CHEAP PIT BULL PUPPIES / by Academy Monthly

       “CHEAP PIT BULL PUPPIES.” The sign was an omen. “This will teach those meddlesome teenagers” Jerome thought to himself, “It has to be a really fierce dog to make to really intimidate them”. Nothing made a dent on their presence in front of his business. Jerome was pretty sure that these kids were stealing hubcaps, tires, and car parts. All the things that he could sell for a decent profit. He had seen the kids scare off a few customers and he knew he needed to put an end to it.  

       Hercules, the biggest of all the puppies, stood out to Jerome right away. He watched for a few minutes to make sure he was big AND fierce. When Jerome asked about the big one, the shabby housewife replied, “Oh that one, he never stops. Constantly all over the others. He’s one tough cookie.” 

       Tough. That’s all Jerome needed to know. Hercules was coming home with him. Jerome imagined Hercules dominating the neighborhood. Nobody would dismiss him with the beast at his side. By the time Jerome pulled up in front of the Junkyard the puppy beside him, his future fierce guard dog, had morphed into a legendary attack dog. Jerome even began to worry that he better get a chain to keep him since a normal leash wouldn’t be strong enough. He had considered an obedience class at the recreation center, but Jerome now felt sure that this dog’s natural instincts would be all that was needed to protect The Junk Castle.   

       The ride home had Jerome so worked up about the dog’s ferociousness that he was a little nervous when he reached into the back of his truck to scoop up the little demon.  But as he lifted the dog into his arms Hercules lept up to lick his face. Inside the dog immediately made camp on Jerome’s favorite chair, flipping on his back seeming to beg for a belly rub.  

       Jerome had a pang of doubt which quickly subsided when the mailman approached and Hercules let out a roar that seemed impossibly loud for such a small creature. Jerome quickly chained the animal up to the dilapidated telephone pole which Jerome was not sure would be able to contain the beast’s power. 

       Hercules grew quickly and was already 110 lbs at six months of age. He was caramel colored fur and muscle. The kids had slowed down since the arrival of Hercules but eventually they started to test the waters. Jerome was ready to test the ferocity of his loyal companion. The day Jerome was waiting for came one afternoon when the hoodlums darted inside his fence line. Hercules barked as always but no effect this time. One kid was still poking around. Jerome opened the screen door and out darted Hercules. This was the moment of revenge Jerome had been imagining. Finally, they would get their due. 

       The dog sprinted toward the unsuspecting teenager. However, to Jerome’s horror Hercules stopped short, dropped to the ground, and rolled on his back inviting a belly rub. The kid stood in shock frozen. Hercules stood up and trotted over to his favorite chew toy and dropped it at the boy’s feet. The kid threw the toy, grabbed a bundle of copper wire, and booked it for the exit. 

      Shock and disgust eclipsed Jerome’s gleeful aura. Jerome went inside defeated.  Hercules trotted in behind him carrying the disgraceful toy in his mouth. When it dropped on the floor at Jerome’s feet Jerome knew this relationship was over. Within an hour Jerome had crafted a sign.