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Freddy, the Smiling Chihuahua
By GENE HALE
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2014 Gene Hale
All rights reserved.
Freddy—First Day of Life
An inky darkness was descending on 145 Ash Street, on the outskirts of Miami. A soft breeze wafted down the deserted street, colliding harshly with the discordant sound of a dog barking in the distance. Adding to the cacophony, a lone car roared around the corner, with the radio blasting hard techno-rock from its open windows.
Bob and Mary Logan and their two children, Robert and Trisha, were just sitting down for supper as the car raced past their house.
"I guess he wants everybody to know his favorite music," said Bob with a smile.
"That was hard rock, Dad," Robert blurted out.
"Well, in my day ... we call it rock n' roll," chuckled Bob.
"Whatever," replied his son, tucking into his dinner.
As they enjoyed a hearty supper of salad, roast beef, vegetables, and potatoes, Mary brought up the subject of Tina, their beautiful brown and white Chihuahua.
"Tina has been acting funny for the last few days," she said.
"What seems to be the problem?" asked Bob.
"Well, she's running all over the place, scratching and turning around in circles."
Bob scratched his head. "That does seem strange. Maybe we should take her to the vet's and have her checked out."
Trisha nodded. "Please, Dad, I'm so worried about her."
"If it continues tomorrow, I'll give our vet a call."
"Okay, let's all do the dishes now," said Mary, jumping to her feet, "so that we can watch our favorite television show."
"Yes, it's almost time for Jeopardy," said Bob. "Let's see who gets the most questions right, tonight."
"Aw, Dad, you know you always win," said Robert.
Dishes soon washed and dried, the family settled down in the living room to watch Jeopardy. But Trisha couldn't concentrate on the questions—she was too worried about Tina.
"See what I mean, Dad," she said, pointing at the little Chihuahua. "Tina is just lying there in bed, she has no energy and she's scratching again."
"I see that, honey. I think it would be a good idea to give the vet a call in the morning."
As if she could understand what they were saying, Tina slowly raised her head and looked over at the family with sad, tired eyes.
"Tina, come over here, and watch television with us," called Robert. "You always watch TV with us. Come on, girl."
Tina struggled to her feet and padded across the room toward Robert.
"That's my girl," said Robert, patting her on the head. "How are you doing?"
Instead of curling up beside him, as she usually did, Tina blinked a couple of times and then turned and padded back to her bed.
"Did you see that, Dad?" cried Robert. "She's acting really strange."
"Yes, yes," replied Bob, frowning, "that's not the playful, energetic Chihuahua I know."
The television show came to an end. "Robert and Trisha, you have school tomorrow, so it's time to finish your homework and then go to bed," said Mary. "Don't worry about Tina, she'll be fine. I'll call the vet in the morning and make an appointment."
The children kissed their parents goodnight, and then patted Tina on the head.
"Goodnight, girl, sleep tight," said Robert.
"Feel better, Tina," said Trisha softly. "We'll see you in the morning."
A few hours later, Bob and Mary decided it was time to call it a night, and soon all four family members were sleeping soundly.
Around three in the morning, Robert awoke with a jolt. "I feel like drinking a nice glass of cold milk," he whispered to himself, as he scrambled out of bed and trotted downstairs to the kitchen. Grabbing a glass from the overhead cupboard, he opened the refrigerator door and poured in the milk.
"Ah, that tastes good," he said, smacking his lips together. As he raised the glass to take another sip, he heard a funny sound coming from the corner of the living room. "What the heck is that?" he thought as he walked over and turned on the light. "What on earth is Tina doing there in the corner?" Peering closer, he could see what looked like two small mice.
"Agh!" he screamed in horror and rushed upstairs to his parents' room. "Mom! Dad! Tina has found two mice, and they might be hurting her."
Mr. Logan was still half-asleep. "Son, son, take it easy," he said, rubbing his eyes. "I don't believe two small mice would be able to hurt Tina." He sat up and reached for his robe. "Let's take a look at these ferocious mice."
Mary and Trisha had heard all the commotion, so now the whole family followed Mr. Logan down the stairs. Although the stair light was quite dim, they could see Tina's small bed.
"Well, let's see what we have here," said Mr. Logan, turning on the overhead light. As he gazed down at Tina, a smile brightened his face. "Those two small mice happen to be two little puppies. Tina is a mommy!"
The others gasped in surprise as Tina started wagging her tail, proudly showing off her new family. Trisha knelt down and gently stroked the two balls of fur that were cuddled up beside their mother.
"Two little puppies, Mom, they're so soft." She cradled them in her arms. "So that's why Tina was acting so strangely, she was getting ready for her family."
Mrs. Logan nodded. "Aren't they both adorable. Let's make sure Tina has plenty of food and water, and then we should head back to bed and let Tina tend to her new family."
"How long will it be before they open their eyes?" asked Robert.
"About two weeks," said Mr. Logan. "Now let's get back to bed, you two have school in the morning."
"Can we keep them both, Dad?" Trisha asked.
