Chapter 3, Part 1
I walk into Animal Control with a fully dressed Lucy the Pug sitting on my hip like a weird, weird, errant toddler. I make one final adjustment to the rear of her pink, flowered sundress (who knew kicky pleats were so much trouble!), push open the inner door with my currently weaponless right hand and walk to the front desk.
“May I help you?” The very pleasant looking 50ish woman asks. She’s very attractive with an unfortunate haircut. Think Moe. 3 Stooges, Moe. And, it’s dyed the same solid unrelenting black.
“I found this pug walking down the middle of the street.” I say, bouncing Lucy on my hip like a big baby.
“This little sweetie? Somebody is missing this angel.” The poor woman exclaims, utterly unaware of Lucy’s true nature. She turns minutely to focus on Lucy the Pug and offers her hands to take Lucy from my arms.
Ka-Zaaaap! An incredibly bright but short burst of light flies out of Lucy’s paw. Lucy stuns her right in the center of her forehead and timber! The animal control volunteer hits the floor.
“Parson misses me, you cow!” Lucy crows over the poor woman’s prone body, doing a victory wiggle on my hip.
“You didn’t kill her, did you?” I whisper into Lucy’s ear. I am rooted to the spot by the sudden violence.
“Naw. Emil set the laser himself, the busybody. She’ll be up in seven minutes. Call for help!” Lucy coaches. She wiggles on my hip some more and searches for her next victim.
“Help!” I yell, trying to draw attention to the stunned woman’s plight and bring any other animal control staff in laser range. “Somebody help! This woman’s fainted!”
Another woman, clad in cleaning overalls and elbow length yellow rubber gloves pops her head out of the doorway.
“Doreen?” She asks, peering at us through coke bottle lenses. Her lank hair has fallen over her glasses but, apparently, she doesn’t dare push her hair out of her eyes with her poo covered gloved hands. The overwhelming aroma of cat urine wafts through the open door. Lucy makes some gagging noises and buries her snout in my sleeve.
“I think Doreen fainted.” I say, helpfully. I point at Doreen’s feet sticking out from behind the counter and turn so Lucy gets a good shot.
The younger woman looks really annoyed, steps into the hallway and sees Doreen’s legs. We get a quick look of shock and she trots toward Doreen.
Ka-Zaaaaap! Thunk! It’s amazing. I’m carrying deadeye pug on my hip.
“Woo – hoo! This is way too much fun!” Deadeye Lucy yowls. “Yell some more, maybe there’s another target.”
I yell a bit more with no results, then open the door to high sign the others. They hiding behind a spindly cedar by the door. Like no one will notice the six sets of legs sticking out of the tree skirt, losers.
“We’ve got about five minutes.” I say to Tasha, setting Lucy on the floor. Emil runs up to adjust Lucy’s laser weapon.
I dart behind the counter to search for kennel keys, come up with them and we split up according to plan. Lucy and Michalene cut to the left to free the kennel dogs, Emil and Tasha run to the lobby to do the CO2 alarms and I go for the back kennels.
“Hot diggity Dog!” Parson yells, doing the entire body wag. “I sure am glad to see you!”
“Hey Pars, glad to see you still breathing. I’ll have you out in a jiffy.” I yell back, thumbing through the keys. They are conveniently numbered. Thanks Doreen!
“Let the cocker out, too.” Parson says, unaware of Lucy the Pugs ‘free the world’ meltdown and campaign. “He’s ¼ celebridog. His name is Newton.” Parson points out the only other prisoner in the back kennel and makes introductions. Newton is a rather shabby, cream colored Cocker Spaniel with some exceptional body odor. Parson doesn’t seem to mind the stench so I try to control my grimace out of good manners.
Two minutes to spare, we’re in the lobby and the CO2 alarms start blaring. Michalene and Lucy skitter around the corner and spot Parson and Newt. There are a few moments of high fiving (Michalene) and kissing (Lucy).
“What about the cats?” I ask. I wonder if we should spread the cheer and release everybody.
“I’m not really hungry.” Parson says, giving Lucy another lengthy kiss. “What do you think Newt?” Parson’s head swivels to direct his question to the stink factory glued to my right leg. “Lucy baby? Maybe a kitten for later?”
“No! No kitten eating!” I say with a disgusted shudder. “Forget I mentioned it!” I give up on freeing the cats. The CO2 alarms are deafening so I scoop up Lucy in my arms and herd the boys toward the door.
“Well, you did ask.” Parson says, looking offended at my kitten indian giving. Tasha, with Emil in her arms pops out of a maintenance room and waves us toward the car.
We pile into the car giggling maniacally filled with the odd giddy excitement of a successful caper.
Tasha gets behind the wheel, I get shotgun and five, holy crap, five dogs pile into the back seat. Newton and his odor almost count as two whole dogs. Emil, in an effort to avoid the Newton’s BO, bails out of the backseat to sit between Tasha and me.
The Animal Control office has a fairly narrow and curvy quarter mile access road. One car approaches slowly. It looks innocuous and Tasha and I do our best to look super innocent.
“Duck down, everybody!” I say as the car comes around our mutual curve. This is pretty much the exact second Lucy the Pug leaps up to plaster her well known mug against the backseat window.
“Police dogs! It’s Shane and Scruggs with their human, Joel! Those tricky asshats!” Lucy cusses, flipping them a complicated and lengthy double bird.
“Damn it, Lucy! Get down. Way to go, giving us all away.” Emil barks, leaping over the seat to bite Lucy on the tail.
“What?!” Lucy spins, flipping Emil off her tail and on the floorboard. “What’s the big deal? Those two losers have been following us since Pink Paws!”
“Yeah! And now they’ll follow us directly to Cowdogs, you waterhead!” Emil yells. “Now we have to figure out another escape route. Drive, Tasha, drive. We can get ten minutes ahead of them if we push it. Those alarms will keep them busy for a while.”