Author’s Note: This is part of Justine Nagaur’s Eclectic Corner. This one is a writing prompt from the photo above. Go to her site and have a look see through all the wonderful responses. Even better, write something to share with everyone!
Taking a Bite Out of Crime
Ever since he was a puppy, Baxter was quite fond of the family he adopted. The two big humans were agreeable sorts, always handy and generous with delicious food and scratches behind the ears. His smaller human, Bark-Bark-Lick, was his favorite (if he had to pick, which is something dogs are not quite fond of doing). They were a close family, and in return for the family’s occasional disappearance, Baxter kept them all safe and well supplied with happy surprises like buried shoes and slightly moistened fetched items.
Keeping a family healthy and safe was not easy work, but Baxter was up to the task. When walking with Bark-Bark-Lick, he would ensure that no other visitor would approach without warning. Humans didn’t have a great sense of smell or taste – clearly, as they always put terrible smells on themselves – so Baxter did his job with his nose first. As humans are wont to do, Bark-Bark-Lick would occasionally pull on the signalling leather attached to his collar and mumble something, and Baxter would know that Bark-Bark-Lick recognized the visitor.
Today, Bark-Bark-Lick was going to go out without the signalling leather. He stood on the steps, making those strange noises that humans were making all the time. “Baxter, be a good dog and let me go get some ice cream from Mr. Aborly’s ice cream truck. He isn’t comfortable around dogs, and I’d appreciate it if I can get a cone before he drives off. Stay here,” Bark-Bark-Lick finished. It really was adorable the way humans made noises like it meant something. Maybe when they played throw-the-ball next, he could teach the little human how to smell the ball instead of just uttering noises when he tossed it.
Baxter turned to watch Bark-Bark-Lick walk down the sidewalk towards a large white thing that occasionally made awful noises while going through the neighborhood. This particular one was familiar to the dog and his canine neighbors as Putter-Bang, on account of the intermittent loud noises coming from its back end. If Putter-Bang was near, then Wheezy-Cough had to be nearby. They were inseparable, and for the life of him Baxter never knew why Bark-Bark-Lick ever willingly approached such an awful pair.
It had to have been Bark-Bark-Lick’s inferior human nose. If only he could smell properly, he’d know that Wheezy-Cough and Putter-Bang were up to no good. Wheezy-Cough always smelled like fear and anger, definitely unhealthy for a human, and Putter-Bang smelled like ice cream and…something else. Baxter couldn’t quite put his paw on it, but there appeared to be something even more amiss going on here than normal.
Checking on Bark-Bark-Lick, he saw his human standing in line, his attention focused on Putter-Bang. The human must have sensed something too. Baxter knew he should help, so he got up and quietly made his way along the curb towards the truck. Moving under cover of the other vehicles like Whizz-Sputter and Poppity-Pop, Baxter finally got to Putter-Bang. Up close, the thing looked immense indeed. But like a bigger dog, it took no notice of him. Having the element of surprise, Baxter noticed that the door to where Wheezy-Cough was slightly ajar.
Climbing up, Baxter heard Wheezy-Cough using his human noises profusely. “Alright Theodore, what’ll it be today?” he said with a wheezing cough. “That stupid mutt of yours isn’t around, is it? He almost took my left butt-cheek off the last time I was around!”
“He’s not here,” said Bark-Bark-Lick. “And he’s a good dog. Can I get a double scoop of mint chocolate chip please?”
“If it’ll get you back to controlling that little monster faster,” Wheezy-Cough muttered.
“Hey, Teddy,” said another one of the humans, one that belonged to Spot, Baxter thought. “Did you hear the jewelry store downtown was robbed yesterday? The police are asking for leads to catch the robber. Want to come with us and search for clues?”
“Just let the police do their jobs,” said Wheezy-Cough. “They don’t need little terrors like you interfering.”
Baxter really wished that humans would stop making weird noises and actually use their noses like civilized dogs. He wondered how any of them accomplished anything, really. While the humans were busy doing whatever it was they did, Baxter was investigating Putter-Bang for information on why Wheezy-Cough was such a smelly disaster. The cupboards all had containers and jugs of ice cream, chocolate sprinkles, and other assorted sweet things that Baxter didn’t care for. In fact, the lack of delicious bacon or beef made the human even more suspect in Baxter’s book. There wasn’t even a bone to gnaw on. Oh, and there was no dog smell, either. A human without a dog or even a cat couldn’t be trusted.
Then Baxter’s nose hit upon the strangest smell. It was like a window, but it had heavy metallic elements to it. In fact, it was very much like the smell coming from large humans when they took extra time putting flimsy fur on. They put this metal on their wrists, ears, and fingers. But Wheezy-Cough never wore any of that. Sniffing quietly, Baxter found that the smell came from a sack sitting right below the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Gently grabbing the bag with his teeth, he began tugging it towards the exit to Putter-Bang.
Some of the contents jingled, and Wheezy-Cough turned his attention from the children towards Baxter. “Why you filthy beast!” he yelled, slightly out of breath. “Get out of my truck!”
Whatever it was the human was trying to say, Baxter knew from the volume that it couldn’t be good. But he was a dog, a good dog, and he wouldn’t be frightened by this human. Instead of dropping the bag, he tugged harder. He tugged so hard, in fact, that he fell out of Putter-Bang. Wheezy-cough had grabbed the bag with one hand, and the tension between man and dog ripped the container apart. As the fabric tore free, a giant pile of golden jewelry fell out onto the street.
Bark-Bark-Lick and all the other boys were right there to see it. Immediately they started yelling, and Wheezy-Cough grew so frightened that he flopped about helplessly trying to close up Putter-Bang. Fortunately, some other humans in Whee-Yews came by, surrounding Putter-Bang and Wheezy-Cough. They got out and put Wheezy-Cough in some different metal bracelets, and they took him and Putter-Bang away.
As they left, one of the humans talked to Bark-Bark-Lick. “Good job having your dog search the truck,” he said. “We suspected Mr. Aborly for quite some time, but we didn’t have enough evidence to search his vehicle. Your dog is a hero.”
“I know,” said Bark-Bark-Lick, scratching Baxter behind the ear. Whatever they were talking about, Baxter was happy it ended in a good scratch.