‘itla and Chips are favorites with the hindlegs puppies at Herdwick Primary School. Every afternoon after class, they chase them hindlegs puppies around Herdwick pooping park, fetching sticks, eating spilt ice creams off the grass, and getting bellies tickled – at least, ‘itla does. But there’s a weird hindlegs hanging out the other end of the park and Chips sniffs something really bad’s about to happen.
It’s a particularly windy sniffy day in Swallow, the small town just ahead of the creeping edge of big sniffy old London. Leaves are falling from out the sky and it don’t take a particularly smart fourlegs to sniff Autumn is loitering at the corner. Freshly baked bread sniffs out from the bakers, Costa coffee steams in the air, and a lot of frying is going on at the local KFC to keep both hindlegs and fourlegs well fed. The sniffy wind whispers of far colder times to come. Each crackling leaf bringing it closer, sharper, sniffyer as they are raked onto bonfires in the gardens of hindlegs’ dens, and gathered up into that huge pungent pile in the maintenance area in the corner of Herdwick pooping Park. Today’s a pretty windy sniffy one.
The sniff of burning leaves carries across the whole town, making fourlegs aware that another day starts, another binging opportunity begins.
Helloooo everyone, today’s the day
Nah mate, cup’n’cake sale in the park
Round back of the bins?
Nah mate, out front of the school, Herdwick pooping park
We want real food
Yeah, bin food
Morning bruv ‘itla stretches all four of his short paws.
I said, good morning bruv
It ain’t good, and I ain’t your bruv, bruv Chips sighs, before leaping up and heading out the bedroom. More importantly, sniff that! FruityLegs’s frying Tesco’s Canadian honey-brushed bacon rashers and he’s gone, Jack Russel back paws flipping up into thin air as the leaps down the full carpet-covered seventeen step stairway, lightly bouncing on the tenth step, to reach the hallway in four paw drift, desperately scrabbling off speed to corner and whizz into the kitchen, first. Into rightful pecking order, first.
You coming or not? his voice calls up to his twin brother.
Morning’s for chilling, bruv, not leaping about like a muttwit as ‘itla gently stretches out his front paws, before slowly stretching out his back paws, before carefully standing up and stretching his back in a wobbly arch. Before he’s ready to trot carefully down all seventeen carpet-covered steps, one at a time, like any normal fourlegs does.
“ello,mebunchalovlies” MisterAbbotpackmate, also known as Fruitylegs cos of his fruity backend pips, grins at the two fourlegs, frying pan in one paw, the Canadian in the other. Both ‘itla and Chips stare fixated at the big double pack of Tesco’s finest. Smelling the grease almost dripping off the plastic packaging.
“butfirstmelittlebeauties…” as FruityLegs opens the garden door with a short sharp back kick. ‘itla and Chips rush outside to great the day with some much needed squirting.
Chip squirts, the air steaming, and ‘itla immediately goes sniffing his brother’s squirt before squirting himself. Chips returns and sniffs ‘itla’s squirt.
‘itla decides a squirt isn’t enough to greet the day and decides on a small delicate poop in the flower bed. Followed by Chips who sniffs at it suspiciously When did you eat ‘that’?
“oi,youtwos” FruityLegs barks from the kitchen door. “stopshittin’intheflowers, that’swhatthepark’sfor!”
A frantic scrabble past the old hindlegs’ and both Jack Russels are back in the kitchen, looking up at the Canadian.
A few minutes of ridiculously deliciously sniffy frying action later, FruityLegs is handing down burnt offerings to each of them in turn.
Can’t he fry it and not burn it to a crisp everytime Chips complains.
“oneforyou” and ‘itla gets his burnt offering.
“andoneforyou” and Chips gets his burnt offering. Except he doesn’t cos ‘itla grabs it, gobbling it down fast and then going for the next.
Loses all the taste when burnt, innit! ‘itla says, almost retching cos he’s chewing so fast.
