Percy was of indeterminate age, his pure white hair and 12″ long white goatee and relatively youthful features made it difficult to tell. I guesstimated him be in his late forties to early fifties. He
stood about 5’4″ and was probably about that wide; he drove one of
those cars that you were never quite sure if it was dumped or parked.
I knew Percy and Marge long before I actually knew them. Hmm, something about that doesn’t sound right, how can I put this?… You know that where I live is a very small town, actually it’s not really a town at all, it’s just a pub, a corner store and a battery shop (don’t ask me, I’ve got no idea why there’s a battery shop in the middle of nowhere!), and about 15 to 20 houses. Well, I used to see them every time I came to buy groceries, I don’t know if they ever bought groceries or not, but they were always at the pub, and that’s straight across the road from the shop, so I had seen them for around three years.
Despite all the propaganda to the contrary, country folk aren’t really the friendly, welcoming ‘glad to make your acquaintance‘ types that TV and movies like to portray them as. In fact they are downright standoffish until they get to know you, and since they are standoffish, they rarely get to know you (specially if you wear citified clothes like I do)…you see my dilemma? With Percy and Marge, there was about a year of them just staring at me, followed by a year and a half of nodding as I went into the shop, and finally one Sunday morning as I was getting my newspaper, Percy asked “Is that a beagle in your car?”
Now I don’t know if it was becasue I was just so gosh darned excited that he finally decided to talk to me, or if it was just becasue I don’t have anyone besides cyber friends to talk to, but I became positively effusive and replied “Yep”.
“Is it a full beagle?” he Percy pressed. Here’s where I’m pretty sure I was just being a prick when I answered “He was a while ago, but I made him have a crap before I let him in the car, but he is a pure bred beagle”. Surprisingly, he found that funny and the ice was broken.
“I’ve got a beagle that just had a litter” he offered. ”Hmm, this talking caper isn’t so hard after all“, I thought to myself, and decided to try a question of my own, “Are they pure bred?”
“No they’re Border Collie cross”, he replied in an almost disappointed tone, “but I want to put a pure bred over her, I hear they are worth a bit”. Not wanting to sound like too much of a smartass when I delivered the bad news, but needing to explain the situation quickly, I told him “Ah, well we’ve got a problem, although mine’s a pure Beagle, he’s not a complete Beagle, on account of me letting the Vet keep his nuts”, or words to that effect.
“Too bad, but you should come around and have a look at them anyway, they look just like beagles”. (He’d obviously never seen a beagle pup). And with that we went our separate ways.
When I got home, I got to thinking “you know, if you could get a Beagle’s temperament combined with a Border Collie’s smarts, you’d have a pretty good dog“. I should tell you that all of this happened about three months after I last saw Bobby, and amazingly, despite the fact that you have already put two and two together, it didn’t dawn on me at all (derr!). To this day I can’t figure out why it didn’t click, but it didn’t! So, having not long ago had three dogs and then finding myself with only two, I had decided that two was an easier number to deal with, and with that, I dismissed the idea of a third dog out of hand, and never really gave it another thought.
Stay tuned for Marge….
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