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  1. #1
    No One of Consequence wilomn's Avatar
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    Tails of Trouble

    Surrounded by missing posters and phone numbers on white 3x5 cards, half covered by ancient yellow post its, I found the business card, almost invisible amidst the clutter; descriptions detailing what dialing those digits inscribed upon it could allow you to obtain. Many of the posters not of a missing nature advertised wares that were superior in all ways to everything ever made, as is common on bulletin boards. They added colour, lime green, bright pink, faded magenta, reminding me a of a faded discarded wedding boquet.

    My search had been a long unhurried one with many lead followed, many a mile travelled, many a folly avoided. Word of mouth, talking to others in possession of that for which I searched, various newspapers, magazines and bulletin boards diligently sleuthed, investigated, checked by both hand and eye, none of sufficient quality, be it conformation, colour, lineage or questionable therefore unacceptable health. I had no desire to enter into a new and potentially years long relationship only to have end in a few months because my new partner was sick or so inbred that physical trouble was inevitable.

    I wasnít looking for just any puppy, I was waiting, looking, searching far and wide for what I knew would be my closest friend. You cannot rush such things. Too many lived lives of cruelty, loneliness, abuse. Taking the number on the card I made the hundredth call of this little quest of mine. There was a litter, less than a week old two of which were males.

    With nothing more than a compass, map, sextant, tenacity and an extra five gallon container of gas, counting on my superhuman ability to see with no illumination save that of the stars on a cold cloudy night, I was off to see if my new was waiting for me.

    The blacktop was grey with night and age, the yellow lines once solid and bold now faded and dull, crisp roadside edges erased by thousands of cars rounding hundreds of turns just a tad too close to the thousand foot drop that was invisible now but would inspire awe when the sun lit the dark recesses so far below, tens of thousands hundreds of thousands, millions maybe, of tires slipping off the worn blacktop sluicing through the gravel finally slamming back onto the road proper.

    Trees lined the left side of the twisting mountain road reaching branch by branch through clouds low dark and heavy, striving for some illusory tree-heaven where logging trucks and chainsaws were never seen. To the right, inches away but a thousand feed down granite rock and boulders littered the steep incline ending at long last in a riverbed long dry, not even a tiny backwash of pooling water to reflect the light that wasnít there.

    I drove, not like a man on a mission, not like a man in need, not like a man looking for a part of himself that he didnít know was lost until it was found, I drove calmly, coolly, never once sending up a spray of gravel as my tires left the worn asphalt path I was on, having barely a sliver of hope that this time, the hundredth time, I would find The One.

    Passing the raccoon and her kits I gave her and the motherhood she represented a tip of a metaphorical cap, letting her know that I knew how difficult raising five children all alone could be. She chattered her racoony thank you, her masked face perfect for the trash can burglaries she was about to commit, her children trailing behind learning the hard lessons of survival. Road dancing to miss the baseball sized toads toading about on the roadway, doubtlessly off to amplex in hidden ponds and streams inaccessible to mere bipeds as myself, stopping completely to watch the bear cub lumbering along the edge, either knowing and not caring or not knowing at all that a single misstep to the right would send it over the edge, hurtling to a death both messy and painful.

    The great horned owl swooping through the wash of light from my low beams was eerily spooky, so silent it went, so wide its wings, so yellow and large its eyes, an unlucky snake its next meal clutched in talons two inched long. Had Treebeard himself stepped from among the forest I would not have been surprised.

    Winding like a worm stuck on a drying sidewalk the road slithered up the mountain side, finally reaching an altitude sufficient to see the stars shining above but close enough to touch, glory unfounded by anything known to man, the clouds left behind slowly becoming an impervious blanket smothering everything below me, leaving a black cotton landscape humped and pillowed seemingly solid enough that were I to drive straight at the next curve I would not meet a granity death but be cushioned, cuddled even, by their billowing softness, caressed with the care of a mother for her newly born as I rushed, plummeted, rocketed at terminal velocity to smash on that dry riverbed now so far below.

    Fate had plans other than plummeting crashes down thousand foot slops of granite in store for me that night. With the stars now visible, each one so bright that when combined all together the sun itself could not outshine them. The air, crisp and clear, cold, scented with cedar, pine and wayward oak went down, in, smoothly, refreshingly, refueling my poor abused lungs so used to breathing the semisolid sludge of The City, encouraging me to not give up, to not think the next turn, the next twist, the next serpentine writhing my car must endure to reach our goal, would never arrive, was illusionary as an honest politician on campaign for re-election, but was in fact close, around the next rib bending turn above the soft clouds now so far below, so thickly massed, gathered, that the Earth had ceased to exist.

