Cool Drink, Hot Day: From Thereby Hangs A Tail
The driver lowered the binoculars, made her way up the slope, coming right toward me for sure. When she got close, just beyond my hidey-hole, she stopped and squatted down, peering inside. “Oh my God,” she said. “Are you all right?” She had a nice voice and a nice face, but I didn’t move or make a sound.
Lots of things dangled from the driver’s belt. One was some kind of radio. She spoke into it. “Delta three,” she said. “Affirmative on that dog. Not a coyote. Repeat, dog. I’ll bring him in.” She clicked off. “C’mon out, big guy. Must’ve been quite a scare, huh? Everything’s all right now. I’m not going to hurt you.”
I’d heard that before. I didn’t move.
“Thirsty?” she said. “You look a little thirsty.” She walked down to the jeep, returned with a metal dish, poured water from a canteen – oh, the smell – and laid the dish near me.
I didn’t move, not for the longest time. She squatted out there in the hot sun, patient, kind of like Bernie. The smell of that water, so cool and fresh: who could resist it forever? Not me. I crept forward and slurped up all the water in the dish, keeping my eyes on her the whole time.
“Knew you were thirsty,” she said, refilling the dish. I drank the refill, and then another, and some more after that. “Been through the mill, haven’t you?” she said. I didn’t get that. I lay by the dish, most of my body outside the hole, chin on the ground, eyes on the driver. She had a nice voice and a nice face; was patient like Bernie. “Okay if I look at your tag?”
I didn’t stop her. She reached out, examined the tag. “Chet, huh? That’s a nice name.” She took a notebook from her pocket. “I’ll just copy down this number.”
Tags: Thereby Hangs A Tail
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