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Tags: pets, lost dog

Billy leaves town

Chapter 3

Billy had traveled all day through fields, crossing busy highways down wood roads and was now trying to find a way across a river. He stopped there looking over his surroundings. He sat for a while took a quick drink then wandered back up the riverbank. Picking up a human scent, he followed it down a path that leads him to a crossroad. His coat was beginning to show signs of his off-roading. He was covered in mud, his tail knotted in burdocks. He stood at the four corners for a bit getting his bearings, he had decided to follow one. The collie trotted down the road for about 15 mins when he heard a gas powered engine fire up. He followed the sounds direction. He entered a wood yard where two men were busy splitting hardwood. He approached them carefully and sat panting at them. The two hadn't seen the collie as it walked up slowly behind them. One of the men turned and noticed the dog sitting behind him and nudged his friend.

"Would you look at that, Seth,” one man said as he nudged his partner and turned off the splitter. He called the dog over to him. Billy just sat there.

“Come on, come here fella, I won't hurt you nun .”

“He looks hungry Seth, ” The man that spotted Billy said. I have a sandwich in my dinner bucket, see if he will take it from you.”

Seth opened Jim's lunch bucket and pulled out a leftover bologna sandwich. Seth ripped it in two and offered it to Billy. The dog walked casually toward him sniffed at it a few times, and took it gave it a few quick chews then swallowed it. Billy was hungry, he licked his lips quickly; looking for more. Seth gave him the other half of Jim's and had a half of one in his dinner bucket.

“Now where did you come from fella? I don't think I have ever seen a collie dog around here Jim. Nice looking dog too, they ain't cheap neither, ” Seth said.

“Maybe we should get a rope and tie him up until were done. He must belong to someone near here, might be a reward offered,” said Jim.

“I got one in my truck I think, I'll get it," said Seth.

While he was away, Jim managed to get Billy to come closer him began petting him a little, talking softly to him. Jim poured a little water in a reused margarine container his wife had put camel pudding in. He let the dog lick out the remaining pudding first and then filled it with water. Billy drank that and half of another. Billy lay down at Jim's feet and began picking at his tangled tail. Jim helped pull them from his coat.

“You sure are a nice dog ain't you now.” Jim slowly pulled the burdocks from the tail. “I have always wanted collie dog, bet someone's missing you right, now I know I would be out looking for yah,” Jim said patting Billy.

“I'll take him home tonight and do some calling in the morning for the owner. He has a dog tag on his collar with his name and the owner's number on it. I'll call him when I get home,” said Seth. Jim nodded in agreement.

When Seth returned with the rope, they attached it to Billy's collar. Seth walked Billy over to his half-ton the dog got in and laid down on the seat.

The wood splitter started up and the two weekend woodsmen were back at the woodpile. Billy watched for a little while looked around the truck then lay down and fell asleep. An hour or so had passed and it was too dark to work. Seth got in his truck and headed off 50 miles in the opposite direction. Billy looked out the window of the truck hoping he was being taken home.

When Seth arrived at his home, there were three other dogs meeting Seth's half ton as he drove in the yard. As Billy jumped out of the truck, he was greeted with growls and barking. Seth let Billy off the rope. The dogs sniffed each other for a bit. The large half Shepard lunged at him knocking Billy to the ground when Billy retaliated and took the Shepard to the ground Seth kicked at the dogs to break up the fight. Getting a boot to the side, Billy whimpered, broke off his attack ran out of Seth's yard into the darkness.

That was weeks ago, days of wondering the roads dodging cars, angry dogs that were looking for a fight. Sleeping where he could find shelter, escaping drivers that managed to lure him in their cars or trucks with offerings of food, only to be taken further away from home, and then another narrow escape last night.

Billy walked cautiously back onto the sidewalk looking casually up and down as people walked by. His eyes squinted as he stepped from the murky alleyway surveying his surroundings hearing the streets sounds he was watchful of his steps under the slipper alleyway. His side and feet ached, he was hungry, thirsty he only new to keep moving, but where? He sat briefly then took a bite of the frozen crust chomped on it for his drink. Something within him told him the direction to take. South was where he sensed he would find his old friend, so South is where he was headed.