"I'm afraid not, honey. One dog is plenty in this household. They will have to be sold."
"Oh, no, Dad!" cried Trisha, her big brown eyes filling with tears. "Mom! Mom!" she pleaded, tugging on her mother's dressing gown. "Can we keep at least one, please, please?"
Mrs. Logan looked at her husband and then gently stroked her daughter's cheek. "We'll see, Trisha, we'll see."
After the children were settled back in their beds, Mary shook her head, puzzled. "How did this happen to Tina, Bob? I could swear we watch her all the time."
Bob stroked his chin. "Yep, that's a mystery all right, but do you remember when Uncle Danny stayed with us for a few days?"
"Yes, of course, and he had that smiling brown Chihuahua Duke."
Bob grinned. "Now we know why they called him the smiling Chihuahua." They both laughed.
"That Duke was a tough and fearless dog."
Mary nodded. "He certainly was. Do you remember the neighbor's cat? That cat was three times the size of Duke, but finally that cat backed down."
"I remember," said Bob. "I remember."CHAPTER 2
Freeport, Long Island
It was another beautiful day in the village of Freeport, Long Island. A gentle breeze drifted off the bay as dozens of seagulls hovered overhead; their insistent squawks mingling with the muffled sound of a distant motorcycle thundering down the road.
But none of these sounds could be heard by bride Ashley and her soon-to-be husband, Roger Miller, as they prepared to celebrate their wedding day. The first notes of the "Wedding March" floated through the air, and the five-year-old flower girl—a vision in pink and white gossamer—proudly entered the packed church, scattering red roses in her wake. The maid of honor and four bridesmaids in matching silk gowns followed, stepping in unison toward the waiting bridegroom and his best man, both men tugging nervously at their tuxedos.
At a signal from the priest, the congregation turned as one as the bride made her entrance. White daisies braided in her flowing dark hair and clad in a fitted white gown that hugged her slender figure, Ashley clutched her father's arm and smiled shyly as she slowly made her way down the aisle. Her dark brown eyes sparkled as they locked on Roger's, who was now gazing in awe at his beautiful bride, Ashley, soon-to-be Mrs. Roger Miller. His wife.
After he had married the happy couple, the priest raised his right hand to make a small announcement. "I would just like to congratulate this beautiful couple, Roger and Ashley. I think I speak for everyone here when I say, we are all going to miss you."
Roger and Ashley smiled in acknowledgment. The priest continued.
"Roger, I will be praying for your safety in Miami when you assume your duties as a police officer. And Ashley, you are a talented dancer, I pray that you will continue in this chosen profession. God bless you both. Now go and celebrate this happy day with your family and friends."
"Thank you, Father," they said in unison.
Rice and bird seeds showered them as they turned and walked down the aisle, hand in hand. Roger turned to his bride and whispered, "That's enough rice, let's head for the limousine."
Ashley nodded and soon they seated in the back of the limo with the rest of the bridal party.
"I think you need this," said the best man, handing Roger a cold glass of champagne.
Roger smiled. "Thanks, Dennis. I knew I'd picked the right man for the job."
"I have to make a toast before we get to the reception," said Dennis. "Fill up your glasses, everyone." He raised his glass. "Here's to the bride and groom. May you have much love and happiness for the rest of your lives."
"Hear! Hear!" cried the others.
Roger looked at his friends and smiled wistfully. "Ashley and I are going to miss you all. The best of health to the best friends ever."
"Enjoy your honeymoon in the Grand Canyon," said the maid of honor.
"Thanks, Monica," said Ashley. "I'll send you a postcard."
"Somehow, I think you'll have better things to do than to be writing postcards. Right, Roger?"
she said with a wink.
Roger grinned. "You can count on it."
Dennis nudged his best friend. "Don't be strangers. Remember, you still have family and friends here, so keep in touch and let us know your new address in Miami when you get settled."
"You got it, buddy," replied Roger. "Now let's go celebrate!"CHAPTER 3
On the corner of York and Third Street, Bryan Simone sat in his white van pretending to read the local newspaper. But his eyes were not on the latest news stories—they were focused on the young girls playing in the schoolyard across the street. His sick mind conjured up one lurid fantasy after another as his beady eyes feasted hungrily on these innocent young creatures. Bryan Franklin Simone was a child molester.
Drool dribbled from the corners of his mouth as the fantasies invaded his mind.
Boy, I like that dark-haired one.
My, oh my, look at that blonde one with the long hair.
And what about the red-haired one doing cartwheels.
He smacked his greasy lips together and chuckled. One day, he was going to have one of those young girls. But not now. For now, these innocents were safe from his evil clutches.
"Well, let me move on," he told himself. "I don't think I'll have any luck here—too many prying eyes." He looked over at the school monitors, who were supervising the children. "I think I'll head over to the mall. You never know when a young girl might wander away from her parents." He ran his tongue across his mouth. "And when she does, I'll be waiting."
