“Will I—Oh never mind! My bacon brain is too tired to think anymore about this situation. I’m just going to do my favorite thing besides stuff my mouth with bacon, which you all do just not as much as me probably and which I will do on the count of three. 1…2…3!…ZZZZZZZZZ!”
CHAPTER 1: Sophie?
“Mom!’’ Angela yelled. “Sophie’s here!” Sophie! Sophie as in the girl who slides me bacon under the table when she sleeps over?
“How long will Angela’s stupid friend be staying?” groaned Alex, my other owner.
“One month, and Sophie’s not stupid!” Mom said.
Alex rubbed me behind the ears (my favorite spot to rubbed) and said: “I guess it’s just you and me Randy!” I barked in approval. Ding dong. That means doorbell! I ran towards the door to say hi to Sophie.
“Traitor.” Alex laughed under his breath, walking towards the door.
When Sophie opened the door, she screamed really loud and ran back to her car, buckled her seatbelt and closed the door.
Oh! I get it now! Sophie wants to play chase!
I barked in agreement, gave a big yawn and ran. Sophie screeched. Angela caught my collar right before I reached the car. If I had 2 legs instead of 4 and had gotten a headstart like Sophie, I would have totally beat her.
Angela walked me back into the house and got in the car with Sophie. It sounded like something serious was going on in there. Even Sophie’s dad joined the conversation. At the end of their “small talk,” Sophie and Angela hugged. Angela beckened mom come in the car with them and told Alex to hold me while she climbed into the back of the car. When she heard the news she looked very surprised, but then put a hand Sophie’s shoulder.
When they opened the car door, Sophie stayed in while mom and Angela told Alex to put me in our parents’ room.
Oh! They probably want to play hide and seek! I ran up the stairs, onto the bed and flipped covers on my head.
“Randy!’’ Alex muttered, roughly pulling the sheets from over my head.
I jumped off the bed and onto my dog bed near the “pond window” and watched Alex leave the room, closing the door firmly. Wait, did I just let him lock me here?! What now? Will I ever see Angela graduate? Will I ever play football with Alex and his team again? Will I ever stuff bacon into my mouth when Know ones looking? Will I—Oh never mind! My bacon brain is too tired to think anymore about this situation. I’m just going to do my favorite thing besides stuff my mouth with bacon, which you all do just not as much as me probably and which I will do on the count of three. 1…2…3!…ZZZZZZZZZ!
The sounds of footsteps woke me up. I yawned widely. My paws quietly scampered across the rug, my feet making little marks on the rug floor. I walked over to the door, my eyes still closed, and hit something hard. Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! Owwoo! Well, don’t wanna do that again. Oh look Bacon, Bacon 2, Bacon 3 and Bacon 4 are here. The Bacons are my chew toys. Okay, here’s the plan boys. I’m gonna knock on the door on the count of three. You ready? 1…2…3!
I run towards the door and… BANG! The pain learches at my body again. Owweee that hurts! But, I am Randy. And Randy is known for trying again! So this Randy is trying again and again!
I again run towards the door and the pain learches. Oh! I get it now, they probably don’t know that I’m up here! Alex, Angela! Mom, Dad! I start jumping up and down so they can feel the vibrations in the house. Come on, Angela! Alex, you know I’m up here- car! Car means Dad, and Dad means freedom! Bacon 3, you’re the heaviest, so jump with me! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! I’m up here!
That was Sophie! She must be in trouble! I have to see what’s going on! Why is Sophie screaming so much? Why have they locked me in here? And, most of all, why does Bacon 4 smell like baby powder?
“Uh Randy?” Angela? Angela! Angela sat down beside me. She rubbed me behind the ears and said: “Randy Sophie has gotten a fear. A fear we cannot control. Now, and for a little while, you will not be in the same room as Sophie. Sophie has gotten cynophobia.”
What does that mean? Is she scared of bacon? I can help her overcome that fear!
“Cynophobia does not mean that Sophie’s scared of bacon,” said Angela, reading my mind again.
Okay, then what does it mean?
“Cynophobia means that Sophie is scared of dogs.”
