I watch Cesar Millan’s shows about dogs. I’m a fan of his and I like all the dogs,
except the ones that bite. When he says,
don’t try this at home, you can be
sure I usually don’t.
But when Cleo, small and fluffy with surprisingly big teeth,
claimed the turkey carcass at Christmas, I had to do something. She growled at me ferociously as I bravely
put my foot on top of the garbage bag containing her treasure.
It was only when her teeth were a few inches from my toes
that I remembered Cesar always wears shoes.
Not to be intimidated, I waited for her to stop. Then I got tired. It’s hard to stand on one leg for any length
of time so I changed feet. This seemed
to give Cleo hope that I’d give up soon.
A flash from a camera told me I had an audience. All my Christmas guests had crowded in to see
me win or lose. A minute, then two
minutes, I had to change feet again. Then
suddenly Cleo sat back and I slipped my foot between her and the turkey. Like magic she saw I’d won and quietly let me
claim it. After that she let me take
anything from her when I wanted to.
Thank you, Cesar!
My second dog story takes place outdoors. A hamburger place where dogs are welcome to
sit outside with their owners. I went
with a friend, our dogs were
quietly waiting in the shade under the table.
Ten feet away in a car stood a small dog with its head out the window,
barking furiously. I said to my friend,
Cesar would say if we don’t speak but hold out our arms with palms towards the dog, it should know we want him to be quiet.
We tried, though we felt a bit silly as we didn't think it would work for us. The dog squeaked to a
halt! He stared at us bug-eyed, and then
slid down low on the seat to hide. Every
now and then he’d give one little bark then raise his head so he could just
peep to see if we were still there, then he’d settle down again. We ate in peace.
I know it is not sexy but I can't keep writing about the underwear men, sometimes I must help with important problems. Besides, if there is really a battery lasting a thousand miles, it might make the pipeline problem go away on its own before I have time to solve it. Except you have to keep filling that battery with water. Wonder if it will work on icicles? What happens in the frozen north?
Never mind! Must keep my focus and get the pipeline problem solved in three sentences.
1. No one is allowed to pipe oil anywhere in North America.
2. Dig it up, pump it or scoop it, I don't care, but it must be used to generate electricity right there.
3. Use the electrical grid to move electricity around, we do it all the time.
Don't moan about your car to me. We are being green here! Every time we need to move an underwear man from here to there, we must use electricity. Everyone can do it, use your imagination! I do hope the seats are heated, wouldn't want him to catch cold.
Lizzie gave a shudder. They were all conspiring against her, even the two maids slowly searching the luggage for her aunt’s missing shawl.
They all conspired to keep her at the Folly until the Beast returned to claim
it for his own.
He did not come to claim her.
She had not forgotten the horrid words he had used the last
time she’d seen him. “My dearest Lizzie, I don’t covet your money or your
graceless manners. Consider yourself free from any engagement to me.” He had
stared with mocking sadness at her body, then leaned closer to whisper, “You
could not tempt me to matrimony, not even in my wildest dreams.”
Inside the great house the Felmonts waited for him, locked
in verbal duels with each other. If they had been partial to pistols at dawn,
the family would have died out long ago. The only thing they all agreed on was
their need for her to marry one of them to keep her fortune in the family.
Lizzie called, “I shall meet you at the gates, Aunt
“Don’t go by yourself!” Aunt Tempest cried, as if walking to
the gates was perilous. “Wait until my shawl is found. Get in, Lizzie, I must
“Let me replace it, dear Aunt Tempest,” begged Lizzie. It
was no use. She shrugged and laughed. “If you are not at the gates by the time
I get there, I shall walk to Bath.”
“Fortune hunters will capture you long before you get to the
village,” warned the irate lady.
Lizzie stepped resolutely onto the lawn. She had a dozen
outriders waiting outside the gates to protect her.
The cool caress of wet grass felt like silk at her ankles.
The sun played about her coal-scuttle bonnet and dark traveling dress. Anyone
searching for the possessor of the Tempest fortune would never suspect her. Inheriting her father’s fortune had been both a blessing and
a curse. Life was full of blessings and curses. Her widowed mother marrying
Viscount Felmont had truly been a curse, but the blessing was his gothic stone
mansion. The great house called as she skirted the edge of the lake.
For one last time she turned to admire its golden beauty, to love its towers
and turrets with all her heart.
