Fiction by SLIM RANDLES
To The Desert Independent
September 23, 2020
There really wasn’t anything going on at the school crossing, much to the consternation of Billy … our town dog. It was one of Billy’s duties to escort kids across the street to the school. He’d been doing it ever since Sally, the former town dog, passed away on Doc’s porch.
Billy spent each morning curled up next to the dog house the high school woodshop kids built for him. He wasn’t nuts about the inside of it, but there was some instinct deep inside our large brown dog that let him know the house was his and was created in love. But Billy certainly didn’t understand the words “quarantine” or “virus” or “remote online learning.” Martin, the crossing guard, wasn’t there either.
It was a dog-thinking dilemma, taken all in all. Should Billy leave his post and go sponge some food over at Delbert Chin’s Chinese restaurant? He’s not supposed to until all the kids are at school. And none of them have come again today.
But his dilemma didn’t go unnoticed. There were two boys over on the school playground, horsing around and enjoying the morning. And they noticed Billy just lying there by his house. So they walked over, petted the dog, and waited until there were no cars. Then they crossed the street. So did Billy, of course, wagging his tail.
Several street crossings later, the boys went back to the playground and Billy headed for the backdoor of the Chinese restaurant. Having an official town dog requires love as well as dedication…on everyone’s part.
Brought to you to honor those masked folks who wait on us in the coffee shops and take our temperature at the doctor’s office. Thank you for your courage.
"Home Country" columnist Slim Randles won three regional book awards for the two books he wrote in 2014. "Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing" won for best how-to book and best cover design at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards in Albuquerque. Randles lives in Albuquerque and has a dozen books currently in print.