My heart dropped. Sophie was scared of me? But why? Was it my fault she’s scared of dogs? And why don’t pancakes have bacon instead of chocolate chips? All these thoughts started swishing around in my brain like Cheerios in a cereal bowl (especially the one about pancakes) until all that was left was mush and questions floating in my peanut-sized dog brain.
“It’s not your fault Randy,” Angela said, smiling as if she was reading my mind. “She’s afraid for reasons like getting tackled by a life size dog and her Aunt got bit by a dog and had to go to the hospital.”
“Angela?” Sophie asked nervously.
Sophie? I barked really loud so she could hear me, but then I sensed Sophie was scared as she jumped back and ran to Angela’s room. I remembered what Angela had just told me. The shivering sensation started to rumble around in my stomach like it did when I hit the door. Right, Sophie is scared of me. I slowly walked back to my dog bed and, with every step, my tail felt heavier and heavier. I sadly snuggled onto my bed and faced the window, chewing on Bacon 2. Angela patted me on the head and left the room, closing the door very quietly because I didn’t hear it, or care. All I could sense right now was my own sadness swallowing me up.
I stared out the window at Mom leaving the driveway and the pizza man arriving on his bike. His dark red suit with a slice of cheesy pizza on the back of his yellow coat hanging lightly in the sunset- wait, pizza man! Everyone knows that pizza man means pizza.
I ran out of my bed, but stopped in my tracks. Angela had left the door open! I ran past the door and quietly walked past Angela and Sophie, but dance partied down the stairs shaking what my momma gave me!
CHAPTER 2: A Pizza man in disguise!
When I got downstairs, the pizza man was already at the door and took a leap in the door, making Dad abruptly step back.
“Hello! And who is this?” The pizza man asked, slyly pointing at me. I sat up straight, looked the pizza man in the eye, and barked.
“This is Randy,” replied Dad, patting me on the head.
“Yes, of course! I mean, nice to meet you Randy!”
“Well how much is it? I’m sure the girls are getting hungry,” said Dad.
“That will be $18.99.” Dad paid the pizza man and went into the kitchen to set the table and put out the pizza.
I nodded towards the pizza man as in goodbye, and I was about to turn around when I smelled something delicious. It was a white ball. I licked it. It tasted so good! I ate the whole thing. Sugar coated my whole face. Ooh! Another delicious ball. I ate it all up. The ball trail went through the door, followed by many more balls. Until I reached the pizza man.
“I’ve been waiting for you.” The pizza man smiled.
My eyes started getting heavy; my brain started filling with bacon.
“Randy no! Don’t do it!” yelled a familiar voice.
“Shut up fur bag!” yelled the pizza man.
How rude! I thought. That was the last thing I said before I blacked out. The last thing I remembered was climbing into that pizza man’s bag (what a dumb dog I am!) because I was tired. The pizza man whisked me away.
“Shut up you dumb dog!” yelled the pizza man, whipping Randy’s dad with his own leash. “Tell me what I want to know and no one gets hurt!”
Yawn. I try to get up out of this dog bed, but it’s zippered! Who zippers a dog- oooohhhh, right. This isn’t a dog bed, it’s a pizza box bag!
“Help! Help me voices I heard before Iblacked out! It’s hard to breathe in here! Help me! Please.’’ My voice got more and more hoarse every time I spoke.
That’s it, I knew nothing good came from pizza men. I was gonna die here. I felt myself leaving as my breath started slowing and my heart started slowing down. Falling onto the bag, letting myself fall didn’t matter anymore. I was LEAVING!
The zipper opened and I immediately jumped out and smelled the fresh air. I coughed up a fit, leading myself out of the bag. A face I’ll never forget jumped out at me. It was the face a crying baby couldn’t forget, it was my…
……Mother. I started to cry. All these thoughts and emotions whirled around in my head. “Mom… Mother?” I sobbed all over her. What was I to do? I was just a puppy all alone in this big big world. I was a small puppy, a helpless puppy. No, I wasn’t, I wasn’t. I wasn’t completely confident in myself, but all I could do was cry. My thoughts were all fused together. I didn’t know which ones to believe in, which ones to turn away, or which ones would just make me cry all over again, so I just believed in all of them. What was happening to me? Where was I? Who was the pizza man really? Do they serve bacon when you’re kidnapped? And, most of all, would I ever see my human family again? Angela?
