from The Magic Pond and other fables by Adam Acidophilus
A farmer bought a dog.
“We all have ’em,” he explained. “It will bark and scamper and make me look more like a farmer.”
And so he collected it – an effervescent puppy – yelping and nipping and squealing, and growling and spitting and foaming at the mouth.
“Ouch!” said the farmer. “He’s frisky, isn’t he?”
“Ouch!” added the farmer. “I think I’ll need a bandage on that one!”
He took the creature home with him; and it yelped and it pissed and it vomited – and evacuated all over the back of his car.
“He’s nervous,” said the farmer. “It’s only natural. It’s the first time he’s travelled – isn’t it boy?”
The dog soon made itself at home, laying its scent about the place, tearing at the carpets and anything up to five feet above ground level.
“He’s keen, isn’t he?” the farmer remarked – to visitors who sympathised about the ruined flooring, the mangled books, the plundered food, the shredded post, fused power points, broken pipes and freshly exposed brickwork.
“Steady boy, steady … ” the farmer would caution, as the dog attacked the sympathetic guests – who made hasty exits and never spoke to the farmer again.
In due course he took the dog to the pub, where it attacked the premises – growling and gnashing, leaving teeth marks in the furniture (and some of the other farmers when the chances arose).
Animals howled, women screamed, other farmers swore revenge. Everybody left – except the farmer and his dog.
“If I see that dog round here again, I shall shoot it,” said the landlord.
“He’s a rascal, isn’t he?” agreed the farmer. “He’s a rascal. Ain’tcha boy?”
From then on the farmer drank at home – more than was his norm. As the dog grew larger, its teeth grew sharper, and its voice broke. Its bark was deep, and resonated as though the animal were very much larger. It could bark all day and bark all night; it never tired.
People grew wary of approaching the farm, for the dog would spring from anywhere, on wingéd heels, slavering and howling like something out of a horror film.
“He only wants to be your friend!” the farmer would bellow, convulsed at the antics of the dog, and the stupidity of people, as they ran away screaming and dropping things.
Deliveries stopped – feed and fuel. Collections ceased – milk, eggs, livestock.
“You’ve frightened him,” cursed the farmer. “He’s only showing his initiative. He only wants to play with you!”
The dog played with the farmer’s jeep and ripped apart the tyres; and played with the farmer’s buildings and tore all the doors off; and played with the farmer’s crops and pulled them all out of the ground; and played with the farmer’s animals as well.
Chickens, geese, quail and guinea fowl lay dead about the farmyard, a barn full of turkeys, a pig, and a small dairy herd. A prize bull put up something of a fight, a retired dray horse didn’t. Sheep, sheep dogs, owls, swans, badgers – and an escaped mink.
“Ooh he’s a rascal, ain’tcha boy?” the farmer chortled and coughed. “It’s his nature, isn’t it? It’s your nature. Naughty dog.”
The police circled the farm – in a helicopter.
“Move away from the dog,” they loud-hailed.
“Don’t alarm him,” said the farmer. “He’ll be all right in a minute. He just needs a feed!”
He took the dog back into his house. The army arrived at dusk. With night sights and semi-automatics, the troops surrounded them.
Swathed in masks and protective clothing, the soldiers edged closer to the farmhouse. An uneasy silence reigned for a very long time.
“Woof!” said the dog.
“Bang!” went the army.
The farmhouse was filled with smoke. A crack squad with spotlights and pistols ran into the building.
They got the dog with a single shot. The farmer was already dead: on the kitchen floor – a tin-opener still in one hand. The other hand, soaked scarlet with blood, had daubed a message on the wall:
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON HIM HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAN
Moral: Well it’s not about dogs, is it?
© Adam Acidophilus 2016