Oi! That’s mine yer nasty bastard Chips bites at ‘itla’s ear flap.
“nownow’itla,giveyerbrotherachance’itla, ‘ITLA!” and ‘itla gets a short sharp smack upside the head from FruityLegs for his troubles. “there’sareasonarenamedyou’itla”
Breakfast is followed by some bouncing around action on the couch, sniffing at the dumb flaplegs sitting in its cage, and totally ignoring the weird gold things floating round and around in a glass bowl of drink that FruityLegs keeps barking at in a silly affectionate bark.
Crazy old c-
Could you shut it, bruv, and stick yer headbin in yer collar so we can get outside
Front door to the house den is thrown open and ‘itla and Chips make a break for it, down the front garden path and noses squishing into the gate. Gate is opened and freedom beckons.
First to squirt is a true champion of the breed shouts Chips, heading straight for his favourite lamp post and cocking a leg.
Go on, give it some! ‘itla shouts, racing past towards his fave mark spot, the small green house bin three doors down. His squirt steams in the morning air.
‘comeonyoutwos” FruityLegs shuts the gate and starts down the street.
Chips is right on it and sniffing ‘itla’s squirt before he’s even finished. Can’t help topping it off with a small sprinkle of his own. The two fourlegs race to catch up, veering off to confront some nasty-looking scratch sitting on the bonnet of a growling round legs, parked at the kerb.
Git down from there yer animal Chip challenges, bouncing up and down, coming nowhere near close enough to throw a bite. ‘itla starts round the other side of the growling round legs, determined to get it first.
‘oi,’itla’,leavethecatalone” FruityLegs shouts at ‘itla. ‘comeonChips,there’sagoodboy”
Luv it, you started it, but I get the telling!
Life…bruv and Chips races away, spinning circles around the old hindlegs. They set off for the park.
“’scuseme,canyoustopyourdogspissingonmybin!” some sniffy hindlegs suddenly barks loudly from behind them.
“’itla?” the loud-jawed hindlegs barks. ‘whichone’sthat?”
Chips steps away from his brother.
Classic! ‘itla says to himself.
FruityLegs shakes his paw at the two fourlegs.
Duncan starts his day with a checklist of official police duties. First duty, squirt a long one in the designated corner of his cage. Second one, scratch it some, between the legs, beneath the chin, back between the legs, for good measure. Third one, sniff out the food bowl. Empty! Fourth one, start bitching.
Where’s the nosh then?
Duncan the Dobermann, part of the K9 unit of Thames Valley Force, cannot be expected to fulfil official police duties without first being fed. He knows PC Andersen packleader is around cos he heard his private growling roundlegs pull into the pound beforenow.
That’s classic that is he growls has his tea, has his bacon buttie, and forgets me!
How they let some foreign pussy like you onto the force beats me Tom, the German Shepherd in the next door cage shakes his earflaps. Oi, PC Smith! Where’s my brekkers?
It’s a scandal, I’m telling yous twos Shadow, the other GSD agrees – not sure if he’s agreeing to letting a n onto the force, or cos his bowl’s empty. PC Patel where’s my dogdamn breakfast? Where are you?
“what’sitwithalltheag?” PC Andersen packleader enters the pound.
Me first, me first! cries Jax.
Shut it yer fluffy-eared winger Shadow counters Me Me Me!
A lot of half-true insults are thrown at PC Andersen as he passes Tom and Shadow and enters Duncan’s cage, filling his bowl with chicken with rice biscuits. Duncan is nudging him aside with his snout, eager to get at his biscuits before PC Andersen packleader has even finished pouring them.
He looks up at the other two fourlegs, mouth full of biscuits When you boys gonna learn that experience gets rewarded first, erh?
Shit before the shovel Jax answers.
Yer foreign muttwit Shadow agrees.
