Monday, 4 January 2010

Dog's Day

...ooh, yes, he’s just a big softie really. I suppose he looks ferocious just because he’s big and black but he’s a pussycat really. Aren’t you darling?”
The little old lady didn’t need to bend down to fondle the huge Rottweiller’s muzzle. It wagged what was left of it’s truncated tail and immediately rolled onto it’s back, inviting a tummy tickle. “See what I mean?”

“Mummy, Mummy! Can I stroke him?” The postmistress’ daughter ran out from behind the counter and was upon the enormous beast before her mother could voice her reservations.

“Oh, he’s lovely! Can we have one?” The child cuddled and fondled the dog and he responded by licking her all over as she squealed and giggled.

“Well, he’s certainly a nice natured fellow Mrs.Sweeting,” the child’s mother conceded, “I always thought of Rottweillers as being fierce guard dogs.”

“Oh, a lot of them are, Mrs. Jennings,” the old lady agreed, “in fact I know of one that can only be approached by his owner, he’s so vicious, but I think this one was a dud! He hasn’t got a good ‘ferouche’ in him! I just love him to bits because he is so gentle. And I know he’d never harm a little one, he adores children.”

Mrs.Jennings was thoughtful. “Mmm. We have been thinking about getting a dog, what with these recent burglaries and all. But I was afraid a guard dog might not be a good idea with the kids.”

“Oh, I’m a firm believer that dogs and kids go together like bread and butter,” Letitia Sweeting had always had a dog of one sort or another, “and, as you say, these burglaries are worrying. We’ve never had anything like that in Thornton before. You must take care, you know? Post-offices are often targeted. I saw it on the news.”

“You’re right. I think we’ll start looking for a dog right away. Do you know anyone with dogs like yours?”

"Of course! I can give the kennels that bred Samson a ring, if you like. See what they’ve got. Sometimes they have an ex-show dog that’s past it’s prime for the ring, or one like him,” she pointed to the lolling lump of Rottweiller rolling all over the floor with Susie Jennings, “you know, not the right temperament or with a fault of some sort that would exclude it from the show-ring or breeding. They’re trained up and usually a bit cheaper than show-quality. He was a lot cheaper because they like Rottweillers to have at least a little dignity...” Samson was presently wearing a pair of doll’s knickers on his head, a pair of sunglasses and a huge smile,“...if you see what I mean!”

Mrs.Jennings chuckled, “I think I do! I would be grateful for any advice or help you can give me. Mind you,” she looked again at Samson, “I don’t know how much use that one would be in a robbery!”

“Oh, he’d probably show the villains where I stash my jewels!” Letitia laughed. “I’ll go and call the kennels for you now. See you later.”

“Don’t forget your pension!” Sarah held up the envelope containing the book and the money. “I’ve put it in an envelope for you. Mind you don’t lose it. Four months is a long time to save only to lose it!”

“Oh, I won’t have it long enough to lose it! I’ve a big bill to pay in town tomorrow.”

“You should have a bank account you know, it’s far safer than carrying cash around with you and your bills can be paid direct from your account these days.”

“I know, I know! But I don’t like banks, never have and I’m too old to change now. If there ever had been one in Thornton, I might have thought about it, but town’s the nearest. I’ll pop back later about the dog.”

“No, I’ll come and see you after I close up, save you coming back.”

“Very well, I’ll bake some scones and we’ll have tea. Do bring Susie along, Samson seems to have taken quite a liking to her!”

As he listened to this illuminating conversation, Willie Banks pretended to browse the magazine rack.

So! Amazing what you overheard in shops and pubs! They’d decided not to do any more jobs in Thornton, but this was too tempting to pass up.

The elderly widow had been an obvious target when they’d come to this village, but Mikey had told them about this enormous ferocious dog he’d seen when
he’d reccied the old woman’s bungalow, so they’d decided to keep to easier pickings, which were thick on the ground in this crime-free semi-rural village. But that dog was a complete jessie!

He couldn’t blame Mikey though, oh dear no! If he’d not witnessed that child rolling all over the floor with the brute, he’d never have even contemplated meeting it close up! Four months pension! No bank account! Didn’t look hard up! Wait ‘til he told the lads!

“...I’m tellin’ yer, it’s vicious!” Mikey shouted, “an’ if yer think I’m goin’ ter offer it my ar....”

“ I’m tellin’ yer, it’s a wuss! I tole yer about the kid, an’ the ole woman! If you don’t want ter meet ‘im, you can stand look-out. Okay? Me an’ Ronnie’ll do the job,”

Mikey was mollified by this suggestion. “Okay, but I won’t ‘ave nothin’ ter do with that devil-dog.”

