My loyal, trusty Corgi Rusty and I are
out walking like we have done many hundreds
of times together - late, with no people, no car
around to disturb our communing, without a word said.
The night is calm and clear, with just the merest hint
of fall contained in the mid-night air - ah, perfection.
We have ambled to the end of our block, contentment
filling me. Turning toward home, a sight causes hesitation.
Some ten houses away, where the street curves, just past
where a side street Y’s, I see a large dog. He’s huge,
even at this distance. Rusty sees him, begins to walk fast.
“Sit! Stay!” Thankfully, he’s obedient. I’m hard to confuse,
but what I see next, my mind simply refuses to compute.
As he stands in profile under the streetlight, that dog is
not a dog but…a full-grown, male lion! I am rendered mute,
frozen with fear. Adrenalin pumping, sweat flowing, his
presence catapults me into panic. Can this be true? How can
there be a real lion loose in Shreveport? Maybe he won’t see
us down here. But he turns toward us…Wonder if he eats Man?
We should run! No, think. You can’t outrun a lion. Could be
he is tame, scared of Man. Besides, Rusty will try to protect me.
I could leave Rusty sitting ‘on Stay’ and try to escape! Where
could I go? All doors are locked. How well do lions climb a tree?
Stop it! I could never abandon poor Rusty to a lion. I simply care
about him too much to do that. The lion begins walking toward us.
Better decide what to do quick! Rusty IS only a dog after all.
No, no, I will not leave him. I believe love and loyalty truly must
be honored. The lion has broken into a lope, set on our downfall.
Rusty is getting nervous, growling, standing, breaking my command.
“Stay!” Maybe, when he barks and attacks, if I make a big fuss,
shouting, flapping my arms, we can deter the lion with our stand.
He picks up speed. He’s getting close. “Rusty, it’s him versus us!”
Just then Rusty takes off running faster than I have ever seen,
out of sight the other way! The lion leaps… a blow to my gut -
“Harry, wake up! You’re thrashing around in your sleep. I mean
it. Roll over.” “Ok…but remind me to kick Rusty’s disloyal butt.”