One! announces ThreeLegs, eyeballing Βία up and down and all overs before lurching on.
Two! he starts along the cages, carefully counting off three…and four… until he reaches number five. He stops, checking the five toes of his one front paw, glances back at the cages to reconfirm the tally and lurches on. By the time he’s done counting up to fifteen toes on all three paws he stops again, scratching contemplatively at a tic at the stump where his fourth leg should be hanging.
Right then…one! he starts over, counting off his front paws. Etcetera.
Hobbling to the end of the barn, counting off his toes, resetting everytime he reaches the end of three paws. Finally to arrive back at the starting point.
Fifteen he concludes. A grand total of three paws worth of guests.
Wot a muttwit Βία grins.
ThreeLegs bangs his head against her bars that’s not nice
Yor not nice her hackles up, grin curling into snarl.
Before ThreeLegs gets ‘round to defending his important ledgerings an unmistakable sniffy-red pervades the barn, a colour darker than the night outside.
“what’sallthisnoise,then?” scritches Freddy.
Just doin’ the ledgerings, yor honours whines ThreeLegs before receiving a lusty kick aimed at his head. ThreeLegs’ three legs back him out of range in the nick of time.
Freddy pokes his eyeballs all ‘round abouts the barn before they stop at Scroggy.
“termorra,yergone!” he scritches at the Redbone Coonhound, rubbing his handpaws together.
Freddy eyeballs Βία next “notyous,gotbigplansforyous” before eyeballing ThreeLegs quivering in the doorway “stayawayfromher,Checkers,oryoragona,too!”
Freddy storms out the barn, shaking a warning handpaw at ThreeLegs, and wobbles back to his hindlegs den.
Wot a butt-licking nasty hindlegs mutters Βία.
Freddy ain’t so bad quips Scroggy, wagging his short tail and specially coz he sez I’m gone
A right goner, yu muttwit barks a large mixed-breed called Thunder gone to the Chinese take-away
Wot starts off a few more fours.
Dim sum Scroggy!
Until the whole barn is at it, yapping and howling.
Scroggy Chow Mein
Aromatic crispy Scroggy, pancakes’n’salad
Chop Suey Scroggy
Number sixty four, Scroggy’s fried balls–
Enough of it yuz lots!! barks out ThreeLegs, terrified that all the bruhaha is gonna bring back Freddy.
Shut it, half portion jeers Thunder that’s the only reason why yuz ain’t gone there, yet
Freddy wobbles back into the barn with his heavy stick.
“quiet,theloadofyers!” banging the stick on cages left and right.
Fourlegs cringe at his sniffy-red malevolence.
ThreeLegs desperately does his best to turn invisible. It don’t work.
“rightthen,that’sit” Freddy grabs ThreeLegs by the scruff and drags him out the barn, three legs scrabbling for purchase on the concrete floor. The barndoor slams shut.
I reckons that muttwit ThreeLegs is going to the Chinese after all Thunder nods his snout all sagely.
Ifn’t a fully loaded bowl of police brekkers don’t beat it all – urghhhhhh Ahhhhh – erh, right lads? Jax talks-noshes-retches at the same time.
Keeping the peace’s hungry work agrees Duncan, nosing his bowl away from the wall so he can get behind it and tongue up the remains.
Police feeds me – I works police states Shadow.
Brekkers of champions, boys Jax looks up at thems, a string of lamb kibbles running down his chops.
Duncan and Shadow respond in dour munching silence, the results of the obstacle course still rankling both the older and more experienced PDs.
A winning start to the day Jax dollops on a little extra ag.
A short interlude of bowl scraping and water slurping later some familiar voice calls over the walls of the Thames Valley PD compounds.
Friends and fourlegs?
Shadow lets off an ear-flapping fart in response.
Lawmutts of Westley Piddle? the voice continues umm, a furry citizen of this fair city requires assistance, urgent, lyk
Piss off mammal growls Shadow.
That’s not nice replies the voice and, frankly barking, wotz uncharitable behaviour towards one of yor very owns
We’re police workers, muttwit, not charity workers growls Shadow again.
Same difference, kind sirs
Wot’cha want ThreeLegs? Duncan shakes earflaps firmly, stomping away from his bowl and lifting a nosh-covered snout to the skylight wot overlooks the road.
A moment of understanding only
Nah, trot off replies Shadow we gotta sort important police business
Police brekkers business adds Jax.
Dismissive silence terminates the conversation.
HELP! ThreeLegs yelps, changing tack help a poor four– threelegger in distress.
ThreeLegs reaches up with his one front paw, scraping at the wall a soupçon of assistance, that’s all I asks me dear bowl mates
Brekkers nosh murdered, Shadow and Jax sit at their cage doors, awaiting the start of their morning tasks, ThreeLegs already forgotten.
Duncan exhales, hard-wired training and the fourlegs creed reluctantly preventing him from dismissing another fourlegs so readily yuz the last muttwit wot deserves anything, but nows yor here, wotz up?
And ThreeLegs spills the beans.
Woe. It’s all very woey, matey. Cast out lyk I’m streetlegs or somethink – excommunicated from me flock, me guests, lyk – torn asunder from me tender bosom companion, wotz called Freddy
Sorry to hear it grunts Duncan, not particularly sorry at all.
Yessir. Sorrowful. Pitiful. And all coz of that feral bitch, that reeking vixen – that – that – he sighs with a shudder me beautiful Bee-Yah!
ThreeLegs then howls in sorrow.
Who? enquires Duncan.
Who’d ’ya think? The moneylegs, corss. Bee-Yah the greyhound, corss. Appropriated-lyk by Freddy for cash, yessir, real spondoolies! And – and nows me…ME, cast assunda coz of it. Set adrifts all on me ownsums
Why? enquires Duncan again.
Dog-dammit, Duncan me bestie, I’m out of it. Out of it, beached. Out on the street. Skedaddled from Freddy’s Farm with nowheres to go but me own three paws for company
How? enquires Duncan a third time, had it with all the enquiring.
By that useless pizzle, Freddy hisself!!!
Duncan shakes earflaps, unsure if he’s actually hearing right. He looks to the others for an opinion on the matter. Kicked from yor very own homeden by that sniffy-red scoundrel mustn’t be taken lightly.
ThreeLegs or not, to help a four in distress is what a PD is fed and watered for. Shadow eyeballs Duncan dispassionately. Jax eyeballs are suddenly very interested in the top corner spot of his cage.
A very dirty business sez Duncan, lamely, to everyone.
ThreeLegs answers with prolonged and pitiful retching de-fener-strated is wot I ams
Alright then, Checkers Duncan makes a decision I’ll be out shortly on community walkabout, handling PC Andersen packleader–
And? ThreeLegs jumps in.
And – and I’ll bring yuz some brekkers, mate
Lamb kibbles adds Jax, encouragingly brekkers of champions!
Duncan sighs again, knowing this little bout of unnecessary compassion is all gonna cost more ag than it’s worth.
Yor trouble is Shadow contemptuously points out yor all heart and no plum bobs