Chapter Five – A Little Behind

Posted on Monday, April 25th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Our house was not only within walking distance of a lake but we also had a huge forest in behind it.  There were walking paths all through it, and I found one that led to an old fort some kid had made into a clubhouse. cabin The boards were soft and moldy, and some were missing and there were rusty nails sticking out everywhere, but I figured I could fix it up; get some new lumber; maybe find a piece of rug, and a lock for the door.  I could do it and it would be great, I knew that.  But I also knew I would need some friends for it to be a real clubhouse. I pushed that thought away and concentrated on Gabe.

Gabe followed me as we snooped around the fort and explored the forest.  When we came to a clearing I found a stick.  I waved it above his nose and he went crazy barking and jumping around.  He brought it back every time I threw it, getting just as excited as the first time.

My arm was getting sore so I decided to chuck it as far as I could to keep him occupied for a while as I caught my breath.  I brought it back and flung it forward with a grunt.   It flew high into the air and landed right in between two branches.

“Sorry boy, I guess that’s it for today.”

I sat down and expected Gabe to come and nudge me for more, but he didn’t.  He started to run toward the tree and that’s when it happened.

My mouth dropped to the ground as I saw him leap.  Huge white wings spread out from his shoulders and he flapped once, twice, and on the third he reached the branch, grabbed the stick and floated gently to the ground.

“Whoo hoo, Gabe.  That was awesome!”  I touched his wings folded tightly to his side, and I felt my eyes trying to leak.  It was weird.  I wasn’t sad; I guess it just hit me.  That he was no ordinary dog.

“Awesome,” I whispered as he dropped the stick at my side and lay down beside me.   I reached down and ran my fingers through his thick fur. He turned on his back and showed off his soft pink-skinned tummy.  It was warm and smooth.

I lay down beside him and gave and gave him a playful push and he rolled back over.  Before I knew what was happening he placed his front paws on my chest and was soaking my face with his tongue. We wrestled around for a while until I was laughing so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. I had to tell him “enough.”

I lay back down and Gabe rested his head on my stomach. Every time I took a breath his head moved up and down, his eyes always watching me. I think we both let out a sigh at the same time.

“You are some kind of dog, you know that.”

“Hey goofy, who ya talking to?  That bump on your head must have really screwed up that little pea brain of yours.”

That deep rough voice, that mean way of making someone feel small; I knew it was Bruce.  Where did he come from? Did he have some kind of radar on me?

Gabe sat up, and moved back, his ears flat against his head.

“Don’t worry Gabe, I won’t let him hurt you,” I whispered.

“Get away from me Bruce.  You could have killed me you know, you jerk.” I shouted at him as I stood up.

“It wasn’t my fault,” Bruce snorted, “as a matter of fact you should be thanking me for helping you to learn how to swim.”

“Ya, right. I sure learned how to swim. If it hadn’t have been for…” I glanced at Gabe, but Bruce didn’t follow my gaze.

I realized that Bruce could not see Gabe. What could I say, “a dog with wings dragged me out of the water?”

“Hadn’t been for what, that snotty little girlfriend of yours?  I was running home to tell my Dad. He would have come to save you.  He’s a top athlete you know.  I’m in training too; he kind of helps me out. I bet I could beat you at anything.”

Doesn’t this guy ever give up?

“Let’s have a race,” he said and gave me a shove.sjneaker

“Who cares about some dumb stupid race?  I got better things to do with my time.”  I didn’t, but doing anything that involved Bruce, win or loose, seemed like a waste of time.

“Come on you wussy, you gonna let one little bump on the head stop you?” He shoved me again.

Gabe growled, but Bruce heard nothing.   I knew the only way to get rid of Bruce was to do the race.  I didn’t even care if I won. I just wanted him to leave us alone.

“Okay, Bruuucie, let’s do it.”

“To that tree at the end of the clearing and back” he said.


At the count of three I took off.   However, Bruce took off at the count of two and a half.  He had a head start and I knew this race was all over before it began. My heart was pumping loudly in my chest and my breathing was short and quick, but after a few minutes it evened out.

As I rounded the tree, I caught up to him. He gave a loud grunt and tried to pull away, but his foot slipped on the grass.  Gabe was with us all the way, and he was so close to my heels I was scared I was going to step on him.


We had fifty feet to go when Bruce turned around and yelled. “Told ya, you wussy, you don’t have what it takes.”

I saw his eyes widen. The smile melted from his face when he saw how close I was.

Gabe pulled out in front of me and headed straight for Bruce. With a soaring dive Gabe’s teeth caught a piece of Bruce’s back pocket. I saw Bruce jerk back and look behind him, his eyebrows scrunched low.  He pumped his arms harder as Gabe put on the brakes.

“What’s going on?”  Again he turned.pocket

With a loud rip his pants and his pocket said good-bye to one another and he somersaulted to the ground.

“Yes!” I ran all the way to the finish and pumped my arm.

Bruce got to one knee and looked behind him to the right, to the left.  He stood up and spun around.  Staggering towards me he shook his head and frowned and for once didn’t have a smart thing to say.

I could see a huge hole down the back seat of his pants, where his pocket had been.

“Who’s the baby now? Better go fix your pants baby; I think you soiled your underwear.  I pointed and laughed so hard I cried.

“Good boy Gabe, good boy” I said as we stood and watched Bruce run for home, trying to hold his pants together.

As the day wore on I felt bad about what happened until I thought about the next day.  It was the first day of school.  School was Bruce.

school b

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