Took forever to get a name, of course. Getting three people to agree on a dog name is like getting three people to agree on one entree, except that you’ll be eating the entree for years, and one person has dietary restrictions, and the other has no taste buds but is extremely picky about texture.

I wanted Booker. Daughter hated it. She wanted Rowan. I said that was half a comedian team I did not like to remember. Wife liked Beauregard, since the dog comes from the South; daughter hated it. Daughter suggested Reed, and I said this is insufficiently authoritative. You need something that is indisputably the dog’s name, not a series of vowels. How about Barley? Wife loved Barley too. Daughter hated it; like Booker, it was old-timey.

So, Scout. Never mind the origin; let’s just say I went through many dog-name websites, none of which helped, and was even reduced to the Redneck Baby Name Page, looking for something Southern. Scout it was.

Did I help choose the dog? I did not. Daughter really, really wants this to be her dog as well as our dog. Jasper was our dog but not her dog - he did, after all, precede her by six years. I didn’t want to give off any waves of disapproval if she fell in love with a dog, and since she picks up on my sentiments quite well, I figured it was best to stand off.

Also, I had grocery shopping to do and had no idea they’d make a decision after one trip to the shelter, but that’s how it happens. You meet them, you’re entranced, and the next thing you know you’ve set in motion the great logistical operation. A kennel! A pen! Training treats! Proper toys! Proper leashes! The right food! Make the vet appointment!

You know, I said to my wife last night, it used to be you just got a dog. Mom added a few cans of Pard to the shopping list, and that was about all it took.

Saturday we went to the pet store to look at things we might need that the Humane Society won’t have. There were leashes by Martha Stewart. There were leashes by Bret Michaels, lead singer of an old hair-metal band. (It had studs. Brand name: Pets Rock.) There were perfumes you could spray on your dog to make it smell like lemon or vanilla, which A) must be murder on the dog, and B) makes me wonder why you want a dog in the first place, when obviously you just want a candle.

Lots of expensive food, which Scout will not be getting. No organic kibble at $40 a bag. Jasper ate Beneful by Purina for ten years, at least. And those were his second ten years.

We’re off to get the dog in a few hours. More after he comes home and destroys things.


LATER Had to marvel at the paperwork involved, although I know it’s for everyone’s benefit. When is paperwork not always for everyone’s benefit? It’s for my benefit, spelling out the contract; it’s for the dog’s benefit, because I have initialed the line that says I won’t let it play in traffic, and it’s for the seller’s benefit, because I checked the box that said there’s no money back in case things don’t work out. While I initialed and entered my phone number into the national database to link his implanted chip with the network, Daughter got some toys and treats.

She was very happy.

And then they brought him out. First time I’d seen the guy. Very sweet and quite lovely - dark fur and brown eyes, but I'll learn to read his face soon enough. Drove home, and the road got bumpy. He started to whimper, and who can blame him? He was just in a vehicle last week, all the way up from Miss. He's known nothing but transit and institutions. I started to sing, and usually that means more whining from the vicinity, but in this case it made him stop whining. I stopped singing. He started whimpering again. Never had anyone request more, and I didn’t feel like singing “Clementine” for the fourth time, so I just spoke in a low steady voice, telling him all the things he wasn’t going to get. He wasn’t going to get table scraps, alas. He wasn’t going to even begin to experience the possibility of Frosty Paws dog treats, because they are laced with meth and dogs are instantly addicted, and then they chew your leg off if you don’t give them one after supper. (Which was scraps.)

But I told him he will have a wonderful home and a yard with great smells and a safe place to sleep and wet glop when he’s old enough.

And then we brought him inside to the best place he's ever been - a yard for running, good food, soft places to sleep, no din, no smells of fear. Safety. Calm. Home.

That was six hours ago. Here’s what he hasn’t done in six hours.


Peed outside.

Bit anyone.

Here’s what he has done:

Learned his name.

Demonstrated a familiarity with the SIT command. (He’s two months old.)

Displayed no Alpha behavior.

Sparked a family discussion about whether he’s more shep or lab or good old hound. (I’m going with hound, but we’ll see.)

