Here’s a scene from book #3 – “Hey, anybody got a title?” Spence says. Chet and Bernie working on a case that takes them to Mexico. They’re staying at a cheap motel and Chet wakes up in the night.The power in the village has gone out.
I opened my eyes, saw the bed beside me. I rose and looked at Bernie. He was sleeping, one arm outside the covers, chest rising and falling. I watched that arm for a while, and might have kept that up for some time, but then a gust of wind blew through the open window, carrying a powerful smell, the powerful smell from my dream. The dream itself was gone, but did I care? No. I was already at the window, sticking my nose out into the night. That smell, the very most powerful smell in the nation within the nation: need I mention it’s the smell that females of my kind sometimes get when they … have wants – let’s leave it at that.
The next thing I knew I was outside. I’m a pretty good leaper – in fact, the very best leaper in my K-9 class, which actually led to all that trouble on the very last day, meaning the day I would have gotten my certificate – but with such a low window even a bad leaper, Iggy, for example, could have done it. Well, maybe not Iggy.
Ah. So nice to be outside on a soft and beautiful night, all silvery dark, the moon now in a different part of the sky and lower, nothing stirring, and that special scent a snap to follow. Was this the way things were in olden times? I began to see why Bernie went on and on about them, whatever olden times actually were.
The scent led me away from the motel, across the hard-packed dirt street, still warm from the day, and into an alley with a bar on one side – easy to tell from that barroom smell, which I must have described already, probably more than once – and a crumbling wall on the other. The alley ended at a cross street, also dirt, with deep ruts here and there like black holes. Bernie talked about black holes a lot. They were dangerous, capable of swallowing up everything, so I was careful to avoid them. I made my way down the street, low ramshackle dwellings on both sides, the scent growing stronger. A moment or two later, just beyond a rusted-out car up on blocks in someone’s front yard, I glimpsed a bushy tail, pure white in the moonlight and raised up high.
I trotted on over, not fast; no need to scare anybody. And there she was! Nice and big, although not nearly my size, of course; mostly black and white, with some other colors, too; a longish snout and small watchful eyes: I liked her! She gave me a look with those small watchful eyes and then turned and trotted away. But not fast – we were in tune on that not fast thing. I trotted after her, gave her a sniff. Ah, yes. After that, it got not so easy to keep events straight in my mind. But did she give me a sniff back? Pretty sure that happened. And there’s no doubt I bumped up against her and she kind of pushed back a bit. Then we were in the shadow of the rusted-out car, a very private space. My eyes were on the moon, but I wasn’t really seeing it.
All of a sudden a woman called out from the nearest ramshackle house: “Lola! Donde estas?”
Lola? A cool name, but the interruption was inconvenient. A flashlight went on, and the beam began sweeping the yard.
“Lola! Que haces?” The beam passed over us, came back, and stayed, circling us in bright light. “Dios mio! Vete aqui!” Very inconvenient, because we were busy. And then just like that – in the way the very best things can sneak up on you – we weren’t! Lola scooted out from under me and took off toward the house, glancing back once. Those small watchful eyes: I’d never seen anything quite like them. The next moment something got thrown at me, missing by a mile, whatever that was. “Perro malo – vayase!” Meaning what? Not sure, but I caught the tone and ambled off. I felt tip-top, just about the highest tip-top I can feel. It was great to be south of the border down Mexico way.
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