Hi there. I am Nezzy. I am the only one of my kind. I want to share the tale with you- no pun intended (seeing as I do have a tail)- of how I saved my little friend Josh. Josh and I were fated to meet. Why, I’m the best thing that ever happened to him really.
Josh is nine years old and he is a coward. Well, that’s a good thing. If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to appear to him at all. But cowards are brave creatures that just haven’t been given a chance yet.
Josh lives with his mom and dad on Parlay lane. He is the most easily shaken kid that I have ever seen. I remember the first time that I saw him. He was sitting outside on the front steps of his house petting a stray dog. That was me. Not that I’m a dog but that’s how I chose to manifest myself to him. He needed me but I needed him too, We were about to make a friendship; the kind you see once in a blue moon and thrice every ten thousand years.
“What’s your name fella?” Josh asked rubbing his hands all over my back and behind my furry ears. “Hmmm…Nezzy.” I said. Josh jumped in his skin and looked at me. “barf! barf!” I said quickly. What in the world had gotten me to answer him just now. I nuzzled in his arms hoping he would quickly forget what he thought he heard. He did.
“I’m going to call you Barf. Do you like that name boy?” Nezzy barked a happy bark and wagged his little brown tail. It would do. Nezzy was from a clan of very special animals. How special? Josh was about to find out.
I was cute. The brown furry little shaggy dog disguise I chose was perfect. Let’s just be clear on one thing. I am not a dog! Sure, I’m taking on this shape for a moment but just wait to see what I really am. It’ll blow your mind just like It did Josh’s but… wait for it.
That first day on the steps was when we first met. Since then Josh and I have been inseparable. I wait for him every day at the foot of the steps to his house and together we walk to school. I leave him just outside the gate to Parlay Primary School. He waves goodbye and I disappear. He always looks back a second time and wanders where I go off to so quickly. I just watch on.
It was on a day just like this that we parted at the Parlay gate. I watched on as Josh walked into the school but he couldn’t see me. Today was the day. As he made his way past the play ground in the front of the school trouble started to brew. Why? Because some guys think they are bullies, and other guys have to set them straight.
“Hey baby Josh, where’s your mamma huh? Wah wah…Oh look at the wittle baby.” Spike and Booner were sitting on the swings apparently waiting for their next victim. It turned out to be Josh. Not just any Josh, but my Josh. With names like Spike and Booker, I just knew this was about to get ugly.
Josh walked on. He really didn’t know they were talking to him. That upset Spike and Booner followed his lead. Spike picked up a pebble on the floor near to his feet. He threw it hard at Josh. The pebble hit Josh and he stopped and grabbed the back of his neck. “Owww!” he shouted out. “Oh…listen to the big babby crying again.” Spike said coming up to Josh so he could see him.
Josh’s heart thumped and throbbed rising up to his throat. He suddenly had an urge to go to the bathroom. He tried to say something but no words came out. “What? Dog got your tongue?’ Booner teased. “Cat! It’s cat got your tongue?” Spike corrected Bonner irritated. Booner shrugged. “How about a knuckle sandwich?” Booner said rolling up his fists.
Just then the school bell rang. Headmaster Pillman was walking through the playground ushering kids off the props and into their classes. Life returned to Josh’s legs and he ran off to class. This was a good thing and this was a not-so-good thing too. Josh and Booner wouldn’t dare try anything in front of Ms. Pringle their teacher; But what about after class?
Math was long and Grammer was even longer. Every time Josh looked behind him it seemed that Spike or Booner, or both, were staring at him with glares and hand gestures that weren’t too friendly at all. Josh shivered so much in his seat Ms. Pringle asked him twice if he was cold. “No ma’am.” He answered both times with a quiver in his voice.
Lunch time Josh tried to find a secluded spot in the play ground to hide out. Bad idea. As he hunkered down behind an old oak tree, he said a silent prayer.
But a young boy being hunted down by the classroom bullies needs more than just prayers. Spike jumped out from behind one side of the tree and Booner jumped out from the other side. Josh was positively horrified. He clutched the tail of his shirt and twisted it around and around in a nervous fit. His breathe came in short bursts. He felt the urge to go to the bathroom. He wanted to scream but no words came out. Not even a squeal.
“What’s the matter big baby? Big baby want his mama?” Spike said in his most intimidating voice. “Awww!! Poor baby!” Booner followed up.
