Once upon a time I wrote kids books. I still dabble from time to time in that genre, and I regret not doing it more. Tabitha is the one that mentioned the subject of this post.
“You know, baby, you’ve written a lot of stuff,” she said to me this evening over dinner.
“Yeah, I guess I have. Why’d you bring that up?” I asked before cramming my hot ham and Swiss sub into my overly large mouth.
“I was just thinking about Sheriff Teddy. I remember when you wrote all those for him when he was little.” She took little bites of her sub. She’s dainty like a mouse, eating a bit of cracker. I’m like a bulldozer gouging the life out of my food. I bet you get the picture.
“I had fun writing those.”
“Sheriff Teddy and the Plutonian Invaders was the best of those. You should work on getting that published.”
“It was funny, wasn’t it?” I had to smile at the memory of writing that. I thought it was a pretty funny story.
“It was more than funny. It was the best thing you’ve ever written. Seriously. You should look into getting it out there.”
“Hm. Okay. I’ll post it weekly on the blog.”
“Great idea. Make it a weekly thing.”
“You’re so smart, sweetie.”
“That’s why you married me.”
She gave me a wink to make sure I knew she was serious. She’s right though. That was one of the reasons I married her.
So to lightening things up and to make sure it sees the light of day, here’s chapter one of Sheriff Teddy and the Plutonian Invaders.
On a little farm in Nebraska there was an old albino German Shepard named Teddy, an orange and white fluffy cat named Puffy, a big, anxious eleven-month-old brown puppy named Brownie and a wise cracking white duck named Joey. Teddy was the farmyard sheriff and Puffy, Brownie and Joey were his faithful deputies. They loved their jobs as much as they loved their farm.
The two law dogs, law cat, and law duck have had more than their fair share of adventures, but nothing could have prepared them, or the farm, for their latest adventure.
The hard-working mystery-solving quartet has confronted menaces like weasels, mad goats, human sheep stealers and Deputy Brownie’s out of control happiness. Never in a million years did they or any animal on the farm expect to have to deal with invaders from outer space.
What a Night!
On a typical late summer night at the farm’s pond, Geraldine Goose got into more trouble than she ever thought possible. A mysterious visitor watched her as she slept. After hours of patient waiting, the visitor crept toward her. With swift speed and surprising agility, he snatched her from her nest, placed a rubber band on her bill, and dumped her into a burlap bag. Geraldine tried to call for help, but the rubber band was too tight. She tried to struggle, but the bag was too small. Then that her kidnapper spoke to her.
“They told me you would struggle, but as you can see, mon cher, it is pointless,” whispered the voice. “Ah, but I have you now and you are much wanted elsewhere.”
Geraldine struggled harder, but still couldn’t free herself. She felt like she was being bounced around on an animal’s back for the longest time. Before Geraldine knew it, she felt as if she was flying. For the first time ever she felt airsick.
At the farmhouse, Sheriff Teddy, Deputy Puffy, Deputy Joey, and Deputy Brownie sat on the front porch, enjoying the warm summer evening.
Puffy, who hated summer, spent his time trying to smooth out his uncooperative fur.
Teddy and Joey, neither of which minded summer, spent their time watching the shooting stars streaking across the sky. Brownie, who didn’t notice weather of any kind, was busy barking loudly, and running across the farmyard.
Puffy had a hard time concentrating on his appearance due to Brownie’s barking and decided to intervene on his peace of mind’s behalf. “Dog gone it, Brownie! What in the name of peace and quiet are you doing? You the know the law against disturbing the peace applies to you too!”
“Sorry Puffy,” answered Brownie, “I’m just trying to get the stars’ attention. They look like they’re visiting everywhere else except here and I don’t appreciate that.” Brownie began barking louder at the stars.
“Sheriff,” called a voice from the sheep pen. “Please get him to be quiet! Sam and Sally are trying to go to sleep!
“I apologize about that Shirley,” answered Teddy. He looked at his nephew as he ran by. “Brownie, please stop that. Just so you know the stars aren’t really falling to Earth.”
Brownie stopped barking, and turned his attention to Teddy. “Really, Uncle? If they aren’t falling here, then where are they going? I mean they can’t just disappear, can they?”
Puffy being Puffy couldn’t resist the urge to tease Brownie “I can tell you where they’re going. They’re running away in fear because you’re Earth’s mightiest pest.”
“Really? See I told you I was the best at something. Thanks to you, I now know what that is.” Brownie held his head high and grinned.
Teddy could do nothing but laugh. “Brownie, falling stars are space rocks that burn up in the atmosphere. They disappear when there’s no more rock or no more atmosphere for the rock to skim against.”
“Burning rocks? Holy cow,” said Brownie in wonder. “Why would you want rocks filled with burning stuff to come down from the sky? Somebody really needs to do something about that.”
“Indeed, nephew.” Teddy returned his gaze to the sky.
Meanwhile Joey stood by and placidly listened to their conversation. Usually Joey would have added a few wise cracking remarks, but he, too, was intently focused on the nighttime show.
“It’s so beautiful,” said Joey, looking up in amazement.
“It is a beautiful night, Joey,” remarked Teddy.
“Well, yeah it is, boss, but this…these falling stars and all… it’s just…beautiful.” Joey didn’t sound like a tough duck from New Jersey. At that moment he sounded like a child watching their first fireworks show.
“Yep, it’s nice,” added Puffy, “but this heat’s not helping my fur at all.”
Joey had another chance to let his humor show, but he didn’t say anything. He simply continued looking at the sky.
“Hey Joey,” said Brownie, joining Joey. “Do you want to go on patrol with me?”
Joey didn’t hear Brownie. He silently sat looking up at the colorful streaks filling the sky.
“Joey!” Brownie’s bark caught Teddy and Puffy’s attention more than Joey’s.
“Huh? What?” answered the distracted duck.
“Do you want to go on patrol with me? Maybe see the stars from another spot?”
“Yeah, sure, Why not.” answered Joey, standing. He walked to the farmhouse pet door, but was stopped by Teddy.
“Joey, patrol is out there. You’re heading inside the farmhouse.”
“Oh, yeah.” Joey turned and walked back to Brownie. “You ready, Brownie?”
“Hey Joey,” called Teddy. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, Sheriff. I’m just really struck by all of this wonder and beauty. We never see anything like this in the city.”
“I’m glad to hear you’re okay. I was getting worried about you for a second. You two have a good patrol.”
“And make sure not to get lost, okay?” added Puffy jokingly.
“And you make sure not to get yer tongue tied into knots dealing with that rats nest you call fur,” responded Joey in a teasing voice.
“He’s okay, boss,” said Puffy to Teddy. “He just needed the proper push to get back on track.”
“Yer never far from my thoughts, cat,” called Joey as he waddled to the farm’s boundary lines with Brownie.
“You just be sure not to get lost, smelly duck!” retorted Puffy, watching them leave.
“Furball!” called Joey as he and Brownie disappeared into the darkness.
“You love that duck, Puffy, and you know it,” said Teddy.
Puffy grunted while he continued grooming. “He’s okay. Just like Brownie’s okay.”
“Right,” said Teddy skeptically. “I’m going in. I’ll see you inside.” Teddy disappeared through the pet door.
Puffy stopped grooming to stare at the shooting stars. ‘Joey’s right,’ he thought. ‘It truly is beautiful.’ Puffy watched for five more minutes before following Teddy lead into the farmhouse.