Excerpt for Puppyhood's End by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Published by John Northern at Smashwords

© Copyright 2017 by John Northern

We were compelled to direct our living on Earth for awhile, or maybe longer than awhile. I have so much money we could have lived anywhere, but we love the movies produced in the U. S.—much better than the ones produced on Schmolden. We love the food—most delicious. And we love the strange characters who make up most of Earth's humanity. They run around acting like a bunch of clown fish—very strange, but interesting.

We introduced the idea to our friends and some of the people we know, and they decided to tag along. There was the Chief, who was seven feet tall and huge, and I don’t mean fat. There wasn't an ounce of lard on him, and his shoulders were so broad they looked like a semi full of seafood getting ready to head on down the highway. And then there was his second in command, Lieutenant Leon Dumble, who often got himself into trouble when making rash decisions. Even Pickle-nose Pete came along. He had had his nose shortened, but now it looked like a shorter pickle and it still wiggled a little, like a minnow out of water, when he talked. And finally my good friends Dick and Doreen rounded out the sinister seven. Well, maybe not so sinister since we're the good guys. I just said it because it sounded cool, and also because we are sinister to the bad guys.

We bought a small house off of Thundering Brook Road near Killington, Vermont—just kidding—it wasn’t small. The house actually has fourteen bedrooms, fifteen bathrooms, and all the other rooms comprising a mansion. We hired a butler, a gardener, a cook, a driver—oh, wait, on Earth they label them chauffeurs, and two maids. Before we hired the maids, Wally made for certain they were as homely as a monkey making faces in a mirror—especially the wide smile with the fingers spreading the lips and the tongue sticking out at you, or uglier than a squid grunting to open a clam shell—is that ugly? I don’t know. Anyway, since she's the most beautiful woman in the Universe, I don’t know why she feels she has to keep me from gandering good-looking women, or using the ol' shark's eye. Even if she weren’t beautiful I still wouldn’t cheat on her—she's my wife, and my love is stuck on her like roasted marshmallows on the lips and teeth and fingers. I've told her this on several unimportant occasions—she didn't like the marshmallow comment. Anyway, in the short time we've been married I'm finding she's the cautious type. Don’t ever try to one-up her. Before you know it she'll two-up you.

Anyway, we moved in lock, stock, and barrel. I don’t know why I said that. Actually, it's not quite accurate. We didn’t feel a need for locks—since we have high-tech security systems not found on Earth. And we don't have any stock—no cows or pigs or chickens or horses or any animals other than a couple of dogs, three cats, four hamsters, five canaries, and a huge, salt-water aquarium comprising an entire wall with at least a thousand fish and other sea life. And, come to think of it we didn’t have any barrels, either. BUT we did move in.

Our first night, after we had settled in and made ourselves comfy, we had our first dinner together. The huge, long table was plied with piles of food. There was steaming turkey stuffed with tasty dressing, succulent ham, and thinly sliced, juicy roast beef—enough to make a vegetarian sob. There were bowls of mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, there was brown gravy in a gravy boat ready to be ladled and enough to float your boat, there were string beans baked and crusted with pounded nuts, crimson colored cranberry sauce lay upon a small, sparkling crystal platter. There were hot, golden-brown, baked buns with butter on the side. And if the mashed potatoes weren’t enough, there were cheesy potatoes baked in a creamy sauce that made your palate cry out in ecstasy. And if that wasn’t enough, there were spicy French fries and potato chips. We had shrimp, and cod, and salmon. We had tilapia cooked in a tomato sauce. We had sardines and clams. There were bowls of fruit and nuts—which are good for you. And there were bowls of salad, which everyone avoided like the plague. It was going to be our typical evening meal. Fortunately for our cook we had brought along a mechanized, compartmentalized, computerized cooking appliance from Schmolden, which prepared everything. All she had to do was put in the food—wrapped or unwrapped, or even in the paper bag from the store, set the controls, and take the food out when it was ready, which was usually less than a minute. The butler, the chauffeur, and the cook delivered the food to the table. Of course, once in awhile we ordered pizza and chicken wings from a pizzeria in Killington. Who doesn’t love pizza? But no anchovies. What is an anchovy, anyway?

As usual we invited everyone to come and partake of the fine meal with us. The Chief sat at the head of the table because he thought he was still in charge of everything and everybody. But considering his size, I wasn’t going to argue. I was sitting at the other end of the table with Wallis sitting to my right. Doreen was sitting next to Wallis, then Dick, Leon Dumble (we didn't call him Dum Dum anymore. He was a friend. And friends don’t slur other friends), and Pete. To my left was Chad the Chauffeur, then Marion—the maid in charge, Henrietta—the other maid—we called her Henry for short and also she looked like a Henry. Then next to her was Gary—the gardener, then Bob—the butler, and Celine—the cook. I found out later Wallis had hired the cook sight unseen. Aren't most cooks fat? Wallis thought so. Who would have believed Celine was young and gorgeous. She was five foot nine, had blond hair and blue eyes, and a buxom figure. She was sitting to the right of the Chief, and lately it seemed she and the Chief were getting chummy.

"Let's eat," I said with anticipation. And everyone dug in.

A few minutes later, as everyone was eating, I said to my crew, "Yesterday I received a call from a concerned citizen. He wanted to hire me for a 'very strange case' as he put it. When I asked what was the consternation, he asked 'What? And I asked, "Why is it strange?" He said it was about three polar bears in a pear tree. It was at that time I decided not to take the case. I asked, "When was the last time you had a psych eval?" And I hung up.

The crew acted like they normally acted when I told them something strange, and in this case about the three polar bears in a pear tree.

Captain Dumble nodded his head, started to take a bite of roast beef, but the meat fell off the fork and he stabbed himself in the lower lip.

Pete's nose wiggled—even being short it could still wiggle.

Doreen laughed.

The Chief looked content.

And Celine took a dainty bite, chewed, swallowed and said something totally irrelevant. It sounded like something she just had to get off her chest, which was kind a silly because I didn’t see anything on her chest; except her blouse. She said, "You don’t have to talk in secret around us. We know you're from another planet."

"What!?" I gulped. "How could you possibly know that? . . . Errr, I mean, what would make you think such a ridiculous idea?"

"The Chief told me, and I told the others."

I immediately glared at the Chief, but the other end of the table is so far away I don't think he could see it. He simply said, "It's not a problem. If she tells anyone outside our household, no one will believe her."

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