Toy-Boy’s Mother by Alton Bostick

Today is the fifth day in the series of holiday stories, poems and songs created by members of the Trinity Writers’ Workshop. These submissions were included in the  TWW Christmas Book which was given to children and their families during the  Christmas at the Stockyards event in Fort Worth, Texas on December 3, 2011. The fifth of these writers is Alton Bostick.

Alton grew up in Fort Worth Texas and, like his dad, was a firefighter. He has completed three novels, one memoir, a series of short stories narrated by his Jack Russell Terrier and numerous essays.

Toy-Boy’s Mother

By Alton J. Bostick

It was Christmas afternoon and we’d had a wonderful surprise from dear old Santa. He’d brought the very thing my sister and I most wanted in the entire world: a puppy. We’d already named him Toy-Boy because he was part toy fox terrier.

After a huge Christmas dinner and a nap, to make up for getting up two hours early, my sister and I insisted that grandpa tell us a story.

“Well this is a ghost story—” he began.

“Grandpa this isn’t Halloween,” Sis said.

“I guess I could tell you about this bunny who—”

“It’s not Easter either,” I said.

“Now I could tell you the story about Toy-Boy’s mother, but I don’t know if you two would even be interested to hear about that.”

In unison we cried, “Yes we would.”

“Okay, but I warn you it’s a sad story. Let’s see where to start. I guess that would be when Dolly, that was his mother’s name, was fired from her job catching mice at the hatchery.

You see, she had a bad injury to her left hind leg when she was younger. Still she’d been able to catch those mice. Of course as she got older the leg became stiffer and stiffer and she just couldn’t run fast enough to do her job anymore. The man at the hatchery said, ‘I’m sorry but these are hard times and I can’t afford to keep feeding you when you don’t get your duties done. I’ve had to give your job to someone younger. I hope you find another job soon.’

As she left, insult was added to the loss as a cat rubbed against the man’s trousers.

It wasn’t too cold most nights, but when the spring rains began, she had to sleep under a dock and by morning her leg was awful bad. Worse than the cold, was being hungry most of the time. That is until the day she met Buck, a handsome and somewhat younger rat terrier. He was on his way to the ballpark which was some distance across town. ‘There’s a game there just about every night,’ he said, ‘The people buy hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn and bring all kinds of snacks. I’m always able to get more than I can eat.’

Dolly was excited at the prospect of having a full tummy for a change, so she asked, ‘Can I go with you?’

‘Can you keep up with that bum leg of yours?’ Buck asked.

‘I won’t let it slow you down too much,’ she said, knowing even as she said it, that it likely would slow them a lot.

Buck said, ‘Aw for a cute little thing like you, I’d take my time.’

He was a charmer all right.

Still they got to the ballpark and found a nice dry spot to sleep and folks gave them all the food they needed. Then a wonderful thing happened after they’d been there a few months, Dolly had four puppies, and she was so proud of them.

Buck said, ‘Yeah, their awfully cute but, how are you going to move them across town they don’t even have their eyes open yet.’

‘Why would I want to move them across town?’ she asked.

Buck said, ‘Don’t you know anything? You haven’t noticed that there hasn’t been a game here this week? The season’s over.’

‘What’ll we do?’ she howled.

‘Look Doll, I’ve got to leave in the morning. This time of year, several old friends of mine sleep under a bridge out by the dump ground. The food isn’t all that good, certainly nothing like we had here this summer, but it got me through last winter.’

‘I can’t move these puppies across town. I’ll have to stay here.’

The next morning as he was about to leave, Buck said, ‘Dolly I feel bad about this, and though I usually don’t give away these little secrets, here’s what you do. Go across that wide main street over in that direction on the other side is a fire station. The firemen will see that you’re nursing puppies and they’ll feed you.’

‘Thank Buck; will you be back next spring?’

‘You know me, unless a better deal comes along I’ll be back,’ Buck said.

‘That street is so hard to cross and with my bad leg— Oh well good luck,’ Dolly said and meant it.

As Buck had predicted the people at the fire station fed her every day. But the puppies needed more milk as they grew, so she had to make two trips a day.  There was no way she could get four puppies safely across that busy street. As weather got colder her leg didn’t work as well and it was harder to cross that road.

One day Dolly was sure she could make it, but sadly she couldn’t. The fire fighters hurried out to her and rushed her to a nearby vet. But it didn’t look good. Then someone remembered that they’d been told that this dog had been seen down by the ballpark. The puppies had to be found or they would starve. So the fire fighters got on the fire truck and went to the ballpark. They looked and looked but— then a tiny whimper was heard and soon the puppies were on their way back to the fire station.  They stopped at a store got a large box for them to sleep in and a bag of puppy chow. By that night they’d learned to lap warm milk and eat puppy food. The Captain said, ‘We’ve got to find homes for these pups.’

One of the fire fighters said, “I know who can find homes for these two young ones. When Santa comes by to pick up the toys we’ve collected he’ll know just the right boys and girls to give them to or should we go ahead and call the North Pole now?’

‘No need for that Santa sees everything this time of the year.’ The Captain declared.

And that’s how Santa got Toy-Boy and his sister for some very lucky kids this Christmas.”

About that time our Mom came into the room and said, “Grandpa why would you tell a story about this pup’s mother being killed.”

“I said it didn’t look good, I didn’t say she died.  In fact the vet fixed that bum leg of hers. It’s good as knew now and so is she.  Oh yes and Dolly has a new job, she’s the mascot at Fire Station Seventeen. Sometimes she even gets to ride on their big fire truck.”

Don’t forget that beginning January 2, 2012, I am offering a two month class in character development called Simply Creating Fictional Characters.

The class will include techniques in building believable, interesting three-dimensional characters. I will also assist and encourage students to interact with each other through twitter, facebook and their blogs.

I think it will be a great way to start the new year.

To find out more about the classes go to http://www.sharonkowen.com click on the tab classes and creative writing classes.

Looking forward to seeing your there

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About Sharon K Owen

I am a fiction writer, a university professor, a copy editor and an online writing teacher. My first Romantic Suspense: Thicker Than Water (Brands Crossing Series) was published in 2011 and the second book in the series, Whatever Goes Around, will be published in 2016. My short stories and poetry have been published in Descant, Concho River Review, Iron Horse, American Literary Review, Trinity Writer's Workshop newsletter and collections of Christmas stories. I am blessed with a loving, supportive family, a multitude of friends and the good fortune to share a cozy sanctuary in North Texas with my two cats (Matt and Cinders).

Posted on December 12, 2011, in Trinity Writers Workshop, Writers, Writers Groups, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I really enjoyed that story. Thank you for posting it.
    Patti

    • Thanks Patti.
      Alton is a wonderful writier. i will be sharing another of his stories and one of his wife’s in this series.

      Sharon

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