I’ve written since I was twelve, and yes that was a long, long time ago.
One of the things I seem to gravitate to are children’s stories.
About a year ago I started the “Angelo and Malcolm” series.
Here, I present the first in the series.
It is, of course, protected by copyright. So play nice.
Angelo and Malcolm
Malcolm had always thought his personality was of the Errol Flynn, swashbuckling, type.
Whoever Errol Flynn was.
Malcolm, you see, was a cat, and he fancied himself a free-spirit. Sleek black coat, long sinewy body, he cut a magnificent figure. Always living by his wits, stealing his meals, and chasing the lady-cats all night long.
His best friend was Angelo, and Angelo was a dog. He was the kind of dog that made one think of Peter Lorre.
Whoever Peter Lorre was.
Angelo had the scruffy brown-black-grey coat of a true mutt, one eye that seemed to have a mind of its own, and liked to say “Yesssssssss” a lot.
“Hey Angelo, wanna walk the yellow line on the freeway?”
It didn’t matter the question, Angelo was a yes-dog. Maybe that was the reason he and Malcolm became friends so quickly. Or maybe it was Angelo’s enormous heart, but more about that later.
Whatever the reason, the two started out on decidedly unfriendly ground…at least, that’s how Malcolm tells the story.
Malcolm had been rooting through one of the better dumpsters in town, the one behind that swanky French restaurant “Chea Ronnie’s” onFifth Street, one night, when he had smelled Angelo’s approach.
Ewww…dog!, thought Malcolm turning up his nose, do they ever bathe?
Angelo walked right up to the dumpster, sat down and proceeded to stare expectantly at Malcolm.
If that dog thinks I’m sharing this feast with him, he’s crazier than he smells, thought Malcolm as he could feel the dog’s incessant stare boring a hole in the back of his head.
Swinging around, and arching his back, Malcolm’s luminous green eyes burned fire as he shouted “WHAT?” down to Angelo.
Angelo just stood up, wagged his tail, and grinned – that happy, goofy, grin that only dogs seem able to create.
“Oh no…no way…I’m not sharing this feast with you.”
Angelo barked, his tail wagging harder.
Malcolm sighed, “Fine…but just one bone.” He rummaged around a little and found a juicy t-bone just the right size to keep the smelly dog busy while Malcolm beat feet outta there. He liked the dumpster behind Tony’s Pizzeria almost as much as the one behind Chea Ronnie’s anyway.
“Here,” he said as he tossed the bone to Angelo, “now skee-daddle!”
Angelo lay down, and holding the bone between his paws, proceeded to gnaw away on the tasty treat.
Malcolm jumped down from the dumpster, landing nimbly on all four feet of course, and taking a last look at the dog he sauntered down the alley.
He hadn’t gotten very far when the unmistakable smell of dog assaulted his delicate nose once again.
“What the….?” He said as turning around brought him nose to t-bone with Angelo.
“Oh no…don’t even think about following me!” He protested as he began backing away.
Angelo barked, or rather tried to bark. It’s not easy when you’ve got a big bone shoved in your mouth.
He wagged his tail at Malcolm.
“What is with you? Look, you smell, your table manners are atrocious, and dude you’re a DOG for cryin’ out loud! Now, shoo! Go! Leave me alone!”
Malcolm turned to around and started running down the alley. He looked back, after a few seconds, to see if he’d lost Angelo.
When Malcolm turned back around, he ran head first into Butch.
Butch was an enormous bulldog, and this alley was part of his turf.
Malcolm, having hit the wall that was Butch, lay sprawled at the big dog’s feet. His head was swimming, and his eyes…well, they just wouldn’t focus.
“Well, well, well…boys, looky here…it’s a widdle puddy tat.” From somewhere a long way off, Malcolm could hear Butch’s taunting voice. Worse, he could smell Butch..and if he thought that crazy dog at the dumpster stunk, well…he smelled like roses compared to Butch.
Shaking his head, Malcolm stood up on wobbly legs. He still felt foggy, and was having trouble focusing, but that didn’t explain the numerous menacing dog faces he was now seeing in front of him.
Butch’s gang circled Malcolm, growling and snapping.
Malcolm looked around for a high perch, something he could jump to and escape this mob, but there was nothing.
I’m in trouble, he thought, very big trouble.
One of Butch’s cronies lunged at him, and Malcolm nimbly sidestepped the attack.
Just then, he heard the scratching of paws coming down the alley at full speed.
He looked up in time to see Angelo’s body flying into the middle of the circle of dogs.
The crazy dog still had the bone in his mouth.
Placing himself between the other dogs and Malcolm, he lowered his head and growled.
Angelo, the scrawny little mutt was staring down a whole gang of dogs who could tear him apart without breakin’ a sweat.
Malcolm wasn’t about to see how this went down, so he took off running in the opposite direction.
He didn’t look back, but if he had, he would have seen Angelo drop his bone in front of the angry mob, turn around, and casually walk away.
They didn’t follow. They were too busy fighting over the bone.
Picking up Malcolm’s scent trail, Angelo followed his new friend to a warm, dry, spot underneath some cardboard in the alley behind Chea Ronnies.
“Yesssssssssss.” Angelo sighed as he laid down next to Malcolm and went to sleep.
Opening one eye, Malcolm looked at the dog that had saved his life.
That’s how they became the best of friends.
From then on you could often find Angelo telling the tale of his rescue of Malcolm – each rendition involving more and more enemies, and of course, more and more heroics by Angelo.
Malcolm would roll his eyes, cluck his tongue, and pretend to nap as Angelo’s audience held their collective breath during these storytelling parties.
A more unlikely, albeit devoted, pair you’ll never meet.