Bad Luck + Trouble

Here comes Wrangler he's one tough customer | ©2014 HouseofHank.me

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What the critics are saying about Lee Kidd’s explosive new thriller:

**** Four stars!****I was on the edge of my sofa for this one…would’ve given it five stars, but I know Cap gets super bus-sick, so that part seemed wonky. Anyhow, that short, famous guy who just made a Kidd movie better be worried…there’s a new short guy in town!
—Hank

Pretty unbelievable action here. Cap’s certainly ADD, though. 
—Dexter

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Chapter 1
A FISTFUL OF HOLLERS

·     ·     ·

With a  jolt and a loud whoosh of hydraulics, a bus came to a stop amidst the drone of diesel and a rickety glass door banged open along its side. Captain stepped from the stagnant, AC chill of the Greyhound into the flat heat of another Great Plains afternoon. Friday. Five o’ clock. A bad time to move unobserved through a small town. Or, maybe the easiest. Five o’clock on a Friday and nobody pays attention to anything. Except the road home.

This time, the road was filled with flashing blue and red lights.

“Hey there, boy!” Came a shout from clustered police vehicles at a roadblock on the adjacent highway. “Come on over here!”

The situation didn’t look good.

Not good at all.

·     ·     ·

Captain Henry “Hank” Stanley hadn’t gone by his whole name for a long time—a really long time, if you count in dog years. He simply traveled the U.S. as “Captain”, though few even knew him by that name. By any name. He was simply a wanderer.

A very dangerous wanderer.

If he was honest—and Captain was never anything but brutally honest—his current situation could be traced, with laser-like intensity, back to the moment he said adios to Mrs. Stern and her Academy of Disciplined Dogs. ADD.

He was simply “Captain” ADD, and for a very long time that bastion of exceptionally well-behaved mongrels was his home. His citadel. All the young pups looked up to him and his legend. And he was a legend. No one could recall a time before Captain’s monumental presence overshadowed even that of Mrs. Stern herself, Mrs. Stern included (she was very old now, so it’s possible her faculties had slipped just a bit). There was one fact that stayed very clear in all the young curs’ minds, as they struggled to adapt to the life of ADD: Captain was ADD.

No longer. He was free and Mrs. Stern was a distant memory. Adios.

But ADD’s lessons stick with you forever.

When in doubt, drink water.

If in doubt, don’t bark.

Don’t destroy the furniture.

And the rule he returned to most of all since leaving ADD:

You don’t throw my buddies out of helicopters and live to tell the tale.

·     ·     ·

Stop and rest stranger | ©2014 HouseofHank.me

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“I said, where you think you’re going, boy?” the Sheriff’s deputy yelled again.

Captain moved purposefully through the thick, still heat of the afternoon towards the side door of a tourist hotel that had seen better days. Much better days. A big bowl of water sat in the shade of the porch. He’d sighted it first thing.

“I said, hey there, son!”

Captain disliked turning back. He needed to press on, dead ahead. Maybe circle sometimes, but straight was always best in his world. He reckoned every dog’s life needed an organizing principle—ceaseless forward motion was Captain’s. He gave nothing to the red-necked, sweaty officer shouting at him and continued walking.

“Well golldarnit Ed, that`ol dog looks like he’s been around the block a few times, don’t he?” said the large man sporting a gold Sheriff’s badge as he lifted his hat’s brim as if to get some air to the bald pate underneath. “Looks like he’s seen some things.”

“Don’t it make you wonder what?” replied Ed, the Deputy Sheriff. He narrowed his watery blue eyes in Captain’s direction.

“Yes it does. Yes it does, actually.” Sheriff Sippeschmatzer, 58, longtime Sheriff of Pasty County, Oklahoma, pushed himself up from a slouch by his Crown Vic with a practiced flourish of his hip, a move that years ago seemed very John Wayne-ish and deadly serious to him but today looked more like the signature move of the local (and equally aged) exotic dancer called “Hurley”. Down near the state line. In her world-famous stripper pole routine, “Keilbasa, Ho!”

Sippeschmatzer was an old Pasty County name, a name as long and troublesome to say as this officer was wide and hard to figure. Which suited Sippeschmatzer fine. Heck, if you couldn’t pronounce “Sippeschmatzer” then you weren’t from around here. And if you weren’t from around here, well, just what in the great golldang were you doing in Pasty County? Many unfortunates had pondered that question in the Pasty County Jail. It wasn’t one they pondered twice. No one re-visited Pasty County. The folks who did live in Pasty County and could pronounce “Sippeschmatzer” mostly called him “Sheriff S.” But that was okay. Because they were from around there.

Captain drank slowly and deliberately from the bowl of water. Good people, in the old hotel. He could tell. Hard as last years’ fruitcake sometimes. But good people. He ignored the advancing steps across the gravel lot. Two men. About 425 pounds between them. Country pounds.

When you drink, drink, Sensei Stern used to say, when you sneeze, sneeze. When you scratch, scratch. Only this.