“Hey look!” said a dog who looked exactly like me. It was my twin brother, Charlie!
“Charlie!” Charlie looked EXACTLY like me except I have a black spot under my left ear and Charlie has one under his right, but we still look like the same Irish Setter as our loving dad, who I noticed wasn’t here. All eight sisters were here (What? I had a big family!) who looked like my mother. She was a golden retriever, but not a golden retriever more like a white retriever.
When I was a newborn, I remember we wouldn’t be able to find either my mom or the sisters when it snowed and my dad would take us on days out. We would go to a nearby deli and the manager would always give us fresh bacon and other meats for breakfast and in the afternoon we would go to the Houston, Texas dog park, but the old days weren’t always good. We were street dogs, but lived on grass (it’s complicated) in Houston, Texas. There weren’t pounds nearby, so we were safe for now, but one day things got a little shaky.
A truck rolled forward and the gravel on the road shook as it passed. There was a peculiar feeling as the truck stopped in front of my family and me. And then we noticed the big sign. In big, blue inky letters the sign spelled out
For all your furry friends in need!
FOR HELP CALL 555-555-5555
Euthanization (put your dog to sleep)
And many more!
Mom tried to hide us, but it was too late. The man grabbed me and Charlie. Dad jumped in front of us, but the man kicked Dad out of the way.
“Help! Help!” I called, but no one could save me.
The man who took us looked a lot like the pizza man. He had dirty brown hair that messed around on his forehead. He had an uneven beard and dark brown eyes and his millions of tattoos over his tan skin would haunt me forever. Oooooohhhhh. When I said the pizza man looked like the pound dude now I realized…THE PIZZA MAN WAS THE POUND DUDE!
AND THE CROWD GOES WILD! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHGH! Okay enough small talk. THE CROWD GOES WILD! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! Okay really. THE CROWD GOES WILD! AAAAAAAAHHHHHH- COULD YOU SHUT UP QUARTER OF BRAIN THAT ISN’T BACON?!
Now this all makes sense now! In Texas, the pound dude took us and was whipping us for weeks! Those were dark days. I didn’t get to see Charlie very much. The only times I got to see him was when Charlie was in pain and then I wouldn’t be able to see because I was crying too hard. The most important question in my mind right now was if they served duck bacon in puppy prison. Don’t tell my mom I said this but the… pound. YYEEEEEEEOOOOOOPPPPEEEEERRRRRSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HERE COMES HOME! NNNNNNNOOOOOO!
The pound dude made a really bad decision one night when he was out late and drank too much. He drove the pups outside into a really crowded park (like I said a really bad decision) and started whipping us out on the grass. It just so happened to be that one year old Angela and four year old Alex and their parents were there. When they saw Charlie and me getting whipped, they demanded all the dogs in Rob’s pound for all your furry friends in need! They found them nice homes all around the world and things have been like that for a long time.
“YOU STUPID, STUPID FUR BAG!!!!!” screamed a voice from down the hall.
My family and I huddled close.
“TELL MEEEEE!!!!” yelled the voice.
My family jumped out of the door that the pound dude had left open when he left. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
We stepped into a murky room with a big ol’ chandelier hanging from above. Charlie and I peeked into a doorway and beckoned the ladies to come over. There was another door, and inside there was a pitch black room with a flamey fire pit and the last person I wanted to see was there: the pizza man.
He was holding some sort of rope thing and a lantern was set at the table nearby. We all leaned in and saw something so painful to watch that we wished we never saw it. It was my dad. And the pizza man was holding his leash, one he used on special occasions with the metal part on the end. He was getting hit with it. More like getting whipped. And if that wasn’t enough, he was locked in metal chains.
My dad’s last chapter
“TELL ME WHAT I WANT TO KNOW YOU F***N DOG! WHERE’S YOUR FORTUNE AND THE CROWN? THAT HEIR WILL BELONG TO ME!” screamed the pizza man, whipping my dad again.
“I will,” my dad breathed calmly, “never tell you where our fortune is. The heir belongs to my sons, Charlie and Randy, and even if it didn’t I would never give the heir to a human.”
I’m puppy royalty? (drool, drool, drool, drool)
“IF YOU DON’T TELL ME WHAT I WANT TO KNOW, YOU AND YOUR FAMILY’S FLUFFY TAILS WILL BE GONE!” yelled the pizza man.