The hindlegs call today, Saturday. And Saturday is the day for a spot of community policing. No howling roundlegs chasing the criminal element of the Thames Valley. Just a gentle walkies up and down Swallow making sure specific lamp posts are securely marked, empty plastic bags are given the hard eye treatment, and as much grub as possible is consumed from all those eateries on the high street.
“don’tforegetit’scup’n’cakedownatthepark?” the tiny voice from nowhere informs PC Andersen packleader.
“Rogerthat” PC Andersen packleader barks into his hand.
Duncan sniffs at the air. He doesn’t know who this Roger is, but it appears that PC Andersen packleader and himself are always doing what Roger tells them to do. Most of the time it’s a load of nonsense. What’s more, Roger’s not even around to do it himself. Typical lazy-assed hindlegs. He’ll never understand them. Only promising thing is, Roger is talking about cakes. Cakes is promising. Cakes is food!
Walking the mile. Walking the mile Duncan turns out of the compound, down Southworthy Street directly into Swallow High Road. He quickly marks the telephone exchange box on the corner.
“settheexample,Duncan” PC Andersen packleader chides, pulling him on.
Sniffs are colour to fourlegs. And the high street is full of colour this Saturday morning. Duncan’s nose is twitching out of control.
Eatery number one coming up.
“helloMisterJohnson” PC Andersen packleader greets another hindlegs who is wasting perfectly good drink washing his shop window. The bright sniff of red meat is overpowering. It gushes from the shop door in a red tide and makes Duncan’s earflaps twitch.
The hindlegs stops his washing, pops inside his shop and emerges moments later with something deliciously sniffy wrapped in paper.
“andcanhe?” the Johnson hindlegs offers a big fat sausage to Duncan.
“canIstophim,oryou!” and both hindlegs bark their laughing bark.
That’ll work and Duncan takes the sausage carefully, throws up his head and tries swallowing it. Too big. He sits on the pavement and gets down to some serious munching. The hindlegs bark a bit more nonsense to each other before pressure on his lead instructs Duncan it’s time to walk on.
Walking the mile…
I sniff you, Duncan
I sniff you too, Treacle Duncan answers between licking his chops.
The chocolate brown Labrador, service guide dog to MajorSinghGurkhasretiredpackmate, known across Swallow’s community as Sixlegs, stops in front of him.
Police work as hard to swallow as ever, I see Treacle notes, sniffing a touch too enviously.
Has it’s moments
Bluddy hell, you got it lucky
The hindlegs briefly exchange nonsense before Sixlegs says “comeoneTreacle,can’tkeepthelawfromitsbusiness” yanking hard at his harness to shift him on.
Means we can’t hold him up from the 11.30 bet on the longlegs
Got that, and kindest regards to MajorSinghGurkhasretiredpackmate because only Duncan calls Sixlegs by his full honorific.
Sixlegs walks on “getlivelyTreacle” the old blind hindlegs pushing Treacle faster along the high street towards Ladbrokes.
Roger says there’s a bake and cake sale in the park Duncan reminds him.
Fat chance of getting some of that
Cos of the eyes?
I’m not the one who’s blind
Alright, I’m moving fast as I bluddy can
Moving on, plodding the beat into a High Street packed with so many colours stuffing up his snout.
Sausage buried, next up Costa…
If Mary-Antoinette, the Poodle who goes by the common name Mary-A, is not the most pampered fourlegs in Swallow, then she wants to know who the hell is?
“Oh,oh,oh,mapetitprincess” Irene, her hindlegs companion coos affectionately. Irene, also known as Smackers to the intimates, cos of her smack, crackle and pop bonework every time she moves, Irene pulls out the grooming brush and threatens “Lo-okMary-Antoniette,mapetitechiot!” Out comes the brush. Smackers sets to uncurling those Poodle curls with a relish.
I’m not a puppy. I’m a Poodle. Poodles have curls. They can’t uncurl. Let’s get over this shall we!
