It’s a Dog’s Life

 It’s a Dog’s Life

One page short story

By: Leo N. Ardo

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“She’s kinda cute. I’ve made eye contact. Bonus, she smells like bacon. I am so excited. Maybe they will let me run around for a while before they put me back in this cage.”

Arff-Arff.

“Two people are pointing at me. Have I got something in my fur? Let me check. … I am so dizzy … Got to stop doing that.”

“They are going to take me out of this cage. I will get to run around for a while.”

Arff, arff, bark.

“I’ve seen this before. Where? He is giving my breeder something. This same thing happened to Whitey-with-the-brown-spot. He never returned.”

“I don’t want that thing on my chest. When I get big like you, I am going to make you wear one of these. Where are we going? Blacky-with-the–white-socks, help me. Good advice, I will drag my feet. I can’t wait to get big.”

Arff, arff, Arff, ARFF.

“Why are you taking me away from my brothers and sisters—never mind, I smell food. I better run ahead to point it out. You don’t seem to be too interested. Come on, there is food ahead. I am hungry. Lets put some hustle in your step.”

“Why does he keep saying, Sit? Maybe I am supposed to run to him. Now he is speaking really slow. Okay, here I come.”

“Arff, arff-arff.

“Talk to me. You are so quiet. You smell like food.  Stop! Don’t take him away. There’s no one else to bark to. Good, he is taking that thing off my back. I don’t want to go in there! GRRrrrr. When I get big like you, you won’t push me around so easily.

“Everything keeps moving. It’s better when I lay down. I think I am getting sick. Maybe a nap will help.”

“Finally everything has stopped moving. I can nap in peace. Here comes that thing on my back again. Okay, I’ll finish my nap later. New exciting stuff to check out.”

Arff-sniff-Arff, sniff, Sniff …

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ImageHoping life blesses you with good stories!

                                               Leo N. Ardo

As a young boy, I can recall sitting with my father at the local gas station listening to the stories, and thinking what a wonderful life. In reflection, we had everything that mattered: good friends, comfortable life, sense of community, … and good stories.

Now I am a thirty-five year veteran of small business, and author of several short stories. A new book is in the works—and, rewriting The Jon Hersey – Industrial Spy series.

Several short stories can be found at the blog listed below.

Another passion is photography, which I find to be similar to writing. A photograph tells a story—1000 words worth. Like an author, the photographer has to make judgment calls when framing—what to include, or exclude. Altering the position of the camera changes the exposure and may reveal flaws, much like a writer’s pen enlightens the reader by revealing character flaws.

When the world is closing in I pack up the fly-fishing gear. Fly-fishing has a required calming rhythm to cast a fly where it needs to land.

Saved for the happy ending: luck has blessed me with the girl in my dreams. We enjoy family, movies, travel, reading, golf, and biking. We call Utah and Wyoming home to be near our families.

Leo

Blog: LeonardoStories.wordpress.com

Follow us on Twitter @LeonardoStories

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Beth’s Dilemma – The Message

Beths Dilemma The Message (Part 2 of 2)

By: Leo N. Ado

Beth did not sleep last night, struggling with how to return the wallet and maintain her safety. Every decision breaks up a family. In a strange way, she is thankful the warehouse is working seasonal Saturdays and will be surrounded by people she knows.

The conclusion of her internal overnight debate comforts her self-preservation and justifies her not-so-final decision: no personal jail time, that little girl should not be exposed to crime, and Charlie lied on his application. Later this morning, the police will be called, and the wallet turned over to them. Why am I so uncomfortable with this decision?

Simultaneously, she is intrigued by a man that would rob for his child, stick to his convictions by keeping his secrets, have lunch with his daughter, and leave as soon as possible to pick her up after work. His orders are completed every day. He drives a refurbished pickup that car enthusiasts would classify as a work-of-art. Charlie is an enigma—loving father, honorable man, artist, and bank robber.

At 8:13 a.m., Teresa, the receptionist, answers a call from the Bowling Green Hospital.

“Hello, this is Melissa with Bowling Green Hospital. May I speak with Charles Mead?”

“Please hold while I page,” Teresa answered. Charlie is paged three times but does not respond. By company policy, call slips are forwarded to employee supervisors to ensure all customer service issues are handled if the employee is absent. Teresa passes a pink call slip to Doris that reads, “Charlie, please call Erin Aware at Bowling Green Hospital, (658) 555-5340, ext. 3370.” Beth should see this before she talks to the police.

On the fourth attempt, Beth hangs up again just as the call is connected. The police dispatcher records the caller’s ID in the logbook. Three minutes pass before she dials again.

On the fifth attempt, Beth waits for the police dispatcher to answer. “Bowling Green Police Department, how may I help you?”

She is about to speak when Doris gives her the cut-off gesture. Beth says to the dispatcher, “I will call you back.” She hangs up the phone.

Beth asks, “What’s up?”

