The Two-Legged Dog

One of my older stories that I wrote as a child. It was originally hand-written on Thanksgiving 2001. Shortly after, I typed it up and saved it (this story has traveled through many computers). I did some editing not long ago. I figured I’d post it on here for some opinions.

It all began one afternoon as I rested on the back porch. When I heard the door slam, I raised my chin from my paws and breathed in the cool air. Bill carried a cage with a cloth over it out of the old, rusty pickup truck. His boots whirled up the crunchy leaves as his feet stomped down the hill. A strange bark came from within the cage — it sounded like Betty when she saw a rat. What we really needed around the house was a good ol’ cat. I came out from beneath my blanket and trotted down the wooden steps to investigate.

Bill opened the gate on the pen out in the field, pulled it shut, then set the cage on the ground. He knelt down, swung it open, and stood back. He placed his hands on his hips as he peered into the cage.

“Come on,” he said, calm but serious.

Nothing.

Bill squatted and clicked his tongue. His hands were in the dirt as he turned his head down to look inside the cage. “Come on.”

He kneeled, crossed his arms, then looked at me, who stood outside of the pen.

“Willy boy,” he called, followed by a whistle.

I barked and stuck my head between two of the wooden bars on the pen. I barked a few more times and pawed at the bottom bar.

“Come here, Willy boy, come on!” Bill got to his feet.

I paced outside of the fence, wondering how I could squeeze through the space in between the bars. I looked at the top bar. It wasn’t too high. I turned and ran.

“Willy!” Bill said, disappointed.

I turned around, ran full speed, and jumped over the fence.

Bill laughed and sat on the ground. He told me that I was so smart and clapped his hands. I came to him and let him pat my back. My tongue dangled out when he called me “good boy.” Then we both looked at the cage.

“Go get ‘er,” Bill told me. He pointed his nose to the cage. “Get ‘er out of there.”

I walked over to the cage and bent my head to get a look inside. My bandana swept the earth as I inched closer. I had never seen anything like it. It was big, but had a similar shape to the sparrows that often came to the farm. It glared at me with its small eyes.

“Come on out,” I barked.

The creature tried to back away even further.

“It’s alright,” I said. I sniffed at the creature.

It yelped and shook around. I pounced back as it came closer.

I saw Bill’s shadow below me and stepped aside. He squatted and stuck his hands inside. “It’s okay, it’s okay. I’m gonna getcha out of here.”

The creature stopped flapping and Bill put his hands around its body. He carefully removed it from the cage.

I looked up as I followed Bill carry the thing.

When the creature looked down and saw me, it screamed and twisted its head around. It struck its sharp mouth in my direction.

I watched Bill struggle with the thing. He held his worn out hat to his head with one hand as he struggled to keep the loud animal still with the other. He placed it on his hip and under his thick arm. I barked and Bill jolted into the fence as the creature hollered. Bits of its fur came off and floated in the air.

Bill had been hard at work building the pen before the arrival of the noisy new-comer. I kept him company for many sunrises as he slammed his hammer into the fresh pieces of wood. I was curious as Bill constructed the pen. My curiosity only grew when the reason for the wooden pen arrived.

“Willy! Willy boy, get out of here!” Bill yelled as I barked at his heels. The creature twisted and squawked. Bill almost lost his balance.

I stopped in my tracks. Bill sounded angry. I was sure he was just frustrated. I leaped over the fence and walked half way up the hill to the house.

When the animal settled down, Bill left it and went up to the house for the supper that Betty had made. He told me to be good when he passed me.

I went up to the pen. I was quiet and let my nose do all the work. I had never smelled anything like it. Then, within a wag of a tail, its head turned and it struck its pointy mouth at me. I jumped back, then barked at it. I made my way back up to the wooden bars. The creature yelped and flopped around; bits of its fur flew in the breeze.

I looked directly into its eyes, giving it the border collie stare, which is excellent for scaring sheep. Bill always reminded me that I’m part border collie and part German shepherd–two smart dogs rolled into one. The creature didn’t avoid eye contact with me; it stared me down as well.

“What are you?” I barked.

“Get away from me!”

I swished my dark tail slowly behind me. “This is my land.”

“I was brought here by a man. This is his land.”

“We share this land,” I said. I sniffed at the creature. “Now tell me, what are you?”

We still held eye contact with one another.

“I’m a turkey,” the creature muffled.