The dog lifted his head and took in the sweet smells as he made his way to the street. He was in the old money part of town. The town's downtown area had been revitalized when the Chamber of Commerce decided to create what they proudly now call Market Square.

They had bought up most of the old buildings and restoring them back to the safety code standards, leasing them at a reduced rate to local artisans and entrepreneurs with further tax breaks. The once vacant buildings began to fill once again. The Market Square was a huge success. It drew people away from the modern superstores and malls. You could get homemade Ice cream, old fashioned toys and handmade furniture.

There were vegetable stands vendors selling everything from homemade jams and pickles to handmade quilts to beef pork and poultry all grown locally. Saturdays Molly's Diner served a breakfast special that cost only three ninety-nine. A large cup coffee was a quarter. It was a great way for family’s to be together and a place to take their children. The shops opened at eight am and closed at 6 pm as they had done seventy-five years ago. Saturday mornings the courtyard came alive. Cart vendors were occasionally blowing warm air in their hands then rubbing together warming them were readying their two wheel dinners with their primary colored awnings in place for the busy morning shoppers. The grills filled the cold morning air with the scent of onions hotdogs curly fries and a variety of homemade sausages. The dog stopped drooled as he took in the wonderful wonders that flooded his senses. The vendors all shooed the dog away from their carts.

Billy limped further down the sidewalk. The haggard dog startled pedestrians, they turned sideways quickly lifting their plastic shopping bags chest high avoiding possible contamination. An elderly lady seeing the dog approach her, backed into a store clutching her cane with an ice pick on the bottom just in case he tried anything. Still others, not wanting an interruption in their busy shopping looked away disturbed by the dog's condition, but not wanting to get involved. Others, unhappy with the way the Animal Control in their town a waste of their tax dollars. A shop owner laying down salt on the icy sidewalk in front of his candy shop lunged at Billy tossing salt at the dog yelling “Now you get” when Billy paused.

Startled the dog bolted forward out of man's reach and continued through the courtyard. Billy passed a bakery and then finally stopped in front of a butcher shop's glass door. A customer was leaving the door wafted the shops odors. The collie could smell the smoked meats that hung in the display windows. The starving dog couldn't take it any longer The vendors, the bakery; the fish market; now this. He slowed, then stopped. He sat down looking through the door's plate glass, his tongue out panting nervously. Billy unknowingly was blocking a customer trying to enter the store.

The older man was a little fearful of getting too close in the dog's newly claimed space just waited behind Billy. Inside the shop, a customer nudged another at the dog outside the shop's doorway. He was a little amused that this sad looking collie was putting the fear of God into his neighbor. Then spoke up to the butcher.

“Hey Sammy, looks like you have a new customer, how's his credit?

A few of the customers laughed at the joke. Sammy had a few signs up in large red lettering stating no credit. Sammy trusted cash in hand. Sammy turned looked over the counter and saw Billy through the door glass and cursed under his breath.

“Sad looking excuse for a dog, if you ask me.” one man said looking through the window.

“Dam nuisance is what they are” another replied.

Sammy was finishing trimming a large pork roast that he had been working on. He was too busy this morning to look at anything.

The useless halfwit helper, as Sammy called him was late as usual. He looked at the clock again and cursed under his breath. Now this nuisance in his doorway, Sammy Bernstein was busy this morning, trying to keep up with the customers that kept coming into his shop.

Billy was standing unknowingly blocking customers. Sammy cursed under his breath again, his short fuse had just been lit by this collie.

That morning Sammy had pulled his car off the street and into his parking spot in the alleyway behind his store, another mess that had to be taken care of before he could start his day. The stray dogs and cats seem to target him. He had slept in after playing online poker, but he was winning so he kept playing. He had no time for this. Sammy had displays to fill and a few orders for customers that had called them in yesterday that needed to be taken care of before he could open.

But already customers were lined up waiting for him to open. He left the mess, his helper would have to get it, whenever he decided to show up. He was too cheap to pay the local waste disposal company extra for a normal trash bin with a heavy lid that would have been able to contain his store's week's worth of garbage safely. Instead, he had used drums he bought at a local bakery that once held vegetable oil. He had handles welded on their sides made at the local muffler shop made from a bent exhaust pipe. That's what they used, so it's what he would use as well. But the muffler shops cans did not contain meat scrapes and for some reason Sammy never stopped to think that one out.

