“Dang it, Kid! What’s goin’ on? We got a Saloon ta run.”
“What’s the problem Pal?”
“Yer the problem. First those goats and now thet pig of yers— thet pig should not be in this ‘stablishment.”
“This is not ‘a pig’, not any pig; this is Curly. My pig. Lookit ‘er. Ain’t she the cutest?”
“Git ‘er out afore the Board a Health comes by.”
“Oh, she’s plenny healthy, ‘an asides, she’s a service hog. See the vest she’s wearin’?”
“Oops. Serves us right fer d’pendin’ on spell chick. But the point is, that vest means she’s got ta ‘comp’ny me wherever I go. ‘Cause a PTS.”
“No, you. Pal Totally Stresses. Pet Curly, Pal, scratch her b’hine the ears. It’ll make ya feel good ta make Curly feel good.”
“Enough a yer nonsense, Kid. What if Shorty come in here, saw this piglet a yers runnin’ ‘roun’ the saloon?”
“Reckon she’d say the place ‘as gone ta the hogs! Anyway, Charli Mills hersef said it’s okay ta have this here puglet on the ranch and even here at the saloon. Ya know why?”
“No, Kid. Why?”
“’Cause World Headquarters ‘as gone ta the dogs! There’s a Mause in the House!”
“Oh yeah, there was mention a thet.
“Well, Kid, them folks was sorely missin’ their ol’ German Shorthair Poin’ers. Reckon it was time. All right, let’s have a look.
“Oh, she sure is a cutie, Kid. Yep, I kin see the Millsiz gittin’ a GSP at this time. But thet still don’t make it okay fer you ta have this piglet here as a pet. ‘Member, you gittin’ thet pig was all a mistake anyhow, ‘cause a spell chuck, er should I say, folks not double checkin’ the spell cluck.”
“Don’t matter, Pal. Like the song says, ya jist gotta love the hog ya got. Anyway, Curly needs me.”
“Bull shift Kid. Only ‘cause you need her ta need you.”
“I’ll take it. Tell ya what, she ain’t never said a discouragin’ word ta me.”
“Hmmf. Ya cain’t trust a pig, Kid. They’ll squeal on ya.”
“Okay Kid, enough already. Have ya got a innerview lined up or ain’tcha?”
“Ain’t. No innerview this week.”
“Karaoke? Recipe Rustlin’? Anythin’?”
“Nope. Nope. An’… nope.”
“Whut? Why not?!”
“’Cause ever’one’s been on the road, Pal, an’ takin’ care a their pets. Even D. Avery’s been trav’lin’, jist moved up from her home a thirty years back ta her ‘riginal stompin’ groun’s. Her lil cat was ridin’ shotgun, all gussied up in her red harness. Thinkin’ Curly needs a red harness, what d’ you think?”
“Jeez, Kid, I think ya need ta focus! We need ta give the folks somethin’. Cain’t believe ya ain’t got a innerview this week.”
“Well, I kin wing it…
Folks, welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon. Well, howdy Mause!”
“Yer innerviewin’ thet new puppy a Charli Mills?”
“Yep. Now shush… Mause, I unnerstan’ ya jist had a long road trip with yer new ferever fam’ly. How was it?
“Shush Pal. Yep, Mause, it was rough but it’s all good now. Let’s see, the Millsiz, Charli an’ the Sarge, they traveled all day an’ inta the dark a night ta git ya. It was blowin’ snow an’ it was uphill both ways!”
“Is thet true Kid?”
“Uh, only parts of it. Dramatic effect Pal. But they did travel all day an’ went inta Wisconsin, which, fer yer information, ain’t Mishugin. Which meant they got ta show Mause off ta their son an’ daughter-in-law.”
“Why would they do thet? Wouldn’t they wanna git on back ta Headquarters?”
“Have ya ever had a pet, Pal? This here’s a new member a the fam’ly. An’ I reckon, cute as Mause is, Charli still takes any chance ta see her ‘riginal two-legged pups.”
“Okay, on with the innerview… Mause, what did ya say when Sarge an’ Charli got ya back ta HQ, aka the Roberts Street Writery?
Oh, what a howl. Yep, ya got a good home, lil Mause. An’ yer in extra good han’s ‘cause Sarge is a vet.”
“Not thet kinda vet Kid.”
“That’s all right Pal, I’m doctorin’ the truth fer this ‘un. Anyways, Sarge is really good with dogs an’ he sure knows German Shorthair Poin’ers.”
“Thet’s true. Ha! Reckon this lil pup an’ Charli Mills got somethin’ in common.”
“Ya mean asides the Sarge?”
“Yep. They’ll both be workin’ on papers fer a while.”
“Oh yeah. Mebbe she figgered she didn’t have quite ‘nough on her plate, so she took on this here pup too.”
“Aw. It’ll be fine. Got anuther photo, Kid?”
“Yep. Oh, look here….
Looks like Mause will also be workin’ on a miracle a duck. Think I should git Curly a chew toy, Pal? Oh, never mind, she’s got yer boots looks like.”
“Curly no! Dang it, Kid, ya gotta keep a better eye on this critter. No, don’t pick ‘er up an’ cuddle ‘er.”
“But she wants ta be cuddled, Pal. See? Them’s happy grunts.”
“What ‘bout when ya cain’t pick ‘er up anymore?”
“Hadn’t thought ‘bout that. But I am workin’ on trainin’ her. Watch.
Sit, Curly, sit.
See? Ohhhhh…. oops.”
“Ha! Sit? Mebbe she jist misunnerstood thet command, thought ya said… thet. Clean thet up Kid. Jeez. This innerview stinks.”
“Oh yeah. The innerview….
Mause, d’ya have other two-legged siblings? What’s that? Ya say ya have one in the Bark-tic? Oh, an’ the other one come ta welcome ya ta the Keweenaw?”
“Bet they’s all ‘memberin’ Bobo an’ Bobo’s brother, Grenny. D’ya s’pose Charli’ll read The Poet’s Dog ta Mause?”
“Mebbe, or some other fittin’ book. Reckon fer a while it’s all go dog go aroun’ there. Do ya read ta Curly?”
“’Course! In fact I highly recommend Chester the Worldly Pig by Bill Peet, even if ya ain’t got a puglet a yer own.”
“Huh. Kid whut’s this? Three stages a puppy?”
“Seems that’s a meme, Pal. Huh. Wunner if Curly will follow the same d’velopmennal traject’ry as Mause?”
“When pigs fly.”
“Then the middle stage’d be a pterosaur. Hey Pal, Mause is pr’nounced mouse, right?”
“So… if they cloned lil’ Mause they’d be called Mice?”
“An’ Pal, how come baby pigs is piglets but baby dogs are puppies? Whyn’t they doglets?”
“Ya know whut, Kid, I’ve had enough. You close up, I’m headin’ back ta the bunkhouse.”
“Watch yer step Pal.”
“Whut? Thet a threat? Whooooaaaa! Oof. Ow.”
“Yer slippin’ Pal. Was more like a warnin’. I ain’t cleaned up after Curly yet. Seems ya stepped in it. Hey, now yer boots been chewed and pooed!”
“Dang it, Kid!”
“Mause says, paws an’ take a break.”
“Thet ain’t funny.”
“Then I’ll stop laughin’ Pal. Here. B’fore ya go, let’s let Mause have the last word. Though I’m thinkin’ we’ll all be hearin’ more ‘bout her from the hoss’s mouth, so ta speak.”
“Welcome ta Carrot Ranch, Mause. Take good care a the folks at Headquarters.”
If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org.