Cool, fresh water. Four seconds and the men would be 10 feet away.

“You homeless, son? Huh? Should I be calling in Animal Control?” Sheriff S. called over to Captain. He stopped in his tracks and frankly evaluated this thirsty newcomer.

Captain finished his drink and turned around slowly. Confidently. I’m not homeless. He projected to the big man in the big hat. I’m a hobo. Big difference.

“Oh, so we got ourselves a hobo.” The Sheriff shifted in his boots and looked over at his junior officer. “Been a long time since we got a hobo.”

Not your concern, officer. Just passing through.

“Nobody’s just passing through Pasty County, son,” the Sheriff replied to Captains steady gaze, realizing the instant he said it that this was a mistake, since everyone just passed through Pasty County. No one stopped if they could help it.

The Deputy Sheriff cast the Sheriff a look at once perplexed and then thoughtful, as both men realized that despite the Sheriff’s factual error, the dog in front of them had actually stopped. Which was suspicious. “Yes sir, Unc-, er, Sheriff”, the Deputy nodded to his superior. “Nobody just passes through. And if he’s not homeless, where’s his collar?”

Sheriff S. made a quick mental note regarding his Deputy’s observational abilities. Aunt Edna’s youngest just might go far… A slight breeze kicked up dust around the Sheriff’s shiny boots (his wife Ethel shined them this morning after she asked if she should pick up more corn pads or medicated powder from the drug store—he had some foot problems) and he looked hard at Captain. There was some dust in his eye now, so this wasn’t easy.

The lot got quiet. Dead quiet.

·     ·     ·

Bad Luck & Trouble | ©2014 HouseofHank.me

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Captain knew the type in front of him, knew the type in his bones. These fellas wouldn’t be satisfied until someone was in custody. Until someone had lost. It wasn’t going to be Captain. A Slippery slope, fellas. I wear a nice collar, pretty soon I’m wearing pants. Then I’d need a hat. Next thing I know, I’ve got a motorcycle and a bank account and I’m filling out all kinds of forms.

“Sippie!” A loud voice split the tension as a screen door slammed shut four and a half feet from Captain’s back left ear. “Leave that old dog alone, you old fool. You go on back to your business, if you know what’s good for you.” A small, bespectacled old woman stepped out from the shadow of the overhang and glared at the Sheriff as she dried her hands on a tattered apron. “And take that damned nephew of yours with you. I’m tired of you two and your Tupperware parties scaring away what little business we get around here.”

Captain kept his eyes on the Sheriff’s, saw the quick flash of guilt there as red rose from his neck to find his ears. He knew the old woman’s keen eyes noted the same thing. She was a good one. Maybe as tough as him. Maybe tougher.

“It’s a roadblock, Imogene. On the highway. Sheriff’s work. You know that. We’re on the lookout for that dang bandit.” Sheriff S. shifted his feet, looking for more dignified ground. “He made off with more seed potatoes yesterday, up near the Doppelziffer’s place. He’s still in the area.”

“I don’t care if he’s right here drinking my best well water,” Imogene sniffed, with a sideways look at her guest, “I want you gone.”

“Alright, Imogene, alright. You win,” the Sheriff nodded and turned slowly away, not taking his eyes off Captain while he motioned to his Deputy. “You always win. But don’t think we’re not going to catch our guy and I won’t be re-elected come fall.”

Captain studied their retreat. The Sheriff moved like he knew his fate in advance. Another day, Captain thought. You and I will work this out on another day. He then turned to assess the woman, her hands on both hips.

“Come on in, you,” said Imogene. “I’ve got chicken on the grill. And we’ve got big problem to take care of. You and me.”

·     ·     ·

Don’t miss “Appetite for Combustion”, the next heart-pumping installment in Lee Kidd’s full-throttle Captain series!


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About Hank.

Raconteur | Dog About Town https://houseofhank.me/
This entry was posted in Books, Critters, Dangerous Babies, The Land of Was, Tom Hardy's Teeth, Worth a Sniff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Bad Luck + Trouble

  1. dandyknife says:

    Oh good, is it OctoShortStoMo already? Will Cap help Imogene resolve her big problem? Will the curse of the Sippeschmatzer shibboleth be lifted? Stay tuned for our next exciting episode!

  2. Hank. says:

    All equally scintillating questions! They will be answered–and others asked–in the next jaw-tightening installment…

    BTW, you pronounced Sippeschmatzer correctly! You must be from around there or you’re very, very savvy.

  3. Hank. says:

    Me neither! There’s only so much heart-pounding, chest-thumping, adrenaline-shooting action one can wait patiently for…especially when it’s raining. Like it is now. So very, very much rain. Sigh.

  4. judy patterson says:

    OMG Hank – that story is something! want more I do. will send it off to a small island in Denmark for Denmarkian opinions. good on ya hank. yor friend j

  5. Hank. says:

    Isn’t that something?
    Cap.
    Who knew?
    BIG ALOHA to you! Glad you got to hang with the Danes!!

Woof! Talk to Hank

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