He kept the tops of the oil drums lids and bought bungee cords to strap them down attaching them at the drums welded handles. It would have worked well and did for the first week or two. The garbage men frustrated having to undo them each week just tossed the cords on the track with the garbage. Sammy never did replace them. So most mornings he could be seen picking up coffee grinds and bits of paper and bones before he could start his work.

Sammy's shop did very well for itself. He was a hard worker, always making a nice year-end profit affording him a two-week vacation to the Caribbean once a year. Where the women didn't care what you looked like as long as you had cash in your hand, and looking for a place to spend it.

Sammy was a huge obese three hundred and seventy-five-pound man. He made sure he always had lots American cash. He was a little under six feet tall with jet black oily hair. A thin Clarke Gable mustache his thick neck gave him several extra chins. He was in his late thirty’s lived alone. His wife of 12 years left him two years ago, taking the children with her, away from his abusive nature.

Sammy laid the pork roast on brown waxed back paper turning tucking in its ends with practiced turns, hit the tape dispenser harder than normal as if striking it harder would make the situation go away. The sticky eight inch wet strip of butchers tape left the dispenser. He grabbed the end of it, sealed off one end of the freshly wrapped pork roast in one fluid motion, turning it in his hand as it was being applied.

He had been taking glances at the dog on the other side of his door as he finished the sale. Sammy closed then locked the cash register placing its keys in his butcher's jacket.

“Thank you, Mr. Davis, I am sorry for not having this ready for you when you came in this morning as promised. I am shorthanded this morning as you can see. Young people, they don't appreciate a good job.” Said Sammy

"That's okay Sammy, I have now, that's all that matters,” said Mr. Davis.

He placed the cut in a green plastic bag that bore a red logo on both sides. The bag's advertisement listed specialty meats, cold cuts and cheeses and at the top read “Sammy's Meat and Deli.” Sammy walked around the counter handing it to his customer.

“Let me get the door for you,” Sammy added Smiling at Mr. Davis.

Sammy had picked up a couple scraps of meat that was mostly fat from the cutting block that he had just trimmed from the roast before he left. He polity excused himself to his growing queue of customers. He had informed his waiting patrons before he left.

“I have to take care of this” then muttered, “what a dam nascence.” The huge man filled the doorway Sammy nervously stepped out of the doorway sideways easing his way onto the sidewalk keeping an eye on Billy.

“Good morning Mr. McBride, please come in sir, sorry about this,” Sammy said holding the door wide as he pointed at Billy. Mr. Davis made his exit from the shop he stopped and looked down at the dog, as he reached into his coat pocket for his car keys.

Billy looked up panting, hoping for a handout. Mr. Davis looked at the dog that was surveying him.

“Poor little guy could use a meal I think. Looks like he has had a hard time of it. It's a shame, how someone can just let their dog run free as the breeze, such a shame.” Mr. Davis said as he walked to his car.

Sammy just smiled. He didn't want to discuss any dog's health on this cold morning air, only nodded to Mr. Davis in agreement. Sammy smiled and nodded again as if in agreement with Mr. Davis' suggestion.

“He sure could Mr. Davis,” Sammy said in agreement. He looked down in fake concern for the dog.

“I will give him something very special, thanks again Mr. Davis. You need anything you just call me anytime, and have a good weekend, Sir,” Sammy added.

Mr. Davis did not reply or turn, he just held up his hand and waved good-bye to Sammy.

As Mr., Davis drove off. The overweight butcher looked the dog over quickly. He noticed that he had been in a fight of some kind, by the blood that covered his coat. He looked at Billy in disgust. Sammy waited to make sure the door to his shop was closed.

He called the dog over to him, holding the piece of fat out in his fingers, then dropped it just in front of the dog. The waiting customers had gathered by the windows inside. A few peeking through the hanging smoked meat display. Sammy had an audience; although stray dogs of any kind scared him, he felt he could take care of this one. Sammy bent down a bit and began talking in a soft voice to the dog.

“Come here fella look what I got for you. Billy hesitated. “You filthy piece of shit. Here boy that's it. Nice stupid doggy, look what Sammy has for you.”

