Friday, August 6, 2010

Sergeant Prestleson and His Dog Prince-- Prince Speaks English Poorly-- A Very Short Work of Fiction

Sergeant Prestleson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and his wonder dog Prince sat around the campfire one night in the wilds of the Yukon. A cold fog clung to the tops of the pines. Sergeant Prestleton ate the remains of a can of beans. His dog Prince also had beans in his bowl. They had been on the trail of the outlaw Frenchie Maurice Noir for six days. Frenchie had robbed an old miner and his granddaughter Kelly of their life savings. Prestleton meant to get it back.

The howl of wolves pierced the still night.

"I'm glad I have you nearby boy," said Prestleton to his wonder dog Prince. "I can count on you to protect me."

Prince looked up from his beans. Prince said, "Protect you from what?"

The sergeant started. "You spoke!" he said.

"What do you expect?" Prince said. "I'm a wonder dog."

"I just never knew," said Prestleton.

"Yeah, well, get back to the point. What do you expect me to protect you from?"

"That's not speaking English well," said the man. "One shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition."

A snarl curled on the dog's lips. "I'm a wonder dog," he said. "Not an English professor. Nonetheless, I suppose you think I will save you from the jaws of my brethren, the wolves."

"Well of course," said the sergeant. "You are my dog. My bosom companion. Mon ami. Pal. Buddy."

"Despite my wonder status," said Prince, "I am still a dog. A canine, but one step removed from the wild. I may join the wolves and have you for dinner. After all, beans are not very dignified fare for a wonder dog."

Prestleton frowned at this. A tear formed in the corner of his left eye. "But you have been my friend for years. My compadre. My mate. My..."

"Cut the crap!" said Prince. "How is it that you see predatory humans all the time-- that you view their inability to rise above the savage, and yet a dog, wonder or no, is expected to ignore his beastly instincts and save you, naive young fool that you are."

The man stared at his dog with disbelief. "But your acts of bravery... Your kindness... How do you explain these things if you are not my friend? My partner?"

"So now I am your partner, huh?" said the dog.

"For all these years," said Prestleton.

The dog stared at the man for nearly a minute. Then a smile came onto his muzzle. "I'm just messing with you Sarge," the dog said. "Would I let you be eaten by a pack of wolves?"

The Mountie sunk back onto the boulder at his back. "You really got me," he said. "You really, really got me. I thought you were serious."

"Don't be silly," said Prince. "You're my buddy. Besides, wolves are a bunch of Philistines."

"That's my boy," said the sergeant. "But all this time you could talk. Why didn't you let me know sooner? Think of the conversations we could've had on lonely nights such as these."

"Who can talk?" said the dog, and he went back to his beans and never spoke another word.

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