Larry C. Kerr
Butch was lying in his bed when he heard them coming, but it was too late to escape. Although his dog ears were much better than those appendages attached to human skulls, he was dozing and didn't clear his head in time.
Most of the time he didn't mind when his owners visited him. As a matter of fact, he enjoyed it. However, now the man and woman had Mikey with them. Butch pushed his snout into the blanket in his bed and closed his eyes, pretending to be asleep.
Mikey was the reason Butch was now known as Oggie. The kid couldn't say doggie, He could only utter Oggie. And forget pronouncing Butch. So he became Oggie because everyone thought it was so cute. For God's sake.
Everyone but Butch. He had a reputation to maintain. How could he be an effective watch dog with a nickname like Oggie?
“Oggie sleeping,” Mikey said.
Maybe they'd go away, Butch thought. Unfortunately, the man and woman weren't so easily fooled,
It was the man and he sounded pissed. Butch couldn't understand the words, but he picked up the unhappiness in the voice.
“I know you aren't sleeping,” the man continued.
Butch gave up the pretense and opened his eyes.
“What's going on here?” the man asked.
Butch didn't speak human and even if he did, he could not have answered such a nonspecific question.
“You chewed up Mikey's new toy. He's wanted it for so long and what happens when he finally gets it? The family dog bites his head off.”
He thrust the headless creature at Butch, who almost continued his toothy assault. Sure the thing was irritating, though not as much as the creature who wielded it. It was the kid who irked him.
“Now Mikey is trying to bite the heads off all his toys,” the woman said.
She pulled out three more missing their noggins. Butch glanced at them.
“We want you to stay away from Mikey,” said the man, who pointed at Mikey and wagged his finger in the classic “no” motion.
Butch got the message, but doubted Mikey did. The kid seemed oblivious about anything beyond himself.
Yesterday was a good example. Mikey pounded on him with the latest in his action figures collection until he couldn't stand it and snapped. The snotty kid kept after him until he retreated. He tried to hide out under the dining room table, a bad choice. Mikey wasn't much taller than Butch and easily followed him beneath the table.
Whack, Smack. Finally, wallop. The last blow really ticked him off and he growled. Mikey pulled back momentarily and looked at Butch, who curled back his lips.
That seemed to fascinate the midget, and instead of the sight of Butch's choppers scaring him, he reached out and touched them. Butch was so surprised, he only stared at Mikey. The kid then put the hand he used to touch Butch's main weapons into his own mouth. Apparently, he wanted the full Butch experience.
Before Butch recovered from the surprise of the tooth touching, Mikey used the action figure to swat him on the nose. It hurt. It didn't matter that it was a small creature that hit him The blow brought tears to his eyes. When Mikey revved up for a second blow, Butch grabbed the action figure in his mouth. Perhaps if the little pest saw what those teeth could do he'd back off.
Instead, Mikey jerked back and that's when Captain Strangename was decapitated. It took a bit for the boy to realize his toy was headless. Then his eyes opened wide. He rubbed the stub, which was all that remained of the neck.
Mikey took the action figure, bit it, and growled. Butch was shocked. He hadn't seen a human do anything like that. As the kid continued his odd behavior, it occurred to Butch that Mikey was acting like a dog. He knew dogs imitated other dogs, but a human?
The order issued by the owners today seemed to confirm Butch's thought as they walked away. Now, however, they took Mikey and departed.
“I told you it was dangerous to have that dog around,” she said and glanced at Butch. She apparently thought they were out of hearing range.
“You thought he might bite Mikey. Butch is not going to do that.”
“How do you know? He's already attacked the action figure.”
“Good for him. That character is stupid,” he said.
“You aren't focusing on the true issue. If he bites Mikey, it's all over.”
The man didn't protest. “I would take him to the farm.”
“The farm, my ass. He'd be buried right here.”
She carried Mikey, who looked back and gave Butch a sly smile. He looked like a developing smartass.
The woman's tone was ominous, but that didn't worry Butch. After all, he served in the city's K9 unit for almost nine years. Although an upset mother didn't bother him, he remembered it was a woman who forced him into retirement.
Retirement. That was their term for it. He was relieved of his duties when he bit a civilian instead of a perp. He might have gotten away with it, but the civilian turned out to be the mayor's nephew. That loser had an appointment with the perp who the department was ready to raid and all knew why. It turned out to be bad luck for Butch. The nephew was late and the bust was in progress when he arrived. Butch was preserving the scene as the nephew entered. The nephew walked in as if he owned the place. He didn't stop when the police officers told him to do so and they turned Butch loose.
When the nephew tried to escape, Butch took him down. He swatted at Butch with hands that flapped around like two butterflies. Butch caught the movement and went after the nephew's hands, clamping down on one.
The young man screamed until officers pulled Butch off and congratulated him for a good job. However, instead of a commendation, Butch got fired. The kid's mother, was unhappy and bitched to the mayor. Now Butch was hiding under a sofa from another kid who would likely be doing drugs by junior high school.
