“I want it all!, I want it all!, and I want it now!” Brian May struck the iconic Red Special guitar and the music began to rumble through the room. John Deacon and Roger Taylor looked at each other and smiled before pounding out the rhythm.
It was imperceptible at first, and it wasn’t until I noticed it that I realized I had no control. My head had begun to bop up and down to the beat. Really though, who could resist the pulsing of music in their veins.
Too much. It was simply too much for my little doggy brain to handle. I hopped up on to my back legs and began to dance.
I looked on in shock and awe as the notes rolled off the frets and swirled and materialized into solid black notes floating around my head. They too danced and pulsed to the tune.
It was a party! I love parties!
Freddy Mercury strutted up to me. My butt sank to the ground and I sat there looking up at my idol. Freddy plopped down on the floor beside me. He looked deeply into my eyes and began to scratch me under my chin with his black lacquered nails. This was seventies Freddy, with the long flowing locks.
“I prefer cats, but you are very pretty darling,” he said, his fingers still caressing my chin.
“You wanna smoke,” he asked, lighting another cigarette and letting himself go.
“No thank you. I don’t smoke, it’s not healthy,” I answered, shaking my head to emphasize my dislike for the habit.
“I suppose you are a vegetarian, like Brian over there, aren’t you dear?”
Brian looked at me with a smile and winked. I shook my head again.
“Nah, I tried it, I pooped too much, but Mommy and Daddy are” I said, a little embarrassed by my confession.
“You don’t say,” Freddie said.
“You hungry,” he asked.
“Always!” I answered, with thoughts of pizza dancing in my head.
I watched, more than a little perplexed, as Freddie reached up and grabbed one of the black notes that was dancing about our heads and took a bite out of it.
“Mmmmmm, delicious darling. It tastes like biscuit,” he said with a mouthful of sixteenth note.
“Biscuit?” I looked at him oddly, wondering what the heck he was talking about.
“Biscuit, you know, a cookie?”
“I want it all! I want it all! And I want it right now,” I sang enthusiastically to the song whilst I sprung to my feet and grabbed a handful of notes and started chowing down on them.
The sound came from deep inside my tummy.
“Oh dear!” Freddie exclaimed.
My eyes popped open, and I looked around, disappointed to find out that neither Queen, nor the delicious tasting dancing notes were in the car.
“Why did you have to wake me up Mommy?” I asked, more than a little sad to find out that I had been dreaming.
“We are here sweetie!”
I sat up to look out the window. We were driving down a narrow road that wound through the middle of the forest. I was excited, but also a little nervous to be back in the woods. A fear of getting lost again crept over me.
I could see a little gravel drive up ahead.
“There it is,” Daddy said pointing to the road. I felt the car slow down, then Daddy made the turn. I listened as the stones crunched beneath us. The tiny little pathway took us around a bend.
My eyes grew big.
“Wowwie.” I gulped
The road came to an end right in front of us. The car coasted to a stop and we all stared out the front window at the landscape that waited for us.
The curtain of trees had pulled back to reveal a large clearing in the woods. Set back at the far end sat a house made out of trees.
“What a cute rustic cabin, “Mommy said, falling into Daddy’s arms.
“Yuck,” I said loudly. I find it disturbing when Mommy and Daddy get mushy. They do weird things.
“This is our home for the next four days,” Mommy said gleefully. She was happy because she won an argument with Daddy. He wanted to go camping in a tent and Mommy wanted to go camping in a cabin, so they compromised and went camping in a cabin. I don’t know why it is called a compromise, because it seems like Mommy got her way, but that is what she calls it.
Daddy opened the car door, and I jumped out eager to explore. I took off, sniffing here and sniffing there and sniffing everywhere. I love the smell of nature. I also love to listen to the birdies sing, and they were singing beautifully today. I wanted to go in the woods so much, but no way was I going without Mommy or Daddy. It is always better to be lost with people you love instead of being lost all alone.
“Hmmmmm, what are they up to?” I wondered out loud. I turned to look back towards the car, but nothing interesting at all was happening, only unpacking. I was curious to see what the cabin looked like inside, so I trotted behind Daddy. We went back and forth and in and out taking luggage, pillows, and sleeping bags.
All this following Daddy around was tiring, so I quick found my bed in the corner and curled up inside it to take a nap.
My eyes snapped open at the sound, but not quick enough. The big black dog was soaring through the air like a giant bird, free and beautiful, but what was about to happen to me was not going to be beautiful at all.
