Re-Introducing Colonel Bob, Part 3: From Thereby Hangs A Tail

Bernie searched the cabin, went over it on his hands and knees. Something about Bernie – or any human – on hands and knees always got me going so I had to wait outside with Colonel Bob. We walked around the pond. The sun was hot on my back. I paused for a drink.

“Taste good?” said Colonel Bob.

It did. We walked some more. “This PI gig pay at all?” the colonel said. “That car of his looks pretty beat up.” Huh? He was talking about our car, the Porsche? I glanced up at him, saw the faraway look in his eyes. Sometimes humans got that look when they were talking to themselves inside; I was pretty sure of that. And if no other humans were around, sometimes bits of that talk leaked out. Like now, when he stopped and said, “Saved my goddamn life.” He took out a pack of cigarettes and lit up. I loved the smell of cigarette smoke, but Bernie was trying to quit so I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I’d want. Colonel Bob tossed the match into the pond. “Hell on earth,” the colonel said. The match sizzled. What a sound! The things it did to my ears! Do it again, Colonel Bob!

But he didn’t, just stood by the pond with that inward look, taking deep drags off the cigarette, and soon Bernie came out of the cabin, tucking away the surgical gloves.

“Find anything?” said Colonel Bob.

“Just the spotlessness,” Bernie said.


“Don’t know yet,” said Bernie. He glanced at me. “But something not good.”

Colonel Bob held out the cigarette pack like he knew Bernie would take one, and Bernie did. The colonel flipped him the matches. Bernie lit up. I got ready for another sizzle, but it didn’t happen. Instead Bernie blew out the match, shook it a bit, then put it in his pocket.

“Pack in, pack out?” said the colonel.

Bernie shrugged.

“It’s the way to go,” the colonel said. “Wish I had your discipline.”

“Me?” said Bernie. “Discipline?” Was that a new word to Bernie? Sure was to me.

“Yeah,” said Colonel Bob. “You.”

Bernie was silent. They smoked by the side of the pond.

“How’s the leg?” said the colonel.

“Perfect,” said Bernie.

“No ill effects?”

“I was lucky.”

“Sure looked bad that night,” the colonel said. Bernie stayed silent again. “That fuckin’ night,” said the colonel.

“Yeah,” Bernie said.

“Think about it much?”

“Nope,” said Bernie. And then: “Some.”

There was a long silence. The smoke from their cigarettes rose in the still air and slowly mingled. The  colonel said, “Life is pretty good.”

“Yeah,” said Bernie.

Pretty good? Life was great! How could anyone miss that? It was right out there every day.

“We done here?” said the colonel.

“For now,” said Bernie.

“Want to fly us back?”

Huh? Bernie could fly the chopper? He looked at the colonel, a funny expression on his face, and started laughing. The colonel laughed, too. They laughed and laughed, doubled over, laughed till tears came.

“Hey, Chet, down boy. Easy.”

That laughing till tears came thing: always too much for me, but I tried my hardest to stay down.

Bernie wants to follow the Iditarod Race. Any suggestions on how?


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34 Responses to “Re-Introducing Colonel Bob, Part 3: From Thereby Hangs A Tail”

  1. Melanie
    3:16 am on March 8th, 2010

    The Newf pack likes Col. Bob. They want to ride in the helicopter with him. That would be a sight to see. Mac would sit up right in front watching and helping. Others would be changing seats, drooling, looking out any windows, drooling. Thank goodness there are no bikers up in the sky, because all the dogs would get on one side of the copter and bark their fool heads off.

    Chet, I like how you look at life. Life IS great; the Pack within the Nation agree. They are also are "right out there every day." Unless, it's nap time. Which it is right now, as the snoring overwhelms the sound of the TV news. Then again, why listen to TV news, dog snoring is much better.

  2. Rio - The Evil Pug
    4:46 am on March 8th, 2010

    Bernie!…I’ve been told there is no TV coverage of the Iditarod….snort!…You have to follow it on the Iditarod’s website….grunt!…. So maybe Siber-H can give us more info if he shows up today… there’s always “google” in the meantime… heh

  3. B. Stover
    4:58 am on March 8th, 2010

    Ah, Col. Bob is looking inward. I didn't remember that part.

    Jasper: Thank you for the picture of the white squirrel. Now isn't he cute?

  4. Mollypop
    5:25 am on March 8th, 2010

    B. – That fuzzbutt picture got me all wound up. Mom kept saying "Take it easy Molls, not real." I had to go out and run around the yard a few times, then took a nap.

    Siber-H – You could help Bernie with the Iditarod info. You da dog!

