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Off the Usual Path

Dingy, Mange, and Shags

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Tall Cactus

A hot summer day in a small, dusty town.

The three hounds were lounging in the shade of a big oak.  Their tongues hanging, and panting, they were discussing their plans for the evening. 
"It's so dang hot in this place, Dingy, let's go out to the pond.  Maybe we can stir up a little action." said Shags.  He earned his name from his looks.  A big, overweight, shaggy, brown sheppard.
"Aw, shad-up, Shags, I don't even want to think of action until that sun goes down. Must be 110 degrees in this shade."
"What about you, Mangy?  You up to it?"
Mangy, yawning, got up, turned around, scratched himself, and lay back down.
"Nah, maybe later."
Shags wandered over closer to the tree trunk, scratched out a fresh place to lie down. 
"Ahh, that's good, cool dirt." He then joined his friends in sleep, waiting for the sun to go down.
"Hey, Shags! wake up, you lazy, good for nothing!  The sun's down, let's go do something."
"Mangy!  Let's go, buddy!"
Mangy stood up, stretching his long body to its limit, shook the dirt off, and trotted over to join his buddies.
"What we gonna do?  Got it figured out yet?"  Mangy was a follower, he always had been. He was a medium size Hound.  He used to be a reddish color, but lack of good food and neglected grooming had changed him into one ugly dog. He didn't mind though, it made him look mean, so he was usually left alone.
"Nah, let's walk down the street, I gotta find a drink of water.  My tongues swelled up, I'm so dry."  Dingy answered. 
He was a natural leader.  A big black Great Dane.  He was a good looking dane, not too bright, though.  He'd left his ranch last year because of a woman.  He  didn't want responsibilities, but he sure missed the ranch. 
They walked several blocks, and found water.  Mangy knocked over a couple of garbage cans along the way, to grab a quick meal. They walked out past the last stop sign of  the dusty small town.  The drive-inn out there always had hamburgers available in the cans. 
"Let's go out to the pond.  We could maybe go swimming to cool off a little."  Dingy suggested.
"Sure, sounds like fun.  Let's go." said Mangy.
They continued on their way down the road towards the pond.  Loping and trotting, chasing a bird or two.  It was finally cooling off, and they were ready for action.
Up ahead they saw an old pickup truck parked beside the road.  They were not curious, as old pickup trucks were all over town.  They didn't want to run into the men, though, they usually yelled and threw rocks. 
Not seeing anyone, they trotted on, intending to pass the truck, when they noticed the three babes in the back. 
"Whoa!  Lookie here, boys!  Shepards, good looking, too.  What do you think?  Should we introduce ourselves?"
"Ah, Dingy, look at them, they wouldn't want to talk to us. They are class acts." Shags replied.
Mange walked up to the truck though, and began a conversation.  He seemed to be getting along, so Dingy and Shags swaggered over. 
Mange noticed the truck was running.  Dumb men had not turned the motor off.  Stupid of them, didn't they know someone might steal it?  It didn't bother him long though, as he began to get acquainted with Cheeka, Mooky, and Minka.  Good looking pups, he thought.
They found out two things in about two minutes.  The ladies wouldn't mind  going for a swim, and the men had walked out in the field to hunt rabbits.  Dingy had learned to drive a truck on the ranch, so it was natural that they all piled in, and headed for the pond.
Dingy was back in his element now.  Driving down the road, the wind blowing his hair, a woman by his side.  It had been a long time, and he realized how much he had missed it.  The driving, that is. 
When they reached the pond, everyone jumped out and into the water, everyone but Dingy.  He didn't want to swim half as much as he wanted to drive, lady or not.  So, as his friends were enjoying themselves, he drove the truck in wider and wider circles, howling with laughter.
"Cheeka said, What's with that dumb dog?  He's been going in circles for fifteen minutes.  Isn't he going to swim?"  She wasn't used to being ignored, and didn't like it.
"Call him in, take us home.  Come on Minka, Mooky, shake your selves dry."
Minka and Mooky whined a little, but obeyed.  Shags and Mange whined too, but they took off after Dingy.  That boy was messing up everything! 
They chased the truck until they got close enough to jump inside.   They were excited, and were all barking at the same time.  Dingy couldn't figure out what they were trying to say, he was just having the time of his life.  His foot got heavy on the gas, just as Shags grabbed the wheel trying to get him to stop.
"The girls, Dingy! They are leaving!  Cheeka's mad cause you won't pay attention to her! Come on, man!"  whined Mange.
Just then, with Shags holding the wheel, and Dingy pressing the gas pedal, the truck went into the pond, where it died.
"Ah, Shags!  look what you done!  You killed it!" howled Dingy.
Mange whined as he saw the ladies hit the road.
The hounds walked back to town through the fields, avoiding the road, and the men who belonged to the pickup truck.  They yell and throw rocks.
The three hounds were lounging in the shade of the old Oak tree. 
"I bet it's 120 degrees today, what do you want to do when the sun goes down?" asked Mange.


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