Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Chase


“Why are you lying so close to the road?” the country mutt named Rosco asked of the rotund Hound Fred reclining nearby. Rosco’s master was a row farmer a couple of miles down the road from Fred’s master’s cattle and swine operation. Rosco’s master was an elderly man who was given to new hobbies, even in old age.

Hound Fred was brief, cogent and succinct by nature, a hound of few words. So he replied merely, “Bicycle.”

“Those rolling humans again?” I have not seen rolling humans out in these parts for months,” Rosco said.

“Before daylight,” Fred explained, knowing Rosco slept late while he himself visited pre-dawn attractions such as nearby Farmer Claude’s garbage bin or the pig sty, hoping for fragments. Also, occasionally Farmer Claude’s daughter would let Beatrice the cocker out for her morning constitutional and Fred never missed an opportunity to visit with her. Beatrice was the joy of his life, though she most often treated Fred with benign aloofness.

“How many riders came by?” Rosco queried.

“Just one old dude on a mountain bike.”

“Did you give chase?”

“Does a pig grunt?”

“Could the old man ride?”

“When that sucker heard me baying he spun those pedals like a kid. He was over the hill before I got my second wind.”

This uncharacteristic loquacity and downright garrulousness emanating from Hound Fred must have been brought on by the excitement of the rare morning chase. Bicycle chasing was a pleasure second only to courting Beatrice the cocker.

Rosco asked, “Do you think he will be a regular on our road? I’d like to wait with you tomorrow and help you chase, if you don’t mind.”

“Be here early,” Fred advised.

Rosco did get there early. Very early. But Fred was nowhere to be found. He was a mile and a half away, following behind the ostentatiously prissy Beatrice, who had an air about her of love-loathing as she led Fred on into the pine thicket. She could have led Fred anywhere.

Just before daybreak, the old dude came whistling by on the bicycle and Rosco gave chase. You can imagine how shocked Rosco was to hear the old dude call his name. He stopped his barking and got a whiff of the bicycle rider—unmistakably his own master. “What’s he doing on a bicycle?! Surely he’s not drunk this time of day.”

About mid-morning Fred nonchalanted by Rosco’s and Rosco told him the whole ironic story. Strangely preoccupied, Fred grinned smugly and said nothing.

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