"Murder, Misfits & Mutts" - Chapter 21 - Carmel Dog Tales

Chapter 21


Jerry stood on the trailer steps watching a couple of older guys exit their big motorhomes and head for the ’55 pink Cadillac parked in front of Jerry’s trailer. The car had not been treated kindly, but still a smile inducing trip to the past. The motorhome guys were paying homage to the Caddy when Abby drove up and parked beside it.

     The guys watched Abby let Winifred and Murphy out of their travel crates. Winifred took off like a shot and leaped into Jerry’s arms. He couldn’t resist channeling Elvis and crooned, “Wise men say, only fools rush in… But I can’t help falling in love with you.”

     The motorhome guys were impressed, whistled and applauded.

     “Thank you. Thank you very much.” Jerry was on a roll.

     Abby was less impressed. “One more word out of Elvis and we’re out of here.”


     Inside the trailer, Winifred sat on the couch, eyes flirting with Jerry. Murphy followed Abby checking out the trailer accommodations in back. Returning to the front door, Abby was ready to bail.

     “Why are you doing this?”

     “Evie thought I could help. Told me about your… accident.”

     Accident? There it was, again. Abby was about to blow him off when some mysterious force shoved the words back down her throat. Abby took a deep breath, eyes drawn past Jerry where she noticed a thick paperback on a shelf, the cover wrinkled and stained.

     “It wasn’t an accident,” Abby muttered, moving towards the shelf.

     “Yeah. I guess not from what Evie said. How do you like my new wheels?”

     Abby forced a dubious smile.

     “A loner. Until my truck is fixed. And then I am gone. Arrivederci, au revoir, and adios!”

     Abby stood before the book shelf and The Complete Essays of Montaigne.  The 850-page dog-eared paperback sat beside a stack of slim books in front of an old shoebox.

     Misjudging her interest, Jerry handed her the top little book from the stack.  “International best seller.”

     Abby stared at the cover featuring a cartoon naked golfer, privates obscured by furry golf club head-covers.

      “The Sensuous Golfer!” Abby read without a trace of humor.

     “Translated into five languages.”

     “I bet.”

     Jerry grabbed another one of the slim books, handed it to Abby and pushed the shoebox behind the Montaigne Essays.

     “How to Live With a Golfaholic.” Abby summoned a smile. “Cute.”

     Jerry eyed the stack. “Plenty more”

     “No tennis?”

     “Impossible! Ever hear a tennis joke?” Jerry didn’t wait for Abby to think of one. “There aren’t any. Because bad tennis isn’t funny. It’s just bad tennis. Bad golf has to be funny. Otherwise you’d kill yourself.”

     “You don’t have to convince me.”

     “In my quest to relieve the pain and suffering of the world’s golf junkies, I found the secret to everlasting salvation…”

     Jerry tossed Abby another book. “Golf Astrology – Your Pars Are in The Stars!”


     “Seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, now I’m much more concerned with environment sustainability.”

     “Of course.” No idea where Jerry was heading, Abby figured it best to just hang on till the ride stopped.

     “Oh yeah. Recycling! I’m very big on recycling. How about you?”

     “Absolutely. Very important.”

     Jerry moved to the dinette and held up a file folder beside his laptop. “Old Golf Astrology columns. Time to recycle! Haven’t written a new one in years. Why, you ask? Because it was all bullshit to begin with.”

     “I appreciate your candor, Jerry. But… I have to be honest. I’m not– ”


     “I know. It’s okay. Didn’t want to disappoint Evie. Done enough of that.”

     “I know you mean well. But I’m just not comfortable leaving Winnie and Murphy with you.”

     “I wouldn’t be either, if I were you.”

     Decision made, Abby turned to leave.

     “But if I were them…” Jerry looked at the dogs. “…might be a nice change of scenery. Why not let them decide? You’re the animal communicator. See how they feel.”

     Abby looked at Murphy who seemed to be considering the offer. She didn’t have to look at Winifred making goo-goo eyes at Jerry, tail beating a happy thump, thump, thump on the couch.

     “I’ll go in the back. I’m good with whatever you guys decide.”

     Jerry headed down the hall, turned back with a parting, “Whatever wants to happen.”

     Behind the bathroom door Jerry looked at himself in the mirror, pronounced the verdict, “You are an idiot.”

     He didn’t have time to dwell on it when he heard the front door slam.  Out the bathroom, Jerry was halfway to the living room when he saw Winifred still on the couch, Murphy sitting beside, a faithful bodyguard.

     The trailer door flew open and Abby marched back in lugging a box full of dog food, toys, leashes…

     “They are with you at all times. Never out of your sight. You’ve got to promise me. Blood oath!”

     “Scouts honor.”

     “You were a Boy Scout?”

     “No. But I honor the institution.”

     Shot down again by this impossible man, Abby kept going before she changed her mind.

     “It’s just one night, so they don’t leave the campground. And when you go for walks… On leash.” Abby pulled two leather leashes from the box and handed them to Jerry.

     “On leash.” Jerry stood at attention.

     “A cup of kibble with the raw bison for Murphy. Half that for Winifred. A teaspoon of psyllium mixed in the food. Keeps them regular.”

     “Hmmm. I’ll have to try that,” Jerry said, checking out the psyllium bottle.

     “And no table scraps.”

     “Wouldn’t think of it. We’ll be fine. Go. And good luck with Disney and the Boys.”

     Abby handed him her business card. “Here’s my mobile. If there’s an emergency, or you have any questions, about anything, call me.”

     “I’ll put you on speed dial.”

     Abby moved to the couch, gave Winifred a hug then wrapped her arms around Murphy whispering in his ear. Almost out the door, she fixed Jerry with a cold-blooded glare.

     “If anything happens to either one of them… You’re a dead man.”

     “Something’s gotta kill you.”

     Abby looked happy to oblige, left the trailer, marched to her Subaru and was gone.

     Jerry studied his furry house guests. “So… This grasshopper walks into a bar…  Stop me if you’ve heard this one.”

     Winifred and Murphy’s ears perked.

     “Okay. So the bartender says ‘Hey! You’re a grasshopper! We have a drink named after you!’  The grasshopper says ‘Oh yeah? You have a drink named Leonard?’”

     Winifred and Murphy stared at Jerry.

     “See, the grasshopper’s name was Leonard… Forget it.”



Rosa looked up from her sewing and watched a dozen puppies bouncing around a play room on the television. Animal Channel’s Too Cute was her therapy at the end of a day keeping things running smoothly at the Stanton estate.

     Finishing up her stitching, Rosa held up the trousers, quite pleased with her neat mending of the tears near the cuff.

~   ~   ~


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