Vinny and Jackson sat looking at each other after a most thorough search around and about the screened-off area. Vinny scratched vacantly behind his ear with a back paw and sighed.
“Fleas, Vinny?” Jackson enquired, with a slightly reproving look that suggested he never got any.
“I hope not, Jackson! My mamma would be most upset,” protested Vinny. “But if they were, and they came from here, they would be very upper-class fleas. Nothing is second-rate about King Herod’s,” woofed Vinny in a light-hearted manner, shoving Jackson with his paw in a matey fashion. “There you go, chum. Have one on me, as a souvenir of your visit to London. Better than a postcard, and hours of fun scratching and itching on your boat trip home. Spread the love, I say.”
“Well, that was mighty kind of you, Vinny,” said Jackson, who promptly cuffed Vinny’s shoulder, but with a wag of the tail that meant he wasn’t being serious. “Have one of mine back, with love from the US of A. These little suckers have stars and stripes on and are bigger than your English sort, naturally. Wrrruf!”
The two fell into a happy brawl, each chasing the other’s tail and trying to nip a leg or get hold of an ear. A sudden yell of pain and a kitten-like hiss brought them to their senses, and they froze, listening intently, ears up and tails erect.
Next came cursing and then the unforgettable sight of Anders, red-faced, eyes blazing, and covered in drying ketchup and ash, in full flight in search of a kitten. A small Siamese kitten, in fact, that was heading their way as they looked on, weaving its way around and under display stands.
They didn’t need to exchange looks or question their sanity; they just knew they had a kitten to rescue and some ankles to bite. Neither dog would have boasted to being an athlete, but neither was a slouch either. Anders, though, was a slouch, and years of loafing and slacking had only developed flab of mind and body.
“Vinny!” shouted Jackson, as the pair raced to intercept Anders. “You take the ankle, and I’ll go for the—”
A hiss from the kitten, who was prepared to make a stand against the oncoming beasts, curtailed the conversation as to which part of Anders’ anatomy was the target.
“Nice kitten,” called Vinny to the kitten as he passed by and missed a hopelessly out-of-range swipe from its small paw. “You sure have pluck, though. Keep it up, and I’ll be back in a moment.”
Anders was once more in a fog, but this time it was one of rage. All he saw was the kitten as he created his own path through various displays of companion supplies and clothing in his pursuit of it. Not until he reached an actual walkway did he gain on the ball of floof, which had suddenly stopped in its tracks. And then he saw it, a midsize fawn-coloured dog bearing down on him with all the purpose and speed of a hawk, albeit a not-too-fast hawk, onto its prey. He dodged sideways as it leapt at him, but met instead the sharp teeth of Jackson, who having taken a roundabout route, came at him from the side of a hat display. Of course, from Jackson’s perspective, he’d hit the jackpot and was only too happy to find that fate and justice had placed the ankle just how he liked it!
Anders fell forwards, dropped the sack, and fell head first into a display of bedding. His curses and wimpy yelp were muffled when a burst pillow covered both him and Jackson, who was still attached to his leg, in soft white feathers.
Vinny had missed the target first time around and had, without traction, slipped some distance along the marbled floor. He turned and looked back at the Abominable Snowman–like mass lurching forwards, one arm on its hat, one leg trying to shake off a growling Jackson. He pondered, albeit momentarily, whether he should sit this one out. After all, he had a position to uphold.
“Wrrrruf! Not bally likely,” he said. “Can’t let Jackson have all the fun, now can I? Just wouldn’t be polite to leave a guest hanging, as it were. Arrr-arf-arf, arf-arf-arf,” he chuckled. With that he found his balance and traction on the floor and headed off towards his chosen target.
At the same time, Mr Herod walked back onto the floor, confused by the conversation he’d just had on the telephone. This confusion was overtaken by the sight that met his eyes and pretty much made his jaw drop to the floor. His brain processed the whole cacophony of sound and action in slow motion, and the scene ran along lines thus:
Anders, despite his extra appendage, had the kitten in his sights and was making a last-ditch dive to grab it. The kitten, for its part, had weighed up the odds and decided the monstrous feathery three-legged growling beast was actually way worse than the two seemingly crazed dogs that had run past it moments before, and so made a run for a black curtain not far ahead. Jackson hung on to Anders’ leg as though it was the last piece of tasty southern-fried chicken in existence, albeit a rather scrawny piece. And as for Vinny, he was making what could only be described as a headlong flying tackle directed at the back end of a very-soon-to-be-sacked security guard. If slow motion had been invented, then the scene would have won an Oscar.
Life spun back to normal speed with a yell, yelp, woof, growl, and rather long hissing spit, and there will be little doubt from whom they all came. The scene concluded with Anders, hand around the kitten, sliding towards the curtain with two very partisan dogs gripped around parts of his anatomy. Things at King Herod’s, it seemed, had gone downhill faster than a scared mouse into its hole.
To be continued………
Oh my word! I can see it all now, and I have to say, it’s not a moment too soon for Anders to get what was owing to him!!!
BUT the games not over and Anders’ isn’t out. So what will happen next week?
Will Anders get the kitten? Have Jackson and Vinny got an early lunch box?
Has Anders had his shots, and more importantly, will Jackson and Vinny catch anything!
And when was it slow motion was actually invented? I for one would love to see the last scene again, and again and again…..
The answers to these questions may well be revealed, more or less, in next weeks thrilling chapter of this, the one and only……. London Adventure!