Henry the English Bull mastiff, the biggest and mildest fourlegs around, is facing an awkward problem at Swallow’s Veterinarians for Livestock & Pets. Thinking he’s going in for his annual rabies jab, he wakes up after the Op to discover it’s for a much more personal problem. Something to send him right off his chain, and wreak vengeance on all doggies within mauling distance. It may have something to do with a new nick name spreading on a sniffy wind amongst all the Swallow’s fours: Big Knickers.
Down at the Dog Inn, second best pub in Swallows, Franks is emptying away a few pints of the black stuff. Henry knows it’s the Guinness. He knows it’s the Guinness because Franks likes to come down with Cheryl every night and bang home more than a few, barking Guinness this and Guinness that. Until Franks is so tanked up he can’t see straight and starts confusing Henry with Cheryl.
And nows Henry is waiting for that pissed off his head moment.
That’s it. Game on.
Franks and Cheryl are used to Henry wandering off while sticking their faces in their jars of Guinness and tonight’s no exception.
Got some business to attend to Franks he slobbers all over Franks’ knees and wanders out the door of the Dog Inn.
Outside, he makes one last futile attempt to inspect his essentials under the pink diaper but all he can manage is getting his snout a little way in between the elasticated strap and his own fur. Royt then he rambles off, leaving heavy prints in the whitedrink.
Watch out, Big Knickers is about
It’s a dog damn scandal…
Yeah, Swallows is going to the dogs, I’m telling yers
Owf, sniff those big knickers
He twists his head to catch the raised voices of the fours around town, recognises who’s mouthing off and memorising names.
There’s gonna be a reckoning I reckon he mutters to himself, jogging on a bit faster, which ain’t really a lot faster for a four the size of Henry. He makes straight towards the fours number one nighttime marker spot.
‘round back of Tesco Extra there’s no less than five green council bins. Neatly lined up in all-you-can-eat buffet style, ready for the fours to nosh their way happily until morning when the hot ball gets thrown back into the sky. Fourlegs cannot comprehend the passing of time except by the number of squirts on marker posts they make during the night. But five Tesco’s Extra bins means at least five squirts worth of noshing. Holding sentinel are a few scratch, watching on from high spots where the fours can’t get at them.
All the likely street fours suspects are on scene, GitOrrf!, Tuffy, Drizzle, Sausage, the Dachshund – who’s misplaced his hindlegs companions again; and nows Mayumi, who’s enjoying the novelty of life sans vegans.
Henry’s shadow proceeds him, washed black against the yellow sodium lights of the street marker posts.
Hey ho, I sniff yers Big Knickers hails Tuffy, mouth stretched ‘round a polystyrene packet of button mushrooms. They don’t taste so good, but nosh is nosh.
Drizzle’s got his front toes up on the bin pulling out a plastic bag full of cheese and pepperoni mini pizzas. Leftovers they heat up and serve in shop. Nows that does taste good. Yo, big knickers he joins in.
Royt, that’s it as Henry continues at walking pace right up to Tuffy.
Tuffy drops the button mushrooms, sensing the sniff off Henry is not a positive one.
I sniff you Henry, and I subm –
SUBMIT THIS Henry’s massive toes land on Tuffy’s earflaps, knocking button mushroom every which way, slobbery mouth yawing open and taken a chunk out of Tuffy’s right earflap.
Ouch! What th –
Next up is Drizzle. A powerful Rhodesian Ridgeback that’s fallen on hard times and lives in the woods at the back of Herdwick pooping park.
It’s okay Big Knick – erh Henry – I submit, man
We’re beyond that as Henry turns towards him, a bloody flap of Tuffy’s ear still in his mouth, head butting Drizzle to the ground and squashing his snout well hard into his pepperoni and cheese. Drizzle rolls away back up onto his feet. Hackles raised, teeth bared and ready to give the fight back.
Henry stands, squared-on, waiting.
Freaky muttwit was it? Henry says slowly, casually awaiting Drizzle’s ramming attack. Drizzle thinks better of it and slinks back.
And which else of yours is it who slags me ‘big knickers’?
All the fours stare aghast at Henry, solid and dangerous. More so that he’s nows on scene and capable of kicking the poop out the collective lot of’em.
Drizzle, GitOrrf! and Mayumi all point toes at Tuffy.
SUBMIT! he roars, stamping right up there into Tuffy’s face, snout to snout.
