Poor Tarzan, left alone with an ecstatically licking B and an increasingly bedraggled Beauregarde, guessed what I was about to do and prudently retreated to near the garage door. I made it up to the deck and let poor Odd Trundles out. He’d been sitting there with his bulldog snout pressed against the glass, since I’d so rudely shut the door in his face before.
“OH, MUM,” he greeted me, “I WAS SOOOO LOOOOOOOONELY. I DIDN’T THINK YOU WERE EVER COMING BACK.”
“It’s been ninety seconds,” I told him. “Come on. You’ll enjoy this.”
Since he’d just awakened, he stretched luxuriously, yawned, and smacked his jowls before he ambled after me. Halfway down the deck stairs, though, he realized Something Was Happening In The Backyard. He scrambled down the last flight, made the sharp right to head towards the larger portion of the backyard, and stopped dead for a moment.
“That’s right,” I whispered. “Go get it.”
“Holy crap,” Tarzan blurted from near the garage door, peering around a huge rhododendron probably older than both of us. “Are you sure this is a good–“
“NEWFRIEND!” Odd bellowed. “NEWFRIEND *snortwhistlefartyip* NEWFRIEND NEWFRIEND!”
“Now play nice with–” B began.
It was too late. The game was afoot, the rocket had achieved liftoff, the cavalry was charging.
I should have known it wouldn’t be so simple.
“EXCELSIOR!” Beauregarde screamed, wriggling from under Miss B’s paw. He eyed the almost-sixty-pounds of bulldog bearing down upon him at high speed with no trepidation at all. “FOR MY BIPED PRINCESS! TO ARMS, TO ARMS!”
And the silly, stupid baby squirrel shot forward to do battle.
I stood there, mouth ajar. Tarzan began to laugh helplessly, the merriment of a shipwreck survivor who sees a fleet of sharks approaching. He reached for his pocket, and I realized he was grabbing his phone.
Odd realized something was not quite working the way it should and put on the brakes, but he had quite a lot of momentum–bulldogs are very dangerous over short distances–and his frantic scrabble to halt made me wince.
Beauregarde darted underneath Odd. Odd let out a short, frantic bark and scrambled away, tearing up chunks of the yard as he finally managed to stop.
Beauregarde stopped on a dime, tail twitching, and eyed him balefully. “STAND AND FIGHT, ROGUE!”
“Oh dear,” I began, and Odd, his pride pricked (or his tiny little brain deciding to take one more whack at solving the problem in its accustomed manner) dashed for the soaked, offending furball once more.
Again, Beauregarde darted underneath the rushing bulldog train, but Odd wasn’t going nearly as fast. He halted and gave me an agonized, amazed look.
Tarzan’s laughter intensified. I pinched the bridge of my nose to stave off the incipient headache.
“KNAVE! SCOUNDREL! VILLAIN!” Beauregard howled.
And Odd, dimly understanding that his new friend was taking shelter beneath his bulk and making strange noises, decided to take a page from Miss B’s book. He put his head down, snorfled and danced until his jowls draped over Beauregarde’s hysterical screaming, and began to lick.
“Oh, for Chrissake,” I began, and Tarzan all but buckled, bending over and holding his stomach.
At least he was having a good time.
…To Be Continued…