Gazza’s Gas and Grease – The Valleys
It had been a late night by the time Jaak and Dieter finally got to bed, the boys having stayed down by Lizzie late into the evening – Altai had tactfully retreated back to the cabin to give the boys space to do whatever boys do and talk about when adults are not around. The pizzas had been a huge success, all the topping bowls licked thoroughly clean by Dieter. According to him it made the washing up easier. Lizzie’s boiler was once again drained into the bathtub and Jaak, made the “best bubble bath ever” – according to Dieter.
The next morning after the prerequisite coffee and toast – double the usual pile – Altai announced that they would all need to go to town to stock up on essential food supplies.
Altai: I might have to arrange a regular food delivery service at the rate you boys empty the larder!
Jaak grinned impishly, and Dieter thumped his tail in enthusiastic agreement.
With breakfast cleared away they all headed down the valley into town; Dieter once again having called dibs by licking the front tyre, and sitting by the rolled down window barking happily at anyone and anything they passed. If anyone in the valleys was still unaware that a Hundel was in town – it would surely not take long for them to work it out. Altai dropped the boys at Gazza’s Gas and Grease, before he started his rounds of the food stores.
Dieter was thoroughly over excited to see and be in a new place. He promptly jumped out of the pickup and began barking and sniffing everywhere.
Dieter: Arrooff – arrooff – arrooff – arrooff!
Jaak: Dieter! Ya big giant booger brain! Bloody hell – will ya shut up for a bit! You are gonna scare the crap outta everyone! Come back here!
That is exactly what had happened. Tag was nowhere to be seen. On seeing the familiar blue pickup pull up, he had started to come out to meet his friend – however as soon as he heard and saw a hunde with his head hanging out of the window barking his head off, he had turned tail and shot off towards the junker stack – disappearing between the piles of stacked vehicles.
Dieter immediately cowed, slunk back to Jaak – ears back and tail down, like a naughty puppy.
Dieter: I’m sorry… Jaak.
Jaak ruffled his friend’s orange mop.
Jaak: S’alright – we just gotta go find Tag – I reckon I know where he is – but dude, please – no barking! Or he will never come out.
Jaak with Dieter following behind, set off towards the junker stack.
Jaak looked along the line of stacked junker cars and pickups, till he found what he was looking for – the old 70’s pickup with the beat up sedan with no hood stacked on top.
Jaak: Dieter – stay here, I’m sure he’s in here.
Jaak squeezed in between the first row of cars to the second row behind – there was just enough room for him to wiggle past. Then in an even narrower space he could just see the end of a nose and two trembly ears peeking out of the gap between the pickup tray and the car stacked on top.
Jaak: Tag! I know you’re in there – c’mon out!
Tag: Is it still here? The teufelshunde?
Jaak: The ‘it’ you refer to is Dieter my friend from Aoraki – I have told you about him before – and he is not a devil! He is perfectly friendly once you get to know him – stop being a scaredy cat and come out!
Tag: You promise he won’t eat me?
Jaak: Tag – I promise he won’t eat you – he eats pizza just like us!
With that assurance from his friend, Tag toothpaste squeezed himself out of the tiny gap above the pickup’s tray and into the small space between the stacked cars. However he stayed firmly behind Jaak as they wiggled their way back out into the yard. As Jaak emerged he motioned with his paw to Dieter and mouthed at him – “dude siddown”. Dieter obliged and promptly sat back on his haunches with his arms out in front and cocked his head to one side for good measure.
Jaak: Tag – this is Dieter my friend from Aoraki; Dieter – this is Tag my friend from the valleys.
Dieter’s nose was trembling, trying to get Tag’s scent. Jaak moved a little closer and knelt down on one knee and gave Dieter’s chest a rub. Then Jaak gently steered Tag around to meet Dieter.
Jaak: Tag – give Dieter a little rub on his chest.
Very slowly and carefully Tag put out his paw and gave Dieter a little rub on his chest. Dieter then promptly lay down on his back, turning his head with his tongue lolling to one side. Jaak then scritched behind Dieter’s ears and gave him another good chest and belly rub. Dieter’s right leg jiggled up and down in an appreciative spasm when Jaak found the right spot.
Jaak: See Tag? He is just a big giant booger brain!
Dieter then resumed his sitting position and snuffled quietly at Tag.
Dieter: Hello Tag!
Dieter then snuffled under Tag’s chin and gave him just the smallest lick on his cheek.
Tag: That tickles!
With that Dieter touched his front paw on Tag’s shoulder.
Dieter: Tag! You’re it!
Dieter then took off like a rocket – stopping a short distance away, facing Tag on the other side of the yard by the big shed. He crouched down with his arms out in front of him on the ground, gently panting, his tail wagging slowly – but ready to tear away in either direction at a moments notice. Jaak then joined in by running a similar distance in the other direction and then stopping to face Tag.
A frenetic game of chase between all three boys then ensued – darting in and out between the junker stacks, back across to the tyre pile, around the tractor, under the blue dump truck and back to the junker stacks. Being ‘it’ changed paws several times between them until they heard the honk honk of Altai’s pickup. They all regrouped in a crazy tumble on the grass.
Dieter: No fair! You two can squeeze into all those small spaces between the junker stacks!
Tag: Yes fair! Not our fault that nekos are bendier than hundes!
The three boys laughing and poking each other, then headed over to Altai’s pickup where he was waiting for them.
Jaak: Dad – can Tag come back with us?
Altai: Sure – why not? I think we got enough food – I got hotdogs for lunch.
Jaak: Dude relax – he means frankfurters!