  5. Rio - The Evil Pug
    6:10 am on March 8th, 2010

    Bernie!… Looks like Fielder and Palfrey are in 1st and 2nd place so far…Huff!

    Hey!… Quinn is in 10th place!… snort!

  6. Wookie of Chevy Chas
    6:52 am on March 8th, 2010

    Hey guys. I kinda checked out this weekend just to take some really nice walks with my mom and dad and enjoy the warmer (but not too warm) weather we are having. I did read the story, although I waited until all three portions were posted, so I could read it at one time. It was really touching, and I thought very realistic too.

    There was a lot going on with the Blog too that I had to get caught up on. And Commander Rio, don't worry about the Kats — thy are simply uninformed about your high level national security clearance that requires certain things be kept on a need to know basis (oops, not sure I was supposed to say that — sometimes I let the kat out of the bag, as it were). Also, I'm ready for the next mission whenever you give the signal. We definitely need to do something about this Admin guy (or is it gal?).

    Mollypop — you are one fierce girl, and you would be welcome to chase fuzzbutts in my back yard anytime you want, and we have a lot of them (as well as a few pesky rabbits too, which tend to feast on the lettuce in my mom's garden). Signing off for now. PFC Wookie

  7. Rio - The Evil Pug
    7:06 am on March 8th, 2010

    Chet!….I would really like to hear the story of how Bernie saved Colonel Bob’s life. …snort!… I hope it is going to be in a soon to be published book… grunt!… I can’t quite figure out if the story about Colonel Bob’s son is related to the circus and an elephant named Peanut…. Wheeze!… Or if, they are two separate cases…. Snag!

  8. Rebecca Rice
    7:49 am on March 8th, 2010

    Thanks for delivering that other guy's weekend reading, Chet. I just finished it up. Wojo and I like Colonel Bob, too.

    Wojo had a bit of a hard time this morning. If you may remember, he weighs about seventy pounds, but with all of his hair, and as tall as he is, he looks like 90 pounds of dog.

    He has these two stuffed hedgehogs, the squeaky kind, that he got over the winter holidays. We were playing fetch with them today while I was unsuccessfully working at my desk, only after a while, he started whining. Though I could see one of them under the kids' desk in the dining room, just through the office door, Wojo couldn't bring himself to go and get it. The more I urged him, the more anxious his crying became, but still, he wouldn't even leave the office. Instead he paced back and forth between the doorway and my desk, freaking out.

    And then I saw what the problem was: Eddie, our year-and-a-half old cat, the one who used to be kind of a chicken, was sitting in the hallway just beyond my direct line of sight, so that I had to strain and lean to see him. Eddie weighs less than 12 pounds.

    When Wojo saw that I was looking at Eddie, he tried to go closer, but a menacing growl from deep in the evil cat's throat sent him scurrying back behind me.

    When I got up, Wojo egged me on, only half a step behind me, and Eddie retreated to the corner of the dining room, near the basement door. Eagerly, but timidly, Wojo raced to the nearest hedgehog and tried to get it. Eddie charged him, and Wojo fled through the front room into the foyer, Eddie hot on his heels most of the way, slightly pouffy and royally PO-ed.

    I was pretty useless for a minute or two, but then I scooted Eddie down into the basement so my big baby could come back out of the foyer, looking sheepish and whining a bit as he picked up his hedgehogs and followed me back into the office. The big chicken! The big bad scary kitty tried to get him!

  9. Melanie
    9:53 am on March 8th, 2010

    Poor Wojo!

    The bigger they are the gentler they be!

    Just as our Frank who becomes a 168 pound lap dog when he hears thunder!

    It's okay Wojo, Rebecca will keep that mean Eddie away.

  10. Rio - The Evil Pug
    10:35 am on March 8th, 2010

    Snort!…What a couple of Wussies… grump!

  11. Lexi
    10:48 am on March 8th, 2010

    Hey, guys. Megan told me all about thiis girl named Jessica Watson. She said that Jessica is only 16 or something, trying to set the world record for sailing across the world in 6 months. Awesome! Know anything about that? Do you guys know where she is right now? Chet, did Bernie set a world record?!

  12. Barb & Maggie
    12:21 pm on March 8th, 2010

    OK Rio, We've got Nerve Damage next on the stack. Would you rate it as high as The Tutor? Mom loved that one. You seem to be a well read Pug, so what else should we get by PA? I agree with Dawson's theory about Bernie and Col. Bob and the rescue, but still wondering about Col. Bob's son.

  13. B. Stover
    12:51 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Don't know if this message came through: I'm almost finished with The Tutor.

