Big Walt Lomax, dressed in full Ninja regalia (he thinks he’s a martial arts expert as well as everything else) looked serious. His clothes looked ridiculous but his face was serious.
“What’s going on?” Inquired Biffer.
“We’re off on a dangerous mission.”
Big Walt could hardly contain himself as the excitement mounted within his gnomish chest. He was certain there’d be another medal in it for him. Walt was the most decorated Kenneler so far, having been decorated for courage in campaigns including sneaking bravely around outside rescue kennels when nobody was there to notice to courageously shouting abuse at lefties from the safety of a police kettle. He once got decorated for performing a particularly loud sneeze within earshot of a dogs’ rescue centre where, for all anybody knew, there might have been Mongrels. Puppy Paul thought the sneeze sounded a bit like a roar and quickly declared it ‘The most bravest, patriotiest act any Kenneler had ever done, innit?’.
“Where are we going, Big Walt?” The little Labradoodle inquired.
“That’s Captain Walt, to you!”
Biffer rolled his little eyes as he trotted obediently behind the pretentious gnome.
“I’m sorry Captain Walt, Sir. Can you please tell me where we’re going?”
“Top secret, innit.”
‘Oh for pity’s sake’ thought Biffer. This playing soldiers thing was already wearing thin and he’d only been a Kenneler for an hour or two. But he couldn’t help but smile at the ridiculousness of the scene as he and the rest of the assorted Kennelers fell into line behind this demented garden gnome and the puny puppy who ‘marched’, or more accurately ‘shuffled’ beside him.
Before he could lose himself in the comedy gold that was Kennels First’s rag tag route march, Biffer’s attention was taken by something even more ridiculous. Jayda cat’s long, white tail slithered snake-like over his shoulder and on toward Puppy Paul and Walt in the front rank ahead. On and on it went, further than any cat’s tail had any business going until it passed even Big Walt’s Ninja style fishing rod.
“Of course not.” Hissed Slattery cat maliciously, hardly bothering to hide the hatred and avarice in her vindictive voice.
“She’s just been to the vets. She’s had another extension done”
“Aren’t tail extensions expensive?”
How on earth could Jayda, an unemployed, failed parliamentary candidate afford even a single tail extension, let alone several?
“Donations.” Hissed Slattery cat.
Suddenly it all made sense. Biffer had always wondered what happened to all the fundraising money Kennels First received from rank and file Kennelers. Now he knew. It went on Jayda cat’s tail extensions.
Not just Jayda cat’s unfeasibly long tail, of course. Puppy Paul had also been for cosmetic surgery. In his case it wasn’t tail extensions though.He’d had several stomach enlargements and a couple of extra chins fitted too. Of course!
Slattery cat fell silent, contenting herself by making suggestive glances at Bulldog Lewis who’d recently managed to pick himself up after his latest fall. Biffer sniggered as Clever Besser blundered into Slattery’s line of sight and found himself the apparent recipient of the capricious pussy’s suggestive and amorous glances. Slattery cat hissed her disapproval. Clever Besser looked confused.
“Keep it tight people, we’re almost there.” Puppy Paul announced, quietly sliding through the ranks to take up his usual position at the rear.
“Lock and load!” whispered Big Walt Lomax.
The Kennelers’ ‘Armed Forces Division’ licked their lips in perfect unison at the prospect of the conflict to come.
“Who’s the enemy?”
The little labradoodle felt himself begin to tremble. Had he bitten off more than he could chew? He was, after all a writer, not a fighter.
“It’s a really big opponent we’re facing today, rookie.” Said Big Walt as the Biffers rounded the corner into Ladesfield Rd. “There’s our enemy.”
“Where? Are they in that old building?”
Biffer could hardly imagine what horrors lay behind the walls and dark windows of the apparently derelict building ahead. What terrible enemy might lurk there? Lefties? Mongrels? Council workers?
“It IS the building!”
Jayda cat flicked her ever-lengthening tail toward the derelict nursing home. Her ice-cold hissing voice sent shivers down Biffer’s spine as she spoke. Shivering or not, Biffer found the stupidity of attacking a derelict nursing home impossible to ignore.
“What the feck? How do we fight an empty building?”
“Never underestimate the enemy.”
Bulldog Lewis’ sage advice seemed all the more impressive, spoken as it was mid fall. Seconds later the RCO Kenneler was flat on his back in the waste ground. He’d get another medal for that. Once again Bulldog had fallen in the line of duty. That’s about as bad as these things get when you’re just playing at soldiers instead of actually serving in a real war zone.
Big Walt arranged the Armed Forces Division in the empty car park. That was a familiar manoeuvre for the Kennelers. They liked attacking parking areas. They’ve even been known to attack car park barriers in particularly brave moments. Today wouldn’t be one of those days though.
Biffer braced himself for – well he wasn’t sure what for. What horrors could the car park of an empty care home hold? Really – what? Only time would tell.
The young Labradoodle took a deep breath and steeled himself for a fight.
“Right then – that’s enough of that.”
Puppy Paul shouted from the rear.
“Pub!” replied Jayda cat.
In the best display of well-drilled synchronicity they’d shown all day the Kennelers turned in unison, congratulated themselves on their bravery in The battle of the empty (but ever so scary) care home and set off down the boozer.
“So ends your first day of action with the Kennelers” Said Big Walt, handing Biffer his bravery medal.
“Well done lad.”
“You think I’m brave? But we haven’t done anything!”
Clever Besser looked confused. Slattery cat and Bulldog Lewis were already looking for the bar.
“Feckin’ amateurs!” Exclaimed Spidery Jim