Sammy Dropped the scrap a few feet away from him, luring Billy closer. Timidly the collie limped over to the obese man. He's tail began to wag, looked up slowly in response to Sammy's kind tone, in anticipation of a chance to be feed. Billy looked at the fat wanting to sniff it first but needing it more. He went closer licked his lips then took another step sniffed at it, then picked it up and eagerly began woofing it down.

“There you go, that's it, a little closer, come on now doggy, see what Sammy has for you. I have something you will remember for a long while. That's it. Nice doggy come here now.” Sammy said.

Sammy dropped another piece of freshly trimmed fat this time a little closer to his feet. Billy a little more relaxed took another step closer and eagerly picked up the second scrap and chewed this one a little, then it to disappeared. Sammy judged the distance between himself and the Dog.

Billy noticed the man's sudden movement toward him, but he was too late to get out of the way.

The man's facial expression had changed to that of a dark monster in an instant. The butcher's leg went back as if preparing to kick a field goal. Sammy landed a blow with the toe of his boot on Billy's rib cage. Sammy yelled at the dog to get and not to come back. The kick sent Billy off his feet rolling and yelping, landing on his side where Mr. Davis' car had been parked past the curb.

“YOU GET! DAM YOU! Damn Worthless mutt and never come back, or it will be worse than that for you!” Sammy yelled.

He rubbed grease from his hands off on his apron then reentered the store then wiped the beads of sweat that had formed off his forehead. He smiled exclaiming as he held up two fingers.

“Two easy points.” Sammy chuckled, as he reentered his shop.

He began to walk behind the counter a lot happier then when he had left and began to justify his actions.

“That was a little harsh don't you think, Mr.” A woman said, interrupting Sammy's victory speech.

Sammy turned on his heel, walked quickly towards her. Looked at the woman

“Excuse me” Sammy sneered, color leaving his face.

She backed up a little at first feeling a little threatened by his quick approach, then stood her ground.

“The poor thing is already hurt and starving to death, and you do that. Shame on you!” She looked at the other customers. She walked up to Sammy defiantly, “I'm not a poor beat up defenseless dog, you're just a damn bully and you don't scare me. I won't ever be back in here again.”

She looked at her husband, seeing that he was about to step in. The woman tugged on his coat sleeve not wanting to cause a scene just want to leave the store. Her husband hesitated; glared at Sammy, then followed his wife Paused at the door. “You're a real piece of work Mr.” He said. He was red in the face. Slammed Sammy's door behind him hard, making its thick plate glass rattle.

Angered by the reaction of the customers, Sammy began to defend his actions, as walked behind the counter. He took an order from one of the waiting customers and began working on the cut.

“These damn strays are getting out of hand, filthy animals. They upset my trash cans every night.”

The butcher continued to vent to his customers, saying that if he had his way he would take care of such things in a much different manner than what was taking place in the town. He took the next order and began once again trimming the fat off another roast. His mind still on the mess that he had to be cleaned up this morning in the back ally. Not about what he had just done.

Sammy turned with a deboning knife in his hand waved it accentuating his point. Another customer, a regular, stepped back.

“Keep the strays of the streets! It's very little to ask of the town council, with the amount of taxes that I have to pay. To hell with the useless Animal Control Department and the useless gun laws.” His rant continued.

“People have a right to protect themselves you know.” He pointed to the sidewalk where the altercation had taken place. “From vicious wild animals like that one,” Sammy Said.

He ended his rant and returned to work. He looked through the shop windows to see if the dog had left, raised his forearm and wiped more beads of sweat off his forehead with his white coat sleeve. “Next time it will be a knife, not my boot,” he said in a low, sinister tone.

Another customer left shortly after Sammy's rant, shaking his head. The cue was smaller now, Sammy blamed that on Billy too.

Billy had picked himself up slowly from the side of the street, dazed The wind knocked out of him by Sammy's blow to his ribs. He staggered onto the street. Cars horns sounded and swerved to avoid hitting him. He darted back to the sidewalk. The couple that had just left the shop tried to coax Billy to them. He darted past them then down a side street not stopping at any more shops, limping his way down the now crowded streets trying to find his way out of this town, avoiding further contact with anyone.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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