January 20, 2017 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

The dogs don’t have to wait long for their answer. As soon as the bell is done chiming, the loud speakers crackle to life. They send bursts of static sound into the air, catching the attention of human and animal alike.

“Alright, good ladies and gentlefolk,” crows the announcer. He sounds like a cheerful man, the sort of person you can imagine would have red tinged cheeks and a soft middle. “We’re about to start the event that you’ve all been waiting for! That’s right – the even that doesn’t need to be announced, that doesn’t need to be named! Gather ’round at the center stage for the crowning of Miss Somerset!”

Jag’s ears twitch. “There’s a woman named after the town?”

“I guess,” says Princess, clearly uninterested in the announcement. She bumps her shoulder against Jag’s. “You want to see if I can snag us some funnel cake?”

“Yes,” says Chase, before anyone else can answer. “Go for it! I want some funnel cake so badly. I’m sure that if anyone can get it, it’s going to be you!”

Princess huffs out a laugh. “Cheering me on isn’t going to get you anymore than the rest of the pack.”

While the majority of the festival goer’s rush to the center stage to see the unveiling of Miss Somerset, the WooFPAK and the pit crew continue to meander through the festival. Princess doesn’t get her funnel cake, but she does manage to snag a few strips of bacon off a plate that’s been discarded.

She’s just starting to pass out her haul when a great clatter can be heard. A young boy is shouting. “No! You can’t do that!”

Someone else says, “yeah? You wanna bet?”

“David, I said stop it! You can’t mess with things like that!”

“Make me, dorkus.”

Princess slips around the corner, stretching out to the very end of her lead. They’ve stopped to get a snack; the row of food vendors is set up just one row up from the sheep pen. There was some sort of a judging competition there earlier, but now the only one’s around are two teenage boys.

One of them is leaning against the make-shift pen. He has his arms folded over his chest, a smug grin on his face.

The other boy, Steve, is wearing a burgundy button up shirt. There’s a name tag pinned to the front of it, identifying him as Steve, a member of the county fair team.

Steve says, “quit bothering the sheep!”

“I’m not bothering them,” says David. “I’m just bothering you. These stupid rats don’t care about what’s going on.”

There’s a crushed tin can in the sheep pen. A few pieces of balled up trash have been thrown in there, too. Obviously, David had been pitching trash at the sheep.

Princess growls. She hates when humans act like this. Just because it’s a farm animal, that doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings, that they don’t have thoughts.

“What are you looking at?” Chase pads up next to the female husky. It takes a moment for him to figure out what’s been going on; when he does, his eyes go dark and his tail drops down. “Oh. What a jerk. Hey – hey, what’s he doing now?”

David is still grinning, smug as a tom cat that just took the last fish bone from the trash. He turns around, flips up the latch, and swings the gate open. “Fine. You want me to stop, I’ll stop.”

“David,” snaps Steve. He lurches over to the gate, pushing it shut behind the older boy. “What are you doing?”

Chase wants to know that, too. He’s not given a chance to find out, however. WooFDriver tugs on his leash.

“Come on,” says WooFDriver. “Let’s go see if that beauty pageant is over yet.”

The pageant isn’t over, but it’s in the last leg. A large crowd has formed around the center stage. WooFDriver lingers just outside of it, fiddling with something on his phone. He says, “you guys want to head out this evening or wait until tomorrow morning?”

Rhett hums. “The morning, maybe? I don’t know. Guess it depends on how late we’re staying here.”

WooFDriver says, “depends on how long the pageant lasts. I don’t really want to stick around if this is going to drag out for long.”

Chase mutters, “I’m with him. This is boring, and we still haven’t gotten any funnel cake. You don’t think we’ll have to be here for a lot longer, do you?”

“Who knows,” sighs Princess. The wind picks up, and her head lifts with it. Ears twitching, Princess cocks her head to the side. “Do you guys hear that?”

Chase lifts his head, maw parting. “It sounds like sheep.”

“That’s what I thought, too.”

“They sound upset. Do you think that kid is throwing more trash at them?”

Princess tilts her head to the other side, ears twitching. “I think…they sound more upset than just like something’s being thrown at them. Don’t they? And…don’t they sound close?”

No sooner does the word leave Princess’s mouth then the speakers crackle. The announcer says, “I hate to interrupt such a stunning display of talent, perseverance, and beauty, but it seems like we have a bit of a problem. Somehow, the sheep have gotten out of their enclosure. If you see them, please stay calm and report the sighting to one of the friendly members of the county fair team.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author