From the Adventures of Pebbles and Beppo: Pebbles and the Orphanage, Part 2.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about the clown dog extraordinaire Pebbles. As a puppy she is discovered outside an orphanage.

Submitted: December 27, 2013

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Submitted: December 27, 2013

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From the Adventures of Pebbles and Beppo

Pebbles at the Orphange, Part 2.

Previously… At an orphanage in a country which was probably Hungary, in a city which was probably Budapest, a woman of generous proportion — not too tall, not too short, but definitely a wide woman — discovered a crate on the top step outside the building’s kitchen door.  Zazu, for that was this woman’s name, thought the crate held tangerines.  It did not…

 

The puppy looked up at Zazu and Gasser from the crate.  The dog was mostly white with a smattering of reddish-brown spots in its coat.

Gasser read the dog’s tag again, “Pebbles… Strange name for a dog. I wonder who thought of that."

“I imagine it was the person who left the dog at my door,” Zazu said.

“You think so?” Gasser asked.

“That’s obvious,”Zazu said.

Gasser shrugged.  “Maybe,” he said.  He did not think it was obvious.  “The dog’s a speckled one all right,” he said.

Zazu said, “I wouldn’t say speckled, I’d say spotted.”

“I wouldn’t say spotted.  I would say mottled.”

“But you didn’t say mottled, Mr. Gasser.  You said speckled.”

 

Mr. Gasser and Zazu might have continued to argue except that Zazu suddenly realized what might happen if the dog remained in the kitchen for even one more minute.

“Mottled, dotted, speckled or striped, it doesn’t matter,” Zazu said.  “If Mrs. Mutton finds a dog in my kitchen, it will be my kitchen no more.  That’s as certain as the sun.  We must get this doggie out of here, and I mean as quick as I can crack an egg.”

But it was too late.

Gasser’s eyes grew wide.  He faced a doorway that joined the kitchen to a hallway.  The hallway led to the orphanage office.

Zazu could not see the person who would soon enter her kitchen.  The doorway was behind her.  But she saw the changed expression on Gasser’s face.  Zazu also detected the faint smell of camphor.  She knew that scent all right.  It belonged to the one person she did not want to see right now—head mistress of the orphanage and her boss—Genevieve Mutton.

Genevieve Mutton, head mistress of the orphanage, was a tall, narrow woman who always wore long skirts and too-small shoes.  She bought too-small shoes because she insisted her feet were two sizes smaller than they actually were.  Therefore, her shoes were always uncomfortable.  Her feet always ached.  And she was usually in a nasty mood.  Affected by barometric pressure, her feet hurt the most on humid, soon-to-be stormy days.  She was especially rude then.  And on a stormy day isn’t that just when you’d rather meet and talk with someone pleasant?

Mrs. Mutton paused in the doorway, closed her eyes and sniffed three times.  A city inspector was due to visit.  He would not renew the orphanage license if no lunch was prepared when he arrived— not only for the children, but also for him.  Her nose told her Zazu’s delicious pork and carrot pie was baking in the oven.  She could also smell potato soup boiling on the stove.  She feared Zazu had been too free with the pepper and too rich with the meat.  Again.  The high cost of today’s meal alarmed her.  On the other hand, the lunch would please a poorly-paid city inspector.

As Mrs. Mutton sniffed, Zazu and Gasser casually adjusted their positions to hide the crate from her as best they could.  They also put “happy to see you” smiles on their faces.  And the dog, sensing tension in the room, popped out of sight.  But…

The head mistress opened her eyes.  She hobbled toward the stove.  She wished to take a look at that pot of soup.  As she moved, the crate came into view.  She pointed.  “What is that!?” she asked.  “Another box of tangerines?  Zazu, please tell me you haven’t been buying fruit from that flirtatious greengrocer again.”

“It’s not a box of tangerines,” Zazu said.  “It’s not… Not food of any kind, Madam.”

“Then what,” Mrs. Mutton commanded, “is in there?”

Zazu feared Mrs. Mutton would demand the little dog be thrown out.  Zazu could hear her now.  The headmistress would say, ‘Toss that dotted thing into the gutter toute suite.’  (Mrs. Mutton often decorated her speech with French when she issued orders to staff.)

“My dear Zazu, we have an inspector on his way for a surprise visit.  I’d like to know, s’il vous plaît, the contents of that crate.”

No, it would not please me to tell you, Zazu thought.  The cook glanced at Gasser.  Her eyes begged, silently, for his help.

Until now the plumber had stood quietly wearing his smile.  At first he hoped Mrs. Mutton wouldn’t notice the crate.  Now he hoped she wouldn’t notice him.  Gasser did not want to give Mrs. Mutton a chance to criticize his work, or complain about the fee he charged per visit.  He preferred to remain quiet.  But he did not want Zazu to lose her job, either.  That was certain.

Gasser looked at the dog.  It crouched in the bottom of the crate.  But, strangely, the puppy also seemed poised, ready to act.

For a split second dog and man stared at each other.  Then the dog... winked.  And for some reason Gasser knew the dog’s plan.  He knew what the dog wanted him to do.  By some uncanny, unexplainable intuition he understood the meaning of that wink.

(…to be continued…)


© Copyright 2018 Leni Ramberg. All rights reserved.

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