She might even visit the Folly again, when the Beast was
laid in his grave. Not that she wished him ill, but it was impossible to save
any Felmont from debauchery. So many of them had died from that awful disease! Her duty to the Felmont family was over, though she’d
reinstate their pensions if she could. Even the new viscount would not be
refused financial aid, if he approached her soberly. She hurried across the
lawn towards the distant gates. If the new Viscount Felmont wanted to ask her
for money or thank her for saving the Folly, she’d prefer it done by letter.
Not that she feared him now. How young and foolish she had
been. Time had cured her of loathing the Beast. She had not thought of him much
for many a year. She’d been too busy trying to keep emotions at bay, to not
weep and feel each death so dreadfully.
Calling him Beast in her thoughts was wrong, a childhood
habit, and not useful at all.
A quarter of a mile away the gates opened. Thunder rolled
low in the distance.
Not thunder. Horsemen raced down the drive, their mounts
lathered. She watched them tear up the lawn as they spread out and galloped
towards the Folly. She could clearly see Lord Felmont riding in front of his wolf
Her heart began a thunder of its own.
If he thought she lingered waiting for him, she meant to
disabuse him of the notion. Lizzie drew a shaky breath, gathering her dignity
against his arrogance, against his disdain for her.
Now was not the time to let childish fears surface. At
almost twenty-two, she was long past girlish palpitations. Let him say his
worst in that affected drawl the family used for their insults. Nothing he said
or did could be worse than what she had heard and seen in the last few years
And what was the point of her leaving the outriders outside
the park, if he meant to ruin the drive and lawn with his pack of inebriated
friends. Some of them could hardly stay in the saddle. No doubt the new
Viscount Felmont couldn’t wait to begin his beastly debaucheries. Carriages
full of whores likely followed him at a more sedate pace.
He dismounted and was momentarily lost to view in a noisy
crowd of horses and men. His voice, a low rumble, drifted over the lawn.
Raucous laughter greeted his words. He emerged near her berline to wrench open
the door. Poor Aunt Tempest gave a cry of fright, which brought a cheer from
Felmont’s drunken companions.
Drat the man! What had happened to his manners?
Aunt Tempest’s hand pointed in her direction from the
Lizzie’s legs froze.
Lord Felmont turned towards her. One man hurried after him.
She forced air into her lungs and waited for them to approach. She wasn’t
afraid of him! Long gone were the days when she had struggled to not show her fear,
or worse, faint at his feet. To her shame, she had done just that the day the
Felmonts had celebrated her betrothal to him. Even her mother had found it
vastly amusing, but those days were long gone.
He was hatless, an almost certain sign he was foxed. He
moved with his odd loose-limbed grace, his long legs covering more ground than
his companion. They left a silver trail in the morning dew coating the lawn. Even the way Felmont walked towards her seemed insulting.
She willed herself to be calm. He could only want to thank her for repairing
He stopped. Close enough to touch.
His long dark brown hair had been bleached at the ends by a
foreign sun, showing a strange reddish color, as if he had been singed in hell’s
fire and spat out. Maybe Satan had no use for him either.
He had a handsome face if the Felmont likeness could be
overlooked, not that Lizzie intended to try. It was said the Felmonts got their
long noses and high cheekbones from the first Viscount Felmont’s gypsy wife,
but then men always blamed women for everything
She had always admired the Beast’s mouth, wide and finely
sculpted. No one had ever admired the Felmont nose.
His skin ran tight around his jaw, which had not seen a
razor this day. His deep blue eyes looked down the length of his long nose at
her. No, not really at her. He looked around her, to the side of her, and for a
moment he studied her wet hem. One side of his mouth drew down in a quirk of
She stared at him as if bored by the sight.
“Miss Tempest, I am sorry to see you have not managed to
escape your fate.” His voice swirled around her like honey. She felt the sound
of his words long before she made sense of them.
The breeze brought the scent of him to her nose. He had washed
not long ago and changed his clothes. He smelled of soap from the Priory, as he
always did. Of jasmine almost hidden by the low note of musk.
His hand reached out.
Lizzie retreated with dignity. She didn’t want to be touched
He had obviously called at the Priory to fortify himself
with brandy, a scent that made her take a further step away from him. Not that
a drunken Felmont was anything new to her.
“Allow me to introduce my friend, Rackham.” He turned to the
gentleman standing several yards away. “Miss Elizabeth Tempest, the woman who
ruined me. The woman who has pretended to be engaged to me for these last six
years so she could do as she pleased with the Folly.”