Tall and darkly handsome, with piercing black eyes and sleek black hair, Simone did not look like a molester. He looked like a model, who had stepped from the pages of Esquire or GQ, and he knew how to use those good looks to his advantage. Although approaching thirty, he still lived with his mother, who worshipped the ground he walked on.
He checked his watch. "I have a couple of hours before school gets out. Time enough to check out the mall and then cruise back here to see if some stupid mother forgot the time and was late to pick up her daughter." He wiped the spittle from his mouth on the back of his sleeve. "And like the big bad wolf, I'll be waiting ..."
* * *
After lurking around the mall for a couple hours, Bryan drove back to the elementary school. He was desperate. Each day, he was finding it harder and harder to suppress his sick urges. He had to snatch one of those girls ... and soon.
As he pulled up at the curb, he wound down the window to get a better view of the playground. The school closing bell had just sounded. Suddenly, he jumped back in fear. His entire body was shaking. In the side view mirror, he had caught sight of a short woman walking her dog—a large black Retriever. Soon they would be level with the van. Bryan shrank into his seat, still trembling from head to toe. He was deathly afraid of dogs.
As a young boy of five, he had been attacked by a vicious Rottweiler, and still bore the ragged scars on his legs and torso. If not for the quick intervention of his doting mother, who fended off the dog with a wooden club, he would have been savaged to death. The memory of that fateful day was etched on his mind forever. Now, just the sight of a dog, be it small or large, would often bring on a panic attack.
The woman and the dog walked past the van without so much as a glance in Bryan's direction. Breathing deeply, he struggled to pull himself together. "Don't be such a wuss," he told himself. "It's only a dog. Remember what you're here for." Slowly calming himself, he took several deep breaths and sat up straight. "Now, down to business."
He looked over at the school to see the children streaming out of the front doors. "Goody, goody, here's one now," he drooled. A small girl with rosy cheeks and shiny black hair was walking by herself along the sidewalk. Soon she would be level with the van. Bryan waited, ready to pounce, when another little girl suddenly ran across the road to join her. "Dammit!" cried Bryan, banging his fist on the dashboard. "That was so close, so very close." He closed his eyes and let his mind drift back several years to that memorable day in the woods. The day that he first struck.
Fourteen years earlier
He was fifteen. Fifteen. An only child with a mother who doted on him. A mommy's boy. A rich, spoilt mommy's boy who wanted for nothing. His mommy's pride and joy.
From an early age, he had always known he was different. But when did it all begin? The unnatural yearnings, the disgusting thoughts, the lurid fantasies. When did they all begin? Was it the day he spied on his mother? Watching her emerge from the shower naked, water dripping from her shiny red nipples. Watching her standing in front of the big mirror, checking out her body. Watching her touch her breast and then turn and squeeze her buttocks together. Was it that day when the sick fantasies started? The day he watched her rub cream all over her luscious body and dab the perfume behind her ears. The perfume he loved to smell. He could smell it now.
Was it that day that led to the fateful day in the woods? The day he saw the little girl chasing butterflies with a stick. The day his fantasies became reality. Was it the aroma of the woodland flowers that reminded him of his mother's perfume? Was that the catalyst that pushed him to the dark side? To rape and murder the golden-haired child who was chasing butterflies on that soft summer's day.
The urges overtook him, and he struck. But why did he have to kill her? Why? She left him no choice. She was going to tell. She was going to tell the whole world what he had done. She was going to tell his mother. His mother! He had no choice—he had to silence her forever. His mother could never know what he had done. Never!
And then he heard the voices. "Connie! Connie! Where are you, Connie?" Connie was her name. The golden-haired girl with glints of sunshine in her hair. The golden-haired girl chasing butterflies with a stick. The golden-haired girl who was no more. Connie. The voices again, ringing in his ears. "Connie! Connie! Where are you? We told you not to wander too far into the woods."
Time for him to go. Time to go home. Time to go back home to Mother.
His mother greeted him at the door. Her perfume wafted in the air and he inhaled it hungrily. "Where have you been, my darling son?" Her kisses caressed his cheek. Her perfume enveloped him. Again, the question: "Where have you been, my dearest boy?"
Where had he been? What had he done? The lie came easily to his lips. With friends ... hanging out with friends at the 7-eleven. Friends, who his mother didn't approve of. Ruffians she called them. No one was good enough for her little boy. He stared at her breasts. Couldn't take his eyes off them. Remembering that day she emerged from the shower. "Bryan! Bryan!" her voice ringing in his ear. "Bryan, what are you looking at?"
Again, the lie slid easily from his lips. "Admiring your beautiful dress, Mommy dearest, and did I tell you how much I love your perfume?"
"My darling boy, you are such a charmer." More kisses. Her darling boy could do no wrong. And then later ... the ringing at the door. His mother wondering who could it be. "I'll answer it," said Bryan. Opening the door to find the police officer standing on the doorstep. Shock. Surprise. "Oh, my goodness, how can I help you, officer?"
Excerpted from Freddy, the Smiling Chihuahua by GENE HALE. Copyright © 2014 Gene Hale. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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