“Yer won’t I tell yer! Y’know, I’m beginning ter think yer as much of a jessie as that dog!” Willie grinned and he and Ronnie had a good laugh at Mikey’s expense.

That night, the three men cautiously parked their van in a gate-space in the lane that ran down the side of the widow’s property.

“You sure it won’t be seen ‘ere?” Mikey, ever the pessimist had voiced several reservations already.

“Will you quit it already!” Willie, already nervous, was losing his patience. Him and Ronnie were going to have to think about ditching this little whiner. Mikey was starting to make them nervous with his negative outlook and a nervous burglar was a caught burglar.

“Mikey, you’re gonna put a hex on us all with yer bad vibes man. Either say somethin’ positive or, better still, keep yer grid shut!”

“Well, I was only sayin...”

“...well, only don’t!”

Willie and Ronnie climbed out of the van, leaving Mikey to stand look out and getaway driver, if required.

Ronnie was a big man, but despite his bulk, he was very light on his feet and moved silently across the tidy lawn. Willie, short and slight of frame, was a mere shadow.

Ronnie checked the windows. As far as he could see there was no alarm and the new upvc double-glazed window on the ground-floor was no problem to them. A little trick with a pocket gas-torch and a screwdriver, learned in jail, did the trick.

“Either we’re gettin’ good at this, or that dog isn’t much of a burglar alarm,” Ronnie grinned.

“I tole yer,” Willie whispered, “’e’s ‘opeless.”

Once inside the bungalow, it didn’t take the men long to get their bearings. The layout was pretty much standard.

They did their usual job efficiently and silently, sifting through all the old lady’s belongings but finding nothing of any interest or value.

“There’s nothin’ ‘ere!” hissed Ronnie, annoyed he’d found nothing. “I thought you said she was minted?”

“I’m positive she is - she’s got at least four month’s pension for a start an’ she mentioned jewels as well! An’ look at ‘er stuff! It’s all good stuff! She must ‘ave the readies stashed in ‘er bedroom, under the mattress or somethin’!”

“So, we’ll just ‘ave ter go an’ ask ‘er then, won’t we?” Ronnie had an unpleasant gleam in his eye that worried Willie.

Willie was a thief, but he’d never been violent. Ronnie, on the other hand, had been banged up for five years for extortion with menaces and g.b.h.

The men entered the bedroom and started to look through he cupboards and drawers.

“Who’s that? Who’s in here?” Letitia had woken up. The reading light went on, illuminating the room with a rosy glow. Samson was still asleep on the bed next to Letitia.

“Where’s the money?” growled Ronnie. “Tell me old woman. I’m not known for me patience.”

“I haven’t any,” Letitia’s voice wavered in fear. “I’m only a pensioner. Leave me alone or I’ll set my dog on you!”

The men looked at each other and laughed.

“What, that thing?” Willie pointed at Samson. “I don’t think so Ma!”

“ Now don’t you try an’ be clever with us! I know y’ took yer pension - four month’s worth – out today, an’ I know you got jewels. I don’t care if I ‘ave to ‘urt yer darlin’, in fact,” Ronnie grinned a very unpleasant grin, “ I might even enjoy it, but as I say, I’m an impatient man, an’ I want ter get outta this crummy place now!”

Letitia jumped, stiff with fear, but stayed stubbornly silent.

“If yer don’t tell us missus, I’ll kill yer dog.” Ronnie cast his unsavoury glance at the sleeping Rottweiller.

He chose his threat well, Letitia wasn’t going to let harm befall her faithful, if sleepy, companion.

“I...I don’t keep any of it in here. It’s in the utility room. Hidden in the dog’s bed.”

The two men looked at Samson, who was still fast asleep, on his back with his paws in the air. He must have been dreaming about chasing rabbits, because his paws were waving about in the air like he was riding a bike.

“Some guard dog!” Willie made a disparaging noise and Ronnie laughed.

“Outta bed, you. Yer can come with us. Don’t bother making a grab for the phone – we cut the wires.”

She led them to the utility-room. “In there.”

She opened the door and they eagerly pushed her aside and made for the dog’s bed at the other side of the room, where Willie and Ronnie could quite clearly see, exposed by a rumpled blanket, jewellery glinting in the light from the passage.

What they didn’t see, however, until Letitia closed the door behind them, was Samson’s big brother, Lucifer, whose basket was behind the door.

“What a shame I can’t let Lucifer roam the house,” said Letitia to herself beneath the screams and snarls and tearing of flesh, “but the poor, mad beast is far too vicious and destructive. He might savage someone again.”

She smiled as she firmly locked the door.


  1. Ei, I'm hooked on your scribblings :o) I was on on the edge of my seat wondering how this would end....brilliant short story, well done ! I really must go and do some ironing now...xx