The dame paraded to my office like trouble on two legs. She had fists on her hips, and a big question on her lips.
Answering big questions is one of the things I'm good at.
"Who's a good dog?"
That would be me.
"Who's the bestest puppy?"
Again, that would be me.
"Who chewed my slippers?"
I'd like to take the fifth on that.
Today's question was a tough cookie to crunch.
"Who dumped the garbage?"
This question wasn't as simple as it sounded. I'd have just claimed it wasn't me, except, as everyone knows, you can't prove a negative.
She glared at me as if I were the garbage strewn across the drive. "I'll clean it up this time, but if it gets dumped again, there's going to be trouble. Do you get me, Dogbreath?"
'Dogbreath' meant trouble.
The tone of voice meant big trouble.
I had to solve this case and solve it fast.
I headed to the scene of the crime and sniffed around. There was plenty of evidence. One big scent that didn't belong. One joker that wasn't part of my deck.
"Get your nose out of the garbage! You're not helping."
She shooed me away, but not before I placed the culprit. The grapevine had been flapping about a low-life nosing around the edges of my neighborhood for a couple weeks. It was a given that he'd been casing the area until he was ready to make a raid.
I won't claim I've never bent any rules, but this smash and grab was over the top. It couldn't be overlooked. This would be his last raid. Someone needed to guard the premises, and that someone would be me.
On warm nights, I sometimes sleep in my office. It's a comfy little bungalow in the back yard with wall-to-wall carpet and a two-bowl snack bar.
Tonight would be a good night for a stakeout.
As soon as it was dark, I whined by the door until the dame called for her muscle. He let me use the yard, then tried to take me back inside. I pulled back until he gave up and fastened my chain to the stake. This was my beat. I had an easy run from my office to the trash cans. As soon as the gonif showed up, I'd finger him and call in the feds.
I settled onto the carpet and applied my eagle-eye to the scene of the crime.
I swear I never sleep on the job, not even a—forgive the expression—catnap. Still, I woke with a start when the trash can's lid clanged onto the pavement.
I blared the alert: three yips, three long howls, three more yips.
The bandit took off and I bounded after him. I stretched my neck to collar him when I came up short against the end of my chain. I flipped tail over tongue and my prey dived under a fence to vanish into the darkness.
Lights came on in the houses around, and faces darkened the windows.
"Godammit, can't you keep your mutt quiet?" shouted the next-door cat lady.
"Shit, he's into the garbage again!" observed my dame's muscle.
This was big trouble.
It was a setup. The thug framed me like a Picasso. This mess could cost me my license. I might even get sent to the slammer, straight to door number seven.
Come morning, the dame held the can while her muscle shoveled the trash back into it.
I stayed in my office. I was in the dog house big-time and everybody knew it.
Once the trash can was where it belonged, they left in their four-wheeled chase-me toy.
When the coast was clear, I sidled over to the can and tagged it. That would tell the bandit it was on my turf. Smart punks would steer clear of this bin and look for easier pickings. Nobody guarded the cat lady's trash. On the other hand, her trash can smelled like old litter boxes.
Hours later, the dame and her muscle came back.
"What's that odor?" she asked her muscle.
He studied the puddle by the trash bin and sniffed.
He stared accusingly at me. "Did you do this?"
Time to look innocent. I pulled the puppy-eye routine. Really, who knew marking territory was a misdemeanor?
No stakeout that night. They kept me inside, under house arrest.
OMG this is a great story. I love dogs but usually don't like cutesy dog detectives. These guys nailed it.
Absolutely fantastic!! Clever, witty, humorous and ingenious! Doggone great story!
I am a dog lover and we have had many dogs within the family. I loved this humorous mystery, and the dog behavior is right on. Great job.,.