Daisy crashed into my body with a bone crunching thud.
“Ugh,” I managed to mutter as all the air was sucked out of my lungs.
“That was fun,” Daisy’s eyes twinkled with joy.
“I could do it again!”
“Let’s not,” I moaned, still sore from the collision.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, puzzled by her presence.
“I am a surprise! At least that is what my mommy said on the drive down here,” a broad smile spread across the older dogs face.
“An excellent surprise,” my body filled with the urge to dance.
“What the heck, why not” I muttered to myself hopping up on my back legs and starting to do the floss.
“Wooo hooo,” Daisy shouted and joined in the dance.
“Who wants to go to the lake?” Robin shouted.
“We do! We do!” Daisy and I whooped together while jumping up and down.
“Let’s go!” Mommy said grabbing her backpack and slinging it over her shoulder. With that we were off!
Crack, crackly, crack!
Went the twigs and sticks under our feet as we marched through the woods. We had only been hiking for a few minutes before the trees began to thin out and we saw blue in front of us. As we drew closer, we saw a lake that was surrounded by hills on three side, the fourth, which was closest to us, had a small beach and a couple of picnic tables off to one side.
Daisy and I stopped in our tracks and looked at each other, smiles breaking out across both of our faces.
“Race you?” she asked
“You’re on,” I yelled.
Not waiting, I took off at a full sprint and Daisy gave chase. While she was older than me, she was also in much better shape than I was. It didn’t take her long to catch up to me and zoom past me.
Daisy reached the shoreline and leapt into the air, crashing down into the lake with a big splash. The water shot up around her then went out in small concentric ripples, before eventually fading away into nothingness.
“Wow, she is crazy,” a deep voice said from behind me. I jumped in the air, all four paws leaving the ground, that was how startled I was.
A strong muscular golden retriever stood behind me.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” he smiled. His eyes twinkled and he had the most dazzling smile I had ever seen.
“Oh no problem,” I replied, trying to hide my embarrassment.
“My name is Lucas,” he bowed his head politely.
“Nice to meet you Lucas, I am Cindee, and that crazy dog over there is my friend Daisy”
“It’s nice to meet you too,” he moved to stand closer to me.
“Are you guys coming swimming or what?” Daisy called from the lake where she was now paddling away and kicking up a storm with her back legs.
“She isn’t shy at all is she?” Lucas commented.
“Do you swim?” he asked.
“I love to swim,” I answered with my best googly eyes.
“Then let’s go!”
Soon all three of us were swimming and playing tag along the beach, then dipping back into the water again, laughing and shouting in joy the whole time.
I looked to the shore to make sure Mommy and Daddy hadn’t left us. I breathed out a sigh of relief when I spotted them with Robin eating lunch at one of the picnic tables.
“How long are you girls here for?” Lucas asked, drawing my attention back to him, all three of us leisurely treading water as we talked.
“We are here for the long weekend,” I replied, unable to take my gaze off his eyes.
“How about you,” Daisy inquired.
“I am here for the week with my Daddy and his girlfriend. I hope we bump into each other again,” he said wistfully.
“Me too,” I answered, smiling at him.
“Lucas,” a man’s voice called from the woods.
“Ah shoot, I gotta go. I usually come here every day at this time. If you get a chance look for me,” he said hopefully. I smiled at him, in fact, I couldn’t stop smiling at him. What the heck is wrong with me I wondered to myself.
“I will remember to ask my Daddy,” I answered without thinking. I could feel the heat begin to creep up into my face.
“Cool! Bye Daisy! See you later Cindee!” he waved his tail and disappeared into the stand of trees.
Not long after Lucas left, Mommy, Daddy and Robin began to clean up. They packed up the leftovers and gathered all the garbage in a bag. Once they were happy with the way they were leaving things we made the short hike back through the woods to our cabin.
Rounding a bend on the path we came to the clearing that was our yard for the weekend. Something wasn’t quite right though.
“What is that odor Daisy?”
“Dunno, I never smelled anything like it before,” she answered with a puzzled look on her face. I scrunched up my own forehead. Just then Mommy screamed. We looked up in time to see her pointing at the cabin.
“The door, it’s open” she cried out!
The floorboards on the porch protested beneath our weight. We all congregated outside the partially opened door trying to peak in, but to little avail. None of us could see a thing inside.