“A what? A turk-o?” I couldn’t understand it and never heard of such a thing.

I stuck my head between two of the wooden bars to inhale all of the information that I could.

“Get away from me!” it shouted as it flapped its big arms. It smelled nervous.

“Whoa! It’s alright.” I took a few steps back to make the creature feel at ease. I sat and said, “We got off on the wrong paw. I’m Willy. What’s your name?”

“Get away from me!” she yelled.

She quickly flung her skinny neck and pinched my nose with her pointy jaws. I jumped back and growled between barks. I was all riled up, but Turk-o was lucky, Bill whistled for me to come in and eat.

***

When I woke up, I was in my bed, next to Bill and Betty’s. I rested my head on my paws and thought about the creature that Bill brought home. What was the purpose in having that nasty thing around? Then it hit me. My people always spoke about it around that time–when the air began to get chilly and Bill’s work days in the field were shorter. Thanksgiving! Betty and Bill mentioned it right before Bill fetched Turk-o. They wanted to get a fresh Turk-o for Thanksgiving dinner. They were going to eat her!

I jumped up as if I were bitten by a tick and nudged Bill’s back with my snout. I whined and barked. He kept snoring and didn’t move. I snorted and walked around to the other side of the bed and licked Betty’s face. She got up, groaned at first but then laughed, and I led her to the back door where she called me “crazy dog” and let me outside.

As the hazy sun worked its way over the hills in the distance, I raced down the small hill to Turk-o’s pen. When she saw me running at her, she flapped her wings, squawked and struck her pointy mouth in my direction.

“No, no! Turk-o! Calm down!” I barked.

“Get away!” she yelled.

“I have to tell you something!”

“I don’t want to hear it!”

“Shut up and just listen to what I have to say!” I yelled.

She squawked and flapped.

“Stop that!”

She struck her beak at me as she hopped around and almost jumped out of the pen.

“Hey!” I barked in her face.

She jolted backwards and then I leaped into the pen. We stared at each other. It went quiet. Then she screeched and waddled opposite from me and pathetically hopped in front of the fence, seemingly trying to escape.

“Hey, Turk-o, calm yourself,” I said as I sat down. “I’m not going to hurt you.” She didn’t turn to look at me, but she stopped jumping.

“Trust me,” I told her. I got down on my belly, but kept my sight on her.

“What do you want to tell me? Make is quick,” she said, still with her back facing me. She was trying to show me that she wasn’t afraid of me, even though I knew she was.

I leaped to my paws. “The people are going to eat you!”

She turned to face me. She shook her head back and forth.“No. No, that man saved me. He saved me from a horrible place. He feeds me good food and he doesn’t hurt me. You’re wrong. I don’t know why I’m here, but at least I’m not where I was.”

“No. Listen to me!”

“You don’t know what I’ve been through. Why would you say that?”

“Because I know!” I began to pace as I panted. “It’s the truth!”

“That man is the only thing in this entire world that treats me well and he would never harm me! He rescued me from a dreadful place!”

“Look, he’s got you trapped. You’re brain-washed! I know about people. People eat things like you! I’ve seen it!” I said.

“Things like you eat things like me! Now get away from me!”

My ears perked up at the sound of the back door. It was Bill, looking right at us. He told me to get out of the pen and came running over. He made a joke about me trying to eat the turkey and of course that got Turk-o all excited and she started flapping around and wound up ripping a chunk of fur out of my tail.

***

I was  on the kitchen floor, dozing off under my blanket, when the word “turkey” caught my attention. I lifted my head up and listened.

“So when are you gonna do the turkey? Thanksgiving’s in two days. I gotta put it in the oven early Thanksgiving morning,” Betty said over the hot, rushing water that came from the sink.

“I’ll look into doing that business tomorrow sometime,” Bill said as he scraped what was left on his dish into the garbage pail.

“Tomorrow? Oh no!” I bolted to the back door and barked a few times before Bill let me out.

“Careful with my turkey,” he shouted as the crisp air blew my ears back as I ran downhill.

I raced to Turk-o’s pen, my blanket dragged through the dirt as it hung from my back. She was sleeping. I wondered why she stood while she slept. I had to surprise her — she wouldn’t let me come close. It was a perfect time; I just needed a plan that wouldn’t fail. I had to get her out of there, quickly. I’ve seen a pig get slaughtered once and it was horrible. I didn’t want to see it happen to Turk-o. It wasn’t right. Sure, she probably tasted good, she had plenty of meat on her, but not good enough to be killed. I didn’t care if Bill was my human, I didn’t agree with him on his decision. If Bill was what he said we were to one another, a “loyal best friend,” he wouldn’t do it. I didn’t like what was to happen to the innocent Turk-o.

