Saturday, February 24, 2007

Soap and Tobacco

It was a dark and stormy night. James woke with a start, he could hear the thunder crackling outside along with the bark of a dog.
I left the dog outside again, thought James. Fortinbras was a black Border Collie who was rather large for his breed and rather noisy during thunderstorms.
James walked out onto the porch and called Fortinbras. The black dog came running up from the woods drenched as if he had just come from swimming and not from the rain. James had never put a fence in to keep Fortinbras from running away, he never had too. When he bought the land he had built his house right in the center of the property which was around 130 acres. James had never took the time to calculate it exactly, but 130 acres was what the realtor had told him and that was what he was going to believe.
Fortinbras walked up to his side and nuzzled his nose against James' pant leg. Thanks, these pants were just washed. Why do you always seem to be outside during the rain? James thought towards the dog. James walked back inside with the dog and and noticed that the clock on the coffee maker said 2:30.
James groaned. I have work in the morning. Thunder boomed above the trees in his back yard. I am never going to get back to bed with this racket.
Fortinbras sniffed the trash can and then plopped down in front of the vent on the wall. It was his customary spot, especially when it was cold, because it was so warm there. He was still dripping wet.
James grabbed a towel from the pantry and wrapped it around Fortinbras.
"Well at least you seem content," James sighed to Fortinbras. James had found the collie one day when he was walking into town to get some groceries. His wife had just had their son and they needed some more baby formula. James, tired of the screaming baby, had opted to take his time and walk into town.
He passed a sign that read, "Free dog, good with kids." What James found was not a free dog but an ugly dog with matted fur who seemed to have been treated rather poorly. The man who seemed to be taking care of the dog was wearing overalls with no shirt and was chewing tobacco. As James walked up the man spit his chewed cud and hollered at James, "You figurin' on takin' this dog? Nobody else bin' up here till I put that sign up."
James shrugged. "The dog seems rather dirty."
"Oh, thats just cuz he's been rollin' around out back in the mud pits."
Yea, I bet thats the reason. This dog has probably not had a bath in months.
"So, the dog is free?"
"Yerp! Ole, Fortinbras is free. Tried to sell the mutt but no one would by him. He ain't even that old ya know? Barely one years." The overall clad man spit again.
"Ok. I'll take him."
"R'ly? Damn, thought I'd never get rid of this mutt."
James, who was rather disgusted with the man by this time, felt rather emphatic for the dog so he thanked the man took the dog with his leash and lead him to his new home.
His wife, rather irritable now that it was almost dinner time and he had not returned with the formula came outside. "Where is my baby formula?! Why are you all wet and soapy?! Do you know what time it is? What have you been doing this whole time?!"
Thats when the dog ran around the corner still wet from the bath and jumped on James grinning ear to ear.
"A dog! We don't need a dog! We just had a baby! Of all the things in the world James THIS is what you were doing?"
"I figured it would be a good companion for the baby." Which wasn't necessarily true, James knew the dog would be a good companion but he didn't expect the baby would think so.
"Well does it have a name?"
"The owner said it responded to Fortinbras."
"Hmpf. Well Fortinbras, welcome to the family," James wife sighed.
James looked up from petting the dog. It was already 3:00 am. Work is going to quite a drag tomorrow. Why do I still go? James thought. Early retirement sounds nice if not also insulting. I could get a job teaching at the University.
James locked the sliding door that Fortinbras and he had come through and walked back up the stairs. As he passed his son's bedroom he noticed a faint blue glow coming from underneath the door. James didn't feel like lecturing his son on the errors of staying up way to late especially since he was up to late himself.
He pushed his son's door open just slightly, trying to see what his son was doing without his son knowing. What he didn't expect his son to be doing was sleeping in front of his computer.
James figured he would be playing a video game. Luckily, his son was in his bed so James walked over and picked up his laptop but as he was closing it he noticed something peculiar his son had been looking at. The wind outside howled.

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