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A Junkyard Dog General, Part Six: Saying Hello or Goodbye

Mike is a long-time supporter of procrastination and enjoys doing as often as he can.


The Humans

Airman David West walked into the woods looking for deer or squirrels, anything that could be dangerous. He and three other airmen were left behind as their unit moved west with General Jackson. Part of their job was to make sure they weren’t followed. The insane part of their order was that if they detected anyone following them, they had to lead them away from the group. This would most likely end with them in a shallow grave after days of torcher. West wasn’t given any instructions on when to return to their unit, and in a sense, they had free reign to either leave after an hour or leave altogether. Off in the distance, he heard what sounded like either a freight train or a bear.

Airman Doug Allen asked, “hey, Tipsy, are there bears in Ohio?” Airman Tim “Tipsy,” Pfister said, “how would I know, I’m from Queens…… the only bears I knew were people.” Allen turned to their Humvee and asked, “yeah, Beano…… Beano.” Airman George Ramos leaned back and said, “stop calling me that you racist cracker……. And I have no idea……. I know we didn’t have any bears in Honolulu.” West decided they waited enough when a small dog came out of the woods. It was a pug but a smaller than usual pug like something a woman would carry in a bag. Buster saw the human. He knew his friends were in trouble, and maybe they could help. He tried his best to speak, saying in his mind, “help…… help.” West asked, “what…… what?”


Scaring the Bear

West came running out of the woods with the small pug following him. The other airmen got to their feet and looked past West. He stopped and pointed to Buster, saying, “this dog said his friends need help.” Allen looked at Buster then to West. He said, “don’t mess with us; this isn’t a place for messing around.” Buster barked, and it almost sounded like the word help. Buster tried to get the humans to follow him. One of them with Ramos on his uniform went to reach for him, but Buster wanted nothing to do with being carried. He snapped at him and ran back to the others. The airmen looked at each other than to the east and the sounds of a bear.

West crested a hill and saw four dogs around a massive bear. The smaller dog ran underneath the bear. It almost seemed like the bear said something about the pug being a little yapping thing. Allen yelled, “stop following the dog.” He saw the bear. Allen pulled out his sidearm and fired at the bear. He wasn’t sure if he hit it, or the bear just reacted to the gunfire. The other two airmen came up behind him with their guns out. The bear saw them, turned, and ran away. West said, “yeah, the talking dog came up here.” Ramos said, “did you see the size of that bear.” The four men looked at the dogs. West pointed at Buster and said, “that one…… he talked…… he said help.” Rex said, “a talking dog who would ever believe that?” Allen said, “yeah, who would……...” He realized the dog had just spoken even though its lips didn’t move. Rex turned to the humans and said, “take us to your leader.”


What's up with the Dogs

An hour later, the four airmen and the dogs were in the Humvee on their way west. Pfister had said, “OK, that’s different…… what should we do?” West said, “the one dog wants to speak to our leader, so maybe take them to our leader.” Allen leaned over and whispered, “do you think they’re aliens?” Rosie said to Dot, “what a bunch of morons. We might have been better off with the bear.” Dot smiled and laughed. Ramos said, “this is freaking me out…... the dogs are mocking us.” A soldier on patrol stopped the Humvee. He stared at the airmen than the dogs who stared back. Rex said, “Yeah, I know right; what’s up with the dogs.” The soldier turned to West, who told him to call ahead so they could make it to the general without having to stop.

The five dogs sat in a room staring at an older human with stars on his uniform. It was clear to the dogs this human was in charge. Dot told Rex to point out the human they were looking for, but after driving, then walking around, they hadn’t seen him yet. Rex wondered if this was a mistake. Rosie looked to the closed door. Major General Jessie James Jackson sat staring at the dogs, wondering if he could justify shooting the four airmen for wasting his time. They just lost Wright Patterson, and these fools were bringing him dogs, saying they could talk. Rex looked to Dot, who just nodded. He turned to the General and said, “sir, I know you don’t have any reason to listen to us, but I think we know somethings that could help you……. we’re looking for this boy I saved about a week ago and……. Are you OK?” The General said, “OK, talking Articulate dogs.”

Talking to Goody

A few hours in meetings with a human that called himself Goody, the dogs told him everything they knew. Rex did his best to describe the boy, but after just a few minutes, Goody told him about Jimmy and how he had told them about the dog that saved his life. Goody said, “he thought you were dead.” From there, the dogs joined the general and the others in a video meeting with two nearly naked people. It was clear what they were doing. When it was over, the general asked to speak with Rex and Dot alone. Dot said, “no secrets.” The general said, “I know you are pregnant, and with puppies on the way, you might want to have a safe place to have them. If you want, you could come with us. Our next stop is safe and secure. I’m asking because I think Rex wants to keep looking for Jimmy, and he’s with my daughter…... my human puppy.” The human puppy comment seemed off, but having a safe place for the puppies was better than having them on the road. Dot looked over at Buster.

Buster was in a corner asleep. The trip across Ohio and the ride into Indiana were tough on the small dog. Dot worried about him as well as their ability to protect him from the other animals or himself. The General walked over to Buster with a small plate of deviled ham from a can. The scent woke Buster. He put the plate in front of Buster, who looked at it than the general. The general said, “the others are going after Jimmy, and it’s going to be a tough run……. I know you can do it, but I thought if I had one of you here to act as a representative, maybe we could help build a dog army……. If you want.” The General fought the urge to pet the talking dog. Buster said, “I’m no one’s pet…… if I stay, it’s because you need me.”


Parting of the Ways

The next day, Buster told the others he was going to stay with Dot and the humans. Rosie licked him on the face, nearly knocking him over. Buster walked over to Tac. He had left his old family to help his new one, and now they were going away. Buster said, “don’t let this get to your head tiny but……... I’m going to miss you…… all of you……. accept you, Dot, you’re not going away.” The other dogs stepped outside, leaving Rex and Dot. Rex said, “it seems like a lifetime ago when you found me.” Dot said, “no, you found me in that cage.” Rex countered, “no, you found me when I needed someone…….. when I needed a friend…….. when I needed someone to love.” Rex had heard this word before, and he thought he knew what it meant until now, but now he thought he understood. Dot said, “you’re going to find this boy, and you are coming back…... I won’t accept anything less than that.” To Dot, the word love didn’t mean much. Her human used it so often it was like saying hello or goodbye. She would say she loved her then lock her in her crate, but whatever she was feeling for Rex she knew he needed the word. Dot said, “I love you.”

© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron

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