I couldn’t waste time. My idea was this: I would leap into the pen, push her up and out of there, then chase her off the farm.

***

I backed up, behind in the air, grabbed the moist dirt with my claws, and took off.

“Get out of here!” I yelled, boosting Turk-o with my snout. She flew out of the pen, squawked, flapped her wings, and twisted her crazy head all over the place. Some of her fur flew off. I ran beneath her. When she fell to the ground she rolled a bit. I stood over her and we looked at each other. I growled, trying to be scary. She got up, cracked her back, and stuck her puffy arm on my snout. I was concentrating on watching her arm when she kicked me, right below the stomach.

I howled and spun in circles as I waited for the pain to stop. I shook my body and turned towards her. I pounced on her and held my teeth gently around her long neck, picked her up, and was about to carry her out of there when Bill shouted “Willy!” He hurried down the hill.

I dropped Turk-o. I stood still as I looked up at Bill, tail and ears down. I backed up as he got closer to me. Turk-o clucked around like an idiot. Bill whipped his big hand on my behind.

“No Willy boy! No! That turkey is not for you!” he scolded. “It’s for Thanksgivin’ dinner.” He pushed back his light hair. “Boy, what’s gotten into you?”

I looked away from him. Bill never got mad at me, we were best buddies, until the two-legged dog came between us. I watched as Bill picked her up, spoke to her gently, and rubbed her neck. No wonder she trusted him; he was so nice to her. How evil. I had to stop him.

Bill put Turk-o back in her pen and watched her as her beady eyes roamed the farm. Then he glared at me. He put his hand on my head and told me to leave her alone and to go chase some rabbits. I sat there for a little while longer and then pretended that I smelled something and sniffed the ground as I walked away. I trotted towards the front of the house, looking back at Bill and Turk-o a few times. I had thought up a good plan. Betty had a giant creation out front that Bill filled with air. They called it a “blow-up decoration.” It looked like Turk-o. All I had to do was rip it open and start barking and running down the road to make it look like I was chasing the thief who popped the giant Turk-o. Bill and Betty would come to see what was going on. With them distracted, I’d run into the back of the farm to get Turk-o out.

I circled the big, fake Turk-o. “Brilliant.”

I glanced around to make sure no one was watching me and was just about to get the job done when the front door swung open and out came Betty. I leaped over to a bush and lifted my leg, pretending that I was “piddling.” Betty stuck her hand in the box at the end of the road that led to the house and pulled out a bunch of papers. I watched her walk back towards the house, still with my leg up. She looked up at me and smiled as she tore apart a piece of paper.

“Ya comin’ in, boy?”

I kept my leg raised.

She laughed. “Alright.”

Inside of her paper was another piece of paper. She went into the house. I put my leg down and sighed with relief. I looked around again and then ran over to the fake Turk-o. I circled it, looking it up and down. I looked around one more time and then bit down on its tail. I let go and saw no hole. I grunted and bit down harder and tugged at it. When a rush of air bursted into my mouth, I coughed out the Turk-o tail. As the air came out of the giant Turk-o, it made a very strange noise. I tilted my head to the side as I wondered why it sounded like that.

I panted as I watched the giant Turk-o get smaller and smaller, then looked back at the house and barked. I stopped to listen: no one was coming. So then I ran to the garbage pails and kicked them over with my hind legs, barking again, adding a little snarl into it, as if I were chasing a terrible human who stumbled into the garbage pails. I thought, they had to be coming now.

As a bonus to myself, I grabbed the half of cooked potato that rolled out of the garbage and took off into the street as I barked. I sounded like I was choking as I was trying to chew the potato and bark at the same time. I swallowed and continued my ferocious barking. I looked back to see Betty’s bright dress through the screen door. She came out, shortly after came Bill. The tone of his voice didn’t sound pleasant. Perfect, as long as he didn’t know that I killed his windy Turk-o. I wagged my tail as I made my way beneath the bar on the fence, around the corner from the house.

***

Turk-o had her head tucked down into her chest, and it looked like she might have been hurt. I darted over to the pen and made a quick stop, accidentally shooting dirt up at her. She squawked and jumped up, quickly whirling her head towards me.

