By Request (More)

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August 13th, 2019 Posted 7:56 am

We slowed down, slowed down kind of slowly, like Bernie wasn’t sure about slowing down. But then he pulled over and parked by the backstop. He reached under his seat, felt around, and pulled out a tennis ball. Not just any tennis ball, of course, but one of mine. All the tennis balls found in the Porsche, or at our place on Mesquite Road, inside or out, including all the other houses in all directions, are mine. As well as all other tennis balls I see first, plus ones I see second and possibly even later. In short, tennis balls are mine. But I’m always happy to share. Or at least I’ll do it. Especially if a treat is involved. Maybe only if a treat’s involved. And not for long. Got to be true to yourself – you hear that all the time.

(from Heart of Barkness, the new Chet and Bernie novel.)

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By Request

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August 12th, 2019 Posted 7:31 am

As I maybe mentioned already, I’d once seen the aquifer, a tiny puddle way down at the bottom of a construction site. That gave me an idea – one of my very best! – and the next thing I knew I was digging. Not that casual sort of front paws digging, but all-out all-paws digging, pedal to the metal. Digging didn’t even describe what I was up to. This was excavating! I was excavating this – flower-bed, was it? – to get down to the aquifer, no matter how deep. Hard work, sure, but all for Charlie, so I loved doing it. Well, I already loved doing it, but because of Charlie I loved it even more! I was so full of love that when I happened to glance over and notice Shooter at my side, excavating away at full blast, enormous clods of earth flying high into the sky – what a fine digger he turned out to be! – I didn’t mind a bit. The truth was at that moment I loved him, too. What a world! We dug and dug, digging ourselves deeper and deeper into the –

Leda has this scream, so piercing it’s hard to believe a human can do it. I hadn’t heard that scream in a nice, long time, but I thought I sort of heard it now.

(from Heart of Barkness, the new Chet and Bernie novel)

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Not Beginnings

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August 11th, 2019 Posted 8:05 am

Normally on Sundays we do beginnings, but yesterday we happened to see a horse, so why not take a look at the scene in Heart of Barkness where the wrangler reluctantly allows Bernie to saddle up the very difficult Mingo?

There was a long pause in which nothing happened except for Mingo rolling his crazy eyes. Then without a word, the wrangler handed Bernie the bridle. He took it in one hand, sort of wrapped his other arm around the Mingo’s head, made a soft grunt I’d never heard from him before, and the next thing I knew he had the bridle in place and that metal bar – never between my teeth, amigo, no matter who was doing it – in Mingo’s mouth. After that came the saddle pad – which Bernie let Mingo sniff at, why I didn’t know, since it reeked of horse and nothing but, of no interest to anybody – and then the saddle. In a flash Bernie got the under strap thing all tied up, muttering, “Seven, four, one,” as he did so, a complete puzzlement to me, and in one easy motion he swung himself up top. For a moment Mingo went out of his mind. It happened just like that. I could feel it, and also feel his tremendous strength. He was going to rear up and toss Bernie to the ground. And that rearing up actually started, but it turned immediately into a sort of circling trot that ended with Mingo snorting and coming to a halt. Bernie patted Mingo’s neck, not for a long time you might say, and maybe not putting a whole lot of feeling into it, but still: this day was off to a terrible start.

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A Great Country!

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August 10th, 2019 Posted 10:56 am

Pork chop on a stick, Iowa State Fair (hat tip – Wose):

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