The Engine That Drives the Story
“First,” Bernie said, pulling up to a roadside food truck – one of the greatest human inventions, in my opinion, right up there with cars and handcuffs, “let’s get you fed.” Sounded like a plan to me. And what if after I was done, he said, Second, let’s get you fed again?
Bernie went up to the guy in the food truck window.
“Got any steak?”
“Just the round, but it’s all cut up for the brochettes,” said the food truck guy. He wore beaded chains around his neck and was missing a whole bunch of teeth. Getting through life without all your teeth? Hard to imagine anything worse.
“I’ll take two pounds.”
“How’d you like that done?”
The next thing I knew I was making quick work of the best steak I’d ever tasted and you can take that to the bank, except you couldn’t, the steak being gone. This took place outside the car, right off the paper wrapper, the food truck guy in the window smiling the whole time. After that, I lapped up a bowl of water and another, felt like me. I sat myself down in front of Bernie and waited.
“What?” he said. “What?”
He didn’t know I was waiting for him to say, Second, let’s get you fed again? That had been the plan, at least as I remembered it.
Then from the food truck guy came a big surprise. “I reckon he wants to do it all over again.”
“Can’t be,” Bernie said. “You saw what he just downed.”
“So how come he’s barking like that?”
Bernie gave me a look. “Could be anything. Cool it, Chet. Let’s go.”
We went. I tried to cool it but couldn’t for the longest time, on account of it couldn’t be anything! The food truck guy hit it on the nose, whatever that might mean, the human nose being mostly wrong in my experience, or not even in the picture. Finally Bernie said, “Chet! I can’t hear myself think!”
Uh-oh. Bernie’s thinking was one of the best things we had going for us at the Little Detective Agency, Bernie having come up with so many thoughts in our career that I couldn’t remember any. I got a grip.
“Whew,” said Bernie.
– from The Sound and the Furry.
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