“Listen, I have to get you out of here.”

She paced around the pen, gobbling.

“Hey, Turk-”

She charged at me, gobbling like mad. My first instinct was to bark in her face, which I did, but then I realized I had to be quiet, and so did she.

“Hey! Hey!”

She kept making her stupid noises, making a strange face that she thought was supposed to be scary, striking her mouth aimlessly.

“Can ya shut up?” I growled. That was a stupid question.

“What’s the matter with you? Didn’t you hear what he said before?” I said in a high whisper.

She stopped her racket and looked at me. There was fear in her tired eyes.

“Look, all I want to do is help you,” I said.

“You’re not going to give up, are you?” she asked me.

“No, I’m not.”

“Good, because neither am I.” She started her racket again. I groaned and rolled my eyes.

“Fine.” I turned my back to her and walked away, back up to the house. That shut her up.

I curled up in the rocking chair on the porch as I watched her. She was one stupid creature. She was locked up in that thing, not allowed to come out. Bill said it right in front of her that she’s going to be dinner. I don’t get why she trusted him and not me. All I ever wanted to do was help. I turned my head in disgust and looked down the porch. I stared at my leash that dangled from one of the wooden bars. The only thing it reminded me of was Turk-o and putting it around her neck and dragging her away. I saw her standing in the pen, resting with her head turned around, tucked into her back. That was a strange way to take a nap, it looked uncomfortable. I then saw my blanket that I left near her pen. My mind began thinking up a plan. I got to my paws — I was excited. I had to save this two-legged mess. I wasn’t too sure how I would get the leash on her. I had to attach it to something. Before anything though, I knew that I was going to throw my blanket over her head to cover her beady eyes. I had to make sure the blanket would stay over her so that I’d have enough time to wrap the leash around her.

My ears perked up when I had an idea. I bent my head down and shook it back and forth, up and down. I was trying to get my bandana off. It would be big enough to go around her neck right after I put the blanket over her head, and that would hold the blanket it place. I’d tangle the leash around her and drag her. It was worth a shot.

I reached my paw up and then back as far as it could go and scratched at the back of my bandana. It was quite loose already, and it eventually slipped over my head and onto the porch. I picked it up in my mouth, grabbed my leash, and headed out towards Turk-o. The leash dragged across the grass, making some noise, so I slowed down. I crouched low when I got close and quietly made my way towards the pen. I slowly dropped the leash and bandana right next to the pen and picked up my blanket. Turk-o was facing the opposite direction and I was sure she was sleeping. I backed up a little and then charged and went up and over the pen’s fence. A part of the blanket got caught during my flight and it pulled me back. Turk-o squawked like someone stuck a fork in her and I tore the blanket from the fence. Right as she turned around, I threw it over her head. She panicked and danced around like a beheaded chicken. I jumped over the fence and picked up my leash and bandana. I leaped back in and chased her around with my bandana. She screamed.

“It’s okay! It’s alright!” I said, mouth stuffed with bandana. My eyes followed her like a cat’s eyes would follow a mouse. She stumbled close to me and I whipped my bandana over her head.

“Gotcha!”

She made a gagging noise and began to walk very slow around the pen, quietly.

“I’m going to get you out of-”

She screeched and squawked and screamed and flapped around. It sounded like 10 frightened chickens who realized a fox crept into the hen-house.

“Would ya calm down?” I shouted.

She began racing around again. I picked up my leash and watched her. She was headed towards the pen’s fence. She hit it and fell onto her back. I pounced over and swung the leash on top of her. She got up and both ends of the leash were behind her. I grabbed them both and pulled back. She flung back and almost crashed into me. I was proud of myself that my quick-thinking plan worked. It wasn’t over yet; I still needed to get her out of the pen. I looked around. I was just going to have to press my luck. I ran to the other side of the pen and then raced back and pushed Turk-o with my snout. She flapped around like a freak, but she flapped over the fence. I jumped over the fence to join her.

I panted and circled her, this thing all tangled up in a leash with a blanket over her head.

“I’m gonna get you out of here! You’re free Turk-o! Free! They’re not gonna eat you!”

She gobbled and just stood there. I laughed a little and picked up one end of the leash and dragged it. She was tangled in it.

Then I got pulled back.

I looked back. There was Turk-o, now with her head uncovered, sitting on the ground.

