Photo courtesy of Aaron Chavez on Unsplash

It was a cold and windy morning in Mutt Tale, Mississippi. Hobo and his road dog, T, had just hit out to cop a bite of breakfast from old man Grady’s “Scoop-N-Soup soul-food restaurant. 

As they walked through the shadows and trash cans in the alleys, they feared no hunger, because old man Grady always kept a big pan of leftovers waiting for them at the back door.

“Wow, I’m starvin’ like Marvin,” Hobo said.

“Whose this Marvin dude everyone keeps starving like?” asked Tramp, as he stopped to scratch his ear.

“I don’t think Marvin is a dude, bro. I think Marvin is just some kind of metaphor for the munchies.” 

“Well, what is the meta for?”

“In this case, it would be for the munchies.”

“What’s a munchie?”

“It’s like — that feeling you get in your stomach when you’re hungry.”

“You mean like worms?”

“Yeah, sort of, but bigger.”

Tramp pointed his snout at an old man staggering through the alley, bumping into boxes and muttering.

“Is that a munchie?” he asked.

“No,” Hobo answered, “that’s not a munchie.”

The wind began to blow stronger and a woman ran past the alley entrance chasing her hat.

“Is that a munchie?

“No, that’s not a munchie.”

“Well, what does a munchie look like?”

“You can’t see a munchie!”

“Well, then how do you know when you’ve got one?”

“Didn’t Ma teach you not to show your ignorance? You can’t see a munchie, you can only feel it.”

“Oh,” Tramp snarled.

His ears perked up and his body tensed as he noticed Snoopfoot Jenkins, the city dogcatcher, cruising down the alley.

“Five-O,” Tramp barked. “Duck!”

The two dogs ducked dove around a big green dumpster behind old man Grady’s restaurant. 

They’d almost made it. But Snoopfoot spotted their bushy tails as they dashed out of sight.

“I gotcha now, you mangy mutts,” Snoopfoot mumbled to himself as he grabbed a can of mace along with his net and got out of the car.

“We’re going to have to make a dash for it, homey,” Tramp said. “One more strike and it’s back to the joint for me, pal.”

“I hear you, dog,” Hobo replied as he peeped around the side of the dumpster. “Let me guess, this is the part where old Snoopfoot tries to spray us with mace so he can use that net. You read, dog?”

“Yeah,” Tramp grunted. “Let him get a little closer. I’m gonna leave old Snoopfoot a load of me to remember us by — Waaaaaugh!”

“Wow!” Hobo yapped. “Wait till old Snoopfoot slips on that!”

“Yeah,” tramp snarled. “He’ll have to change his name to ‘Poop-foot’ when I’m done with him.”

“Ma always said you were the genius in the family,” Hobo sagaciously replied as he eyed the distance between them and the dogcatcher

“I gotcha now, you mangy mutt!” yelled Snoopfoot as he charged toward them with his net in one hand and his can of mace in the other.

“What a shame,” Hobo snarled. “They just let anybody be a dogcatcher nowadays.”

“Tell me about it,” Tramp agreed as they watched Snoopfoot getting closer.

“OK, he’s close enough. On the count of three, we make a quick break for it,” Hobo growled. “You ready?”

“I was born ready,” Tramp boasted, scratching a flea off his ear.

“Hey, watch it!” yelled the flea.

Snoopfoot was now right up on them, yelling as he sprung into action. “I gotcha now you flea-bitten dust mops!”

“Yo’ mama!” Hobo barked as he and Tramp each stepped from behind opposite sides of the dumpster. Both dogs snarled and growled as Snoopfoot got closer.

“Grrrr (one), grrrr (two), grrrr (three) — GO!” Hobo barked as they took off in different directions.

Snoopfoot leaped at Tramp and ended up landing face-first in a big pile of mutt-poop pudding.

“Confound it!” the dogcatcher shouted. I’ll get that mongrel if it’s the last thing I do!”

The dogs leaped over a tall fence that led to Shoofly Watson’s junkyard. 

“This way!” Tramp barked. “We can hide under here!” They dashed for a small dark opening that led under the porch. “He’ll never find us in here.”

“Yeah,” Hobo replied. “Old Poop-foot is going to need a new foot before the week is out.”

“Yeah, bro.” Tramp responded, wagging his tail. “I bet Pop would be real proud of us.”

Suddenly, they heard a familiar growl, followed by a sniffing. They turned and gazed into the darkness. The sniffing continued. Suddenly, they saw two light grey eyes staring back to them. 

“Grrrrrrrr, sniff, sniff, sniff… sniff-sniff-sniff — “PEW!” Hobo? Tramp? Is that you?!” 

“Yo, Pop! What’s up, dawg?”

It was their dad, Smoke. He was a mix of Siberian husky mixed with timber wolf, now about 11 years old (which is 77 in dog years.)

“You knuckle heads been behaving yourselves?” Smoke asked as he stepped out of his dark corner.

“No sir!” they barked in unison.

“As usual, we’re on the run,” Hobo barked.

“Yeah,” Tramp co-signed, “we’ve got warrants.”

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Smoke thought to himself. Look at my little fugitives, all grown up now. 

“You boys have make me proud,” Smoke barked. “So, how’s your Ma n’ ‘em doing?”

“She’s cool,” Hobo barked. “She just had another litter.”

“Another one? How many this time?”

“Eight.”

“Yeah, well, eight is enough. You heard anything from your rich aunt, Lassie?”

“Yeah,” Tramp responded. “Aunt Lassie’s in jail!”

“In jail?”

“No she’s not!” Hobo cut in. “She’s being detained at the Hollywood K-9 Mental Hospital.” 

“K-9 Hospital?”

“Yeah, well, you know how it is when you’re a celebrity. It was always ‘Lassie, go fetch the stick. Lassie, go rescue that boy that keeps getting into the well again. Lassie, go find help. Lassie, do this. Lassie, do that. Lassie, pour everyone another round.’ 

“Eventually, she just snapped. They’re going to let her go, right?”

“The old gal is loaded, son. She’s got more money than Oprah. She may need some therapy. But that’s Hollywood for ya’. Let that be a lesson to you boys, you’re not cats, you know. You’ve only got one life to live.”

“Yes, sir.”