“ah,trèsnoisytoday,mapetitechiot” as boney hands stretch out, clutching at Mary-A’s head like something out of Alien. Smackers starts clawing the brush through her fur.
Ouch! I don’t deserve this. I really don’t
All Mary-A wants to do is get outdoors, get into the streets, indulge in some squirting, poooping and sweet fourplay with the fourlegs.
Smackers gives the Poodle a curt slap round the earflaps. “arrêtez!…ve…bruuuush!”
The sniffy wind is carrying the squirt of four or five male fourlegs from nearby streets. Mary-A drinks it in like fine Bordeaux. There’s Giblets out for his 10am. Tick. Been there beforenow. He’s a player. Fourlegs believe only in the here and now. Whatever happened in the past is still now. Whatever might happen in the future is still now. Obviously!
GitOrrf!. Forget that scruffy smelly creature. Tick. Treacle, ah, that poor shackled animal. Fat and blind. Tick. She raises her head and sniffs deeply. Mister Park. The Korean Jindo. A big interesting male, but sniffs of even more garlic than Smackers – who’s French. No tick…yet.
She scrunches up her snout. Oh no, not her! sniffing in the soft lavender colours of Missy Biscuits. That skanky red marled Australian’s Shepherd’s out and about. Stay away from me, bitch, and my boys…
Blotting it all out, a tsunami of rich earth-brown delight suddenly floods into her little curly-topped head.
Oh yes, oh yes, it’s him as she begins pulling at her lead, dragging Smackers along in a crackling, crunching and popping of knees. She sniffs her current number one hottie. K9 Duncan. Move it, Smackers. I gotta a très important rendezvous coming up…
Smackers pulls her up short and whips out her electric green scoop-the-poop plastic bag. She thrusts her boney claw into it, waving it around in the air like its Halloween.
Why Mary-A cannot just do her caca in the street without it being bagged and tagged is anyone’s guess. She stops, squats and squeezes one off just to make Smackers happy. Pulling to go before the hindlegs barely unsticks it from the pavement. I got a hot date to catch. Mush! Vite!
Turning into the high street, following the earth-brown trail of Duncan, doing her best to keep Smackers on the straight and even. But love is never easy being a fourlegs. There’s Missy Biscuits dead ahead. Blocking the way to her beloved.
Tiny poodle legs pick up speed, Smackers having to go with the flow, momentum carrying them forward. Ramming speed right into the rear end of Missy Biscuits.
I sniff you, Missy Slapper
Watch it, Frogslegs as the far bigger Australian Shepherd sinks her teeth into the Poodle’s ear.
The two hindlegs pull the girls apart in a snarling and claw-scrabbling-against-pavement moment of pure outrage and indignation.
“non,non,non,Marie!” Smackers pants.
“That’snotnice,Missy.MISSY!!” Tony, her somewhat ineffectual hindlegs owner frets.
Get off me yer bouncy mouse
Don’t give it if you can’t take it, mate
Both fourlegs are pulled apart.
Mary-A is angry that all this is happening right in front of Duncan. He looks on impassively.
Keep the peace, ladies he growls softly, deeply. His brown eyeholes connecting directly with Missy Biscuits.
The little Poodle’s heart sinks.
Are you twos an item, then? She asks, not really wanting to know the answer.
Me and the Niner? You think so?
I think he needs quality not quantity
And that’ll be you, right?
“c’monMissy” Tony tinkers at her lead.
It’s okay Tony my love, nothing happening here Missy Biscuits squirts a quick calling card right in front of the Poodle, eyes out for Duncan flex his snout in reaction, and then heads off up the high street ignoring both Dobermann and Poodle, pulling fretful Tony along as an afterthought. Message sent. And received
Australians Mary-A sniffs at the squirt, dousing it with her own Such slappers!
She scoots up to Duncan, sniffing at his nether Are you an item then?
(The story of ‘itla & Chips continues next week…)