ARRROOOUF! is a happy bark from Ace, a proud Black Labrador on his favorite corner of the street.
His thick-as-a-rope tail THUMP-THUMPED on the sidewalk. Close by an unseen sticky glob of gum waited for something to happen.
Ace's tail pounded cheerfully as stores opened. It was fun watching humans shop downtown.
Several people came over and scratched his head.
Cars, trucks and bicycles crossed in front of him in a blur of rolling wheels.
Ace's tail continued to smack, up and down. Up and down and ohoh, right on top of that sticky chunk. It was double bubble gum with lots of gooey left.
The dog waited, knowing something strange happened. No more up and down, THUMP-THUMPS. Yes, something was definitely wrong.
There was no sound from his smacking tail.
He tried to lift it, but it was stuck to something. Ace stood up and gave a mighty pull. Muscles bulged from sturdy legs. Finally, he began to move, S-L-O-W-L-Y.
A squishing sound pulled his tail backwards. Something was a nuisance and he smacked his tail back down, hard. This was no joking matter for a proud pooch.
Ace had places to go, things to do. If he was a human he might even have a train to catch. But, he was just a dog. There were trees to sniff and four legged friends to visit.
Ace leaned forward using every ounce of bulging dog-muscles. S-L-O-W-L-Y, his tail began to stretch, and S-T-R-E-T-C-H.
He had to prove who was boss of this corner. A gathering crowd jostled each other for a good look.
"Come see a dog and gooey-gum show!" they shouted. This was embarrassing for Ace in the middle of what was once a quiet downtown, on a hot summer day.
But, it was no laughing matter for Ace. He decided to put an end to this foolishness. Ace was nervous since everyone in town seemed to be watching.
He had to prove who was boss of the block.
However, the glob of gum had other ideas. It had been left behind once before, but not this time. It wasn't letting go of a new friend.
Ace tugged and pulled, and his tail stretched even more. By now it was at least one storefront long. It was a battle between gum and dog.
The crowd was excited about who would give up first, as Ace's tail grew longer and LONGER.
Sparrows flew under the tail, as if it were a neat bridge. Children jumped over the tail in a game of follow-the-leader.
Hot air steamed from Ace's nostrils. The harder he pulled, the more the wad of gum held. Every time he used his FULL strength, fur flew in all directions.
People ducked from showers of loose dog hair. Some used umbrellas to get closer to this tug-of-war.
Several children set up a popcorn stand. "Get your snacks at the "Gummy Dog Show!" they shouted. "25 cents a bag!"
Esther and Vida decided to sell lemonade in front of Margolian's store. Thirsty customers pushed to be first for a glass.
Sandy's Men's Wear had a shirt and tie sidewalk-sale. Ace was running out of fur. And his tongue scraped on the sidewalk.
The contest came to an end like an exploding firecracker. Was it because the gooey-gob was no longer sticky? Or, perhaps tired?
After all, Ace was a large dog with four powerful legs.
"POPPP!" was heard on Inglis Street, like an escaping cork from a bottle. Yes, it was true. The wad of gum finally let go.
Ace lost his balance and flew backwards across the sidewalk. He was like a rolling ball of fur, followed by his stretched tail.
Around and around both traveled, to the end of the block. Finally coming to a crashing halt against a wooden litter box, with a sign that read:
KEEP OUR STREETS CLEAN.
Finally Ace could sit up properly. THUMP-THUMP went his longer tail, like a pain on the sidewalk. He nervously moved to a new corner.
He sniffed the air with a satisfied sigh, his tug of war finally over. His tail gave a snappy SMACK on the sidewalk.
And landed on top of a new piece of gooey gum!
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher 2008
NOTE: It would be so nice to see the above story published as a picture book by an E-publisher.
All messages for Richard or Esther can be sent directly to: email@example.com. They enjoy reading comments on their work. Readers are welcome to visit their website at: www.wsprog.com/rp/. Free downloads also available. They live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Many blessings on your loved ones.