The pizza man was getting more violent by the second. He was hitting my dad harder now and had locked him in metal chains that jingled when he struggled to get out. I couldn’t bear it. I started to silent cry. My dad. My loving father. The one who always had my back even when no one else had. He had sacrificed so much for me and the rest of my family and I had to find a way to help him!
“If you would like to cut off my family’s fluffy tails, you may, but you will have to go through me first,” said my dad, resisting.
“I’m an Irish Setter.”
“JUST SHUT UP! YOU JUST TELL ME WHERE THE F***’N FORTUNE IS AND NO ONE GETS HURT!”
I really couldn’t help it. I ran out into the room and yelled: “YO! You want my old man? Well den you ‘ave to go through me first!”
“AHA!” the pizza man yelled.
My heart started beating. Had I made matters worse? The next thing that happened scared me and it also scared my dad. The pizza man pulled out a knife and grabbed me by the scruff of my neck. He held the knife up to my neck.
“TELL ME OR THIS GUY, THE HEIR TO THE STUPID PUPPY THRONE, WILL DIE!” yelled the pizza man, his yellow teeth shining.
“Alright, alright! I’ll tell you! Just don’t hurt my son,” said my dad softly.
“No, Dad, no! Don’t! Don’t do it! Daddy?” I couldn’t do it. Who knew what would happen to me and the rest of my family after the pizza man took our fortune? Would I ever see Angela again? Would I ever eat Pancetta bacon again?
“Listen to me and bend down so you can hear me,” said my dad.
The pizza man bent down with the knife in my dad’s face and was still clutching me in the other.
“Dad, no. Don’t do it!” I yelled, but I couldn’t convince him.
My dad leaned in and pulled the knife up to his face and… pushed it slowly through his neck.
I couldn’t watch.
“WHAT!” screamed the pizza man. He stomped out of the room and started whipping the rest of my family.
I was a little shocked myself. I didn’t know my dad would do such a thing. I started to walk out when I heard my name being called by a familiar voice.
“Dad?” I heard the voice again and walked over to where my dad was lying. I couldn’t figure out what he was saying, but he was talking and I could see his lips moving.
“Randy,” my dad started.
I didn’t want to interrupt him because this would probably be the last thing he said to me.
“There is a map. A very old map. It has the way to the fortune. The map’s at… at.” My dad had ended. All his hard work had been sacrificed to the underworld.
I started to cry. I felt so alone in the world. One of my most trusted dogs was gone. The world was too big for me, and I couldn’t do anything about it. The thing I most loved was gone.
I dragged my dad back to where the rest of my family was being whipped and an idea sparked into my head. I got in line and started getting whipped. I whispered something to Charlie who whispered something to my sister and so on. I barked and we attacked.
The family bit into the pizza man’s leg. I took the first bite and Charlie took the second. We ran over to my dad’s dead body and brought him over to the pizza man. We had 2 more to go. My sisters, Abby and Shyla, and the rest of us helped put my dad around the pizza man’s ankle (he had his eyes closed because of the pain; that’s what you get for messing with my family) and Charlie, who had the best impression of my dad, said: “I will haunt you in your dreams!”
The pizza man ran out of the room like we planned, his squeaky shoes made high pitched squeaks as he left. I didn’t know it, but I was going to have a topsy turvy life from then on out. The room looked murkier than before.
“So…” started my sister Anna.
“Do you think…” added my other sister Shannon.
“We should…’’ ended my other, other sister Jordan.
“Eat bacon?” I suggested.
“NO!” yelled all three.
“I think we should…” began my sister Hannah.
“Bury him.” My mom sniffled.
That wasn’t the worst thing. It started raining outside. Not only the skies were pouring, but so were we. Now only eleven of our living, breathing, souls dragged ourselves outside into the dark, gray rain. The twelfth was dead, being dragged by his loved ones.
As the rain poured, we were all lost in thought. I couldn’t figure out where to go, what to do, and who needed me most. Should I go back to Angela or stick with Charlie? My mother was pretty sad too and she was getting old, maybe I could take care of her.
“You two are now the men of the family now,” said a voice in my ear.