  14. Lexi
    2:06 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Dawson, I'm backing your theory up! What other way is there?

  15. Barb & Maggie
    2:13 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Thanks Rio, I didn't realize Oblivion was by the PA guy. Happy reading. B Stover, Did you read Nerve Damage? Mom is mad at me cause I got bored and chewed up her new yellow clogs. She just bought them to replace her old red ones, which I also had a fondness for. Not too good with the colors, but the taste was superb and the rubber made a nice squishy sound on my teeth. I may not be getting a treat for a few minutes!

  16. Rio - The Evil Pug
    2:32 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Zippy!… that theory of yours could maybe possibly be an itty bitty bit of the end of the full story!… grunt!… but it doesn’t say what happened to them before they were able to escape… wheeze!.. That’s the part I am hoping we get to find out about someday from Chet!… cough!

  17. Rio - The Evil Pug
    2:35 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Stover!… Let me know when you have finished and we will communicate in a KGB like code to compare notes!… snort!… heh…just having some oblivion-like fun with ya!… grunt!

  18. Rio - The Evil Pug
    2:39 pm on March 8th, 2010

    HA!.. MagPie!.,.. I wish I could Chew-Up things!…snort!… my teeth don’t come together right and I have a helluva time chewing… growl!.. I usually swallow things whole and then URP! them up on the living room carpet… grunt!… makes for interesting conversation around here… gulp!

  19. AbbietheKitty
    3:37 pm on March 8th, 2010

    I think that Zippy has the right idea. Of course she is my sister and very smart so I have to agree with her. I am glad she escaped from the Rendezvous and got back home.

    ~~abbiethekitty's staff

  20. B. Stover
    3:38 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Barb and Maggie: I have not read Nerve Damage.

    I'll let you know when I finish Tutor, Rio. However, I don't know KGB code. I downloaded Oblivion to my Kindle. I'm going to go read now.

  21. Rio - The Evil Pug
    3:57 pm on March 8th, 2010

    You read Stover!… and be sure to keep a light on in your bedroom before you go to sleep!… Speckled!…shudder!

    AbbietheKat!.. why are you so lame hearted lately??? … Boring!… What’s up pussycat?… tired?… Working too hard? … Toe bothering you???? …snort!… Or is that your “staff” making all the decisions?… snorkel!.. and not letting you use your imagination anymore??…. Dammit!… Your sister has NOTHING on you girl!… wheeze!

  22. AbbietheKitty
    4:21 pm on March 8th, 2010

    All of the above Rio you sweetie.

    Plus worried about my mother who has had a nasty cough lately but we took her to the vet…er, doctor today and she has some antibiotics for her ear infection and so that should get better now.

    Life just seems a little full right now. Ya know?

    And Zippy, not to worry, she is OK. Really! But she can't use her hearing aid right now so we text (write really big notes and she laughs at us and answers them) She can still hear her audio tapes so she is good to go.

    I just finished the first Ingrid book, "Down the Rabbit Hole" and have started "Behind the Curtain". It seems like I just started reading but I am already on page 58. It sure reads easy.

  23. dawson
    4:36 pm on March 8th, 2010

    I have a theory, after reading today’s post, that Bernie saved Colonel Bob’s life by flying a helicopter out of a dangerous situation when the pilot of said helicopter (possibly Colonel Bob)
    was incapacitated, Bernie taking a bullet in the leg before zipping away. That’s why they were laughing and laughing – a great way to reduce the stress of remembering dangerous times.

    Wojo: Smart dog – way to get away with your nose intact – if not your dignity. Get those hedgehogs!

  24. Barb & Maggie
    4:38 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Mom has had her useless nose stuck in that book, The Tutor, all weekend. Glad she finished it today, so things can get back to normal and she will go outside with me. She said that Ruby was SOME KID, kind of reminded her of Chet in some ways. Not sure how since Ruby is a human and Chet is a dog. Sort of confusing.

  25. Rio - The Evil Pug
    4:44 pm on March 8th, 2010

    AbbietheKat!… sniff!… believe me… swallow!.. . I know what its like…groan!… watching humans take care of their older loved ones…cough!… and I know how badly they feel…snuff!.. I try to do my Puggish best to comfort my friend who bears a lot of the load…choke!… but I find that coming here and having fun is a very good escape for a lot of real-life tragedy… Irma!,,,of course, would probably suggest we need doggie counseling… growl!… but I think right here is counseling and comfort enough for me right now….. snort!….what about you???..grunt!… have some fun when you feel better?…maybe?… Sniff!