“I will lead the way and protect us!” Daisy growled. Everyone gathered behind the big black dog.
“I will stay out here and guard the door, just in case someone tries to sneak up on us,” I said as bravely as I could, hoping that nobody would notice my tail tucked between my legs.
I watched intently as Daisy pushed the door open and silently crept inside. One by one, Daddy, Mommy then Robin disappeared inside behind her, leaving me all alone outside, where I felt much safer, I will admit.
I stood on tippy toe with my head outstretched trying to see what was inside without actually having to enter the cabin. I could see everyone moving around, inspecting the place.
“Jesus amado!” Mommy cried out. I stood out on the porch trembling. I am not sure which was worse, the fear of what was inside, or the fear that something was happening to Mommy. Mustering all my courage, which I admit was not very much, I gulped and took a deep breath. I closed my eyes, put my head down and charged into the cabin. I immediately stumbled into something and heard Daisy yelp as I hit the ground. Quickly, I curled up into a ball.
“Geez Cindee watch where you are going! It’s okay to open your eyes.” Daisy climbed to her feet and rebuked me while dusting herself off.
I looked around at our cabin. It was a mess. It was like one of those police drama’s that Mommy likes to watch on television. The place had been trashed. Cushions from the sofa were thrown clear across the room. The blankets had been torn from the beds. Clothes had been removed from the suitcase and strewn across both the living area and the kitchen.
“Oh my gosh,” I uttered breathlessly.
“I bet it was that Lucas,” Daisy growled.
“Something wasn’t right about that boy. He asked too many questions and he was too polite. Have you ever seen a dog that polite before Cindee?” she was now including me in her rant.
Of course, I couldn’t answer her. I simply stood there with my mouth open, shocked by my surroundings. I mean some of the things that Daisy was saying made sense, but why? Why would Lucas do this to us?
“Well, let’s get this place cleaned up,” Daddy said.
“Humpf,” Daisy grunted. Despite her brief protest, she calmed down enough to help with the cleanup.
A million little stars …
Looked down at us and winked happily. The delicious smell of vegan marshmallows roasting over an open flame danced on the end of my nose. Daddy had one that was golden brown that he took from his stick and put between two chocolate covered graham cracker cookies.
“Here’s a smore for you,” he said handing it to Mommy. I didn’t want to burst his bubble, but that concoction wasn’t a real smore, it was fake. Even though it was a counterfeit, it still looked and smelled yummy!
I watched as the log on the fire went pop pop pop. Hundreds of tiny orange sparks shot into the air and danced in the night sky. They were like magical little fire faeries. I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it would be if Lucas was here looking at them with me. Was this puppy love I wondered?
I didn’t get to enjoy the moment for too long though. I was brought crashing back to the mundane world by what sounded like the screeching and wailing of a pride of cats with their tails stuck in a door.
I shook my head and looked around to see what was making that unbearable noise. To my astonishment and saddened heart, it was Mommy, Daddy and Robin singing. How is it possible that three people could have so little talent when it came to music? To make matters worse, Daisy joined in with a terrible caterwauling of her own.
I laid my head down, closed my eyes, and put my paws over my ears in a futile attempt to make it all stop. Then without warning, my prayers were answered. Right in the middle of a “song” the singing ceased.
I poked my head up and looked at Mommy and Daddy. Their focus was on the woods around them.
“What’s that?” Daisy asked.
I sat up and listened intently. There was the sound of twigs snapping and leaving rustling coming from the woods. Both Daisy and I swung our heads in the direction of the path opening.
A pair of glowing eyes suddenly appeared within the shape of an unrecognizable dark shadow. I yelped when I saw it.
Carefully, it moved forward into the light, revealing its golden hair.
“Lucas!” I shouted gleefully.
“Get out of here! Now! You destroyed our home you beast,” Daisy stood and barked at him. Lucas stood silently, gazing back at her with a bewildered look.
“Lucas,” I whispered. He turned his gaze on me and it shifted from bewildered to hurt.
“Go now!” Daisy growled.
Lucas turned and ran off into the woods in the direction he had come from.
“Why Daisy?” I asked.
“Good riddance,” was her only reply.