    It was just me, a gazillion stars and pavement that was old before I was a glimmer in my fatherís eye so very long ago, and the promise, the hope, of finding a pup, the pup, for which I had so diligently searched these past 3 years.

    No more Vega Bombs from Oregon stuffed with tired emaciated :cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r: covered puppies riding in an empty spare tire well. No more 90%ers that looked more beagle than anything else, no more searching for the friend I hadnít yet met.

    I was hopeful in a small way. I learned long ago not to hope too much for too much. Best to be pleasantly surprised than continually disappointed as would surely have been the case were I to rely too heavily on Luck and her sister Circumstance. Hundreds of tailwagging disappointments, cute but inbred, outbred, parvo ridden flea infested hipbone showing glassy eyed canines more fit for Puppy Lake than continued life. It was sad that so many went through so much for so little. So my hope was small, not miniscule, not invisible, but like a mosquito in a dark room, hovering about zzzzzzing in my ear from time to time reminding me that it had not yet gone away.

    Orange mailboxes clustered one upon another like gooseberries ready for picking began to appear, indicating that the dwellings of men were located near. Watching for the pregnant pine that indicated the dirt track I need to turn on I almost missed the alligator lizard relaxing in the middle of the road. Stopping to see if he was alive was all the encouragement he needed to scamper off, irritation apparent, looking back over his nonexistent shoulder to register his displeasure at my interruption of his pavement somnambulance.

    The top of the mountain was clearly outlined by the lack of stars, a huge black jagged triangle cutting into the tapestry that was the sky that night, pinpoints of light vying, striving burning voluminous quantities of gasses in the process necessary to travel the millions and billions of miles the journey from the outer realms they call home necessatates. I was nearing my goal. Soon the road would level out, as best it could, travelling from this tired mountain track to cross hidden valleys, cruise down earthen bulwarks millions, billions of years old, winding wending on the very bones of Mother Earth herself, dropping beneath gauzey darkness that clouds become when thick and dark, through tunnels scraped, gouged, drilled through flesh of stone, rubble and dirt, passing at last to the realm of man once again, saying farewell to the Giant Sequoias making vast portions of the brightly lit seem opaque, hidden behind their monstrous gigantic bulks, greeting the lower dwelling Oaks, Live, Blue and combinations of the two, sliding at last, having left its dual miniscule lines of rubber, front right tire followed immediately, unwavering by the right rear tire, the same for the other side, the southpaw side, the dexter side as it were, perfectly aligned black circular spinning parallelograms , indistinguishable one from the other, both tires and the trail unseen, unraveling as though a monstrous kitten played with a gigantic ball of yarn, save only on the tightest of turns where there is no possibility for such duplicatic doubling; the front wheels cavorting about under the wells that protect me from mud and spray as the yellowish lane indicator lines faded further in to nonexistence , breaking that perfectly made fuel injected rubber wearing fugitive from High School Math class, ruining the perfect symmetry only achieved by two lines kept artificially both equidistant and perfectly level by manmade ingenuity.

    At last the Pregnant Pine appeared. A brussle sprout 70 feet tall, slender like a school girlís arm, with truly could only be described as a pregnancy readily apparent three feet from the road and six feet about it. Stretch lines, belly button, the tension of life growing within drawing tighter and ever tighter, making thinner and ever thinner, the live giving cambium, zylum and phloem, the blood of all trees.

    There were no driveways here nicely paved, smoothed by concrete poured from rumps of massive round bellied coleopterans the way it was done down mountain. A small cut in the unbreakable line of trees the only indication that my turn was there. No little orange mailbox for indication to proximity of the reason I was on this quest . Just the simple directions to turn at the Pregnant Pine on the left almost to the top of the mountain, follow the road as it descends into the tree filled valley below, to the right of the three boulders that look like a badger eating a sausage, over the wooden bridge of the small gurgling creek, over the cattle guard, past the old burned down general store at which you take the second left after, this one easier to find than is sounds, down just a mile or two more (was more like six, but whoís counting) and I would see a deer carcass in front of a brown pine log cabin with a huge blue pickup piggy backing an equally gigantic camper.

    Parking next to this beast, newly made in the EARLY sixties, I had at long last arrived at what would hopefully be my last stop in this 3 year quest.

    __________________________________________________________________Trouble was my dog, my companion, my friend. Old age and a failing body took him from me but not before we had a hellofa life. There will be more to come about him and our various sundry adventures. Hope you enjoy and anticipate the next one.
    I may not be very smart, but what if I am?
    Stinky says, "Women should be obscene but not heard." Stinky is one smart man.

  2. #2
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Makes me go, "Awwwwwwwwwww...." and "Dang, that was way too short!" LOL
    -- Judy

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