"Honey, honey, wake up. Elvis is barking."
"Huh? What?" Fred asked as he stirred to life.
"Fred, wake up." Claire demanded as she elbowed her husband. "The dog is outside raising cane and I just got the baby to sleep."
Fred stumbled out of bed, and with every heavy step he took to the back door, he became angrier at that hound dog. He jerked open the patio door and yelled in a loud whisper, "Shut up, Elvis, You're going to wake the whole neighborhood?"
The dog ignored him.
Since it was pitch dark, and the dog was black, spotting him in the yard was impossible. Fred flipped on the patio light. A dark shadow at the back of the yard bobbed around near the fence. Once again, he said, "Elvis, pipe down."
"Why don't you go out there and see what's going on?"
Fred turned and saw Claire standing behind him with her arms crossed and one eyebrow cocked. He knew that look. It told him he wasn't sleeping tonight until he found out what had Elvis all upset.
Fred trudged barefoot across the dew-covered grass. He expected to find one of old lady Matthews' cats balancing the top of the chain link fence. They liked to tease Elvis. When he reached Elvis, he saw the dog's fangs bared and the hackles on the back of his neck were raised. Elvis was ready for a fight.
"What's wrong, boy?" Fred asked as he tried to soothe Elvis with his hand, but Elvis didn't back down. Fred peered at the fence. This was more than a cat. He regretted not grabbing the flashlight.
Fred saw movement on the fence and heard an unnerving hissing sound. He focused on the movement and discovered it was a possum. Its tiny mouth bared sharp, pointy teeth. It was ready to take on Elvis even if he was twice its size. Suddenly, Fred realized he was directly between these two animalsand in his skivvies.
Fred looked back and forth between the animals. Thinking quickly, he grabbed Elvis's collar and headed for the house. If he was going to be able to do anything, he had to separate the two animals. Plus, with the dog out of the picture, maybe the possum would leave. Fred grabbed Elvis' collar and dragged him to the house. He opened the door and shoved him in. Before he could close the door, Elvis bolted past him and back to the fence. Once again, Fred trudged across the yardbarefoot and in his underwearto retrieve the dog. This time, he didn't let him go until the door latched closed.
"Is it gone?" Claire asked.
Fred looked at his wife. Breathing heavy from dragging a hound dog across the yard, he answered, "No. But it will wander off now that Elvis is in the house."
"Oh, no. We can't leave Elvis in the house all night. He's dirty and he smells."
Fred looked at his wife. All he wanted to do was go back to sleep, but Claire wasn't going to let this go. Fred grabbed a key off the key minder and headed for the gun cabinet. He pulled out his pellet gun. He unlocked his ammunition case and discovered he had no pellets. For a moment, he considered his shotgun, but decided that would be too messy and too hard to explain to the police.
Feeling defeated, he thought of one last option. He threw on some clothes and shoes, grabbed a pair of work gloves and a shovel, and headed out the door.
Fred eased up behind the possum and WHACK! smacked it just hard enough to make it lose its grip and drop from the fence. He picked it up by the tail and spun it around over his head, aiming for the front yard.
He let go of the possum too soon and instead of it sailing over the back gate, it headed straight towards his neighbor's bedroom window. THUNK!
For a moment, he stood there, frozen. After a few seconds, the neighbors' bedroom light came on. Fred quickly turned and jogged to the house, hurrying inside.
"Is the possum gone?" Claire asked.
A silly smile filled Fred's face. "I don't think we'll be hearing from that possum anytime soon."
(c) 2007, Rhonda Clark
Rhonda Clark is a stay at home mom of two and a freelance writer. She and her family makes their home in Bartlett, TN. For more information about her writing visit: www.freewebs.com/rhondaclark or contact her through www.faithwriters.com
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