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Disclaimer: All characters and events in this story are fictitious, and any similarity to a real person, living or dead is entirely coincidental and unintended by the author. "The Pretender" is a protected trademark.

The case of the missing Dog



Behind door number one…

Jarod brought the car to a halt by the side of the road. When he saw the person who stood and waited for him, he nearly decided to continue on his journey. He had received an email alert yesterday and had decided to investigate the source. Now he whished that he had left things be.

“J-man, it’s so good to see you.”

Argyle didn’t wait for an invitation. His first step had been to jump into the car when Jarod had stopped, his second to buckle the seatbelt.

“Argyle, long time, no see.” If only that had been true. “So, what is the great emergency that had me drive halfway across the state to answer?”

“It’s Dog. He’s been dog-napped. We have to go rescue him.”

Jarod could only stare. “Argyle, how sure are you about Dog being…dog-napped.” Sometimes it was just easier to speak Argyle to Argyle. Otherwise misunderstandings could occur.

“Oh, very. You see, on account of Dog being on TV and all. He’s famous.”

Time slowed down for Jarod. Dog, famous? Argyle? All these didn’t seem to connect. “Come again,” was all he managed, still trying to imagine Dog on TV.

“Oh, the story. Right, well, a while ago, I was walking Dog down his usual route. He has the route that he likes to take, and well there was this lady that walked her dog, and well Dog liked her dog, so he went over to say hi…well sort of. Actually, I think her dog was on heat, and well you see, um, Dog decided to follow his…instincts. But this dog, not Dog but her dog, she did commercials, and with her being pregnant and all, they decided to use Dog.”

Jarod listened in disbelief to the unfolding of Dog’s rise to fame. How things managed to happen to Argyle was something that defied natural laws. He decided to interject, wanting to bring the story to a semblance of order.

“Argyle, besides getting the other…dog pregnant, how did Dog get to be…” he decided to go the easy route, “on TV.”

“Well, the thing is, this lady liked Dog and Dog liked her. She gave him some food and he liked the food and she said that they needed a dog that liked the food to show other dogs that it is good food.”

What Jarod could determine from the convoluted tale was that most likely Dog was the only dog that ate the pet food and the producers being desperate decided to use Dog for the commercial. Being Argyle, he asked his next question with trepidation.

“What payment did you get for Dog to be on TV?”

“A year’s supply of pet food,” came proudly. Jarod sighed inwardly. Not only is Dog missing but his owner had no money to pay for his safe return except a year’s supply of pet food. He felt sorry for Argyle but besides that, nothing was ever boring with him around. He was brought back to reality when Argyle continued with his deductive powers of reasoning.

“See, I thought, Argyle, I thought, J-man is the guy who will figure it all out. You see, cause Dog saved his life and all, it’s only right.”

“And if memory serves me correct, you then tried to sell me back to the Centre.”

“That’s just wrong, man. One mistake and you hear it over and over. I thought that we were past all that, J-man. It was one moment of weakness, one moment of …”

“Argyle,” he decided to interject, before the other got too carried away, “have you received a ransom note.”

“A what?”

“Did anyone contact you, phone you or leave you a letter asking for money?” or pet food, he thought silently.

“No J-man, I’ve been waiting here for you.”

Jarod started the car, hoping to keep his sanity. “Where are you staying?”
He drove five hundred meters further down the road before turning into an old farmhouse.

“I look after this place. Maybe, one day I can be a farmer. I can be a farmer, can’t I, J-man, yeah, I can be a farmer. Planting stuff and growing stuff. Make good for me and Dog.”

Jarod got out the car and looked around. Nothing met his eyes besides scrub and a log house that looked almost done for. He followed Argyle inside, tuning out the other’s voice while trying to figure a way out of this with Dog intact.

“Argyle, how long has Dog been missing?”

“Since yesterday.”

“Argyle, are you sure Dog hasn’t gone…” not sure how to put it, he finally found the word he wanted to use, “visiting?”

“No, he’s always with me. The thing is, we went walking yesterday, he usual route and there was this lady and I was a bit distracted and when I looked down, Dog was gone. Just like Elvis. You don’t think Elvis has him, maybe.”

Jarod shook his head, keeping a straight face. “Maybe its best if you show me the route you normally walk, that way we can see where we can start from.”

As he started after the still talking Argyle, explaining the reasons why Elvis would want to have dog, he wondered what Miss Parker would have done with Argyle and Dog. Then again, she would have more than likely shot them both. Deciding that going down that route could bode ill will for the pair, he turned his thoughts back to Argyle, his route and missing Dog.


Miss Parker turned and growled, “I’m going to kill him.” She refused to look at Sydney and Broots, instead focusing on the walls and finding a way out.

“Miss Parker, there is no other way. You have to do it,” Sydney tried to reason, holding her costume out to her.

“I’ll be damned if I’ll play Jarod’s tune.”

“We’re not going anywhere until we do. You know how he operates.”

She turned to Sydney and grabbed the costume out his hand. She silently dared them to say anything while she slipped her feet into the oversized feet. “Not one word.” She warned, when she pulled the zip tight. She thought she caught a snigger from Broots but when she looked he was staring at his shoes.

“The mask too, Parker.”

“If one word of this gets back to the Centre, I will shoot the one who said anything,” she warned once again, before slipping the mask on. It itched and didn’t help to lower her blood pressure. She had her script memorized and watched Sydney in his costume turn to the TV monitor that had a smiling Jarod on it.
The only costume accessory that Sydney wore was a mask. The rest of the clothes were his, but considering who Sydney represented, it wasn’t to far from the truth. He held in his hands a note that Broots had hastily scribbled as Jarod had read it. She heard him clear his throat before reading the words she now knew had to be said by him.

“My name is Geppetto. Hereby I search entry into the Castle.”

Next was Broots. All he needed to add was an oversized jacket and a hat. ‘Life is not fair,’ she thought as Broots turned and spoke his words.

“My name is Inspector Gadget. Hereby I search entry into the Castle.”

All that was left was her words. Swearing to slowly kill Jarod when she caught him, she heard her words reflect from the mask she wore.

“Dammit, I’m not doing this!”

“Parker,” came Sydney’s stern reply.

“My name is Coyote. Hereby I search entry into the Castle.” She mumbled the words under duress and vowed to grab Jarod by the particulars and squeeze hard the next time she sees him.

And with her final words, the electronic lock disengaged. Her senses were assaulted by an electronic version of - It’s a small world after all… Singing puppets stood next to a marked pathway and as she stepped into the room, her one thought was that she was definitely in hell. There was no doubt in her mind anymore.


I’m having fun, although I don’t know whether I had failed in my attempt at bringing something lighter back. Let me know if I should continue…

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