Mugsy Unleashed

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Mugsy Unleashed

Scarcely any degree of judgment is sufficient to restrain the imagination from magnifying that on which it is long detained.” –Samuel Johnson

There were none on the streets that was as feared as Mugsy.  At least, that’s what he wanted people to believe.  His growl was like a rumbling death-threat that rolled and tossed through the air straight towards any who would dare anger him.  His stature was small, but his demeanor was always challenging.  Mugsy was not particular about who he chose to threaten.  Men, women, groups; all were possible targets for sharp words and a fuming glare.  If someone looked like they were going to lay a hand on him, Mugsy quickly told them to back off.  Should someone dare to order a hot dog that Mugsy thought looked good, he would quickly demand it.  Mugsy felt that the city should be his to command and he said so.  Unfortunately, when he made his fierce demands, all that the humans heard were yipping sounds.

It had been hard for Mugsy to build up his self-confidence.  A poodle rarely gives off a vibe of terror.  Having a five year-old “owner” name him “Miss Princess Squeezey-Fluff” only exacerbated his problem.  He wondered how anyone, even a small girl, could have mistaken him for a female dog.  Granted, thanks to the brutal and medieval notions of his “owners”, Mugsy now lacked certain biological accoutrements.  However he liked to believe that his attitude and his imposing demeanor more than made up for his missing body parts. 

Then there was his genetic predisposition to being mocked.  Mugsy did not ask to be born as a tiny dog.  He did not ask for tufts of hair to pretend they were fur.  He didn’t ask for his weight to be less than a newborn child.  He certainly didn’t ask for his bark to be a high-pitched sound of annoyance.  Mugsy wanted to convey fear with his voice, not annoyance.  He wanted humans to quiver in terror when he talked down to them.  Instead they made noises like “tsk” or “sssh” and pushed his small body away with their shoes.  For seven years Mugsy had been looking at his reflection in the toilet bowl and every day he had wished he looked more like Ralph. 

Ralph was the fourteen year old lab that never left the house.  He might venture out onto the porch to bark at a bird or take care of business, but he didn’t leave the confines of the home.  Ralph weighed over one hundred pounds and had a low, menacing growl.  His “ruff” echoed off the high ceilings and empty walls.  When Ralph barked, the whole family knew it and they came running.  Ralph had a name that was short, simple, and gender-appropriate.  Mugsy would never understand why Ralph spent all his time at home on his giant green pillow.

Mugsy yearned to be outdoors.  Mugsy wanted to feel the grass underneath his pads as he plodded around the block.  Mugsy was enjoying that very activity when he came across a pit bull.  He had seen this dog before and neither of them cared much for the other.  Mugsy had the large man holding his leash back, while the black pit bull with muscular shoulders and a string of drool running down his chin had a chain link fence.  Feeling annoyed at the competitor’s massive weight compared to his, Mugsy’s ire was raised.  He looked as the pit bull snarled at him and wished he could have teeth as large and sharp.  Mugsy felt a growl building up in his throat.  He growled and yipped, only to have a piercing and masterful bark resonate back to him from the pit bull. 

ImageMugsy pulled angrily at the leash.  He tried to get as close to the fence as possible, but the middle-aged human in flip-flops, shorts, and a jersey was pulling him back.  The pit bull let loose another bark and Mugsy leaned forward.  The leash around his neck pulled him into a standing position; his two hind legs tried to walk closer to the fence while his front legs flailed about in midair.  Then, the pit bull did something it had never done in their previous confrontations.  He started to dig at the dirt underneath the fence while Mugsy continued yipping.

Mugsy was shocked at just how quickly the other dog could dig.  Piles of earth began flying to the left and right, soon there was enough room for the pit bull’s mouth and nose to eke under the fence.  Mugsy tried yipping louder and hoped that something would happen.  He wondered if he could perhaps deafen the pit bull.  The man pulled angrily at the leash.  “Oh, hush”, he said as he nearly lifted Mugsy into the air.  Mugsy had little choice; he could either stay put and likely choke, or go where this human commanded.  Turning his head and barking in defiance, the pit bull got further away and Mugsy noticed that it had stopped digging.

Back in the house, Mugsy shrugged off the leash, ran to the kitchen, and gobbled down as many little bone-shaped treats as his little stomach could handle.   He followed up with half a bowlful of water and then happily trotted into the living room.  As he suspected, Ralph was laying on his giant green pillow; the lab’s eyes unmoving and unimpressed with the daily activities.

“Had another eventful day outside, did you?” Ralph barked quietly.

“Kind of”, Mugsy replied.

“What happened this time?  Did Fido and you go at it again?”

“Dog, you wouldn’t have believed it.  I made myself known, yeah?  So I barked at him, yeah?  Showed him I wasn’t afraid of him, right?  Yeah?  Then he started digging!  He was digging and digging.  I tell ya Ralph.  He was digging and digging and digging.”

“Princess!” the human bellowed.  He was never a fan of the Mugsy’s yipping.  The man often wondered how his daughter’s dog was the one he always took for a walk when his dog took care of business without any help.  “Quiet!” 

“So”, Mugsy continued quieter, “I tried to challenge him.  He should have backed down.  You would have right?  That’s what dogs should do right?”

“Hnn”, Ralph replied.

“Right.  So I was pulling on that leash.  I pulled and I pulled.  I barked.  Dog, did I ever bark.  But then he started to get under the fence.  He dug deep.  He dug and he dug.”

“And”, Ralph asked as he started to close his eyes again.

“Man pulled me away.”

“Man saved your bacon”, Ralph corrected.

“Bacon?  There’s bacon?”

“Relax, dog.  Human phrase.”

“No bacon?”  Mugsy’s full stomach was forgotten.  The idea of bacon awoke a new hunger in him.

“No.  The Man helped.  That’s it.”

“Yeah, man help.  A little.  Man wanted to leave.  I couldn’t leave man.  Darn man.”

“That man and his leashed saved you.  Without the leash pulling at you, you’d be a squeaky-toy for Fido.”

“I’m tough!  Tough Mugsy am I!”

“Mugsy.”  Ralph looked his roommate in the eye.  He waited for the smaller dog to respond.

“Well”, Mugsy replied.  “Maybe man helped some.  But next time!”

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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