I knew she was talking to me and Charlie and that the voice was my mother’s. Her cold wet fur rubbed against mine for a second; it felt like the world had stopped and kept fast forwarding. The moment when I was a carefree newborn on the streets of Houston, Texas. And fast forward to all those good times with Angela and Alex and Sophie before she got Cnya- whatever you call it. All those football games with Alex, dog courses with Angela, even the movie nights with the whole family.
I dragged my dad’s feet to help with my mom, who was now a couple steps in front of me and my thoughts dragged off.
I wonder how Pancetta would taste with duck bacon at breakfast? If ham was smoked bacon then why is it called smoked bacon? As my thoughts started to buzz, my surroundings started to seep in. We were passing houses and nothing really caught my eye except for when a woman said that it was August 16th and time to take the trash out. Was it already August? How long had it been?
As the woman dumped her trash out, she missed the garbage can, but didn’t care. How rude! She just slapped Mother Nature in the face! Now, I realized why these people didn’t care that a bunch of dogs walked by. There were dogs everywhere. There was a particular group of dogs that had a white retriever like the girls, a tiny goldendoodle, a HUMONGOUS Berger Picard, and and an Alaskan Malamute all eating from the trash can the woman dumped outside. They waved and we sadly waved back. The dogs shrugged and went back to eating.
CHAPTER 4: THE END
We walked a little farther and got to a sandy beach and sat down for rest. We were all starving and almost dead, so we decided after the funeral we would part ways. I didn’t know where to go.
“Now,” muttered my mom almost crying, “we can’t make this a proper funeral, but right now I want you to pray to your father and then we’ll share.”
I had to just close my eyes and think. I was remembering all the great times I had with my father and all the laughs we had together, when I heard a voice that sounded quite like my dad’s.
“Randy. Listen to me and don’t talk. I’m not allowed to tell you where the map is or anything about it, but I can give you a piece of advice. When the world lets you down and you can’t get back up, all you need to do is try, try, try again and you will never fail.” The voice died down and I just stood there with my eyes closed, staring into the darkness of my grief.
Who was that voice? Was he telling me something important?
“Does anyone feel like sharing?” sniffled my mom.
No one raised a paw. We all just stood there with our heads lowered down.
“I guess it’s time,” I muttered.
We all walked our different ways. My mother stayed at the beach, lying with my father. Some of my sisters went right and some went left, but we all left. Charlie shook his head at me, walked past the beach shed and hung his head low. I couldn’t believe it. Did Charlie think that it was my fault that Daddy died? Well, maybe it was. If I didn’t go out through the door, the pizza man wouldn’t have been able to rebel against him. Is that why everyone was mad?
I walked a little farther to the right when I heard a high pitched scream. Where was the scream coming from? I heard it again. It was coming from the way Charlie went. I ran towards the shed and peeked around it. There were three men and one woman.
“So, what do you want fur ball?” said one of the men. He had a thick body and dark black hair and I guess he was the leader of the group. He had two colleagues with the same red hair and buff chests.
“Stop, just stop!” said the woman, but the man ignored her.
Then, I thought: If I don’t go out there then things won’t go as they did before.
I was wrong. The gangsters apparently were drunk and killed my brother. I was the only man of the family now.
Running towards the sea of unknown and landing on the road, I took a couple steps forward and got used to the rocks under my feet. I kept walking. The steps felt unworthy and despicable, like I didn’t deserve to take them. I just kept walking and walking, and kept thinking to myself thoughts that, for once, I didn’t want to think about.
I saw a familiar car and went closer. The car belonged to Angela and Alex’s parents! But then I got scared. They were parked outside a hospital. Was everyone okay? I was scared to go inside. I had faced way too many deaths for a lifetime, but I stepped inside anyway.
The thing that surprised me most was being able to find them so easily. They were sitting on the first bench. Mom’s head was on Dad’s shoulder and Dad’s was on top of hers; both were crying. I came up and sat on Mom’s lap. He looked as I did seeing them crying.
“Oh Randy,” Mom started, “they’re gone.”
Oh no, who was gone?
“Randy, Alex, Angela, and Sophie have all died in a car crash,” said Mom.
I didn’t know what to say. So I didn’t. But I had to close this story with a word so I said….