Then the dog charged. Shooting toward us from out the gloom of the porch and down the steps into the afternoon sunlight, the beast was a huge, sleek, jet-black weapon of destruction that ripped off hellacious barks as it broke the fragile distance that had previously been between us.
In the blinding flashes of its monsterous teeth I saw my horrible, bloody death â€” and I froze. All except my bladder, which seemed to somehow recognize my paralysis and powerfully expel its contents like ballast down the front of my pants in some sort of â€œI’m outta here!â€ attempt to lighten its load and escape on its own.
With the dog was a second away from launching into us over the meaningless short fence that bordered the front yard, some sort of override took control of my motor functions and attempted to have me make a break for it. Then things got really weird when I saw Wayne. Was he running? No. Peeing himself? No. Afraid? Not in the least. Instead, he was just sitting there on his bike, relaxed even. Worst yet, he was smiling. Fucking smiling!
Over the din of the barking and as calm as you please, all he said was, â€œCheck it out,â€ at which point my legs gave way and I tumbled off my bike. Curling into a duck and cover position on the sidewalk all I could do was whimper and await the nightmarish sensation of the jaws of that four-legged holocaust riping me apart.
It never came. But the barking did give way to the sound of its jaws snapping as its barks switched to determined growls. Then came the sound of fabric tearing and a bike falling and being dragged. It had Wayne! I screamed. I couldnâ€™t look.
In a few moments the tearing sounds ceased. The growling soon gave way to barks again, and I could hear the big dog jumping up and down and stamping its feet on the ground and whipping something back and forth that it had clamped in its massive jaws.
Wayne’s head, no doubt.
This continued, no less angry and so close that I felt the dogâ€™s breath propelled against my back with each bark. Surely, I thought, the dobie has finished with Sal and must now be standing over me first announcing to the neighborhood its intention to eat this other stupid little paperboy who, like the first, wasnâ€™t even decent or sporting enough to run away and be chased to his doom — but at least he didn’t go smiling into the jaws of death.
I clutched myself up even tighter, straining until every muscle shook, still waiting the feel of its teeth in my flesh.
My legs started to fall asleep and my neck was cramping.
At that point, the barking lessened both in repetition and volume.
I unclinched a little, but barely. Then a little more beneath the growls and occasional bark. Finally I lifted my head to the point where I could peek out and witness the carnage. But instead of a blood-soaked death scene, there was Wayne still sitting there on his bike. Still smiling. Only now he was looking down at me, shaking his head, and pointing.
I craned my head to look over my shoulder. Less than two feet away from me, but still on its side of that tiny little fence, there it stood, towering over me. In its jaws was a familiar looking shred of canvas.
â€œI think the dog killed your newspaper bag,â€ Wayne said. I checked the dog again, still whipping its head back and forth and scooted away from it before standing up and taking stock of things.
“What happen –?” I gasped.
“When you dove, your bike fell next to the fence. He grabbed it.” He said.
“But why didn’t itâ€¦”
“Jump over the fence? Because it’s trained not to. Stays on its property. Protects its turf. His name is Peace.”
“Peace,” I echoed.