Samuel Takes a Trip – Part III
A few minutes later, the two came back and sat down. Samuel’s face was washed and some hair had been plastered down with water. But, he still looked tired and there were circles under his eyes. David looked at his wife and gave a little shrug. They all sat down to eat.
After breakfast, they were cleaning up. Jeremy was loading the dishwasher and stopped with a bowl mid-air.
“Where’s Beamer?” he asked.
“What?” Tyler looked at him.
“Beamer, you know, Tyler, our dog.” Jeremy rolled his eyes.
“Yes, I know we have a dog, you Dork….”
“Stop, Ty….I don’t want to hear….”
His dad interrupted. “Why are you asking, Jeremy?”
Jeremy’s head swiveled toward his father. “Cause he always sleeps on my bed and he wasn’t there this morning. If he goes out, he always comes back for breakfast.”
“Hum. I’ll go look,” a shadow of concern passed over his father’s face. He pushed back from the table. Jeremy started to follow. “No, no, you two finish the dishes. David Beans did a loop around the living room and dining room and then went to the back door and out. He came back in a few minutes holding Beamer in his arms. He gently put him down on the family room sofa.
“Beamer!” Jeremy and Samuel both ran to the dog. Alice came hustling over.
“What’s wrong with him, Dad?” Jeremy was stroking the dog. Samuel started to tear up.
David Beans got close to the dog and pulled back one eyelid. An amber eye looked at them. He put two fingers on the dog’s neck.
“He’s okay, just, I don’t know, sort of knocked out. I don’t understand it.” He shook his head. Alice Beans was hovering and Samuel leaned against his mother. “Alice, has he been sick or acting funny?”
Alice shook her head. “Nothing, I don’t think.” She looked at Jeremy.
“He was fine yesterday, same as always,” Jeremy answered the unasked question.
“Well, gee, it’s a Sunday and I knew we said we were going to go to the park and hit some balls around. Still, maybe we need to take him to the vet,” David said. There was a collective nod around the group.
“I’ll get the phone number,” Alice said.
“I’ll drive,” Tyler volunteered.
“I guess I get to hold Beamer,” Jeremy sighed.
Alice Beans made the phone call and told her husband they could see the dog at the clinic in forty-five minutes.
“Okay, you two,” he nodded to Tyler and Jeremy, “get the car out of the garage and wrap him in a blanket. He’ll go in the backseat. The brothers nodded and ran off in different directions. Samuel stayed with the dog, stroking his head.
“I really don’t understand this,” he said again to his wife. She shrugged and shook her head. “You going to stay or go?” he asked her.
“I think I’ll stay and try to figure out what’s going on with him,” she yanked her head toward Samuel.
“Hum…okay, sounds like a plan. I think I’ll check outside once more.”
David Beans went out to the back yard where he found the dog. There was nothing there in the grass to give any sign of how or why this had happened. He got down on his knees and stroked the grass with the palm of one hand. Nothing. He was perplexed. Looking around the yard, his eyes came to rest on a little bunch of dried leaves behind the maple. Jeremy must have missed those when he was raking up, he thought to himself. He got off his knees and went around the other side of the tree. There the small bunch of leaves were pushed up together. He bent over and looked more closely at the dirt. There was a faint impression of a shoe in the dirt. It looked like the front part of a boot where someone had crouched, leaning forward. He cautiously laid his shoe next to the print. It wasn’t his size, but it definitely wasn’t a child’s size either. He frowned and went back inside.
“Tyler, Jeremy.” Two heads peeked around the corner. He waved at them and stepped outside.
“Yes, Dad,” they said simultaneously.
“Jeremy, you raked the leaves out here, right? And Tyler, you mowed the grass, yes? When?”
They both stared at him.
“Ah, last Saturday. It was before baseball practice,” Tyler looked at his brother. “I mowed and Jer raked the grass and leaves. Right?”
Jeremy nodded. “Yeah, last Saturday. The last game of the season. I remember. Why?”
“Ah,” David scratched his head. “Um, just checking on something. You guys ready to go?” They all headed for the car.
Two hours later, the trio came back with a perkier Beamer and laid him on the sofa.
“He’ll be okay,” David told his wife. “Somehow,” he glanced at his sons who were now comforting the dog, “he got hold of some tranquilizer or muscle relaxant. The vet wanted to know if we left stuff like that out where he could get into it. Do we?”
Alice Beans started. “Muscle relaxants? I think I have one bottle for when my back goes out, but it’s in the bathroom cabinet, up high. I don’t think…”
“Could you check, Honey, just to be sure. I got the idea the vet thought we were being very careless with our animals.”
She trotted off to the master bedroom and bath and came back in a few minutes.
“You find it?” David had started to read the Sunday paper.
“It’s right where I left it in the cupboard. I even counted the number of pills. You know, how they tell us to do at the parents meetings, just to check and be sure…”
“Right.” He tapped the newspaper with a finger. “You feel like a Starbucks’s?”
“Well, it’s almost lunch time and I wanted to make sure Samuel had some soup…”
“No problem, this won’t take long. Tyler!” He shouted. Tyler showed up from the backyard tossing a hardball into a mitt.
“Mom and I are going to take a little drive. Back in a few. See that Samuel gets some soup. Right?” He looked over at his wife.
“Oh, right. Tomato, Ty. It’s in the pantry.” Alice Beans smiled at her oldest.
“Okayyyyy,” Tyler looked with curiosity at both parents but no further explanation seemed to be forthcoming.
“We’ll be back soon.” David got up, grabbed the keys off the hook and pushed his wife out the back door.
At the local Starbucks, Alice sat with her favorite Thai Chi and David had another coffee, black.
“So, what’s all the mystery?” she asked with a grin.
David took a pull on his coffee. “I don’t know how to say this except to say it.”
She frowned at him.
“Someone was in the backyard last night.”
“Someone, what?” her mouth fell open.
“Yeah, and I think they shot the dog with a tranq gun.”
Alice’s eyes got big. “Beamer?”
“Probably so he wouldn’t bark.”
“Well, I, I…”
He put a hand out on her arm. “It’s okay, Alice. We’ll figure this out,” he said in his best calming voice. “Did you notice anything funny, anything at all, this morning?”
She sipped her Thai Chi and thought a moment. “You know…”
His eyebrows shot up.
“When I came out this morning to make coffee…”
“It was so silly,” she said. Her husband waited patiently. “I got this really weird feeling like someone had been in there.”
“The kitchen, the dining room. It wasn’t that anything moved or anything, it was just…a sense…like maybe a slight smell or something. But, that’s silly, who else could…?”
David nodded soberly. “Yeah, I thought so.”
“Thought what, David? You’re starting to scare me.” His wife looked alarmed.
“I’m starting to scare me a little too.” He patted her arm. “Remember that home security system we talked about before?”
“Well, yes. But wasn’t it really expensive?”
“Yes, it was,” David replied. “It was but I think maybe we need to buy it now.”
“Ah, David, there goes our vacation,” she looked at him glumly.
He gave her a little sympathetic grimace and sipped his coffee some more. Thank God I put that flipping portal in the study safe. Cripes, who knows what’s next? He thought a moment about his older brother, Al, the scientist who had gifted them the portal. He got his car keys and lead his wife back to their car.
You know, if murder wasn’t against the law…but, it might be justified in this case. What have you gotten us into this time, big brother?
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