This week’s words for CAKE.shortandsweet’s Wednesday Write-In were:
man’s best friend :: diamond :: bulge :: mail :: stew
‘Come on, you little idiot,’ muttered Ade. ‘Look! Steak! Mm-mm!’ He waggled the drying lump of meat between the slats of the fence. All the dog did was bare his teeth and growl, very quietly. He didn’t move an inch from his post beside the back door, and his tiny, sparkling eyes glared out of the gloom.
‘Man’s best friend, my eye,’ whispered Dagger, getting to his feet.‘What do we do now then, eh?’
‘We go to Plan B, don’t we,’ sighed Ade. ‘The full Monty.’
‘The what?’ Dagger wrapped his arms around himself. ‘If you think I’m droppin’ my drawers in this weather – ‘
‘Nah, you twit,’ snapped Ade. ‘Think about it. Why are we here in the first place?’
‘To get the dog,’ mumbled Dagger, his thoughts skittering about behind his eyes like dead leaves on a winter breeze. ‘But ‘e isn’t playin’ ball, the little –‘
‘Yeah, yeah, all right. So if ‘e won’t come to us, what can we do?’
‘Go down the pub and forget about this whole thing.’
‘Most amusin’,’ said Ade, in a voice like freshly poured cement. ‘Nah. If ‘e won’t come to us, we go to ‘im. Right?’
‘By ‘we’, you mean me, don’tcha?’
‘Well, I ‘ardly mean myself. I am incapacitated, if you remember.’
‘A broken ankle is hardly incapacitated, mate,’ muttered Dagger, already eyeing the garden wall with suspicion.
‘I’d like to see you sayin’ that if it was your ankle in question. The man ‘as to pay for ‘is actions, yeah? And we’ve already decided –‘
‘Yeah, yeah – kidnap the mutt, leave a ransom note in ‘is mail box wrapped around a lump of meat, tell ‘im next time it’ll be the dog’s ‘ead, or whatever. Draw ‘im out. Get ‘im to face yer.’
‘Precisely,’ answered Ade. ‘Now. Let’s give this meat one more try, and if ‘e won’t take it, then it’s Operation Dognap. Right?’
‘Just get on with it,’ sighed Dagger, crouching once again. Ade was sprawled on the cold ground, his injured foot stuck out in front of him. He dangled the meat through the fence again, and this time the dog hopped forward, just once. His head cocked to one side.
‘Diamond,’ said Ade, smiling. ‘That’s it, little fella! Come on!’ The dog took one hesitant step, and then another. Ade widened his smile, sticking his fingers out as far as he could, dangling the meat closer and closer. Then, he flicked it forward. It landed on the cement ground with a faintly moist smack.
‘Now you’ve gone and done it!’ whispered Dagger. ‘If ‘e don’t eat it –‘
‘Look, my friend,’ replied Ade. ‘Is ‘e, or isn’t ‘e, wolfin’ it down?’ The dog leapt upon the steak like a hunter on his prey. Within seconds, he’d eaten nearly half the meat.
‘Just another minute now…’ said Ade, gripping the fence and pressing his eye to the gap.
‘Is ‘e – ‘e is! That dog’s swayin’ on ‘is paws!’ hissed Dagger.
‘Drugged meat, my friend,’ replied Ade. ‘Now, ‘op over and grab ‘im.’ Still muttering, Dagger scaled the wall. Lightly, he dropped into the garden and picked up the dog, and the remaining meat. Together they made a rather strange bulge under his jacket.
Ade hauled himself to his feet as Dagger let himself out of the garden.
‘Now, we’ll let your owner stew for a while, won’t we?’ said Ade, running his finger lightly over the unconscious dog’s head. ‘We’ll see how many walks ‘e takes you on with two broken ankles, yeah?’
The dog snored in reply as his captors hobbled off into the night.