  26. Rio - The Evil Pug
    4:51 pm on March 8th, 2010


    Gruff!… Ruby had a backbone!… snort!… she was no Wuss!… I loved the fact that she was a Sherlock Holmes fan too!….. grunt!… Wot a Kid!…snuff! … And she loved her dog so much!…wheeze!

  27. Siberian Husky
    5:17 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Hi everyone! Iditarod update: At this point in the race it doesn’t matter who is out front. The mushers and teams won’t start sorting themselves out until they have traveled around half of the 1049 miles. Some mushers will “scratch” because they break their sled or their hand or whatever. Some of the dogs will be “dropped” because of a sore paw or maybe they just aren’t having fun anymore. The dropped dogs are then flown back to Anchorage and are well-cared for until their mom or dad can pick them up. There are vets along the whole route, but no people doctors. The people who put on the Iditarod Race have learned that IT IS ALL ABOUT THE DOGS!

    Mom and I always cheer for all the dogs, but the mushers we cheer for are the ones we think love their dogs the most.

  28. BStover
    5:24 pm on March 8th, 2010

    I’m almost finished with The Tutor.

  29. Rio - The Evil Pug
    5:33 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Damn!… I've lost the Thread to "24"… snort!… sigh…and once you lose it, its damn hard to get back!… grunt!… can anyone fill me in??? I know there are some fans out here!…help!

  30. Rio - The Evil Pug
    5:59 pm on March 8th, 2010

    MagPie!… as I think I’ve mentioned a few times… snort!… I’m reading “Oblivion” … and By Jove, I may even get to finish it this evening!… grunt!…These are the only two I’ve had time to read so far… wheeze!… They are both so different – I would never be able to say which is better than the other….gruff!… I would definitely recommend that your read “Oblivion” at some point….wheeze!

  31. Wookie of Chevy Chas
    6:13 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Rio. Part of the problem is not knowing where you left off. But in a nutshell, the nuclear rods that some bad guys, including President Hassan's brother, wanted to ship back to IRK are instead going to used to make a dirty bomb detonated in NYC. President Hassan's brother, who was in cahoots with them, but not on this latest development, was killed by the bad guys, but they didn't know for sure he was dead and CTU fooled them in believing he was still alive, which is why they sent one of their agents, the American son of a deceased IRK sympathizer (Marcos). to kill the President's brother by possibly detonating a jacket bomb he was wearing. CTU tried to capture him (having disarmed the bomb electronically, so he couldn't detonate it — thanks Cloe), but he escaped and was trying to re-arm the bomb to kill himself. They got his American mother (who he had previously warned to get out of NYC) and brought her to him. She (played very well by Mare Winningham of St. Elmo's FIre, if you remember the movie) along with Jack Bauer got him to surrender, but the bad guys detonated the bomb remotely killing him anyway. Before the bomb exploded, he revealed that one of the bad buys was Hassan's head of security, who we thought was a good guy and had run off with Hassan's daughter. She is now suspicious of him, even though she thought her father had wrongly turned against him, and I think he may know that she knows. Phew! Hope that helps. But don't miss next week. I don't think I can do this again. Your erstwhile second in command, PFC Wookie.

  32. Barb & Maggie
    6:16 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Thanks Rio, I didn’t realize Oblivion was by the PA guy. Happy reading. B Stover, Did you read Nerve Damage? Mom is mad at me cause I got bored and chewed up her new yellow clogs. She just bought them to replace her old red ones, which I also had a fondness for. Not too good with the colors, but the taste was superb and the rubber made a nice squishy sound on my teeth. I may not be getting a treat for a few minutes.

  33. Rio - The Evil Pug
    6:45 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Wookie!.. as ever, my dear friend, I am indebted to you!…grunt!… I came in when Mom (Mare Winningham of YES! St Elmo’s Fire!) tried to get her son to “give it up”. …snort!. Maybe I didn’t miss as much of tonight’s episode as I thought, but more of last weeks episode… wheeze!…Luckily! I think they post the episodes out on the website… paws crossed anyway…grunt!.. thank you so much Wookie!… gruff!

  34. Gus & BooBear
    7:09 pm on March 8th, 2010

    Wookie, 24 was very suspensful tonight. Caught us by surprise that the head of security (and daughter's boyfried) appears to be in cahoots with the terrorists! But we're a little stumped by the chick at CTU who keeps leaving her post during this national crisis. She is making us very mad!

    By any chance, do any of you watch "The Good Wife"? Our Mom loves that show, but doesn't know of anyone else who watches it!

    Chet, more about Colonel Bob and Bernie please !!

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