The lost dogs…#6

Friends: The following weeks I will be posting some of the chapters of my new short story entitled, The Lost Dogs of Mercy Trap. This is the first of 6-8 stories to be published in 2016. I hope you enjoy. John
(Chapter six)

Wednesday morning the city was abuzz with the events of the City Council meeting and the newspaper article written by Katy Shepherd.

Postman warns:
“All dogs gone!”
By Katy Shepherd
The Community Herald
Kkshepherd@commheld.com

Mercy Trap. WV—Joseph Christian, US Postal Service employee and local mailman, warned at last night’s City Council meeting, “Prepare yourselves, some morning soon you might wake to find your dogs have disappeared.”
Thinking he was planning to steal their dogs, five residents of Manger Avenue, each having been accused by Christian of abusing their dogs, erupted with threats against the postman.
At least 100 citizens of Mercy Trap attended the meeting in support of Christian and security guards had to disperse both groups before the meeting continued.
Last month, Christian, having witnessed multiple accounts of animal abuse along his mail route, petitioned council to investigate. Council requested that the director of the Animal Control Shelter look into the matter to determine the degree of mistreatment or cruelty.
Apparently, Animal Control did not perform any inspections. No officer of Animal Control attended last night’s meeting. Animal Control Director, Judd Slay, has not returned calls to his office and home.
Christian, a 12-year government employee has vowed to correct the living conditions of abused dogs along his mail route…while the dog owners have threatened to “get even” if Christian comes onto their properties or touches their dogs in any way.
The outspoken representative for the dog owners, Jared Asher, told this reporter following the meeting, “What right does that guy have in accusing us of animal abuse? Hell, if he’d ah had his dog chained in his yard two years ago instead of in the back seat of a car, the dog might be alive today.”
Before leaving the Court House, Christian reworded his statement about ‘disappearing dogs’ when he said to members of City Council. “How would each of you feel if upon waking tomorrow morning there were no dogs in Mercy Trap?”
I don’t know about any of you, dear readers, but personally, I’d be devastated.

Following Katy’s article were pictures taken by Joseph depicting the deplorable condition of each of the five dogs.

That morning, in an attempt to subdue tensions, Joseph’s supervisor placed a different delivery postman on Manger Avenue while Joseph sorted mail.

That evening, Joseph invited Katy for dinner with he and Jimmy.

She brought white bean soup and cornbread. He and Jimmy baked chocolate chip cookies.

Joseph told about the postal employees who supported him. Katy told about the calls, emails, and Face Book posts…mostly demanding that the dogs be taken from their owners. Jimmy told about his many classmates who had called.

“So, if no one is going to do anything for those poor creatures, what are we going to do?” Joseph asked.

Katy and Jimmy looked at him.

“What are you talking about, Dad?”

He smiled at this son.

Having a strong inclination of what he was referring to, Katy said, “You can’t be serious, Joseph?”

“Why not?” he asked.

“Well for one thing,” she said, “you could go to jail.”

“Jail! What are you talking about?” Jimmy yelled.

“I think your dad wants to steal the dogs!”

Joseph shrugged, “Not steal…borrow. Just long enough to teach those guys a lesson.”

“Dad! You gotta be kidding!”

“Your dad is not kidding, Jimmy…but, he is crazy.”

“Not crazy,” Joseph said, “just determined to make a point.”

Joseph stood, walked to the kitchen, poured a glass of water and returned. Katy and Jimmy watched and waited.

“Okay,” he said, “how about some what ifs?”

Katy slowly shook her head. Jimmy looked at his dad like he was the coolest dad on the planet.

“What if after midnight tomorrow I sneak into the yards and take the dogs?”

“Take them where, Joseph?”

“What if I put them in the old warehouse over by the river? There are a thousand storage rooms at the old steel mill. I can have food and water for them, they’ll gorge themselves and then sleep like pups…nobody’ll hear a thing.”

“And what if Jared Asher and his cronies come looking for you?”

“If Jimmy can spend the day with you, I’ll leave for work before those guys know the dogs are missing. They’ll come looking for me at the Post Office and by that time I’ll have an alibi arranged.”

  “And when the police come looking for you?”

“At lunch time I’ll go see Chief Wise. I know he’s a dog lover. He’s got three Beagles. I’ll tell him what I did and that I did it just so folks would think about life without dogs. Then, I’ll sneak the dogs back the next night with new collars, new feed bowls, with each bowl filled to the brim with food and water.”

“And you think the dog owners will be understanding and forgiving?”

“Wouldn’t anyone? I mean…” he stammered trying to find the right words. “Look, Katy. These guys must love their dogs…they’ve just never learned how to care for them. They’ll be so happy to have their dogs returned they’ll never treat them bad again. Imagine how happy Jimmy and I would be to see King again?”

And then Joseph realized that in his excitement he had said the wrong thing.

“Jimmy, I…”

“It’s okay, Dad. I understand what you mean.”

Joseph sat back at the table and looked at his two best friends.

After what seemed like ten minutes, Katy spoke. “Okay, okay,” she said. “Where do we start?”

      Joseph smiled and Jimmy screamed with joy.

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