About a Dog and His Boys
“I love you, Horatio. You are my only true friend in the world.” Said Bobby while giving the old collie a tight hug around the neck.
“I may only be your brother, but I like to think I’m your friend too,” said Shane, sitting on the opposite side of Horatio.
“Well, yeah… but you’re the stinky little brother. That’s not the same as the kind of friend that a dog can be.”
“That is very true, a dog is faithful one hundred percent,” said Horatio. “But don’t forget. Shane is my boy too. All the members of your family are thoroughly and equally loved by your faithful dog and rat-detective.”
“Well, of course, that is true too,” said Bobby.
“What is? Are you talking to yourself again?” asked Shane.
“No. Answering Horatio.”
“Oh. Right. The talking dog.”
Bobby punched Shane on the shoulder behind Horatio’s back.
“Really, I find the dog to be the perfect person to tell all my troubles to too,” Shane continued. “But Horatio is not our only friend. There are others too.”
“You don’t see what it’s like in school. They pick on me constantly. That’s where the whole Bedwetter Bob nickname came from.”
“But Mike Murphy doesn’t call you that, does he?”
“Well, no… not frequently anyway.”
“And Blueberry Bates… she’s like your girlfriend almost.”
“No. She’s Mike’s girlfriend.”
“But you like her a lot, too… right?”
“And you saw her naked when you were both swans and you had to take the feathers off when you got back home.”
“No, I didn’t see her naked. Never did. Never would.”
“What? You had your clothes on under the swan feathers?”
“No, but… Well, we both sorta passed out when we got back home from that winter flight.”
“And you woke up with your clothes on?”
“Who put the clothes on your naked bodies?”
“No one did. Um, Blueberry says that probably it was maybe only our dream-selves, or maybe our astral bodies that turned into swans. And when we woke up, we were both back in our normal bodies.”
Shane grinned like he didn’t believe a word of it. Of course, there were a lot of things about the whole fairy-spell thing that didn’t ring completely true. Sometimes, when you tell yourself stories a lot, you may have convinced yourself that a good story was true even though, deep inside, you knew it wasn’t completely true.
“Why would it matter to you if I’ve seen Blueberry naked anyway?”
“Well, you know… she has… um… boy parts. I wonder what they look like.”
“You should never wonder about something like that. It’s her private business. And if I ever had the chance to look… well, I wouldn’t, okay?”
“Did you ever have the chance?”
“I don’t think so. But that doesn’t matter. She and Mike are my good friends. And he loves her. I can’t argue with that.”
“Even if you loved her too?”
“Even if… Wait! Now you’re invading my privacy!”
“Okay! Sorry… sorry.”
They didn’t talk for a few minutes. Bobby just glared at Shane. When Bobby looked away, he still didn’t say anything more.
“My, that was certainly tense,” said Horatio, blowing smoke rings from his imaginary pipe.
“I guess I do love her too… as a friend,” Bobby whispered.
“Of course, you do,” Shane answered softly.
“Look, I see a rat!” barked Horatio.
“Where?” asked Bobby.
“There!” said Shane, pointing.
It was apparently Whitewhiskers Billy. He was sorta stumbling through the yard like he was drunk or something.
“Rabies?“ asked Shane.
“Poison,” assured Bobby.
Horatio, in his eagerness to get the intruder, pushed hard through the screen door, and would have broken it if it didn’t luckily open outward instead of inward.
As speedy as Horatio had ever been for as long as they had known the old dog, he now closed on the fleeing rat and swatted it onto its back. Then he grabbed it by the throat, and he shook the life out of it
“Bobby, Grandpa poisoned the rats.”
“So, if he eats it, won’t he get poisoned too?”
In a flash, Bobby was out of the screen porch and out to where Horatio was dismembering Whitewhiskers Billy. The rat died with a snort. Bobby pulled Horatio off of most of what was left of the dead rat.
There was blood on Horatio’s muzzle. He swallowed something. Bobby dreaded to think of what it might have been.