There’s gonna be a ruckus and they all know who’s gonna get a hard slapping, particularly Tuffy.
Hen-ree, Hen-ree Mayumi calls just as Henry lifts up both front toes to begin some right hammering-from-hell dead center of Tuffy’s earflaps. Her voice puts him off balance and he lands down with a stumble. It’s enough for Tuffy to leap away.
What? he growls down at her.
Fearlessly she walks right up to him and touches snouts.
It don’t matter, Hen-ree. Really it don’t
And why’s that then? he says heavily.
Uh-huh, why is that then? adds GitOrrf! for good measure.
Good point adds Drizzle being helpful Why?
Shurrup boys Mayumi trots ‘round back of Henry and sniffs at his large pink diaper. She waits for him to turn around, facing her.
And? he repeats, the need for some heavy ‘submit’ action still coursing through his body like hot lava.
Because, you big mutt-weet, better called gig knic-kars than called small knic-kars, ayaa?
Swallow’s town center is dead quiet ‘cept for the fast breathing of a load of fours at the bins ‘round back of Tesco Extra.
Henry’s deep, elongated face creases in concentration.
Erh, or no knickers suggests Tuffy, obsequious like.
Or sexy knickers nods Drizzle, who also goes by the name of Fudge.
Or furry knickers adds Sausage.
Furry knickers?? the fours all look at Sausage.
His eyeballs bounce from one to the other and back to Henry, up there high as the dogs. What happens happens…and furry knickers can happen didn’t yer knows that, Big Knickers ‘enry?
S’pose so Henry raises one eyeball, slobbering a bit over Sausage’s head. He suddenly stops his slobbering, a painful knot passing across his brain under both earflaps in the shape of a brand new thought. Big Knickers ‘enry…I like the sound of that, Sausage! Big Knickers ‘enry he tries it on again for size.
Right minty adds Tuffy, croaking in not inconsiderable pain now that part of head gear is bitten off.
Big Knickers ‘enry it is Henry announces, plodding over to Tuffy who automatically rolls over on his back thrusting all four toes up in the air, submissive like.
Sorry about the earflap Tuffy Henry spits out the bit still stuck between his teeth.
Nah, don’t worry about it mate, I got a spare ain’t I? Tuffy wheedles, peaking up between raised toes, surrounded by button mushrooms, thanking all the dogs above that it wasn’t the other earflap that got chewed, the one with the council tag.
Henry swivels his head round to take in all the fours.
They hold their breath.
Royt then and he turns away, slowly plodding into the night, repeating his new name until he can remember it.
All the while the scratch watch the fourlegs proceedings from on high , unblinking, and cold-bloodedly waiting their chance to return to the bins behind Tesco Extra…their bins!
Ayaa, now what? Mayumi asks, thinking that a nice cosy houseden really isn’t such a bad thing right about nows. Even one infested with vegans.
What nows young lady? steps in Drizzle, stubby tail up and wagging in expectation of a sweet bit of eight leggers action well hows nows about I walk you home…my home?
Dream on mutt-weet, I like my boys beeg
I’m big says Drizzle, and he is with those wide haunches of his.
I mean beeg. Like in Beeg Knickers ‘en-ree… B.E.E.G.
What happens happens adds Sausage for no better reason than to open his mouth.
If it’s only fast to the finish quantities yer afters and not the slow dancing qualities, like…then…well then, yers comes to the wrong bins, luv! Drizzle huffs, turning his snubby tale in her snout and returning to his cheese and pepperoni dinner.
He’s right, Mayumi says GitOrrf!
About fast to the fin-eesh, Char-lee?
Nah, about going home. You don’t belong out here with this rough sort
I heard that adds Sausage
Ayaa, no way, no more vee-gans
Then yer better come back with me to the rectory and join the homeless. Cos I got a plan!
And off they trot. Stop. Remembering they’re at Tesco Extra bins. And proper fourlegs don’t leave no bin behind. Turn round. And stay nows for a healthy bit of noshing whilst on site.
And then, laters, much laters, off they trot.
“stopallthatyapping” Revlegs barks from behind the big front door of St. Michael’s rectory.
Op-een up, pleeese sir, op-een up
Oh, pleeese sir, op-een up, op-een up!
“Lord,passeththiscup” and the big front door swings open letting out light and heat. “Itoldyou bef-Oh,hello!”
The sweetest, cutest little Spitz sits on the front door mat. It rolls its little fluffy body over and paddles it toes all vulnerable-like at Revlegs.
