The Devil’s Dog

This allegory came to me some time ago and I started on it for a writing practise Monday. Now folks want to read the whole story, so here is Part A. Be warned: it’s horrible – all the more horrible because it’s so true in some lives.

THE DEVIL’S DOG

The boy stood at the curb scuffing his toe on the sidewalk, bored and lonely. Mom was doing her thing; Dad was doing his. Both of them had their friends. At school he was invisible. Not being a jock nor a hunk, girls never looked twice at him. He was never invited to the great parties.

He squashed a bug with his heel. He was just a nobody. Fifteen, his whole life ahead of him, they told him. But what kind of a life? Right now it looked like he was in for a pretty bleak existence. He had nothing going for him. Not a person in the world cared about him.

Suddenly this huge car roared up beside him and stopped. The coolest, friendliest-looking man called out through the open window, “Hey, kid. You look like you got nothing to do. Wanna ride along with me? I can take you places where you’ll have great times. No point standing here in Dullsville all your life. Hop in.”

The boy opened the door, but drew back in horror when he saw a vicious-looking dog in the back seat, licking his chops as if he was ready to devour anyone who got in that car.

“You scared of my dog, kid? Don’t be. He’s a real pussycat.” The man reached back to ruffle the dog’s ears. “His name’s Cruncher – just a little joke between him and me, though. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. And I have complete control of him; I promise he won’t give you any trouble as long as I’m around.”

Still the boy hesitated, for hadn’t he seen that very dog chewing on some bones in the school yard one day? They’d looked like people bones. For some reason his knees shook.

“Get in, son. I can show you terrific times. As long as you’re willing to do your part, we can see sights you’ve never seen before, party like you’ve never partied before. You’ll find lots of friends in my crowd, too. They’ll welcome you with open arms. You don’t have to stand there all alone. Come on and have some fun. Don’t worry about my dog; he’s just here to protect me.”

The boy wavered but the offer was so tempting. Right now the future held nothing more promising for him so he climbed in, shuddering as he felt the dog’s hot breath on the back of his neck. The car sped off.

The man wasn’t lying; the trip was thrilling. He loved the feeling of speed rushing over his skin and vitality flowing through his veins. The world looked brilliant, as if he were seeing everyday things with brand new eyes. His social life was wild, too; his new friend introduced him to a fun crowd. They all climbed into the car at times and flew around in that awesome machine – and for the most part the dog sat quietly in the back seat.

Friends came and went – sometimes they disappeared out of the car without the boy even noticing. He’d suddenly realize someone else was gone. Cruncher came and went at times, too. The man would drop him off for awhile, then circle around and pick him up later. Sometimes when Cruncher got back in the car, he was carrying a huge bloody bone. The boy could hear him crunching on them in the back seat. His name wasn’t such a joke after all.

Of course the gas gauge read ‘Empty’ at times. They needed to fill it up and to do this they needed money. So the boy did his share: he dropped out of school and got himself a job pounding nails. The work was okay; he even built up some muscles. Girls started to notice him. But his life was centered around riding in that crazy car. Every Friday he handed his paycheck to the driver and they were set for another week of high flying.

Then one Wednesday evening the car sputtered to a stop. “Outta gas,” the man said. “Guess we’re outta money, too. Now, kid, you have to do a bit more to keep us going.”

The boy shot a curious glance at his companion. “How much more?”

“See that store over there?” The man pointed to a little grocery store. “Go ask them for some cash.”

“Yeah, right. Like they’re going to hand over a wad of twenties to some kid who walks in.”

“Take this,” the man told him, handing over a handgun.

The boy gasped. ”No way, man!”

“Come on, kid. You don’t have to hurt anybody. Just wave it around, look like you mean business and they’ll give you what you ask for.”

The kid’s jaw dropped. “You want me to ROB the store? I’m no crook. I’ll land up in jail.”

“No you won’t. Just be quick about it. I’ll cover for you out here and delay the cops so you can get away. Or if you’re really chicken, wait until after dark and crawl in a window. But the till might be empty then.”

“Hey, I never promised…” the boy sputtered.

“Look, kid. We’re out of gas; we need some cash. And you agreed to do your part, remember? Or do you just want to sit here, going nowhere, until Friday night?

The boy was about to protest again, but right then the dog growled and he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. Cruncher was chewing on him.

“Cruncher doesn’t like just sitting here,” said the man. It sounded like a threat.

The boy grabbed the gun was out of that car in a flash. He rammed it in his pocket, but his hands shook something awful as he headed into the store.

To be continued…

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