Wednesday Terry Henry Walton Short Story
The World According to Clovis
So many people! I love people! the dog thought. Hear me roar in joy!
The coonhound puppy barked and barked until he was picked up.
Wow! I sing the song of my people and someone picks me up! Look at that food! I love being picked up!
“Shh, little puppy. Look at those big eyes. Who’s a good boy?” said a woman with blue eyes and a silver streak in her otherwise black hair.
Who? I have to know! Who’s a good boy? Clovis asked, whimpering, engrossed in anticipation. Ooh. Have to pee. Ah, all better now. Where were we?
“Clovis!” the pretty young woman said, holding the puppy at arm’s length as she looked at the wet spot on her pants leg.
Wow! Look at that sammich. That little boy has a sammich. Put me down!Clovis thought. Almost in response. He was set gently on the ground. He bolted like greased lightning.
At least that’s what he thought as he stumbled and tripped his way to the proffered sandwich. With one superdog leap, he cleared the final blades of grass. His dog mouth wrapped around the sandwich and his terrifying assault ripped it from the young boy’s grip. The child started to cry.
Clovis gulped the sandwich down. Sammich and play! I love people. An older woman started to chase him and he ran, dodging under a table, among chairs, and between legs until she gave up.
“Shoo, you mangy cur!”
Another dog! Where’d you come from? Clovis growled and snapped, prancing back and forth in challenge to his fellow canine. The wolf bitch raised a paw and smacked the puppy on the head.
Ow! Clovis cried and started to whimper. What did you do that for?
Go away, she told him.
I want to be big like you! Clovis said, happy once again, the surprise and pain of being on the wrong end of a wolf’s paw long forgotten.
“Clovis!” the pretty young woman called. The dog looked around, but couldn’t see her. When he turned back he had to dodge out of the way as the wolf tried to pee on him.
Hey! Clovis squatted and peed in the same spot, to add his mark to the wolf’s stench
“What did you get into?” Clovis looked back to see two hands wrap around his sides and pick him up. Her round human face came close and sniffed. His tongue lashed out and caught her nose. She tickled his nose back. He liked her. Clovis licked her fingers. He tasted jerky. Which reminded him. He was hungry.
Clovis thought the ledge had been lower. He’d always jumped onto it without issue, but it just seemed higher today. “Come on, boy,” the tall and dark-skinned man called. He was heading to the barn where he kept some of the cows. It used to be fun chasing the cows, but then the human… all the yelling …it was still worth it. After getting kicked, Clovis decided that maybe his humans were right.
He panted as he loped after the man. It was just them while the others were gone. Did they leave yesterday? Maybe months ago? Clovis couldn’t remember. The females had their work and the males had their manly work. Clovis chose the manly work, in the pasture, with the cows.
Auburn looked at Clovis’s graying face. “We need to build you a ramp, don’t we old boy?” he asked. Clovis cocked his head one way, and then the other. He wasn’t sure what the man was saying, but he talked all the time. Clovis listened because it was his job. The female had said so.
The barn was packed with cattle. Auburn moved them to clear the way so he could get past. Clovis stayed on his heels.
“It’s about time, isn’t it girl?” he asked the cow struggling with labor. Crimson was there, Alabama’s boy. He had been there all along and whistled as she got close. Auburn wanted to be there at the birth, just in case. Crimson was still training. He hadn’t seen it all yet.
Clovis stared at the process. He stood mouth slack as he watched. He’d seen it before, but it always amazed him how big cows could poop out baby cows. Clovis always looked and sniffed at his, wondering why he never produced a puppy. He figured that he wasn’t eating the right stuff.
Auburn was relaxed and calm which made Clovis calm. The calf was born without issues, and the big man cleared the way so they could leave. They didn’t go to the house, though, but the stable where the human hitched the horse to their cart. He waved for Clovis to jump in, but it was too high.
Clovis whimpered. I’ll just run alongside, if that’s okay, he thought.
“You ride up here with me!” the nice man said, getting down to pick Clovis up and put him up front.
I can see the whole world from up here! he exclaimed as he sat on the padded bench next to the human. The ride was fraught with danger and adventure as Clovis imagined crazed beasts attacking from all sides. He barked at them as the man rubbed his back and held him close.
The cart rolled into the main community of North Chicago and Clovis’s favorite spot, the park where there were always other dogs and people. Children mostly. He loved the children.
When the cart stopped, Clovis leaned over the edge to jump down.
“Hang on, boy,” the man said kindly. He got down first and walked around, where he could get a good grip and lower the old coonhound to the ground. Clovis wagged his tail furiously. He loped away, looking for something to eat, until he heard a voice.
The musical voice of the one with glowing blue eyes. He hoped she had some jerky. She did last time he saw her. Was that yesterday? It didn’t matter, even yesterday was forever long ago.
He saw her! There with the others. My whole pack. Holy crap! He ran toward them, reveling in his speed. He leapt for her. A big man stepped in the way and caught Clovis. “Hey buddy!” Terry said, holding Clovis close.
Terry leaned close to Cordelia so Clovis could lick her face. “When are you going to train this dog?”
Find out more about Craig Martelle, his books, and his life in Alaska at http://www.craigmartelle.com