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Toby & James Chosen
American Dog #2
© 2023 James LaFond
NOV/19/23
Toby lie curled up just inside the see through glass door that slides. The metal giants high up on Cedar Mountain howled without and the memory of the slanty-eyed fiend moaned within Toby’s troubled soul.
‘What if that is the sound of giant slanty-eyed devils sharpening their knives up on the mountain?’ worried Toby within as the shadows of the morning shallows danced about him and he shivered, exposed as he was more near the terrifying and clinging night than any of the big humans or the mean little cats.
One such shadow danced nearer, rose above his snout where it rested on his black paws, and that shadow spoke, “Black Dog, the humans let the fire go out. My body is not warmed to the optimal degree. Make room.”
“But it is my bed…” Toby began to complain.
His objection was silenced by five gleaming needle claws that popped out of Tuxedo Annie’s right paw and touched his snout just so as she mused, “Such a soft, tender, moist snout, you have Dark Dog. Now uncurl a little so that I might warm my haunches for the dawn hunt.”
Toby sat up some and Annie purred as she curled within the warm arch of his four legs, “Your slave instincts are deep, Dark Dog.”
Toby shivered and laid his head against the cold wall as Annie stole his heat. Eventually the natural laziness of his kind overcame his terror of Annie and he dozed, his sad, worried, amber eyes shutting…
“Tobbes, my Bobo Animal!” sounded the voice of the towering James Chosen. “Mamma Bear, look—Toby and Annie are friends!”
As the first light of dawn bathed the room in its soft glow Mamma Bear sighed, “That s so sweet! If cats and dogs can get along so well then there is hope for humanity, for peace on earth.”
James snorted in disgust, “Whatever, Woman, that evil puddie cat probably told that dark wing dog to move over!”
With that the man lit up a mechanical torch that roared, piled wood in the stove, and started a crackling fire.
“It is about time!” hissed Annie as she rose and slunk over towards the wood stove and Bisquick reminded them of their pact, “Food—Annie over to the standard kibble can while I reserve moist food.”
With that Annie led Mamma Bear over to the cat food locker and Bisquick rubbed in and out of James’ ankles and the ape recalled his purpose for living, “Oh Mamma Cat, I have some extra special good food for you—triple meat: fish, chicken and liver!”
“What about my food?” asked Toby. My bowl is empty and I can’t get the lid off of my food can, and I can’t get out the sliding door to get to the food can?”
“Your food is terrible, Toby,” informed Annie. “You should seek improved human food—and do not even think about touching our kibble!”
“Seek it for us all,” purred Bisquick as the cats ate from the bowl into which James scooped yummy smelling wet food.
Toby stood and pawed the back of James’s baer leg, for he was wearing his at home clothes, the bathrobe. The man shuffled comically and turned, looking down into Toby’s teary eyes, “Oh, Bobo Animal, I’m sorry. Let me get you some yummy food!”
With that the man took one hand and slid the door aside, using his thumb—his oh so useful human version of a dew claw—and Toby was stricken with a life altering epiphany, the music of the everlasting spheres ringing in his head, ‘When I get a little bigger, I can use my dew claw like that!’
James came back inside with the metal scoop of brown kibble filled and poured it into Toby’s bowl with much fanfare, “Tobias, breakfast is served! Toby is dark and furry and one day to be big and burly!”
Toby rushed over, thrust his muzzle into the bowl, filled it with kibble and began to crunch, and it did not taste half as good as it smelled, and it did not smeel have as good as what the cats mucnched.
Annie sneered as she ate her soft food, “You feel that, Dark Dog? Get used to that feeling! A dog should know its place.”
Saddened, Toby crunched away upon the unsavory fare as the evil cats purred and dined upon their canned delicacies and more refined kibble.
“What is My Wonderful Man up to in my kitchen?” asked Mamma Bear.
“Oh, some eggs, and bacon, sausage and cheese, with a side of buttered corn bread,” declared James as he smashed pots and pans and slammed cabinets. Now, the cats did not speak or understand human speech, but they divined with precise accuracy, the pending actions of humans based on their current actions, their specific case history and their apish proclivities.
Annie sneered between dainty bites of her dagger teeth, “If only they were smaller we might dispense with the charade and eat them—brains first, I should think.”
“Wicked Child of Mine, to your post—human food is being improved!”
With that warning both cats leaped to one of the three wooden stools, upon which humans sat and spun as they ate and talked and consulted the great human god that resided in their phones.
‘My food is sub standard,’ thought Toby, as he bolted down a mouthful without chewing and looked longingly over his shoulder at James, chopping and mixing food from the cold box in the kitchen. An empty stool yawned empty between the two cats who sat upon the two end stools and looked over the counter at the sublime ritual that was the improvement of human food into nourishment of stupendous quality.
Toby ran, just like the cats, only being about twice their size, and leaped onto the middle stool and it spun under him like it did under a rapturing human, only his paws did not stick like a human’s haunch and he spun off the stool to fall in a pain wracked heap below at the base of the stools and counter.
“Tobbes!” came James to the rescue, “Bro, you are not a cat. Evil puddies! They tricked my Tobias, Mamma Bear—come here Bobo!”
With those words James picked Toby up, cradled him, kissed him, carried him into the kitchen where cats were not welcome, being consigned due to former ventures upon the counter tops to peering in from the far side of the counter near the door and Toby’s bed.
James set Toby down and petted him, declaring, “Toby, you stay in here while I cook and you get anything that falls. In addition, how would you like some bacon grease and melted cheese on your nasty kibble?”
“Oh, hell yes!” whined Toby as he pranced and spun, holding his paws out so that the ape might hold his hands as they danced before the stove, where food was deliciously improved.
Annie purred to Bisquick, “Our slave is in!”
Bisquick counseled her evil daughter, “By kind to Toby...so long as he leaves some for us in that big silvery bowl!”
Cheese was so good—even better melted.
Bacon was even better!
It did pain Toby not to finish his special dish as he backed away and sat at attention while the cats stalked in to take their cut of the improved food. However, it did raise his reputation in the eyes of the humans, as Mamma Bear cooed, “Toby is inviting his friends to dinner—what a good boy!”
Every day that James improved food in the kitchen, Toby was there, loyally underfoot.
And, when James started up Big Red, the monster diesel truck to go get gas at the gas and food getting place where so many Slanty-Eyed Devils did the same, Toby was glad to go along. For James would roll down Toby’s window when one of the dog eaters was nearly within biting distance. James would issue such words of encouragement as, “Reparations time, Dark One—lay the enamel on those slanty-eyed devils!”
And Toby was good for a show of canine splendor, hackles up, tail arrogantly curled, serrated teeth bared under quivering red lips and a great “Grrrr!” sending more than a few of those Asiatic malefactors away from the gas pumps and incidentally out of James Chosen’s hurried way.
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