My dog Sam, Part 2

I was just about to finish my stint in the 5th grade when we moved to the Sand Road. Being originally from Iowa City put me right back in the same school I had attended in 1st grade with some of the same kids I knew from before. But it was hardly a homecoming for me, living on that end of town had astigmatisms that I was never as painfully aware of when I was younger.

We rode a bus to school and were mixed in with the high school students. The walk up the lane from my house to the main road was several hundred feet. The walk from there to the bus stop about an eighth mile further. Our bus stop was at the end of the road as it met the black top. A bunch of multi-colored mailboxes of different shapes and sizes numbering at least 50 or more lined either side up until the turn off. They were left standing at ease like a rag tag company of worn out soldiers. As the Sand Road approached it raised up abruptly to match the highway’s grade. In the winter time not only was it near impossible to reach the highway because of the ice and snow, but the mailboxes hampered the view as well. Many times residents gunned the engine of their cars to make the steep climb only to slide back because of oncoming traffic or lack of momentum. It was all very comical to watch.

There is a definite class distinction between the poor. Some folks may be as poor as church mice, but at least they had a congregation. Others had their illusions of grandeur, feeling like they may be in a rut like the rest of us but knew they had better traction. Some of us just spun our wheels trying to make the grade off the Sand Road.

A garage we used to stand in while waiting for the bus was open at one end. We stood there mainly to keep us from the howling winds of winter, but some of the kids smoked and wanted to hide that independent feeling from their parents should they happen by. It was there that I learned my place amongst the financially challenged elite. Constantly harassed by snowballs or smouldering cigarette butts that were flicked at me, even spat upon on occasion, I stood outside most of the time at first.

Our first summer in the gray house came only weeks after we moved there. I had time to adjust to the surroundings and learned the lay of the land. The Sand Road had deep, rough pockets that looked as if they had been created by rounds of mortar shells. To avoid the rocky bumps people would swing off to the side in order to go around the worst of it. Late spring and early summer saw tons of rain in Iowa that filled the ditches and formed huge puddles in the road that resembled small lakes. Drivers that tried to go around then found themselves sunk in ruts because of all the mud and wet sand. It was not uncommon to find a car abandoned because it was either stuck in the mud or left spinning in the ice.

That first summer I was still working to accept my circumstances and living conditions. One day for lack of anything else to do I grabbed a fishing pole and cast my line in the largest of the “lakes” in protest and stood there for awhile. I knew I wouldn’t get a bite, but it was the only way I could think of to vent my frustration of a life without hope. It was then that I had my first run in with Frankie.

I’d seen this mutt before, 3 legged, mid-sized and mean. I never found out how Frankie lost his leg but I figured he was probably just ornery enough to gnaw it off for spite. Frankie ruled the road. There was a pack of about a dozen dogs that roamed the neighborhood at will, usually at night. But sometimes you’d catch two or three of them out in the day time. Most of the dogs had owners, Frankie belonged to a sassy little girl that lived down on the “lower” section whose dad was an alcoholic and drove on the road like he was in a demolition derby.

Many of the dogs that ran around Sand Road were bigger than Frankie, but what Frankie lacked in size he made up for with sheer madness. That day as I stood there with my fishing pole looking like a work of art a car came up from the “lower” road with Frankie nipping at it’s tires. Even the water that slushed from the drivers methodical lurch up and down the dips and swells didn’t deter Frankie. He half swam, half flew and completely engaged that car up to the point of where I stood.

Then suddenly, as if switched over in a railway junction, Frankie came at me. Growling, sputtering and coughing Frankie lunged at me before I had time to react. He leaped up out of the water and snagged my paint leg just below the knee and nearly knocked me over. I whacked his head with my pole which was just enough for him to drop down then jump back up for another bite, this time he got flesh. Frankie’s teeth ripped through my jeans and chomped the inside of my thigh. Screaming in shock and agony I kicked with my other leg, raising my knee to his shoulder then spun free of his grip. Dropping my pole, I raced for my yard with Frankie doing the dance of the devil dog and snapping at my heels.

Our front porch was enclosed with screen windows at about waist height. I zig zagged across our yard yelling my fool head off trying to shake this crazed canine off of my tail. Leaping over the lawn mower I dashed up the porch stairs, flung open the screen door and scrambled inside. Immediately I clamped the screen door tightly against Frankie’s protruding head and neck, which was all that followed me inside. Even with me there holding that screen door on him Frankie was not to be denied. His two front paws scratched at the screen while he squatted back on his stub and one good haunch, snarling and barking at me. I tried kicking at his face for a moment but that only enraged him further. Finally I thought of synchronizing my foot with my hands and pushed against his face as I allowed the door to open just enough to force his head out. Afterwards I pulled the hook down on the lock and stood there triumphantly taunting Frankie until I grew tired of the game and went inside to tend to my leg.

I had won our first battle. Frankie and I became bitter enemies during the months that followed…


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3 Responses to “My dog Sam, Part 2”

  1. mysteryshrink Says:

    Loved your story and the unexpected ending.

  2. chrisfiore5 Says:


    if you liked part 2 you’ll love part 3

    stay tuned.


  3. babychaos Says:

    Great stuff, I’m enjoying this!



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