Johnny’s fingers closed around the black purse just as the would-be thief cleared the top of the cinder block wall. With a loud grunt he yanked hard on the handbag, smiling when it slipped free from the other man’s grip.
Resting his forehead against the hot stone, Gage panted, waiting for his breathing to return to normal after his sprint. The muscles in his legs were twitching from the unexpected exertion, and sweat coated his body causing the cut on his right hand to sting like crazy.
With his left hand resting on the wall, the young paramedic straightened and was about to take a step when he heard an ominous growling behind him. He stiffened and slowly turned toward the sound. There stood the biggest, ugliest, meanest-looking mutt he’d ever seen. Oh, man. Why me?
Following a nervous chuckle, Gage muttered, “Uh . . . nice doggy. Good doggy. I . . . I’m not gonna hurt you.”
The growling grew deeper and throatier and the dog advanced a couple of steps.
Swallowing against the lump in his throat, Johnny tried again. “It’s okay, doggy. Uh, you’re a good dog, aren’t you? You’re just the best dog in the whole world. Handsome, too, aren’t ya, boy?”
Deciding the growl wasn’t doing the trick, the dog bared his big, white teeth.
Fearing the animal would spring any second, Johnny looked around in desperation. A weapon. I need a weapon. His eyes settled on a couple of metal trash cans a foot or so away. The one furthest away from him was tightly closed but the other one was overloaded with trash bags, the lid balanced precariously on top.
Keeping a close eye on the mutt, Johnny inched ever so slowly toward the cans. After what seemed like an eternity, the dark-haired man was able to cautiously reach for the metal trash can lid. His hand had just closed on the handle when the dog lunged.
The dog hit with a loud thud as Johnny wielded the lid like a shield.
Undeterred, the dog backed up and lunged again.
“What are you doing to my Rufus?” a timid wavering voice rang out, just barely audible over the continued growling.
Holding the “shield” in front of him to ward off a further attack, Johnny briefly glanced to his left, seeing a frail tiny old woman standing in the open doorway. Her snow white hair gleamed brightly in the sunlight.
“Uh, ma’am, get back inside. You might get bit.” If possible, the dog’s growl grew more menacing.
“Bit? Nonsense! Are you hurting Rufus? You should be ashamed of yourself.”
“H-h-hurting Rufus? Are you kidding?”
“Come here, Rufus, baby. Is that mean old ruffian hurting you? Come here, Ruffie, sweetie.”
To Johnny’s amazement, the dog stopped growling and turned toward the little elderly woman. He trotted over to her and plopped down with his mangy tail wagging wildly. So tiny was the woman that the dog’s head nearly reached her shoulders.
“How’s my little doggy, hmm? How’s my good, good little boy?” The woman leaned down and Rufus bathed her face in sloppy wet kisses.
Johnny gazed at the sight in disbelief. Shaking his head, he replaced the trash can lid and quietly started out of the yard. Just before he rounded the corner, he glanced back at the dog and did a double take. He could swear that the dog just winked at him. Man, how come these things never happen to Roy?
* * * The End * * *
*Click on the picture to send Vanessa feedback