I am not one to normally buy into the whole ghostly thing and used to think that people who believed in them were just a bit touched in the head. After all, I have never seen a ghost or even heard their ghostly wails.
But that all changed last Friday!
I had just made a quick stop at a local hardware store to pick up some wire screen to replace the one my dog (his nickname is Butt Head) had torn up on my screened porch for the sixth time. I was determined that this was the last time I was going to repair something that dog had destroyed. It was down to HIM or Me. I would not lose this battle. It would be mano e dogo!
Butt Head (Jackson is his real name) had come to live with us about a year ago and at first he was a cute little Jack Russell Terrier who loved to jump in my lap, chase his tail and do all the cute things puppies do. But at some point……not sure exactly when…..that all changed. The first clue that some evil spirit had taken over my cute little puppy was when he decided that he was no longer going to be put in his cage at night or whenever we left the house for a while.
At first I could just pick him up and put him in his cage….no problem. But now it was a battle of endurance to see if he could evade me and the broom (the broom is my enforcer) long enough for me to just give up. He would run in circles in the kitchen or living room or backyard or wherever I tried to catch him. And just at the moment when I was ready to give in…. he would stop and allow me to get within a few feet and then the chase was on again. There were times I want to kill…..okay so maybe kill is a little strong but at least beat him senseless with my broom.
It was obvious that there was a real nasty streak in that dog. But up until last Friday it had just been me against a very stubborn dog. But again Friday last…….that changed.
We, that’s my wife and granddaughter and me, were supposed to go to my daughter’s house for her annual pumpkin carving party. It was a fun event attended by several dozen of her friends and a few family members. So about three thirty we began to get ready for the party. That involved showers, drying hair, make-up, curling irons and all those things women and teenage girls take hours to do that drive us men insane.
At about 5:00 I went downstairs to put Butt Head in his cage. But he was nowhere to be found. Normally he could be found under the kitchen table or the lamp table in the living room. But he was not in either of his favorite places. There was no use in calling him. That just gave him fair warning that he was going in the cage. Then I heard a very faint growl. It came from the living room. To my surprise I found Butt Head sitting in my recliner. I immediately yelled several expletives and started to grab him by his collar but was stopped in my tracks when a growling voice said, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you old man.”
What the hell? I looked around…certain I would find my wife or granddaughter nearby. But I was alone in the living room with Butt Head and besides I could still hear the hair dryer upstairs in my granddaughter’s bathroom.
I looked back at the dog and I swear he had a smile on his face……well maybe more like a sneer.
“Yep, it was me old man. But I wouldn’t try and grab my collar if I were you. You see….I am not going in that cage again and these teeth (he bared them) do bite.
“This is crazy……dogs don’t talk. Or maybe I’m going crazy.”
“Well, either way I am not going in that cage again. AND…..he paused and growled a little. There’s going to be some changes around here. First, I resent being called Butt Head. My name is Barnaby Worthington Farnsworth III. I am not a dog and demand that you stop feeding me that awful crap you call dog food. From now on you will feed me according to my dietary requirements.”
He picked up a piece of paper with his mouth and handed it to me.
I took the paper and began to read. Breakfast…… four eggs sunny side up, extra crispy bacon, hash browns with cheese and salsa added, two pieces of whole wheat toast with strawberry jam and black coffee. There was a lunch and dinner menu too but I didn’t read any further.
“Okay, I give up. You got me. The joke’s over.” I looked around again, certain that someone was having a field day with me. But it was still just me and the dog.
“And another thing, he continued, you will not put this stupid collar on me and attach that retractable leash thingy and drag me all around your neighborhood just so you can get a peep at that widow lady that runs around her house in her birthday suit with the windows open. It’s embarrassing.” And in a flash his paw ripped the collar off and threw it at me.
“Wait….wait just wait a fricking minute, I yelled. This is not happening. Dogs do not talk. There has to be a logical explanation to this. Honey, get in here quick.” I yelled for my wife.
