However, it was the fall when Wilbur and Bradley drove over the mountain in Wilbur’s red 2010 Hyundai Accent. The colours on the trees were so gorgeous and so bright they could give you a leaf burn.
You see, they were on their way to Sydney, where they were going to visit Wilbur’s cousin and her husband. They had a bicycle for sale. Brand new and never used. One speed and red in colour. Wilbur loved to bike and he liked to keep things simple. No sixty-eight-geared, titanium metal power bike for him. Wilbur was not a mechanical genius.
Wilbur, who has been known to have occasional flashes of temper, had just entered the long passing-lane section of Kelly’s Mountain, when a small white car caught up to him and was soon almost kissing his car’s bumper. So, Wilbur sped up, then the white car did also speed up, and back and forth it went.
Bradley, who was now sitting on the armrest with dream-bone crumbs dangling from his cute wee beard, was curious as to what this was all about.
Wilbur sped up. Caught up to the white car and when the way was clear, roared by the car in fine high-speed fashion. It must be noted that they were now back on a two-lane section of the highway. Things were more dangerous. Wilbur, as he passed the car, gave the driver the middle swear finger before he really smashed his foot down on the accelerator pedal.
Boom, boom. Yes, boom-boom sounds began to echo in Wilbur’s head. The boom-boom sound of a warning drum. A message that things weren’t just right here.
The white car, once again, roared up behind Wilbur, then pulled up beside Wilbur and Wilbur was able to deduce that the man was wearing some sort of uniform. And, on the man’s dash, Wilbur spotted a gizmo which was twirling out a red light while the irritating driver gave Wilbur the index-finger-pull-over sign.
“Ah nuts,” Wilbur shouted. Because he knew. Boom-booms were right. It was a ghost car. An unmarked RCMP car and he was in for it now.
In summary, Wilbur received a ticket requiring a considerable fine to be paid, as well as a fine and goodly tongue lashing before he was dismissed. So, you see, Wilbur hadn’t got the respect he’d felt he deserved when he thought he was being tormented by an aggressive driver.
Hath little of Earth in it,
That years of love have been forgot
In the hatred of a minute:
I mourn not that the desolate
Are happier, sweet, than I,
But that you sorrow for my fate
Who am a passer-by.”
Edgar Allen Poe
Well, he was next on the no-respect schedule. He just didn’t know it yet.
And when was this going to happen to poor Bradley? When they got to the couple’s house in Sydney. That’s when.
His cousin Matilda and her husband Fred lived on a pretty little street with tall trees shading the narrow avenue. Wilbur didn’t want to leave Bradley in the car, so he put Bradley on a leash and together, they walked to the door.
Wilbur knocked at the door. Bradley scratched at the door and sniffed at the bottom of the door. Wilbur didn’t do any sniffing at the bottom or the top of the door.
Fred answered the door and immediately dropped his gaze down to the ground where Bradley stood happily looking up at him, his tail wagging. Bradley then made a beeline for the inside of the house. For him, every open door was a new opportunity.
In this case, his attempts to get in were even more strenuous. Because, you see, the couple had a cat. The cat was inside. Bradley could smell him and it was a delicious aroma of adventure and chase.
Wilbur hung onto Bradley’s fifteen-foot leash as Bradley tried to claw his way to the cat, whom he had glimpsed reclining on the living-room couch. The hardwood floors looked shiny and new, and Matilda and Fred, who weren’t even near being shiny and new, clearly weren’t impressed with Bradley’s attempt at excavating their fine floor.
When they were all hunkered down in the living room and with Fred periodically giving Bradley an irritated, upside-down nervous look, Matilda offered Wilbur a cup of hot tea and two date squares which were presented to Wilbur upon a small gold-edged saucer.
All this time Bradley kept pulling at his leash as if he was applying some form of Chinese water torture to Wilbur’s right hand. It was because he couldn’t help himself. He knew the white cat, whose name was Fido, was behind the couch. Bradley was obsessed with this diversion.
It was in this moment that Wilbur made the mistake. Did some wrong thinking. You see, he fallaciously surmised that if he gave Bradley some slack, the following would happen. Bradley would rush up to the edge of the couch, poke his furry little head into Fido’s hiding spot and then Fido would karate-chop Bradley’s snozzle into wee bits of perforated chop suey. Then, having learned his lesson, Bradley would go easy on the leash-pulling thing and peace would descend upon Matilda’s and Fred’s domicile.
So Wilbur fed out the fifteen-foot leash as if he was fishing for trout and Bradley, feeling the comforting lack of tension on his neck muscles, jumped at the opportunity and did stick his cute, furry head around the side of the couch.
However, they didn’t look so fine when they were half torn from the rods and now looked like two knotted-up pairs of long underwear.
Wilbur had to admit it was chaos, which led to more chaos. Because Fido, during his great escape, took a short cut across Fred’s lap and Fido was none too gentle. For one thing, he had not put his claws to bed and so he laid a little hurt onto Fred’s surprised lap, causing Fred to spill his coffee on his expensive, new, earth-free, multi-pocketed hiking pants.
Also, Wilbur hadn’t totally reeled the excited Bradley in, so he had about five feet of leash left, allowing him to give chase.
Wilbur wasn’t fast enough to stop Bradley from knocking a crystal angel from the bottom shelf of an expensive refinished oak knick-knack stand. One big whew welled up in Wilbur’s breast, when he saw that the crystal angel hadn’t been cracked or crunched.
Fido managed to escape into a mysteriously dark and distant room. For the house was mighty and large.
Wilbur knew the visit would be very stressful if he didn’t come up with a solution to solve this whole Fido/Bradley warfare thing.
And thus and therefore, Bradley spent some time lying in the car waiting for his master to return, but it was for less than an hour. Actually quite a bit less than a full sixty minutes.
However, no matter how long it was, I can say that Bradley certainly did not get any respect. He got no respect for his love of the chase, his love of adventure, and mainly for his love of life.
When the old lady next door yells “Sit!”
At her dog, I sit too
For awhile. Then I’m in the air
Chasing birds and my tail, I can’t help it
I’m a happy dog
And I sing a song of myself.
It takes so little to be happy—-“
Matthew Graham, "Greta’s Song"
Fido’s owners were happy that Wilbur stayed for less than an hour.
And Fido, who was soon stalking a mouse he had spotted behind a dark, four-drawer dresser, wanted Bradley gone earlier if at all possible.
Wilbur decided he didn’t want the bike, because he felt deep in his heart, even past where his boom-booms lived, that the bike might bring some bad luck and lack of respect home with them.
And on the way home, Wilbur didn’t play around with any cars or trucks no matter whether they ticked him off or not.
Some days, a man and his dog get no respect.