Josh looked from Spike to Booner. They were circling around him and chuckling all the while.
This is when the fun started ;but not in favor of Spike and Booner.
Spike swirled around at the sound. Nezzy stood behind him.
“What the..?” Spike said baffled. “What’s a dog doing in the school yard?”
“What? Don’t you mean what’s a cat doing in the school yard?” Booner asked looking at Spike rather puzzled.
“A cat?” Spike looked at Booner incredulously. “Are you blind or stupid? There’s a brown puppy staring at us right there.” Spike said. He was getting angry now.
Booner looked at the thing then looked back at Spike. “Man, are you crazy? Anyone can see that it’s a black kitty cat.
Neither Spike nor Booner noticed when Josh had silently slipped away.
The school bell rang.
Josh looked at Booner and Booner looked at Josh. Then they both looked at the thing. But the thing wasn’t there anymore.
“Where did it go?” Spike asked looking all around.
“I don’t know but hey…where did that baby wimp get to.” Booner said.
They looked around now for Josh but there was no sign of him.
“He’s dead beat!” Booner said.
Spike smashed one fist into the palm of the other hand.
“He’s dead meat Booner…Dead meat!”
Josh was able to sneak back into class unnoticed by the bullying pair. Somehow Barf had showed up on the spot. ‘That was weird. He never came in the school yard before. Gee but he sure saved me. I have to remember to thank him later. When are those guys going to stop bothering me? I wish I could…’
Ms. Pringle was staring at Josh. Now the whole class was staring at Josh.
Josh snapped back. What had happened?
“Josh, are you alright? You were making odd faces just now and punching the air.” Ms. Pringle said.
The whole class went into an uproar with giggles, outright laughs and finger pointing in the direction of Josh.
Just then the two culprits came to the door. They both tried to squeeze through the door at the same time.
“Well, what in the…” Ms. Pringle was now addressing the culprits coming through the door.
The class switched their attention from Josh to the class room door.
The pandemonium was uncontrollable. Both Josh and Booner fought their way through the door until they tumbled to the floor with Booner landing on top of Spike.
“My word! What has gotten into the two of you? And why are you late for class? The bell rang ten minutes ago.” Ms. Pringle was upset; A sight that was rarely seen by her class.
Josh cringed a little less now that the attention was off of him. He stifled a giggle. It was funny to see Josh and Booner being the butt of a joke for once. But Josh really wandered what happened out on the playground with Spike , Booner and Barf.
“Get off me!” Spike shouted throwing Booner off and jumping to his feet. He was humiliated and it showed all over his face. He stomped to his seat. He intentionally went down the isle where Josh was sitting and bent down as though tying his laces.
He mumbled so only Josh could hear. “You think I don’t know this was your fault? Forget it. You are dead meat!” He quickly got up and moved to his seat.
Josh shifted uncomfortably in his seat. ‘ Dead meat. Dead meat. Wasn’t meat dead already? What the hell are they going to do to me?’ Josh felt the sudden urge to go to the bathroom but he dared not; they might follow him in there.
‘What’ll I do? I can’t be made into dead meat…I can’t. I know. I will run. As soon as the school bell rings, I’ll run. I’ll leave my coat in the closet if I have to. I’ll run. I’ll run as fast as I can all the way home. That’s what I’ll do.’
Josh comforted himself with this thought. He kept a keen eye on the clock above the board. It was 2:30 in the afternoon. Thirty minutes more before the bell rang.
Twenty minutes more. (Josh scribbled down the notes from the board as fast as he could)
Ten minutes more (Josh placed his ruler and crayons into his bag)
Five minutes more (Josh put away his books and listened to Ms. Pringle’s closing remarks)
One minu…..RRRRIIINNNGGGGG!! (Josh grabbed the straps of his bag )
That was it. Josh sprang up out of his seat. He smiled at Ms. Pringle and raced out the door. He was the first one out.
Josh ran. He ran down the school corridor. It wasn’t too full yet. He was the first one out. He ran across the playground and onto the sidewalk. He ran.
Something Caught Josh’s eye and he stopped. It was Barf. He was standing near the entrance to an alley. Josh wandered why he was there.
“Gosh!” Josh said smacking himself in the head.
“I …I forgot to look for you outside the school gate? What are you doing here? Come here boy. It’s dangerous out here today. Let’s get home.”
Josh bent low and called Barf to him. Barf did not move.
“What’s the matter boy?” Josh asked puzzled.
