn,paws covering my eyes, hoping he wouldn’t strike again, finding myself for the first time, and in my first battle, feeling defeated, squealing in agony and disgust.I was humiliated.I never even got to lay a paw on him.He was quicker than lightening.Not only wasn’t there going to be a notch on my collar and the Network praising me, but when they got wind of what happened and how I had my ass kicked by this little punk, my reputation would be ruined and I was the one who would have to get outta town to save face.
The walk on the way home, for the most part, was silent and full of grunts after the expletives died down.My father used words I hadn’t heard before ― words I can’t mention because I’m too much of a lady.I was both dazed and amazed ― he didn’t seem the least bit concerned about wounds.
I’ll never forget that morning.I never mentioned to the Network what really happened.They thought it was because I was too modest, and they rallied that I was a hero, for you see, the perp was never seen or heard from again.I guess he figured there were probably more of me out there to come after him and he got scared.I assumed he hoboed to the next town.I guess it wasn’t all in vain.My pals thought I was the next best thing next to canned food, and my career soared after that.More jobs, recognition ― everyone knew my name.They likened me to Kathryn Hepburn ― a tough old bitch.The scars from my physical wounds healed eventually, but not the ones from my ego.
Well, that’s my tale and I’m sticking to it.I’m glad it happened though.It taught me not to be so cocky and full of yourself.You may think you’re top dog but there’s always someone bigger than you are.Oh, and just for the record, until this very day, I can’t stomach my father’s favorite breakfast drink ―tomato juice.