Archive for September, 2009

Major Clue, Ignored (Sigh)

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September 30th, 2009 Posted 7:52 am

“It’s my guess,” Bernie said, “that Ezra Printz got out of the mental hospital and went back to Death Valley looking for more evidence of the crime. Was it there? I don’t know. We didn’t find a skull or bones or anything like that, just the film can.”

Whoa. A skull? I had a memory of that, deep in the cave, just before the roof fell in. Yes, there’d been a skull for sure. I barked. No one paid attention. I barked again. Outside, Iggy, somehow running free, barked back – yip yip yip.

“Keep it down, you two,” Bernie said.

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Paperback of Dog On It – Out Today

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September 29th, 2009 Posted 7:39 am

So here’s the opening of Dog On It.

I could smell him – or rather the booze on his breath,before he even opened the door – but my sense of smell is pretty good, probably better than yours. The key scratched against the lock, finally found the slot. The door opened and in, with a little stumble, came Bernie Little, founder and part-owner (his ex-wife Leda walked off with the rest) of the Little Detective Agency. I’d seen him look worse, but not often.

He mustered a weak smile. “Hey, Chet.”

I raised my tail and let it thump down on the rug, just so, sending a message.

“I’m a little late, sorry. Need to go out?”

Why would that be? Just because my back teeth were floating? But then I thought, what the hell, the poor guy, and I went over and pressed my head against the side of his leg. He scratched between my ears, really digging his fingers in, the way I like. Bliss. How about a little more, down the back of the neck? I hunched my shoulders a bit, giving him the idea. Ah, nice. Very nice.

We went outside, me and Bernie. There were three trees out front, my favorite being a big shady one just perfect for napping under. I lifted my leg against it. Wow. Hadn’t realized I was that close to desperation. The night filled with splashing sounds and I zoned out a little, just listening to them. I managed to stop the flow – not easy – and save some for dampening the rock at the end of the driveway and the wooden fence that separated our property from old man Heydrich’s, next door, plus a squirt or two between the slats. Just doing my job, but don’t get me started on old man Heydrich.

Bernie was gazing up at the sky. A beautiful night – soft breeze, lots of stars, lights twinkling down the canyon, and what was this? A new tennis ball on the lawn. I went over and sniffed it. Not one of mine, not anyone’s I knew.

“Wanna play fetch?”

I pawed the thing. How did it get here? Cooped up all day, but I’d kept an ear cocked; except for when I dozed off, of course.

“Bring it here, Chet.”

I didn’t want to, not with this stranger’s smell on it.

“Come on.”

But I never said no to Bernie. I gave the ball a lick or two, making it mine, then took it over to Bernie and dropped it at his feet. Bernie reared back and threw the ball up the canyon road.

“Uh-oh – where’d it go?”

Where’d it go? He really couldn’t see it? That never failed to surprise me, how poorly he saw after the sun went down. I tore after the ball, bouncing up the middle of the road in plain sight, got my back feet way forward and sprang, totally airborne, snaring it on the short hop, the way I like, then wheeling around in one skidding motion and racing full speed, head low, ears flattened by the wind I was making, and dropped it at Bernie’s feet, putting on the brakes at the last moment.  If you know something more fun than this, let me in on the secret.

“Got it on the short hop? Couldn’t tell from here.”

I wagged my tail, that quick one-two wag meaning yes, not the over-the-top one that wags itself and can mean lots of things, some of which I’m not too clear on myself.

“Nice.” He picked up the ball and was rearing back again when a car came slowly down the street and stopped in front of us.

The window slid down and a woman leaned out. “Is this thirteen three oh-nine?”

Bernie nodded.

“I’m looking for Bernie Little, the detective.”

“You found him.”

She opened the door, started to get out, then saw me.  “Is the dog all right?”

Bernie stiffened. I felt it; he was standing right beside me. “Depends what you mean.”

“You know, is he safe, does he bite? I’m not that comfortable around dogs.”

“He won’t bite you.”

Of course I wouldn’t. But the idea was planted in my head, for sure. I could tell by all the saliva suddenly pooling in my mouth.

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Posted in Chet The Dog

Mental Problems

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September 28th, 2009 Posted 8:02 am

“What happened to Ezra Printz?” Suzie said.

“Good question,” Bernie said. “Records show he spent time in Stockton State Hospital.”

“Meaning he had mental problems?” said Suzie.

Portia interrupted. “The whole family’s out of their minds.”

“Which explains why Kelo married you,” said Trimmer.

Portia gave him a quick kick. “Zip it, bro.”

“Another inmate at Stockton State,” Bernie continued, “was the painter Martin Ramirez. He’s considered a great artist now, but his life was kind of miserable. It’s my guess that he and Ezra met and somehow the murder film got switched with a painting. Maybe they made a trade.”

“But you found the can with the painting in Death Valley,” Suzie said.

“Chet did, actually.”

My tail started up.

“How did it get there?” Suzie said.

I waited to hear. Bernie was always the smartest human in the room.

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Galaxy Update

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September 27th, 2009 Posted 7:13 am

Sunday. Which is the only day I know, on account of Elvis gospel on the radio. Milky White Way is our favorite. Bernie says the original, by the Trumpeteers, is on youtube. Elvis pretty much copied it note for note, he says. Is that bad or good? Don’t ask me.

Bernie also says we live in the Milky Way, which is kind of confusing. In fact, he says, we’re in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way. Arm? The human arm is a big subject. Maybe we’ll get to that another day.

And thanks for all the great pics coming into Friends of Chet – Admin.

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