Barf started to move into the alley.
“Wait! No!” Josh said going after him.
He didn’t look back. If he had, he would have seen the grinders of dead meat approaching.
Barf was running deep into the alley now. Josh was following with outstretched arms calling his little buddy to him.
Finally barf stopped. Josh caught up to him trying to catch his breath. “Wha…what’s with you? We…we have to get home.” Josh said to barf.
“Barf Barf!” Barf came to Josh as though there was no worry and he climbed into his arms. Josh almost forgot his troubles. He nestled Barf in his arms and smiled into his fur.
But the moment was short lived.
“Now isn’t that cute!” Spike said clapping his hands.
“It’s a sight for sappy eyes.” Booner chuckled.
“A sight for sore eyes Booner-Sore eyes.” Spike corrected Booner.
Josh whirled around with barf in his hands.
“Oh yes!” Spike grinned.
“You made fun of me today. Made the whole class laugh at me. Nobody does that and gets away with it. No one.” Spike pounded his fist into his palm.
Booner pounder his fist too.
“Me? I…what did I do?” Josh asked in a tiny voice. He suddenly felt the urge to go to the bathroom.
“That little puppy of yours ain’t gonna help you today.” Spike said laughing now.
“Why do you keep calling it a dog?” Booner asked looking at Spike.
Spike looked at Booner. It wasn’t a happy look. “You with this again. Take a good look my friend. It is a …”
Spike pointed to Nezzy but something wasn’t right. No, something was definitely wrong.
Nezzy was starting to glow. Both Spike and Booner were staring at Nezzy.
Josh looked down at Nezzy. He saw Nezzy glowing and the glow felt warm and kind to him.
“Are you ok Barf?” josh asked.
Nezzy continued to glow but something else too. Nezzy was getting bigger and bigger in Josh’s arms.
“What the hell kinda crazy thing is this?” Spike asked.
“I don’t know.” Booner said.
“Well don’t just stand there grab it.” Spike shouted at Booner.
“Me? Why me?”
“Because I said so! Spike pushed Booner in the direction of Josh and Nezzy.
Josh saw everything that happened next in slow motion. Nezzy jumped from his arms. Nezzy was now the size of a big something. His paws turned into hoofs and his body fur was getting more and more shaggy. Nezzy shook his head and a spiral horn grow from his forehead. His brown fur was starting to glisten and turn blue, green and gold. It all happened so quickly but Josh saw every bit happen.
“Get on my back!” Nezzy said unmistakably.
“Wow! You can talk?” Josh asked excitedly.
Booner was standing just in front of Nezzy now. He didn’t know quite what to do so he tried to push Nezzy over. Nezzy side stepped him and Booner landed with a thump on the ground.
Josh climbed onto Nezzy’s back. He was the size of a mini pony now but much more magical to look at.
Spike was irate now. “I don’t care what that thing is. You’re both dead!” He screamed and charged at Nezzy and Josh. He landed on top of Booner.
“Hold on!” Nezzy said to Josh. Josh held on tight. Nezzy leaped into the air and stayed there.
“Wow! You can fly too. Barf you are amazing!” Josh shouted.
Spike and Booner stared up at the pair. They couldn’t believe their eyes.
“Now let’s have some fun!” Nezzy said.
Nezzy swung around in the air and charged towards the boys on the ground.
Spike looked at Booner and Booner looked at Spike. Then they both jumped up and started running, with arms flailing in the air.
“Helllpppp!!” They both shoted.
But there was no one else there but Nezzy and Josh.
Nezzy swooped down and just grazed their heads.
Spike and Booner headed for the alley exit.
“Not yet boys!” Josh said with triumph. “One more time Barf.”
Nezzy swung around and blocked the alley exit. He started to charge towards the boys. They quickly turned around and started running and screaming in the other direction.
They ran and screamed and screamed and ran until they hit the brick wall at the end of the alley.
Spike and Booker pounded their fits on the wall and cried for help.
Josh chuckled to himself. “Let’s go home Barf. Let’s go home.”
Two hours later, Spike and Booner peeked out the alley opening then they made a run for home. They had to change their wet pants.
Josh sat on the steps of his house with Barf nestled in his arms. “You’re something amazing. You’re small but you can become big. You’re brown but you can make yourself colorful. I see you now but later you may disappear. And you’re my best friend.”
“You said it kid. I’m something Amazing and I am you’re my best friend.”