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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Bit of Drabble



I Swear to You!

(a bit of drabble for your enjoyment)

“I swear to you, Caitlyn, there was a dog driving that car!”

Gum snapped, eyes rolled.

“Don’t look at me like that, girl. I might be old but I’m not blind.”

“Your glasses came from 1972 and you have a cataract on your left eye, Mr. Wassenbaum.”

The old man hitched up his tweed pants by a belt loop and sniffed, turning his back on his teenage neighbor. “The car went right past me at the mailbox, doing at least sixty. I look up to give the guy a piece of my mind, and it’s a honest to goodness dog behind the wheel.”

“Have you been mixing your meds again, Mr. W?”

“You kids nowadays think you’re so funny. Look at the car, wrapped around that ninety year old oak tree in Bob Temple’s yard.”

“There’s not a dog in the driver’s seat, Mr. W. We looked, remember? The driver jumped out and ran off.”

“Did we look for paw prints, then, missy?” He turned his glare on the girl with her blonder-than-blonde bob and her fourteen year old freckles. “Because I can promise you that there are no bootprints around that car!’

“Would it make you happy if we look for dog prints, Mr. W?” Caitlyn eyed the end of the cul de sac, and Old Wassenbaum knew the red and blues would come screeching around the bend in a matter of minutes. “My mom will be home soon and it’s getting dark.”

The two walked side by side toward the smoking heap of metal that had once been a pretty nice sedan. Now a ninety year old oak grew from the hood, leaking sap all over the cherry red paint.

“Do you see any footprints, Miss Caitlyn Sassy Pants?” Wassenbaum demanded, hunched over the ground at the base of the tree. “I sure as heck don’t.”

“No,” the young girl agreed reluctantly. “No footprints, Mr. W.”

“I told you I wasn’t crazy. Now, look a little harder. Any paw prints?”

The two hunted the mud for a few minutes without speaking, and it was the old man who gave up first. “Damn it. No paw prints either.”

“Language, Mr. W. If my mom hears you swearing she won’t let me hang out anymore.”

The old man waved a hand. “I just don’t get it. I know what I saw.”

“You’re old,” the young girl said unforgivingly. “Sometimes old folks see stuff. Hallucinations.”

“My mind is as sharp as an axe, Caitlyn Sassy Britches. Let’s look in the car some more.”

“We might get in trouble if the cops come.”

“I’ll take the blame,” the old man assured the girl. He pulled opened the warped driver’s door a bit more, wincing at the scream of the metal. He stuck his head in and peered about for a bit. “Looks like a car,” he said at last.

“So no dog. We both agreed that you didn’t see a dog driving the car, right Mr. W?” Caitlyn had the good grace to look a bit worried for the old man. “They might think you’re senile and try to send you away if you tell the cops that story.”

“I might be ninety one, but I’m not a doofus. There was a dog driving that car.”

Caitlyn came to the old man and took his arm, nudging him back toward his house. The sound of police sirens could be heard in the distance; they were growing closer by the second.

“I just don’t get it,” the old man muttered. “My brain pan is solid as ever.”

They froze when a massive golden retriever strolled from the alley between their homes.

“Caitlyn girl, I see a big damned dog right there. Do you see it, too?” Wassenbaum asked under his breath. Neither one of them moved.

“Yeah, Mr. W. I see a really big shaggy red dog.”

“And you see what he’s got in his teeth, right?”

“Yeah, I see it.” The girl’s mouth was open a little. “I just don’t believe it.”

“Well believe it, Missy. I told you that dog was driving that car.”

The retriever shook its head, the ring of car keys in its mouth jangling with the movement. Wassenbaum watched the big dog raise its head at the sound of the police sirens headed in their direction.

“Better get a move on,” the old man told the dog. “I’m fairly certain you’ll end up in the pound if they catch you.”

The dog appeared to have a grin on his face as he turned and ran off through the bushes. Wassenbaum looked down at his young neighbor, her mouth still open wide.

“A fly’ll get in, Sassy pants,” he teased. He put his arm around the girl and nudged her in the direction of her house. “Lets go get some of your mom’s pecan pie before she gets home.”

“Mr W?”

“Yeah?”

“There really was a dog driving that car, wasn’t there?”

“One thing I learned in all my 90 years is that you can’t doubt yourself, even if everybody else does.”

 

 



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