Another story written for a Clan Destine Press prompt!
Jase couldn’t afford a getaway car, and anyway, neither of them had a driver’s licence, so his best friend Max waited outside the ratty house on a getaway bicycle.
Once Jase did the deed, he came belting out of Greasy Don’s house at top speed, the ill-kept puppy clutched to his chest. The puppy had yelped once, when Jase yanked the brutally short chain and the wooden stake out of the ground. Jase yelped too, because of the splinters, but he grabbed the dog close, even after she peed on him in terror, and ran for his – and more literally for the dog’s – life.
Mounting the bicycle was a challenge, even though they’d rehearsed with a loaf of bread in Max’s back yard. But Jase got on behind Max and Max took off, dinking Jase and the rescued puppy, as though Greasy Don was in hot pursuit.
Greasy Don wasn’t. Greasy Don was snoring in front of the television in the front room of his neglected house. Greasy Don didn’t have much going for him, but at least he was an equal opportunity slob, neglecting the house, his own hygiene and sobriety and his health in general, as well as the puppy. He possibly had forgotten he even had a dog, which would explain the poor animal’s state.
Jase, cynical about adults even at thirteen, had assumed Don enjoyed his power over the weaker creature. He couldn’t abide a bully.
The puppy shivered against Jase’s chest as Max pedalled his bike through the streets and back alleys – he was so good at shaking any pursuers that it was almost a shame they had none – and finally slewed to a halt in Jase’s back yard. He held the bike steady while Jase clambered off with the puppy.
Jase was covered in mud, blood and puppy pee. The rescue had indeed been a dirty deed. But they had rescued the animal. Jase put the puppy down and offered her the bowl of water and dog food he and Max had prepared earlier. They watched, happy and proud, as the puppy drank and ate her fill, and then clambered all over them, wagging her tail and licking their hands and faces.
‘Stinky needs a bath,’ said Max.
‘Don’t call her that,’ protested Jase. ‘It’s not her fault.’
‘You stink too.’
Jase pulled his shirt out to take a long sniff, and his whole face wrinkled in disgust.
After they bathed the puppy – who frolicked in the water like it was the best game ever, delivering a series of high happy yips – she earned the name Flipper. Jase showered too, and then presented the now fluffy white dog to his father.
‘She followed me home. Can I keep her?’
Jase’s father was fully aware of the drunkard four streets away and the poor neglected dog chained in his back yard. He knew right from wrong, of course, but like his son, he didn’t consider a rescue the same as a theft.
‘You can,’ he said. ‘And if Greasy Don shows up and wants her back, we’ll say we bought you the dog for your birthday.’
Flipper wagged her stumpy tail.
Greasy Don never did come looking.