Thursday, February 15, 2024

Pauly Pittman and the Pit Bull (Part2 of 3 Parts) blog post #640

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Let’s see what happens with Pauly Pittman and the mysterious pit bull today.




Pauly glanced over his shoulder, but Billy was on the other side of the room. Mr. Hasterton had separated them at the first of the year when they wouldn’t quit whispering to one another. He looked back at the tree again, halfway expecting the dog to be gone, but there it was, as still as a statue made out of poured plaster.

A stern voice brought him back to class. “Mr. Pittman, I asked you a question.” Mr. Hasterton always called his students Mr. This and Miss That when he was irritated with them.


“Please give me the answer to question number two on the blackboard.”

Why did he always call it a blackboard when it was as green as it could be?

“Uh… False.”

“Correct. Now tell me why.

By the time Pauly finished the verbal dance Mr. Hasterton orchestrated for him, he glanced out the window. The dog was gone.


“A pit bull you say?” his father asked after he mentioned the mysterious dog at the dinner table that night. “Around here?”

“Well, it was at the bus stop this morning. And I saw it again at school.” Should he mention Billy Bills’ shapeshifter? Nah.

“You catch it around here again, you let me know. We got enough coyotes chasing our chickens. Don’t need a rogue dog too.”

“How do you know it’s rogue?”

“You ever see it before?”

“No, sir.”

“Belong to anybody you know?”

“No, sir.”

“Me neither. Don’t know of a soul around here who’s got a pit bull. Do you?”

“No, sir.”

“There you go then. Rogue dog. You see it again, you let me know, and I’ll take my shotgun to it.”

The hair on Pauly’s neck stood up… but he didn’t know why.”


The mysterious pit bull didn’t show up again, making Pauly ponder if he was glad or sad. He liked the idea of a dog. They hadn’t had one on the farm since Nosy, their golden retriever died a year ago. He’d mentioned a pet to his father a couple of times, and while his dad didn’t say no, nothing ever developed. Would a pit bull make as good a pet as old Nosy. Take a whale of a dog to replace that one, for sure.

And he’d heard things about a bull. Mean. Vicious. Turn on their owners without provocation. But was that true? He’d never had a pit bull. Didn’t even know anyone who had. And that raised another question. Where had this one come from? He’d never seen one in these parts. Maybe he got loose from someone passing through. Yeah, that made sense. Somebody mean who mistreated his dog—heck, his whole family. Well, coulda been that way.

Curious, he cut lunch short one day and headed to the computer room at school and learned the dogs were developed in England, Scotland, and Ireland in the 1900s as hunting dogs, and some said as herding dogs. Would one herd the chickens to him a feeding time. Course, they didn’t need herding. Step outside and yell “Cluck, cluck, cluck,” and they came running like they hadn’t been fed for weeks. But the pigs now. That was another matter. When one of them got loose, it took a lot of herding.

From everything he read, they made good family dogs and good with children when trained properly. Properly trained. What did that mean? Maybe they got a raw deal… being called vicious, that is. Everything he learned just made him more anxious to see the animal again.

But he didn’t. Until one morning, he spied the dog standing in the tree line across the road from Pauly’s school bus stop. His heart skipped a beat. Why? Everything he’d read said the dogs were friendly. And why did this one seem to hang around him? Had the dog chosen him as his new owner? Pauly wrinkled his nose. That was a new thought. Getting picked by a dog instead of the other way around.

Where did the animal live? In the wild? What did he eat? Small prey. He was a predator. That thought sent a tingle down Pauly’s back. Well, the dog had to eat something.

He stooped down and clapped his hands. “Come on, boy. Come on.”

Pauly spent five minutes cajoling the dog, drawing him closer and closer until the school bus came over the hill and spooked the animal away. Darn, he’d been so close.


That afternoon, Pauly’s dad picked him up at school. He’d had to stop at the feed store and do another couple of chores and decided to spare his son a ride on the bus and the short walk from the stop. As they drove toward the farm, his father spoke.

“That dog showed up again.”

“Dog?” he asked as his insides quickened.

“Your pit bull. Ralph down at the café chased him away from the back of his place. Rooting for food, I guess. And Joe saw him in the alley behind the grocery store.”

So maybe he was a scavenger instead of a predator. Pauly wrinkled his nose. Most likely both. He kept an eagle ye out, especially when they passed the school bus stop, but he didn’t see any sign of the animal.

When he fed the chickens that evening, a chill went up his back, and he didn’t understand why. Then he spotted the dog twenty feet away staring at him. No, it was staring at the chickens. Good grief, was he about to attack them? Probably make a good meal.

No, the animal shifted its gaze back to him. And the tail wagged a couple of times. Maybe it’d be all right.

Then his dad came barreling out of the kitchen door, shotgun in hand, roaring, Damned chicken thief.”

No, Dad! Wait.”

But the bull turned tail and headed for the hinterlands, followed by my dad’s buckshot.

“Damn, missed!” he swore.


Is Pauly ever going to meet that pit bull properly? Sure looks like all the cards are stacked against him. And why’s he hanging around so much? Let’s see how it ends next week.

 See you then.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say... so say it!

Please check out the Don Travis mystery series, a series of seven novels starting with The Zozobra Incident.

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See you next Thursday


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