“Read this,” Doris said. She waits for Beth to read the slip. “I will have Jack find out what he can. They won’t tell you or I anything. Have you seen Charlie? He is not answering the pages.”

* * * * *

Charlie is waiting at the Mall Security door at 8:15 a.m. Eight minutes later, the door opens.

“Are you the guy that called yesterday about the wallet?”

“Yes, has my wallet been turned in?” Charlie asks.

“Nothing has been added since your call yesterday.

“Thank you.”

* * * * *

8:44. Charlie arrives at work, clocks in, and walks to Doris’s office to explain his tardiness.

Doris is on the phone and gestures to the chair opposite her desk. Charlie fidgets while listening to Doris’s portion of the conversation.

. . . “Please ask them.” . . . “He’s an employee here.” . . . “I can’t say right now.”  . . . “Yes.” . . . “Not sure, can they look to see who is paying?” . . . “I will call you back in about five minutes. Love you Jack.” She hangs up and turns her attention to Charlie.

“Here, this message came for you. Where have you been?” Doris inquired.

Charlie reaches for the pink call slip. He skims the call slip while answering her question, “I’ve been at the mall looking for . . .” Charlie does not finish the sentence. He bolts from the office, runs down the hall, out the employee entrance, and drives off.

Doris is surprised by the abrupt exit. From the office doorway, she shrugs at Beth.

Beth pauses a few seconds. She is a bundle of nervous energy. Her sixth sense is an overwhelming force, commanding her to follow. Something is not right with this scenario. She snatches her keys and purse, runs down the hall and out the employee door. She is not worrying about losing him—certain he is driving to the hospital.

Confusing and conflicting thoughts are tormenting Beth’s mind. She does not know Charlie—actually, no one does. He is a bank robber that endangered a child. Charlie does not seem like a bank robber. He seems more like the quiet, confident type. Why is the ICU calling?

Up ahead on the right, Charlie is attempting to thumb a ride. He is walking backwards quickly and about 300 feet from his pickup.

“The dark pickup used in the bank robbery with the “752” plates. My God, what am I doing? I am chasing a bank robber. What if he has a gun? This is really stupid,” Beth says out loud but no one hears.

She pulls over next to Charlie, unlocks the doors, and waves as Charlie bends over looking for the invitation to enter the car.

As he enters the car, he says, “I am in a hurry to get to the hospital ICU, my daughter needs me. I am so thankful you showed up.” There is a noticeable pause before he continues. “Why are you here? Shouldn’t you be at work?”

The conflict is overpowering, and she cannot contain it any longer. “Charlie, I know all about the bank robbery.”

“What bank robbery?” Charlie asks.

“First National Bank. Early September. The branch manager identified your truck. You are hiding out here. And why would you take your daughter to a bank robbery?”

“My daughter is in the ICU in a coma from a hit-and-run accident. She was struck while chasing a lunch sack into the street. The truck is a dark blue pickup similar to mine,” Charlie replied. Then added, “But his gas gauge probably works.”

“But the newspaper clipping is about the bank robbery!” Beth fired back.

“What clipping?” he asked.

“The one in your wallet.”

“You’ve seen my wallet?”

“Your wallet is in my purse. Go ahead and get it out. I’ve been through your wallet. Seems fair for you to look in my purse,” Beth said as she blushed.

“The paper made a mistake and crossed the photo of Erin being loaded in the ambulance with the bank photo of the robber. It worked for me—the photo of Erin is next to the description of the pickup that hit her,” he explained.

Beth is confused and asks, “Why did the hospital call? And who is Erin Aware?”

“Melissa, the ICU nurse, said if she had to leave a message it will include ‘Erin aware’ so I will know Erin is awake,” Charlie replied. “Other messages might violate the privacy laws.”

Beth’s mind is starting to piece together a new story about Charlie and Erin. It is incomplete, but it does not require Charlie to be the bank robber.

Beth continued, “Charlie, I know you are a private person, but will you tell me the rest of the story?”

“Sure . . . My wife, Hannah, died in August. Erin and I were on our way to Taos, New Mexico. It was her favorite vacation spot, and requested her ashes be released there. Hannah had an eye for photography. During our last vacation to Taos, she would take photographs of Erin and I in the morning, and then in the afternoon she would cruise the galleries and museums. Each night brings an enthusiastic reading from her photo journal. Erin and I are transported through time by the exciting stories. Each day Erin speculates what tale Mom will read to us that night. I tell Hannah and she creates the story around Erin’s imagination.

“The last photo Hannah took of Erin is in my wallet. The phone number on the back is the June Lund Gallery in Taos. She wants to print the photo to sell at her shop. Erin is a miniature version of Hannah—full of life, living in the moment, and happy.

“We stopped for lunch and gas. While I was in the restroom, the lunch bag fell out of the pickup and Erin chased it into the street. She was struck by the dark blue pickup. I saw the blue truck drive off. If I had been twenty seconds quicker… . The next day when the newspaper misplaced the two photographs I knew the getaway truck was the same pickup that struck Erin.