Oh, pleeese sir Mayumi whines in her best hindlegs-love-me voice. PLEESE!
And the Revlegs stretches down his paws and picks her up.
In that moment, GitOrrf! tip-toes unseen into the warm houseden for the packhomeless. And his escape from the cold whitedrink of night.
We’re in and furtively keeps to the shadows until out of sight and sniff of Revlegs. Soon he’s trotting off to find Halfleg.
“elloCharlie,whereyoubeenthenboy?” Halfleg ruffles GitOrrf!’s earflaps. “anyffakkingBullmerswithyers?” Gitorrf! leaps up onto the bed, stretching out across Halfleg’s half legs.
St. Michael’s rectory is very sniffy of the hindlegs packhomeless, twitching at Mayumi’s snout and making her sneeze in Revleg’s earflap.
“nonsense,nonsense,nonsense” he softly barks carrying her into the main dormitory, where a whole load of hindlegs wander around, sitting or sleeping on their beds. Until, of course, he sees crippled Mr Stevens with that scruffy muttwit up on his bed, stretched out like he owns the dog damn place.
“gitorrfcharlie,hisfakingHolinessishere” Halfleg shoves him off with his stump. “underthebedmate,quick,beforeheseesyers!” Gitorrf! hides under the bed.
“mrStevens,isthatdogback?” Revlegs barks out, his voice stirring a few of the packhomeless sleepers. They growl at him before burying themselves deeper beneath their covers.
Revlegs reaches Halfleg’s camp bed, staring down at him, a big scowl on his fisog.
“noyerHoliness,heain’t” says Halfleg, innocently.
You got a muvver, Halfleg? Gitorrf! exclaims loudly.
Shuddup Char-lee Mayumi adds.
“Iknewit” Revlegs shakes his head. “here,holdthis” dumping Mayumi on Halfleg’s lap and pulling back the covers to reveal Gitorrf!. “outyoucome” and before GitOrrf! can retreat further under the bed he gets collared and lifted into the air “andoutyougo!”
See yer laters Halfleg GitOrrf! calls back as he gets carried towards the front door – again. See yer laters Mayumi
See you Char-lee
Door opens. GitOrrf! dumped outside. Door shuts.
Okaay then as Gitorrf! pads his familiar way ‘round to the sniffy end of St. Michaels where the packhomeless do all their squirting. He’ll be back under Halfleg’s bed, scratching hairy plumbs, in no time at all.
Halfleg stares at the fluffy little mutt sitting on his lap. Mayumi stares back. Revlegs is gone, obviously that mush of a brain between his furless earflaps forgetting all about Mayumi. Typical hindlegs, thinks Mayumi. Complete muttwits.
“ello” says Halfleg.
Hello half-leeg replies Mayumi, curling up, warm and comfortable. And she decides heres and nows that this new street life – without vee-gans – is gonna be the life for her; before she falls asleep into her chasing dream.
Big Knickers ‘enry steps out of the Dog Inn leading his two companions back to their houseden.
“nonsense,nonsense,nonsense” slurs Franks.
“nonsense, nonsense” replies Cheryl, clinging onto him as her hindlegs paws slip and slide in the whitedrink.
It’s the Guinness what does that the English Bull Mastiff knows. Always the same story. The sniffy brew making both his hindlegs yap even more nonsense than usual.
Reaching the front door of the houseden, Franks fumbles about in his cloth furs before slapping his paw at the door, over and over.
“‘can’tgetitin” he slurs, making Cheryl giggle.
Bit more paw slapping until, finally, there’s a clicking sound and the door swings open.
As the hindlegs stumble about in the hallway, the big fourlegs makes his way directly to Cheryl’s special chair. The very chair he’s not supposed to sit in, sleep on, or look at. And by the time Franks and Cheryl appear, hanging on
the doorframe and each other, he’s up there on it, with Farty the Hippo, Squeaky the plastic bell bar that squeaks, and Ball, the ultra tough rubber ball spread all about him.
Cheryl barks indignantly, waving her paws about a bit before falling onto the sofa. The very sofa where Big Knickers ‘enry also likes to lie flat out and fart. Franks tumbles onto the sofa beside her.
“what’redoingHenry?” Franks slurs, his woozy eyeballs staring at Cheryl’s chair, waiting an explanation.
He gets it.
Royt then, there’s gonna be some changes in this houseden! And, from nows on, it’s Big Knickers ‘enry!