Saturday, November 13, 2010
Milton and Puddles
Milton Hollinsworth’s best friend Puddles went missing earlier in the afternoon after a good swatting with Cloverdale’s Weekly Newspaper, The Confederacy Times. Puddles, keeping true to his name, did what Puddles does best - he wet on Lady Hollinsworth's white parlor room carpet.
Milton heard Puddles’ yelps from his bedroom, followed by the maid’s swearing in Spanish. He jumped off his bed and raced down the stairs to save his dog but it was too late. Puddles was out the front door and down the street.
Lady Hollinsworth was visibly upset as she stood over the maid.
“Scrub harder,” she said sternly. Rosa, the family housekeeper, was on her hands and knees doing her best to restore the carpet to its pre Puddles state.
“Just look at how my hands are shaking. That dog upset’s me so.” Lady Hollinsworth held out her quivering hand, weighed down by the largest diamond Rosa had ever seen. Rosa stopped to look.
“Back to work before that stain sets in,” Lady Hollinsworth scolded. Rosa shrugged her shoulders and return to the carpet.
Milton waited for Puddles to return. At 9:00 P.M. he was ordered off his watch and to bed.
The next morning Milton was up all the earlier. He didn’t wait for Rosa to set his school uniform out. He dressed himself, poured his own bowl of cereal, burned a piece of toast, set off the smoke alarm and heard his mother shouting for Rosa from her bedroom. She sounded upset for having been woken up before 10:00 A.M. Rosa said something to Milton in Spanish as she raced up the stairs. Her foul appearance helped Milton understand that whatever she said wasn’t complementary.
Milton rushed outside, found his scooter next to the garage and set out on a mission to find his dog Puddles. If Milton read the time correctly, he had 30 minutes before the first bell rang at St. Bartholomew’s Primary School.
Milton heard barking as he scooted down the High Street. He stopped, jumped from the scooter and looked behind him. Puddles was on the other side of the street barking around the feet of the Postman making his morning deliveries. Milton was relieved but thought it best to hide his joy at finding his dog. He needed to show Puddles that running away from home was bad.
“Puddles!” Milton shouted, mimicking the tone his mother uses on him whenever she is upset and has a headache. The dog stopped, saw his master and darted into the road. Milton shouted at the dog to stay. Puddles disobeyed, which wasn’t surprising. The screeching of brakes was followed by a stillness. Milton stood by his scooter in disbelief. Once again, Puddles was true to his name, in a very unfortunate way.
On Milton’s insistence, Lady Hollinsworth agreed to a burial near the back garden gate. She gave permission for Rosa to call the Priest but declined to attend the dog's burial. She was in bed with a headache. She had a dinner party to prepare for and needed her housekeeper to do the shopping and ready the house. The funeral service was not on her agenda and the inconvenience was upsetting. Yet, on Rosa’s insistence, she released her long enough to hold Milton’s hand during the burial prayer.