“I took this job to keep occupied while she was in a coma and make some rent and food money. It was actually my boss’s idea. He told me to stay here so I would be close to Erin. He’s holding my job for me. That’s about it.”

“Why do you have all that money in your wallet? Why do you buy two burgers on Fridays? Where did you go everyday for lunch?” Beth asked.

“Wow! Ever thought about being a detective? Anyway, the credit cards were in Hannah’s name, and we simply did not think to change the account. The bank canceled them when her obituary was printed. It’s a large procedure-driven bank chain. Dan, my banker, loaned me $3,500 so we could take this trip while he straightens out the problems.”

“The burgers were for lunch with Melissa as a way to thank her for watching Erin and a bribe so she would call the instant Erin wakes. I spent my lunch hour driving Bowling Green streets looking for dark vintage pickups with license plates starting with “752.”

They are quiet the remaining three minutes to the hospital. Beth is feeling guilty about the misunderstanding but satisfied knowing the whole story.

Charlie releases the seat belt and opens the door before Beth stops the car. The instant the car stops, he is running through the emergency room doors. He takes the elevator to the ICU on the third level. He waves to Melissa. She smiles as he enters Erin’s room. The bruise on her forehead healed two months ago. Erin is eating orange Jell-O and says, “Hi Daddy, I’ve been asleep.”

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The original story was written to be two parts. At Readers’ requests an additional part has been added. It is titled Beth’s Dilemma – The Invitation. It is part 3 of 2. Click Here to link to Beth’s Dilemma – The Invitation.

Find out what happens to Beth when she receives a letter from Charlie’s father-in-law

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ImageLeo N. Ardo: – I am a thirty-five year veteran of small business, and author of the Jon Hersey – Industrial Spy series. I enjoy photography, fly fishing, biking, and embellishing our travel experiences in journals titled Exaggerated Tales of an Ordinary Man.

We call Utah and Wyoming home.

Visit our website www.LeonardoStories.com

Like us at Facebook.com/TheLeonardoStories

Follow us on Twitter @LeonardoStories

Hoping life blesses you with good stories!

Four Favorite Fotographs with Amusing Captions

Excerpts from Exaggerated Tales of an Ordinary Man Travel Journals

ImageChina. The tranquility of this beautiful setting in the Emperor’s Garden is quickly forgotten outside the perimeter. Busses around tourist attractions are a test of personal space. We enter a standing-room-only bus with ten people in the aisle. Next stop: two people exit, and twelve enter the bus. Everyone squeezes closer. Another stop: one person exits, and fifteen enter the bus. Everyone presses closer. Third stop: no one exits; fourteen people enter the bus. The people outside the bus are pushing others to create enough space so they can ride the bus. We are compacted. If someone sneezes . . .

The American South, Saint Simons Island. A long, wonderful weekend of celebrations: a Imagebirthday, Kentucky Derby, and Cinco de Mayo. We have a new iPhone with Siri, the talking phone. One of our meals involves the search for fresh shrimp.  We have the market address and Siri, should we get lost. After five exhaustive searches of a four-block area, we ask Siri, “What are we doing here?” She answered, “Frankly, I was beginning to wonder myself!”

ImageCharleston, a peaceful, funky, and graceful city. A city with a singular thought concerning buildings: if it’s old, there are rules. A city that preserves its heritage and beautifully restores the southern homes. Imagination and a few minutes will transport you to a time of  cotton, tobacco, cotillions, and plantations.

Preserved buildings occasionally get hiccups. While we are out, the toilet in our room decides, on its own, to flood our third-floor room and the same rooms on the second and first floors. No problem, the restored hotel has a procedure for this. (They actually have a procedure—wonder why!) We are given another room. But wait—the plumber left with the room key. Three hours later the manager finds a ring of 300+ keys. 188 keys later we enter our old room.

Italy is a great vacation with great friends. There is not enough space here to list all the

Imagewonderful sites and attractions. We enjoyed Italy so much we left it on the bucket list. On a Sunday afternoon, watching local bands march in the town square, a tour guide holding high a tattered orange umbrella walks past us, but she has no tour group. There is an invisible wake as she cuts through the crowd, as if ghosts are following her. Two minutes pass before she retraces her steps to return the spirits of her patrons. The Ghost Guide helped spark a writing career.

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ImageLeo N. Ardo: – I am a thirty-five year veteran of small business, and author of the Jon Hersey – Industrial Spy series. I enjoy photography, fly fishing, biking, and embellishing our travel experiences in journals titled Exaggerated Tales of an Ordinary Man.

We call Utah and Wyoming home.

Visit our website www.LeonardoStories.com

Like us at Facebook.com/TheLeonardoStories

Follow us on Twitter @LeonardoStories

Hoping life blesses you with good stories!