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by Janice Daugharty

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2010 Janice Daugharty

He was never one to stay in; he was never one to be kept.

Minor gets out of his blue bent-up pickup and steps around to the dog box on back, and the old foxhound sets in whining and whipping the wood slats with his tail.

"Hold your horses," Minor croons to the dog and leans on the box. "Ain't a bit a rush as I know of."

The two old-timers are deep in the pine woods—prime coon country. Probably not a fox for twenty miles or more, but that's all right. Old dog won't know the difference. Just the run, that's what he's after. A woodpecker cackles out over a cypress slew in the west woods.

"Listen up, Blow." Minor cups one ear, listening, then feels bad for trying to fool the old dog into believing he's about to trail fox or coon. Feels bad for trying to fool him into believing this is just one more hunt. But the hound is going wild, either from the edge to his master's voice or the cackle of the woodpecker.

Walt Minor eyes the dog through the cracks, and it eyes him back: twitchy, red-eyed, practically hairless. Not mange, that's for sure. Minor has exhausted every remedy in the pet section of Barnes Drugs, downtown Valdosta. Had the whole house smelling of sulfur, creosote and pine tar before he got done treating the dog.

The daughter-in-law had a fit, said who in his right mind keeps an old foxhound in the house anyway? (She should have smelled the dog up-close and nightly like Minor did before he doped his rotting hide with the cures).

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