Butch needed protection from Mikey. The kid already escaped from the man and woman and found his way back. Butch pondered this and decided it was not a good thing for human to imitate a dog. After all, a dog was a much superior being and a human child could not hope to live up to that. He thought it best to stay away from the kid.
Butch decided to move to his quiet place. He could fit under the sofa when he really wanted to avoid human contact. If the family members knew about his hideout, they hadn't bothered to investigate it. He ducked his head and shimmied under the piece of furniture. Some dust bunnies accumulated over the years, although that was OK. They absorbed some of the noise.
As long as nobody plopped down on the sofa or used it as a trampoline, he was good. He sneezed, which flapped his lips. He admitted even here, some things weren't perfect. Yet they were still better than putting up with Mikey.
He lived here longer, beginning when he retired from the K-9 section of the Police Department. He should have seniority.
Butch, absorbed in his thoughts, felt something touch his tail. The tight space under the sofa limited his movement and he couldn't turn quickly enough to see what it was. Then he saw a small hand sweeping across the floor, obviously seeking something. Mikey. The kid was like a bloodhound and Butch admired his persistence. Yet he had to have a place to get away.
If he could delay the kid, he would be able to find another hideout, hopefully one that Mikey wouldn't find him in a few minutes. Even better, the secret place would be impossible for him to reach. Butch would be able to enjoy retirement in the manner in which it should be enjoyed.
Butch slid his paw over to the probing hand. As soon as Mikey felt Butch's paw, he stopped moving and latched onto the paw. Butch allowed the contact for a few seconds ,then pulled his paw away. The kid immediately began feeling around again, Butch waited then made contact again.
He heard Mikey's breathing increase and then his eyes appeared through the skirt of the sofa. Butch played touch and feel again and the rug rat lived up to the term and began wriggling his way the sofa. He struggled to make his way under, with his big head slowing his progress. Butch wondered how the little body could maintain its balance that big melon on top. It seemed he topple over so easily.
Butch offered himself up as bait as he attempted to lure Mikey underneath the sofa. Mikey finally got his large coconut under. Butch stayed there out of reach for a moment or two, then pushed himself out backwards.
Not wanting to be left behind, Mikey tried to get out too, but found himself stuck, with his oversize skull preventing him from getting free. He smiled a dog smile, and got away before the kid pulled free.
The boy whimpered, but it didn't affect Butch. He was used to hearing people beg as he closed in on them. He managed to find and slip into the new escape room and was dozing when something grabbed a rear foot. Dogs don't believe in the boogeyman or monsters under the bed, even so, he thumped his head on of the wooden slats that supported the bed. So much for the new hiding place.
It was late morning, and Butch was already tired. So rather than struggling to avoid Mikey, he would allow the boy to hang out. As he observed the kid, he had to admit Mikey was a good tracker. Yet it took more talent than locating someone to make a good police dog.
He'd have think about this. There were a few doggie tricks he could show the kid, but it wasn't long before the man and woman returned and stopped any lessons for this day.
A few days later, Butch heard the man and woman talking.
“What?” the woman said.
“That's right. Butch is going to get his commendation,” the man said.
“How did that happen?” the woman asked.
“The mayor is running for reelection. The police commissioner said he would give his endorsement as long as Butch got is recognition.”
He patted Butch, who knew something was happening, though not exactly what.
“What about the nephew?” asked the woman.
“The mayor knows that one is worthless. She only did it to please her sister. Needless to say, the sister won't be at the ceremony.”
The next week, Butch found himself on stage with the man. A lot of people wanted to pet him, which made him nervous. He was tempted to put on his vicious dog face, but that didn't seem right. So he settled for staying back from the groping hands.
Mikey and the woman were just off the stage. Various people spoke and bored everyone. Then the mayor jabbered. It seemed odd that the person who forced Butch out was now praising him. That was politics.
The crowd grew restless as the mayor dragged on. A child crawled across the stage. Butch heard the woman's harsh whisper: “Mikey! Mikey!”
However, the kid didn't stop. If anything, he sped up. Butch thought the boy was coming to him. Instead, Mikey stopped by the mayor. She glanced down, but did not let the distraction slow her down.
Mikey, on his hands and knees, raised his leg next to her leg. It seemed he was going to mark the mayor as his. The audience fell silent in anticipation of the soaking of the mayor. However, Mikey's mom acted first. Showing speed Butch didn't know she had, the woman bolted onto the stage, grabbed Mikey, and ran off.
The attendees weren't sure if the events were planned and didn't immediately react, then a few began to clap. Others joined in and soon a standing ovation broke out.
“You set me up,” she hissed at the police commissioner as she descended from the stage. She inspected her leg, but didn't see anything on her clothes.
“Why are you complaining? It went over great. A brilliant plan.”
The harsh look on the mayor's faded and a smile emerged as she greeted supporters on the way to her car.
Later, the commissioner cornered the man and Butch.
“I don't how you arranged it. It was a great stunt.” said the commissioner to the man.
“I know nothing about it,” said the man.
Mikey stood beside Butch. They wore innocent expressions.