Bailey’s Bug – What Happens Next?

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, Heart of Hollyhill

July 14, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Do you like my dog friend? I’ve been taking lots of pictures of dogs to try to find one that looks like Bailey in the book I’m writing. This one isn’t right. The one last week was closer. But it’s fun taking pictures of all the dogs I meet and I get to see how different they are too. This guy liked the water. He’d just been swimming in a creek. His name was Coffee W. Crutcher, but his owner called him Dub for short. 

Anyway, back to the story. I’m having fun writing it, but Aunt Love is about to break my pencil. She says I can’t be hiding out in my room all the time writing, that I need to do my chores. Sigh. I guess she’s right, but I did get some more written. Here it is, starting off where we left off last week. If you missed last week, just go back and read the story part from last time. Remember we have Bailey the dog and Lucinda the cat.

     With a small sigh, Lucinda peered down at Bailey from her window seat as if deciding whether there was any use in her trying to explain it all to him, a mere dog. Lucinda was a cat, and as she often told Bailey, cats were just naturally smarter than dogs. Bailey thought black cats like Lucinda must be smartest of all because he knew Lucinda was smart. Lots smarter than he was.
   She knew everything. She knew when it was going to rain. When their supper was going to be late. When the mailman was at the door. When it was Reid’s birthday which meant Bailey might get to sneak some cake and there would be lots of boys to pet him while Lucinda watched with narrowed eyes from the highest bookshelf. 
   So Bailey was always careful to listen to what she had to say and to tiptoe past her when she was asleep and to never, no matter how hungry he was, even sniff at the bit of food she left in the corner of her feeding dish. But now he didn’t want her to be right. A funny, growly feeling inside him told him she couldn’t be right.
   He swallowed twice and asked again, “Why aren’t they coming back?” He voice came out squeaky.
   “Dogs!” Lucind raised her eyes to the ceiling. “They never understand anything.” With that she circled around a couple of times before settling on the soft cushion with her tail curled around her.
   Bailey laid down too, his head on his paws. Still the feeling inside him didn’t go away. Bailey knew his place in the family. He was just a clumsy white dog with a few gray speckles who never got anything right. He didn’t even look right or so Reid’s mother used to say. His ears were too little for his head, and in between trims, his fur stuck out in a million directions. Mrs. Alexander was always taking him to get it clipped off. And his tail was too long so that when it wagged, it had a way of knocking something over or banging against the wall.
   Reid didn’t care about Bailey’s tail or ears. Reid loved him anyway. He was always telling him he was perfect or near enough. Bailey knew Reid was perfect and he knew Reid wouldn’t have just gone away forever and left him behind no matter what Lucinda said.
   All at once Bailey jumped up and held onto the window seat edge with his front paws until Lucinda opened one of her eyes. 
   “They’ve just gone for a trip,” Bailey said. “They did that before and then they came back and we went home.”
   “Don’t talk about that horrible week.” Lucinda raised her head and shivered. “Those nasty cages with no sunshine for days. At least they found somewhere nice for us this time.”
   “Then you think they’ll be back.”
   “You don’t listen.” Lucinda rolled her eyes and put her paw over her ear. “They gave us away. Don’t you remember all the boxes? They were moving, and they didn’t have boxes for us because we’re still here and they’re gone.”
   “Reid would have told me if he was going to leave me.” Bailey lost his grip on the window ledge and fell to the floor with a click of his toenails.
   Lucinda sighed. “They probably promised Reid they’d come back for us. He’s not much different than you. He’ll believe anything.”
   The skin tightened around Bailey’s eyes. It was one thing to say bad things about him, quite another to talk about his boy. He was ready to let out a big woof right in Lucinda’s ear when she jumped off the window seat up onto the back of the recliner where even his loudest woof wouldn’t bother her much.
   Still he had to do somthing, so he woofed anyway. Lucinda barely flinched. “Barking at me isn’t going to change anything. You’re just going to have get used to the Robinsons. It’s not so bad here.” She stretched out along the top of the recliner. “Not bad at all.”
   Bailey sat back on his haunches and stared up at the cat. A new louder woof gathered just behind his tongue, but it stuck there and wouldn’t come the rest of the way out. It didn’t matter anyway. Even if he could woof loud enough to knock the chair over and send Lucinda sprawling, that wouldn’t make Reid be there.

Whew! That’s all I got written between doing chores for Aunt Love and helping Dad at the paper. Come back next week to see what Bailey does next. Will he ever see his boy again? Gee, I guess as the writer, I get to decide that, don’t I?