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. They'd spent the day, hot on the trail of the notorious bandit, Dangerous Dan McGroan. The clouds of stars lit the night sky. The companions ate beans. Wonder dog Prince eyed his friend as the Sergeant picked away at his dinner.
"You know, King," the Sgt. said, "Maybe I'd like to settle down someday soon, maybe get married and raise some children."
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
"I'm so cold," Sgt. Prestleton said to Prince. "There's not a scrap of wood here. Bet you're cold too, huh, boy?"
Prince shrugged as convincingly as a malamute could shrug. He felt pretty toasty under his fur.
Sgt. Prestleton began to shiver. Bits of frost began to fly from his hat. He glanced around as if to locate some source of fuel, but sadly, there was nothing to see. "You know, I'm not a drinking man, but I could really go for a cup of cocoa right now."
Prince bent down for another mouthful of beans, and then decided he would curl up around his friend, even if the man's odor repulsed him.
But the Sergeant rose with a grin. "You know, there's all those bales of dried drugs. I'm going to get one from the bottom of the pile and throw it on the fire."
The man fetched a bale. As soon as Sgt. Prestleton tossed it onto the fire, it flared up to a near bonfire. The sergeant moved closer to the blaze, and stretched out his hands. "Ah, this is better," he said, breathing deeply. "Right boy, this is the ticket, right?" The man arose and stood with his face over the top of the flames.
Prince curled into a ball, prepared for sleep.
"Beans!" the man shouted. "I need more beans. How 'bout you boy? You want some beans? I want some beans."
Prince looked up at his friend, then put his head back onto his paws. He heard the man open another can. His companion chuckled to himself. Prince fell to sleep, secure in the notion that his master would now spend the night comfortably.
Was it the sergeant's snoring that awoke him? No, not the snoring. What? The gravel crunched from the weight of a foot. The dog stood at alert. He sniffed the smell of strangers. Where?
He barked to alert his friend, but the sergeant continued to snore.
Prince noticed movement some 50 meters behind Prestleton. To the left came another flash of movement, and to the right. Behind, Prince heard the scrape of someone climbing the bluff.
Although Prince had vowed never to speak as a human again, he called to his man. "Sarge! Hey Sarge, wake up!"
He ran over to his friend and licked his face. "Sarge, come on."
Still the men neared the campsite. Prince recognized the fat face of Lopes.
Sgt. Prestleton snored on without waking. Prince licked his face again. He pawed the man. He even bit his friend's hand. The sergeant snored away.
Prince noticed the gleam of weapons only some 20 meters off now.
"Sarge! Damn! Sarge, wake up! What's wrong with you?"
His friend snored without stirring.
Prince fetched a burning ember from the fire. He shoved it down Prestleton's boot. Prestleton stopped snoring but shook the ember free.
"Damn Sarge! You're gonna get us killed!" Prince lifted his leg and urinated on his partner's face. The sergeant wiped at the wetness, reflexively.
Now the bad men stood around the edge of the campsite.
Prince pawed and bit and licked Prestleton, all without waking him.
"Ahh, ha, ha, ha!" said Lopes. "I'm going to carve up de sergeant into little pieces."
Prince charged back and forth between the four men, bared his teeth, and growled.
All the criminals seemed afraid, but Lopes said, "Don't hurt the nice doggie. I will feed him to my fighting wolves for sport."
Prince now ran back and forth, feigning madness, and awaiting his chance to attack.
The bad men began to poke at him now with their hunting knives, laughing and making sport of poor Prince.
Suddenly, behind the group rose Sgt. Prestleton with his rifle. "Drop 'em boys before I aerate your gizzards."
The men dropped their weapons.
"Good job, Prince," the sergeant said as he began tying the hands of the captured men.
Prince stood guard over the men while the sergeant continued to tie them up.
When the four were finally bond hand and foot around the glimmering fire, Sgt. Prestleton said, "Another good day's work. We really fooled them into thinking I was fast asleep huh? By the way, Prince, your breath is getting a little funky. We might have to get those teeth cleaned. Well, how about some more beans."
Prince sunk to the ground, a little embarrassed.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Sergeant Prestleson and His Dog Prince-- Prince Speaks English Poorly-- A Very Short Work of Fiction
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.
8/6/10 by Frank Criscenti