“Sure there has Einstein, I’m sure you can figure it out. You….. a human being….talking to a dog. Yep, that makes sense. I am sure there’s a rubber room somewhere just waiting for you if you tell anyone else your dog talked to you.” Then he laughed. Believe it or not the damn dog laughed.
“Carolyn…you gotta come in here and see this….Carolyn. Hannah….. hey guys come in here quick.”
I plopped down on the sofa. “ I am losing it. I am absolutely losing it…….wait a minute. Hold on….What did you say your name was?”
The dog pointed his nose in the air and with an air of sophistication repeated, “I am Barnaby Worthington Farnsworth III.”
“I knew I had heard that name somewhere before. I read your obituary in the paper just this morning. You are that rich old guy that owns….owned half of Greenville. The paper said you got struck by lightning on a golf course.”
“Pity, he said. I had just birdied the 12 hole……and it’s a par four with a wicked dogleg off to the left.” He laughed as he repeated the dogleg part.
“So, let me get this straight. You were an old millionaire human who got struck by lightning, died and now you’ve come back in my dog’s body?”
“That’s pretty much it Einstein. It was either a dog or a vulture and have you ever seen what they eat? By the way there are some definite advantages to inhabiting a dog’s body. Do you know that I can lick my own butt? I can also run really fast. You should see your face trying to catch me…..funny as hell.”
“So, you are Barnaby Worthington Farnsworth III come back as a ghost in my dog’s body?”
“That pretty much sums it up Einstein. I AM A GHOST DOG!” BOO. Did that scare you?”
“No, and I still am not buying this talking dog thing. This has to be a joke……”
“Well, if you aren’t buying the talking dog thing….as you put it. How about this?”
His head started turning slowly until it had done a complete 360 degree turn.
“What do you say to that?”
“I say that’s no big deal. You’ve already shown me you’re flexible enough to lick your own butt so I’m not impressed. And don’t try that projectile vomiting thing either cause I definitely am not cleaning that up.”
“Okay, you asked for it. I guess I’ll have to pull out the big guns to impress you.” And with that he instantly disappeared.
“Whoa…holy hell. How did you…I mean where’d you…..uh okay I’m impressed.”
Suddenly Butt Head reappeared in my recliner with that smirking smile on his face.
“How’d you like that? Pretty impressive if I do say so myself…….and I can fly too.”
I stuttered and stammered for a second….hardly believing what I had just seen.
“Are you convinced?”
I looked around one last time to make sure there were no hidden TV cameras or some practical joker waiting to jump out and yell, “Gotcha.”
“I give up. I’m convinced.”
“Okay then. Here’s the deal. Every day I expect one hour of belly and behind the ear scratching while I feast on pheasant under glass, braised with Mortadella and Mustard Greens and wild rice stuffing, Foie Gras and Truffle Sausage. With that I want a bottle of wine….not just any wine but a bottle of 2009 Pape Clement Blanc. I guess that’s all for today. My tastes may change from time to time but the belly and behind the ear scratching are definitely an everyday requirement.”
Reluctantly I reached over and began to scratch Butt Head behind his ear. He purred almost like a kitten and then rolled over on his back. I sighed and began to scratch his belly………
“Ouch…..I jerked my hand back just as my wife began shaking me. I woke in my recliner. What do you think you’re doing, she asked? You know better than to try and pet Butt Head. He bites you know.”
I sat up and look around….still a bit dazed. Was this all a dream…..a nightmare?
“You were talking crazy my wife said. Something about Truffles and belly scratching…..what were you dreaming about?”
I shook my head… trying to clear the last traces of that horrible dream from my brain. “Oh, it was just some stupid dream about Butt Head being possessed by a dead millionaire.”
“Good Lord, what did you have to eat before you went to bed, she asked?” She left the room shaking her head.
I glanced down at Butt Head who was curled up asleep under the lamp table.
“Boy, you better be glad this was all a dream, I said, looking down at the sleeping dog.
“Otherwise you and I were about to rumble. I nodded my head and gave him the meanest smirk I could muster.
Suddenly Butt Head opened one eye, stared at me for a moment then smiled and gave me a wink and I swear I thought I heard him mumble “BOO.”
Roy Davenport 2016 ©