The night went quiet again. Everyone sat silently and gazed trance like into the flames. Everyone except for me. I rolled over on my back and closed my eyes while I listened to the sounds of night life in the woods. The crickets and the frogs sang for me. I must admit, their song was much lovelier than my families. When I opened my eyes, I saw the moon shrouded by a cloud. My brain kind of ached as I watched the silver-white ball emerge from its hiding place. I was so confused. I didn’t understand why Daisy was so mean to Lucas, and I certainly couldn’t make sense of the way he made me feel.
That night when I drifted off to sleep, I was so conflicted, and part of me wished that I had never come on this dumb camping trip.
Scratch .. scratch … scratch!
The sound woke me from a deep sleep. I looked around the room.
“A mouse?” I asked myself, unaware that Daisy was awake.
“Do you smell it Cindee,” She whispered. I sniffed a little sniff. It was faint. I put my nose in the air and inhaled deeply.
“Yes, it’s that smell,” I whispered back.
We both jumped.
Now Mommy, Daddy and Robin all sprung up, startled awake by the loud thump.
Bang! The door came crashing open.
The intruder stood in the doorway. He was almost as tall as Daddy with black hair all over its body.
“Let me in!” it yelled.
“A bear!” Robin screamed.
“Quick, everyone in the bathroom,” Daddy called out. I was in the bathroom, cowering behind the toilet before anyone else had gotten out of bed. The bear started to slowly stroll into the cabin. Everyone jumped up and ran for the bathroom. Everyone except Daisy. She was still standing on the bed facing the bear.
“Get out! Beat it you good for nothing!” she barked at the large black animal.
“Daisy, get in here now,” Robin shrieked at her. Daisy reluctantly, came running for the bathroom. The bear had dropped down on all fours and was chasing after her. Daisy scooted into the room and Daddy slammed the door in the bears face.
“I’m hungry give me food!” the intruder growled.
We sat in the safety of the restroom listening as our unwanted guest threw pots and pans and other objects around. I would jump and whine as the metal clattered against the wall then clanged on the floor.
“Give me meat,” the beast called out.
“We are vegetarians” I barked back!
Everything went silent for a moment. We sat listening intently for any noise. I heard a box being ripped open, then plastic being ripped.
“Mmmmmm. Hamburger, I love hamburger,” the bear said joyfully.
“That’s not a hamburger it a …” I started to say but was quickly cut off.
“Yuck, this not hamburger, this taste like poop!” he complained.
“Veggie burger,” I finished my sentence.
“Get out! Just get out,” A deep voice rumbled through the cabin.
“Lucas?” Daisy asked.
“Lucas!” I shot back.”
“This place is filled with crazies,” the bear began to bellyache, his voice becoming more distant.
“I am out of here,” he grumbled.
I was going insane wondering what was happening out there. I wanted out, but Daddy wouldn’t let me. Soon, a scratching noise started at the door.
“It’s me, Lucas! It’s safe, that bear has gone, you can come out now,” he barked through the door.
“Let us out,” Daisy and I began to complain more vigorously. It took a few minutes of begging, but he finally relented.
“Thank you,” Daisy said humbly to Lucas.
“Yes, thank you. You were so brave,” I told him with a head bump.
“I am sorry about those things I said last night, I thought you were the one who broke in and trashed our place,” Daisy admitted.
“It’s no problem. I am just glad you are both safe,” he said with a dazzling smile.
The car started up. Lucas watched me from outside. After that first crazy day, we had the best weekend ever. Mommy and Daddy made sure that I was able to go down to the lake every day to spend time with Lucas. We even invited him and his family over for dinner and to sit around the campfire afterwards. I got to have that romantic moment with him where we watched the sparks fly up into the sky. He is such a gentleman.
I stepped on the button and the window rolled down.
“Cindee,” Mommy complained with a frustrated voice.
“Just a minute,” I barked back at her.
“I will miss you Cindee,” Lucas said hanging his head for a second.
“I’m gonna miss you too,” I admitted.
The car started to roll away. I stuck my head out the window.
“Skype me!” I called to Lucas.
“I will,” he promised.
I spun around to look out the back window. I felt a strange sickness in my tummy watchinb Lucas get smaller and smaller until finally, he disappeared.
“We will be back next year,” Daddy said.
“I hope you don’t mind, but we made friends with Lucas’s Daddy and his girlfriend. They are coming to dinner next week,” Mommy said with a sly smile.
“I would love it,” I barked back!
I lay back in the seat and listened to the radio. Can you believe Freddie Mercury was singing? “Can … anybody … find me … somebody to … love?”
That my friends, was the weekend that I found love on a camping trip.