Jason was sitting in the old porch swing moving slowly with his glass of milk in hand. The sun had just blossomed and was creeping up the stairs, Ordinarily, he would be deep in a dream in his upstairs bedroom. This is what we all do on Saturdays. But, this day he was bitten by the curiosity bug….. He wondered…….if “it” was still as he and Rudy left it, given a whole month had passed since they had last visited.
He grabbed a chocolate doughnut from the kitchen, and wheeled out the door, giving it his usual slam. His mom took note and rolled over with her customary groan (If she told him once!……well you know). It would take a small tornado to wake his dad, who worked at the plant until midnight.
Jason whistled for Bones, who was sleeping under the porch. You could just see his black nose sticking out under the latticework. He rambled out, gave Jason a big yawn, and shake; which always involved a wiggle from nose- to -tail , a bit of slobber from his mouth and a scratch on the left ear to finish things off.
They took of for Rudy’s house, just across from Mr. Morton’s field. As requested, Rudy was sitting outside with a shovel in hand. They headed toward the fenced in barn . Now, here’s the first problem. The Morton’s had a big old mean bull, and the boys often used the field as a short cut in their trek to town. More than once they had to race across it to get to the other side.
The good thing was; Jason was getting bigger and smarter, and the bull was having good and bad days because he was getting older and slower. The fact that Jason made the track team didn’t hurt. …. but the question always was; “Was the bull having a bad day or not?”
He soon found out that the bull was named Barney)…..probably because he lived in a barn…. He popped out and was pawing the ground like he was planning to charge. Jason reached into his pocket and pulled out his Grandpas’ trusty old pearl handled pocket knife and shook it at him as he moved sideways along the fence. The bull froze. This had happened before, and it worked; but this time, he plunged forward, head lowered….. horns splitting the air as he left a huge cloud of dust.
It was if Jason had just heard the familiar starters gun, and he was off and running, with Barney pounding along behind him, maybe gaining a bit.
With one giant leap, that would have made his long-jump coach proud, he made it clean over the fence loosing only his left shoe in the process as it flipped him onto his fanny.
With that he got up, picked up his pocket knife and held it close to the really ticked- off bull’s nose…… and shouted his familiar message of victory ” Come any closer… and next time you’ll be hamburger!”.
Perhaps you wondered what happened to Rudy? Well, easy enough; He giggled his way across the lot with his hair still combed, and his hands in his pockets. Bones, trailing along behind, staying well within his shadow.
Shortly, they arrived at the vacant lot and the plywood covered hole in the ground. Rudy scraped it off and pushed the debris aside to clear the opening. Rudy observed.”Pretty dark in there. You go first”…. so Jason sighed and did, dragging Bones with him. The tunnel led to an open space. Above, it had been covered with an old window, and there was enough stuff over it, just to let in a small…..but bright, sliver of light. This played upon a collection of old boxes full of junk on the dirt floor.
As they surveyed the area, Rudy called out; ” You see that?” Jason bounced back; “See what?” “That white spot………it’s moving!” He was right, you might even call it a scurry, only to stop dead in front of them ……5 ft. away.
You guessed it ……Jason yelled “Hit the deck Rudy…. it’s a skunk!”
Bone’s hair on his back stood straight up, as he slowly crawled forward and assumed the attack position , to a spot between the bad guy and the boys.
Then, suddenly there was a wiggle and wham!…a spurt of skunk juice caught Bones right between the eyes. Bones blinked and shook his head. He had smelled some bad stuff…..but this? Well, maybe not all that bad. Bones had a pretty high tolerance.
The boys had put it into reverse, and had backed up to the entrance, with Bones close behind. Once out, Jason gasping for air, reached out to give Bones a “good boy” pat on the head. The stink hit him hard enough that tears came to his eyes. He cried out; “If we thought the skunk was bad…….get a whiff of Bones. He could be the skunk’s dad!”
The boys popped out and Bones came out slowly, still dazed, but surely feeling the amazing sense of victory, as the skunk had retreated…..probably out of ammunition.
They all took off for home, attending to nothing, and taking the same route home…. just lucky to be alive. Bones was banished from their company, trailing rejectedly behind, tail between his legs.
As they reached the fence to cross again, Jason, hardly containing himself, turned to Ru Jason turned to Rudy with a big grin, as he closed and returned his trusty knife to his pocket; “No need for this…………
Just wait ’til that stupid bull gets a load of Bones!”