Bingo was first published in 2001 in an anthology titled Faithful Guardians, which was edited by a wonderful lady, who has since left us, Phyllis Hobe.It is a true story.
Bingo was my brother's mixed German Shepard dog. Generally speaking, he was sort of a pain in the neck. He was a barker. He barked at everything -- neighbors, cars, cats, the wind or anything else that caught his attention. No one knew what to do about him. None of the remedies we tried stopped him from barking. He had been an abused puppy when my brother rescued him, so having him put down for barking just didn't seem right.
He wasn't a very good watchdog. He was like the little boy who cried wolf, or perhaps the little wolf that barked boy. At any rate, we soon learned that his barking was not a cause for concern and no one paid any attention it. Neither did I as I sat at the kitchen table reading a book one hot summer day in 1969. Bingo started to bark; I tried hard to block it out -- until I heard the back door open. As I looked up, two middle-aged men entered the laundry room, which lead into the kitchen.
"OK, stop right there." I said in the most commanding voice I could muster.
They laughed and told me not to be alarmed. According to them, they were acquaintances of my father and had come by to pick up the old shed laying disassembled in the back yard. My father hadn't said anything about this to me and neither man had a receipt. Being a teenager who enthusiastically embraced the feminist movement, I quickly lost sight of the dangerous potential of my situation. Instead of being fearful because I was alone with these two strangers in the house, I became very annoyed and indignant at their condescending attitude toward me. I told them to come back when my father was home. They insisted that they needed to take the shed, which was "rightfully" theirs since they had paid for it. Referring to me as a "little girl" and telling me not to get "all hysterical," they continued to attempt to bully me into allowing them to take the shed.
My growing anger revealed itself as I glared at the two and they found that very amusing. There was no way I was going to just let them walk away with the shed. However, I wanted them and their silly grins gone. I told them they could have the shed if one of them gave me his license so that I could copy his name and address. The mouthier one of the two handed over his license, laughing at me in the process. I copied the information.
As they were leaving the kitchen, the mouthier one turned to me and said, "You gonna do something about that stupid dog of yours out there? He's in the way."
He was correct about Bingo being in the way. He was tied to his doghouse, which was only a few feet from the shed. I didn't want him to get hurt. I knew he wouldn't harm them. He was all bark and no bite. I held his collar as the men approached the shed. It wasn't an easy task. Bingo continued to bark, growl, and lunge at the men. It took all my strength to hold onto him.
Suddenly, the men began to jump around and scream, as they slapped at themselves and the air. When they had picked up the last part of the shed, they had disturbed a nest of wasps. Wasps were everywhere. Before I could act on my fast growing sense of panic, I felt Bingo's body press against the side of my leg. He had stopped barking, growling, and lunging. He stood quietly, keeping his body firmly pressed against my leg. I reacted instinctively and followed his lead. Neither of us moved a muscle. The wasps were everywhere, buzzing around us. The men continued jumping, slapping at the wasps, and screaming. After a few minutes, the wasps disappeared.
Each of the men had been stung several times. As they were leaving one of them said to me, "How come you and your stupid dog didn't get stung?"
I smiled for the first time since the arrival of the two men and said, "I guess my stupid dog is the smartest one here!" He looked at me as if I had two heads. He didn't get it. I don't think he even understood that I was being sarcastic when I referred to Bingo as "my stupid dog." It didn't matter because I knew Bingo had saved the day. His keen instincts saved him from the wasps, and his big heart saved me.