The dog moved purposefully through the room until she reached the sliding glass door that led to the backyard. She stood with her nose to the crack and woofed again.
“I can’t let you out there.” Ben laid a hand on the dogs back. Her fur was soft and clean. She clearly belonged to someone, but he knew Pete didn’t own her. “There are chickens.”
She barked again, commanding him this time, and the stern sound of her voice made him take a step back. Maybe she wasn’t as pleasant as he’d thought.
“Pete would never forgive me if I let you eat his chickens.”
The dog started digging frantically at the floor in front of the door, her claws making deep scratches in the hardwood floor.
“Well, crap. He won’t forgive me for that, either.” He grabbed hold of the dog’s scruff and hoped she wouldn’t snap at him. She didn’t, but she did fight him to stay by the door.
“No. You’re going back outside. Go home.” He shoved her squirming body back out the front door and closed it quickly behind her.
Slapping his hands together, a job well done, he turned to get back to work. He hadn’t even gotten one strip done and he was behind because of his sudden need to vacate his old home and move in here.
He sure hoped Pete turned out to be a better roommate than Joey had been. He’d been able to deal, just barely, with Joey’s many quirks: his weird eating habits, his slovenly housekeeping and even his new woman every night—right up until one of those women crawled into bed with Ben.
Not that Ben didn’t like women. He did, and quite a lot. He was just a bit more discerning in who he slept with and had no interest in taking on someone else’s sloppy seconds.
The doorbell rang before he even made it back to the breakfast bar, his current make-due desktop where he’d settled in to create the latest bit of “Hard Knocks”. He looked over his shoulder and wondered if it was the dog again. How could that be possible?
It rang again. And then the barking began. Frantic, crazy barking with a few pitiful yelps thrown in. Then clawing at the door. At this rate, the front door would look as if Freddie Krueger had tried to break in.
Ben flopped into his chair and covered his ears tightly with his hands. He wondered if he shouldn’t have just gotten a lock for his bedroom door at Joey’s instead.
About the time he had decided to call animal control, the door opened and the dog came flying through the opening, skittered across the floor to the back and cried.
Pete, sweat dripping from his slightly chunky body, stood in the open door. “Why didn’t you let Sheba in?”
“Sheba?” Ben asked, knowing his friend meant the dog, but unaware that the dog belonged here at this house. He’d never seen her before. “Why would I?”
“She visits during the week.” Pete snatched a towel off the end of the couch and wiped his face. The first morning he’d been here, Ben had tidied up and had moved the folded towel from that spot. When Pete had returned, dripping, from his morning run and found it gone, he’d read Ben the riot act.
Ben hadn’t touched anything that wasn’t his again. It seemed that Pete was particular about his things, and not the slob that Joey had been. Ben learned quickly that everything had its place, and was usually there for a good reason, even if it didn’t make sense to him.
He could live with that.
“So, do I let her out back?” Ben gestured to where the dog sat whining at the glass door.
“Sure. Why not?” Pete tossed the towel into the laundry room just off the entry way.
“The chickens? Don’t dogs eat chicken?”
“Not Sheba. I’m for the shower.” Pete thumped up the stairs and left Ben to deal with the anxious German shepherd.
“Well, okay.” Ben shrugged and felt a bit like he’d fallen into the rabbit hole, but he still walked to the back door to let the dog out.
The moment the door was open, Sheba was out like a shot. She circled the yard, herding the chickens into a group and then Ben swore she counted them. She touched her nose to each one in turn before she settled down onto the grass, curled up in a small patch of sunshine. The chickens didn’t move far from her inert body, just pecked and scratched in orbit around her.
Yep, Tweedledee and Tweedledum should be showing up at any time.
I can't believe I'm the only one....
Did anyone at least set their timers for ten minutes every day and write?