Proved impossible to photograph, because he was always moving, or it was too dark to get a good look at his features. Closest I got -

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Scout!

He’s going to be a fine dog. He already is. At the end of the day he was exhausted, of course - being a puppy is hard work - and he plopped down on my studio floor and drowsed off, content to be with the pack.

The best first day you could want.

Hah: just heard a yelp; he needed to go out. He sleeps in a kennel in Daughter's room; that's what she wanted. She has to get up and take him out.

Lessons en route - grueling but good.



This sounds like fun:

As usual, the re-Cap! Hah! Get it? Never get tired of that. As usual, he's pretty darn happy about the way things are going, even though stuff happened that made no sense, but provided him with the opportunity to cut through all that District Attorney red-tape and just shoot some guys.

How does the Scarab get his "men" anyway? Is there a Henchman union hall where they sit around waiting for a job?

What sort of fiend wants to do this to a pretty DA's assistant?

Cap subdues the henchmen, learns about the bomb from a mechanic who was tied up, calls Gail on the radio, and she does the only sensible thing, something required in every serial:

She jumps out. Whew. Saved. Looks like that previous cliff-hanger was somewhat misleading!

Well, the blowgun was blown up in the plane, so there’s no way to . . .

. . . to what? Tie it to the Scarab? They don’t know who he is. They know he’s connected to the blowgun. Which was used in an attempt on the life of a guy. Who was connected to the expedition. Which was connected to the Scarab's desire for revenge. I think. This entire storystarted out with the theft of a huge Scientific Device that could shake buildings apart with Sonic Vibrations, and now we’re talking about a blowgun?

Note: it doesn't matter.

Captain District Attorney suggests they plant a story: the police had a plaster cast of the blowgun. But don’t put it in the paper; no, seed the tale amongst the underground.

How does that work? Possibly this: a guy sidles up to another guy in a cell, and says “did you hear about that plane explosion the other day?”


“Well, a plane blew up. Seems they were flying a blowgun to the grandson of a blowgun expert for identification.”

“I didn’t hear.”

“It’s true. But now word on the street says the police have a plaster cast of the blowgun.”

“You want a shiv in the gut? Get away from me. I’d say you’re stir crazy but you don’t look like you’ve spent more than six hours in the joint.’

“I tell you, it’s true. Someone needs to warn the Scarab.”

“You got a tan. How you get a tan in prison?”

Well, word does leak out to the underworld, and makes its way to the conduit between the streets and the Scarab / Moladar, the world’s oldest and most conspicuous suburban shoeshine boy:

Come to the house and give the message to the shoeshine boy. No one will suspect a thing.

Maldor’s men find that Grayson, the Blowgun Identifier, is checking into the Metropole. So they'll kidnap him, Captain District Attorney figures, and they’ll follow him straight to the Scarab!

Uh - what if they just kill him? That’s their plan: they put a bomb in the room.

But the District Attorney shows up before Grayson, and the henchmen think they’ll get the jump on him. So, fistfight? Please?

No, turns out the bomb was a cylinder that released choking smoke, which is never conspicuous and arouses no attention in a hotel. The henchmen get the fake blowgun; one leaves with the prize and the other goes back to the room to stab the DA, because murdering a District Attorney is always a good way to ensure your path is smooth in the immediate future. But, fistfight!

It’s short, but add another citizen to the District Attorney’s REIGN OF DEATH.

Meanwhile, Secretary Gale is trailing the henchman who escaped. It can’t be her turn for a cliffhanger; she just had one. So she’s probably safe, and it’s reasonable for her to park her car by the barn where the henchmen are holed up. It makes sense for her to hold them at gunpoint, and frankly I admire her courage and mettle; we’ve already seen her put lead in a guy.

Unfortunately, the plot is not on her side.

In her defense, that’s just not something you make allowances for.

So, shoot her now? No, they rig up a trap with the stuff you always find sitting around a barn:

Well, you know who won’t let that happen.

Oh no! He failed! They’re all DEAD! If they’re dead they can’t make things right!

Or maybe they can. Tune in next week!

More Main Street postcards up there in Urban Studies, and the usual usual here and there - Work Blog, Tumblr, Twitter. Have a fine day!



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