“Turk-o, what’re you doin’?”

“Mutt, what’re you doin’?” she asked.

“I just happen to be saving your life, that’s what!”

“Get me out of this stuff. Now.”

“No way! Do you know how difficult it was to get this on you? Well, I mean, once you were headed to the fence and ran into it, it was all over, but-”

“Get me out!” She began screaming and squawking and prancing around. “What are you doing to me?” she cried. She seemed very upset. I walked over to her and looked at her scared face.

“You won’t listen to me! There’s no other way! I had to. I don’t want to see you get killed.”

“I don’t understand anything. I don’t know what’s going on. I just want to be free and happy without worrying all the time and I don’t know who’s going to hurt me. I just don’t know,” she sobbed.

“Hey, it’s okay. I’m here to protect you. Nobody’s going to hurt you.” I whined and rubbed my nose against her cheek.

She was shaking.

I grabbed the end from the leash. She jumped up without taking her eyes off me. I gently tugged on it. I walked around her with the end in my mouth and it unraveled to the ground. The blanket fell off. She raised her poofy arms and looked down. She shook her body and clucked.

“You have to leave this place. You have to hurry. If you don’t leave now you’re not gonna make it.”

She gave me a curious look. I think at that point, she believed me.

“I don’t have time to explain. All I can tell you is that these people, they want to eat you. My people go into these weird phases where they worship smelly trees and giant socks. They hide things in boxes. Other times they feel the need to eat certain animals, I don’t know why, but it’s you and you have to leave now if you want to keep your life.”

She stared at me and began to back up, looking scared.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” I reminded her.

“How do I get out?” she panicked.

“Follow me! Run!” I ran towards the end of the farm.

Turk-o followed me. Her run was more of a wobbly fast walk. She’d flop into the air every few steps. I waited at the fence as she ran towards me. She was taking a while and I couldn’t stand still, so I raced over to her and ran beside her. We stopped at the fence. It was tall. We both looked up at it.

“Can you make it over there?”

“No!”

“Can’t you try?”

Turk-o backed up and jumped; she stretched out her big arms. She grabbed the fence with her claws as she slid down. “I can’t do it!”

“Okay, okay…” My eyes darted back and forth as if I were looking for a thought that was outside my mind, as if it were an actual object. I began to dig. Turk-o paced behind me.

“Can’t we just go out that way?” she asked, pointing an arm towards the front yard.

“No!” I said, pouncing in front of her. “That’s where my people are.”

Then I heard the sound of their car pulling up to the house. Turk-o looked frightened. “What’s that?”

“It’s them.” I began digging quicker than I ever have. Within a few seconds, I had a giant hole in the ground. I didn’t have to tell Turk-o what to do. She dove under.

“Be careful and get far away from here!” I told her.

She gobbled and was on her way.

I covered up the hole so that it looked like I didn’t even dig it. My tongue was hanging out and I was thirsty, but I had to get out of there, to make it look like I never came back, to make it look like I didn’t get rid of Turk-o. I spotted my bandana, blowing in the wind near the pen. I ran over, scooped it up, and dashed around the house just as the back door opened.

I ran down the street, ears blowing back and tongue dangling, not knowing where I was going. My eyes scanned the area, looking for Turk-o. Then I stopped in my tracks. I heard my name.

“Willy!” called Betty. I turned around and there she was, standing on the front steps.

“Willy, there you are!” She sounded so happy and came running towards me.

I barked and ran over to her, wagging my tail. She seemed so happy to see me. She knelt down and I jumped into her arms. I let out a few happy barks and panted happily. Bill came out and ran down the stairs to greet me.

“There ya are, Willy boy!” he said.

I ran over to him and barked. He knelt down and scratched me behind the ears. “Good boy.”

We all walked into the house. My people spoke about who could have popped their fake Turk-o, and they kept touching me and pulling my cheeks, asking me over and over again if I scared the bad guy away. I just barked and they said that I did a good job.

People are so gullible.

***

I rested on the couch, stomach stuffed with bacon fat and dog biscuits as I thought about Turk-o. I really didn’t know anything about her. I wondered where she went to. I hoped she was safe. It’s like I never met her, but I saved her life.

I wondered how Bill and Betty would react when they realized their dinner’s ran away. I imagined they thought the bad guy who destroyed their windy Turk-o took her. That clever Turk-o thief, I thought, as the back door creaked open. Bill was headed to the yard.

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