SETTING: Takes place the summer between second and third seasons.
SYNOPSIS: Jamie brings home a rather unwelcome guest.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is in answer to the alphabet challenge.
“Mom, Mom!” The wail of Jamie’s voice could be heard through the closed kitchen door.
“What is it, Jamie?” Amanda called from her precarious position perched on a chair, trying to remove the monthly accumulation of greasy dust from the top of the fridge.
“Mom!” Jamie yelled again.
“Coming,” Amanda said. Why was it her boys always needed her when she was in the middle of something? Opening the kitchen door, she let out an, “Umph!” as she found herself suddenly landing heavily on her backside, a long wet tongue licking her face.
“Sorry, Mom,” Jamie said contritely, trying to remove the large, be-draggled beast from on top of his mother.
“Oh, my gosh, Jamie!” Amanda exclaimed as she extracted herself from the drooling apparition. “Where did this dog come from?” Looking at the canine her son was struggling to hold about the neck, she decided ‘dog’ was too simple of a description. The animal before her was enormous, at least four feet at the shoulder, with a shaggy yellow-brown coat and the most comical face she had ever seen. His wet, pink tongue hung down past jowls that swayed as he panted, the drool wending an unbroken trail to the ground. His eyes, one brown and one blue, were almost covered with hair, while one ear stood straight up and the other hung folded over the pointy dome of his head. His large head was attached to a strong, barrel-chested body that made her wonder exactly how her slender son was able to hold on as well as he was. The dog’s whole backside swayed to the beat of a long, thick tail, its tip catching her son across his face as he held on tightly.
“I found him at the park, Mom,” Jamie admitted, smiling a disarming smile at his mother. “He doesn’t have a collar – can we keep him?”
“Absolutely not, Jamie. That dog is as big as a moose. Besides, he looks well-fed, and he’s certainly friendly enough,” Amanda continued, looking ruefully down at the large, dirty paw prints adorning the front of her t-shirt. ‘At least I was dressed for cleaning,’ she thought to herself. “He must have a home. Where exactly did you find him?”
“He was wandering around the park, across the stream from the playground,” Jamie explained. “Aw, Mom, are you sure I can’t keep him?” He asked as he looked sadly down at the beast, the dog turning his head and swiping the boy’s face with his enormous tongue.
“No, Jamie, you may not keep him. I’ll get some rope from the garage that you can use as a leash. I want you to take him back to the park and find out if anyone’s looking for him,” Amanda said firmly, shaking her head at her youngest son’s love for all things living. Jamie was so tenderhearted. She’d love to be able to let him have a pet, but not this huge beast in front of her. She could only imagine what kind of damage he’d do to the house, not to mention Mother’s flowers.
“Alright,” he acquiesced, holding on tightly while his mother retrieved the rope from the garage. Tying the rope around the beast’s neck, he held the end tightly and turned to walk despondently back to the park.
Amanda sighed as she watched her son’s small form - his shoulders slumped in defeat. It was hard for her to deny him like this, but there was just no way they could have a pet that large. Watching them get to the end of the block, she suppressed a laugh as she saw the dog lunge forward, practically dragging Jamie away. The dog must outweigh her son by at least 30 pounds; Jamie’s small frame was no match for the determination of the large animal.
“I knew it wouldn’t work, boy,” Jamie said to the dog when they reached the playground. “You’re just too big.” He laughed as the dog looked up at him, tongue lolling, his long tail whipping across the backs of the boy’s legs.
“Hey, son, where’d you find that dog?” a voice called from across the playground.
Startled, Jamie saw a man and little girl over by the baby swings. “Right here in the park, mister, over there across the creek. Is he yours?” Jamie asked, half hoping the man would say, “No”.
“Doddy, doddy!” cried the little girl’s voice. “Down, Daddy, down! Wanna see doddy!” her small voice insisted.
“Alright, honey, just a second,” her daddy told her, awkwardly extracting her wiggly frame from the swing. Turning to Jamie as his petite youngster toddled over to the enormous dog, the man said, “Yeah, he’s our dog alright; he slipped out of his collar again. Thanks for bringing him back.” The man held up an enormous collar and leash and proceeded to put the collar back on the dog, no easy task as the dog’s whole body wriggled in excitement. Smiling ruefully at the happy beast, he continued, “We got him as a pup and had no idea he’d get so huge. When Annie was born we thought we might have to get rid of him, but you can see how attached she is to him.”
“Well, he sure seems gentle enough,” Jamie said, smiling as the tiny girl wrapped her arms around the dog’s neck.
“Yeah, he’s a gentle giant,” the man said as he looked fondly at his daughter’s reunion with the large animal.
“What’s his name, mister?” Jamie asked, watching the little girl try to hold onto the dog’s tail, which was wagging so fast it almost knocked her over.
“His name is Louie. Not sure why, it just seemed to fit. Well, we better get going. Thanks again for bringing him back,” the man finished as he handed Jamie the rope he’d used as a makeshift leash.
“No problem, mister. I’m glad you’re little girl got her pal back. Mind if I say goodbye to Louie?” he asked, looking wistfully at the dog.
“Go right ahead. I have to get Annie back into her stroller anyway,” the man said as he removed his giggling little girl from the back of the large dog.
Leaning down to the huge canine, Jamie wrapped his arms around the dog and whispered, “Now, you take good care of your family, Louie. They need you. I hope someday I can have a dog as nice as you. Goodbye, now, and make sure you keep your collar on, you hear?” he asked in a slightly husky voice as he straightened up, wiping the moisture off his cheeks. Embarrassed at the understanding look the man gave him, he quickly said, “Louie sure gives wet dog kisses… Well, I’d better get home. It was nice to meet you.” Turning quickly he hurried out of the park, the delighted squeals of the little girl bringing a wistful smile to his face.
“Someday I’m gonna have a dog like that. Someday…” he told himself,
his gait lightening as he made the promise to himself. With the knowledge
he'd done the right thing, he confidently made his way home, loudly whistling
the tune to “Louie, Louie”.