ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
by Lucky Ladybug
Carface Caruthers was mad. And I mean *MAD.* Another of his schemes had failed, and he lay all the blame on his assistant Killer (even though Carface himself was responsible for most of it). After being chewed out with a few choice words, Killer had gone off somewhere to sulk, leaving Carface to steam over the bungled plan.
After a while, Carface began to get a craving for banana ripple ice cream. "Killer!" he yelled, before remembering that the mongrel wasn't around. "Doggone it all," he muttered, realizing he'd just have to get it himself. He left the curio shop looking very miffed.
As he neared downtown San Francisco and started to cross a busy street, he was suddenly tackled by a familiar tan-colored mongrel who yelped, "Look out!"
"Killer! What're you doing?" Carface growled, as he and Killer tumbled over and over until they finally came to a stop on the sidewalk, just as a huge bus rumbled by.
Carface got up and, shaking the stars from his head, looked around. Killer was laying motionless nearby, his eyes closed. "Alright, Killer, come on. Get up!" Carface snapped.
The other dog didn't move. Muttering to himself, Carface went over and shook him. "What's the matter with you? I said get up!"
Still receiving no response, Carface started to feel a little concerned. Killer had apparently rescued Carface from being run down by that bus . . . was it possible that Killer had been hit in the process?
"Come on, you idiot, get up!" Carface yelled in desperation.
Not getting any results, Carface plopped down on the curb in frustration. Was Killer . . . dead? Unwillingly, his thoughts started to turn to years before, to when he had first met this unfortunate mongrel. . . .
Carface grinned nastily. Another day, full of cheating other dogs, beating them up, and other such things, was over, and he was ready to head back to his alley which he then called home.
Suddenly a whole chorus of barking could be heard and a pack of nasty dogs from the other side of town tore through, chasing the strangest dog Carface had ever seen.
He was a mixed breed dog of some kind, of that Carface was certain, possibly part retriever. He had short, tan fur, long, scruffy ears, a odd tail that almost looked like a mop, and apparently was near-sighted, because he sported a pair of glasses. Also, he seemed to have a facade of being a tough critter, because around his neck he wore a spike collar.
Carface shook his head. He knew the mutts who were chasing this unfortunate idiot. The leader, Andre, was a real tough cookie, and no one dared cross his path, ever. He wasn't afraid of anything or anybody . . . except Carface Caruthers.
With a sigh, Carface decided to intercept Andre's impending attack. Though he wouldn't admit it, he felt rather sorry for this sad excuse for a street dog. Without warning, he leaped out and growled at Andre and his gang, who stopped barking and whined in fear.
"It's Carface!" Andre's right-hand dog yelped. "Let's get out of here!" Andre readily agreed, and they all ran off, leaving the strange mongrel in peace.
The mongrel looked around, almost in disbelief. When he spotted Carface, he exclaimed, "Thank you! Oh thank you!" over and over.
Carface glared back. "Be off with you," he ordered.
The mongrel, however, refused to leave. He looked at Carface with an expression that could only be described as awe. "I've never seen anyone scare Andre," he said, adding with a shudder, "I've seen more than one unfortunate dog clawed to pieces when they tried to stand up to him!" As Carface tried to walk away, the mongrel grabbed hold of him and pulled him back. "Oh please let me come with you!" he pleaded. "I could be your sidekick," he suggested hopefully.
"I don't need a sidekick!" Carface growled.
"I can be tough," the mongrel protested, snarling at something moving in the nearby cardboard box, then yelping in fear when a rat peeked out.
"Yeah, tough, real tough," Carface muttered, shaking his head, trying again to walk away. The mongrel tagged along again. "SCRAM!" Carface yelled, beginning to regret saving this guy, who was turning out to be a second shadow.
The mongrel shrank into the shadows and Carface resumed walking again.
He hadn't gone more than half a block when he discovered the mongrel running to catch up again. Sighing in defeat, he finally let the mongrel walk with him. "What do they call you?" he asked grudgingly.
"Killer," the mongrel replied.
Carface rolled his eyes. How appropriate, he thought sarcastically.
"I used to belong to a human family," Killer went on, "but they tossed me when they discovered my eyesight wasn't the best." He looked a little embarrassed.
As they walked on, Killer suddenly slipped on a banana peel and went flying. Carface shook his head. "Oh brother," he muttered.
Over the following years, Killer had learned more and became more mature, just enough so that Carface kept him around. He was never treated very well, though, and Carface sometimes idly wondered why the little weasel kept hanging around.
Carface was finally shaken back to the present when a trolley's bell rang. "Stupid memories," he rumbled.
He glanced over at the lifeless mongrel, who, he decided, was dead. He was humbled by the thought that Killer had died rescuing him.
Suddenly Killer moaned and his eyes flew open.
"So, you're still alive," Carface said, trying to mask his surprise (and, admittedly, his relief).
Killer struggled to get up. "I'm still alive, boss," he agreed, then slipped and fell back to the sidewalk. "I have to beódead dogs don't feel pain!"
Much to his surprise, Carface found himself helping Killer stand up. The mongrel looked at Carface gratefully. "Don't expect this to last," Carface warned, echoing his words from the past Christmas as they walked down the busy street in San Francisco.
"I don't," Killer replied.