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Toby & Smooka Bear
American Dog #4
© 2023 James LaFond
NOV/26/23
Smooka Bear was the baby of the four Chosen Sons. The two eldest lived afar off doing human things and returned for Snow Time Gifting and snow board sliding once a year. These elder sons of James frightened Toby, eyeing him critically, judging his weight and fitness as if he were some working dog.
Not Toby, who was proud when a son would accuse The Geese of “making Tobes fat.” The Geeze would protest, noting Toby’s status as a refugee from Slanty-Eyed oppression—an economic, political and even dietary refugee—and declare, “Daddy Loves his Bobo, worthless animal that he may be. Toby is African Royalty living off the kindness of his humans!”
Nutsy, the second eldest son would declare, “If I get that fat, just get the vet and have done with it. A country dog should not be fat!”
“Show some respect for the Dark Wing Dog. Mark my words, Tobias is bound for great things!” and James Chosen hugged him.
But none of Toby’s humans hugged him like Smooka Bear. Granted, it was frightening, to have this tall, blond ape who went barefoot in the snow as if he had paws of his own, come up behind him while he was seated waiting patiently for improved food, and carry him off. Smooka Bear would slide his two long, ghostly, ape arms under the shoulders of Toby’s front legs and lift him.
‘This is terrifying,’ Toby thought the first time this happened and Bisquick counseled from her cushioned chair, “Work it Dark Dog. This insane human holds true unbounded affection for you, as well as sympathy for your pathetic plight as a beggar of food and sleeper by the door.”
‘This is frightening!’ Toby panicked inside, his amber eyes misty and his pointy ears askance. In this instance he realized that cats could read thoughts, for Bisquick said to Annie, “Our slave is afraid. When the Smooka cuddles up with the Dark Dog on the floor, show approval.”
“He’s done this to other dogs—"
"There were other dogs?” whined Toby.
“Yaaz,” purred Tuxedo Annie as she slunk towards the carpet by the wood stove where Toby was to be spooned by this towering human. Annie showed approval by the sinuous caress of her black tail and circled behind Smooka and then before Toby, “Work it, slave—this one is still growing and will be improving much food in the place that gives!”
Her claws gleamed slightly and Toby whined, “Okay, but, but, these things are stronger then they look. He could hurt me.”
Granny rocked in the chair and smiled and Mamma Bear sat in the corner chair and approved, as she knitted lace place mats for the special address of gift season food, “Toby loves Smooka Bear—my baby boy is so gentle with the little guy. What do you think he weighs, Smooka?”
“He’s up to sixty pounds Madre. The Geeze has really been putting the feed to him.”
Toby panicked, “Are they fattening me up to eat?”
“No,” assured Bisquick, “I have been here some time, five winters now, and when Benny accidentally kills a dog, they bury him with dignity.”
Annie hissed, “They should raise fat little dogs for me to hunt and eat, dogs with soft ears that whimper under the claw and gush yummy under the fang.”
“Wicked Child of Mine—”
“Lookout” warned Annie and leaped aside, as Benny, having gotten drunk drinking Steel Reserve on the way home from turd herding work, walked past The Geeze, who said, “Welcome home, Son, how was the turd herding day.”
Benny ignored his father and dumped Bisquick off her wooden chair with that plush little cushion that was supposed to be reserved for Granny and tossed aside a silvery can and drawled, “Smooka, what is you doin’ with my runnin’ dog? It is bad enough that The Geeze is making him fat and now you makin’ a lap dog of ‘im?”
“Go away, Benny, Your drunk. You don’t want me to put you in a grapevine and cradle you up until you tap out, do you?”
Annie hissed, “Dark Dog, you truly are the messiah of improved food—these humans have never fought over a dog before!”
“Whatever, Annie, this is scary!”
“Whoa,” started Toby as he was thrown over on the couch by Smooka Bear and the two towering blond apes clinched up before their knitting mother and Granny nibbling on her round, yummy, yellow crackers toasted a deep delicious brown…
As his reverie on Ritz crackers dazed him and Toby began to hope that he would forever be permitted to recline on this couch, Mamma Bear looked at him with such a ‘You are out of place’ gaze, that he slunk down, tail between his legs and found himself beneath his two human buddies, Smooka Bear and Benny Bear as they wrestled on their feet.
Mamma Bear shouted, sitting as she was nearly underneath the towering apes, “James, do something!”
James had been shuffling cards at the table, a look of sorrow on his face, and he yelled, “Sons!”
The two young apes stopped seeking to grab a hold of each other in some way more wicked then the rest and their father declared, “No closed fists in the house. Have some respect for Mamma Bear. Tobias is the referee.”
‘What is a referee?’ wondered Toby.
Annie hissed, “You encourage the combat and declare the victor.”
The boys were looking at their father and James was looking at Toby, and then he understood and barked, “Fight, fight, fight!”
Slaps were heard by Toby as he pranced around, hackles up, and barked when the apes got too near Granny in the Chair. Then, Benny Bear scooped up Smooka like Annie would a sparrow, lifted him over head, and slammed him down on the wooden floor with a crash right in front of Mamma Bear who peeped and cringed.
Annie declared, “That was definitive. I’d have his throat out already. Declare the victor before a food improving paw is damaged.”
Toby was on the case. Smooka Bear, though Toby loved him, was under his bigger brother and being served up the loser’s portion. There was really nothing else to do but pile on and lay the enamel on that Smooka Bear!
Benny was cradling Smooka who was on his back and was sneaky like trying to reverse his misfortune by placing a hand out to the side that could be used for leveraging up and rolling his brother over, and that hand—the wrist portion that is—tasted good as Toby lunged in with a vicious snarl and grabbed that Smooka paw and shook so convincing that the fight stopped as Smooka looked at Toby with disbelief and Benny stood and raised his hands, “The HNC referee has declared the winner!”
Toby released Smooka’s paw unharmed—just a little red—and stood on his hind feet aprance to bask in the adoration of Benny Bear. Benny grabbed him and placed Toby on his shoulders and danced a gig about the living room as James laughed and Smooka brushed himself off as Benny declared, “Tobes and The champ are goin’ ta Burger King for a bacon cheeseburger—how ‘bout that Tobes!”
“Hells yeah!” barked Toby from that broad set of shoulders. Driving in Benny’s truck to the window for a burger was Toby’s favorite event. He had become something of a celebrity to the human bitches that dispensed the food. These creatures would fawn on Toby and reserve him two special pieces, of yummy, delicious, greasy, scrumptious, salty, double delicious bacon!
Mamma Bear cautioned, “James, he’s been drinking?”
“Son?” warned James.
Benny smiled a smile of purest innocence as the cats looked on with a keen interest in Benny, “Awe, don’t worry Geese, I finished off the Steel Reserve on the way home—none left ta drink.”
Then did dawn one of Toby’s greatest adventures…
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