Dog and His Boy
Chapter 5: The Almost Great Bank Robbery

Copyright© 2011 by TC Allen

The next morning, just as soon as breakfast was finished, Gage's dad said, "I'm going into town and put our money in the bank," referring to the proceeds from the sale of the coins. "I want to find some kind of investment I can put it into so I don't have to declare it as income on our taxes next year. I bet the banker knows." He looked at Gage, "You and your furry friend want to come along?"

"Furry friend my furry behind." Dog said to Gage. "You better tell your father if he makes me too mad I won't tell him where a Viking treasure is buried."

"Hey, neat. You mean real Viking stuff?" he asked dog. To his father he said, "Dad, Dog really doesn't care to be referred to in such terms. He feels it is very derogatory."

His dad replied, "I'm sorry if you took it the wrong way, Dog, I didn't mean to disrespect you none." He looked at Gage and asked, "When did you start to use big words?" Gage shrugged.

Dog let out a "Whuff." to show all was forgiven. To Gage he said, "Tell him when we get back from the bank if he digs where I show him, he will find some Viking artifacts."

"Uh, Dad, you want to discover some artifacts?" Gage asked his father in a doubtful tone of voice.

Steve Larsen was beginning to look at his son in a slightly different light than he had before this all started. He had reluctantly accepted the fact that Dog and Gage actually communicated with each other somehow. "Just exactly what kind of artifacts, Gage? We aren't goin' to discover the Lost Swede Goldmine are we? I mean it would be just a little too hard on the nerves."

"Aw, Dad, there isn't any such thing as a Lost Swede Goldmine." Gage protested.

"Well, I don't know, son. After all we been through in the past week I don't doubt much of anything anymore. Come on if you're coming," he said and headed out to his old Chevy pickup. It looked like it had been through an earthquake, which it had, yet thanks to his ability as a mechanic it ran great.

Gage and Dog got in back and sat down as far to the front as they could get. His dad checked to make sure they were sitting safely and took off. Gage had learned all about Dog's one weakness. He loved to get his back scratched and his fur rubbed. He scratched Dog's back the whole trip into the town of Nordmen, Minnesota.

The town had been settled by Norwegian immigrants who were forced to stop there when their wagons all broke down at the same time. It was a nice town where there were many Jensens and Soderbergs and not so many people named Smith or Jones.

They parked in front of the bank and Steve Larsen hurried in to talk to the banker about what to do with the money they received for the coins. Gage and Dog stayed outside. Suddenly another car pulled up outside and a rough looking man got out and pulled a ski mask over his head as he headed toward the bank entrance.

"Uh, Oh. I don't like the looks of this." Gage exclaimed.

"I would deduce he intends to rob the bank," Dog told his friend.

"We gotta do something." Gage replied. "He's going to get our money."

"Follow me and stay out of the way." Dog commanded. He shouldered his way through the bank door and began barking like a demented beast from the nether regions.

The robber pointed his gun at Dog. Gage screamed, "Nooo." He ran to the side, grabbed a heavy glass paperweight off a desk and threw it at the would-be bank robber as hard as he could. It struck him hard between the eyes with enough force to stun him. The gun dropped from his fingers and he fell to the floor. Gage's dad ran to the downed robber and snagged the gun off the floor. Then he stepped back away from the half conscious man.

The customers in the bank cheered and applauded. Gage and Dog went over and stood by his dad. The would-be bank robber began to stir and tried to get up. Dog let out a blood-curdling roar and snarled in the man's face. "Mister," Gage told him, "I wouldn't try to move if I was you. If my dog don't eat you alive, my dad is gonna shoot you with your own gun. So if I was you, I'd just stay right there on the floor and get to live a little while longer."

Everybody in the bank started to cheer and clap again at the brave young boy and his dog and dad. The bank manager came up and said, "Young man, you did about the bravest thing I ever saw. You stopped him from robbing this bank. I don't know when I ever saw such an act of bravery before."

"Well, Dog and I had to keep him from robbing the bank. We were going to put our money in here. And I wasn't being all so very brave, I just saw he was getting ready to shoot Dog here and I sure couldn't let it happen."

"Thank you for the support, Gage. You should realize I would have disarmed him by myself. It came out all right this time, but the next time I tell you to stay back, please do so. I don't want you to get hurt."

Gage sensed the urgency in his friend's thoughts and nodded. "Well, I just don't want you to get hurt either." Dog and boy had begun to grow closer together almost by the hour.

"Gage," his dad said, "You did a real brave thing. But I would rather lose all the money in the world than have you put in danger. If there ever is a next time, just stay back. I don't want you to ever get hurt."

Gage thought to himself, Sheesh, I'm old enough to take care of myself without everybody getting on my case.

Just then two policemen hurried in and took over. They made the man roll over face down and handcuffed his hands behind his back. Then they lifted him to his feet and led him outside while a plainclothes detective began to question the people inside the bank. When he learned how Dog and Gage thwarted the bank robber, he shook his head in disbelief.

"Here's the gun he tried to hold up the bank with," Gage's dad said and handed the revolver to the detective. "It was my son Gage and his dog who stopped the guy. They make a pretty good team." He grinned with pride at his son.

Gage began to get embarrassed. "Aw, I just didn't want Dog here to get hurt. And it was our money that guy was trying to take."

A reporter for the local paper, The Norse Gazette, showed up and began asking questions and generally making a nuisance of herself. With no warning, the reporter was shoved aside and Peg Milton rushed up to them. "Gage, Dog, Steve. Are you all okay? I was listening to the police scanner and heard the bank was being robbed. Then something was said about a big black dog attacking the robber and I was afraid it was you guys. Then somebody outside the bank here said a guy tried to rob the bank and a giant black dog mangled him and almost killed him. Are you all okay?" She was so excited she almost squeezed the breath out of Gage as she hugged him.

"Ugh. You're ... squeezing ... me." Gage gasped.

She let him go and exclaimed, "I'm sorry, you're my favorite guy in the whole world outside of Ralph. Besides, we got a date in the ring, you, me, Dog and Ralph." She was wearing black leather pants and a white tee shirt. She looked like she was all ready to do battle herself.

"Hi, Peg, good to see you again," Steve told her.

"Aw, Steve Larsen. You guys are just my favorite everything." She grabbed Steve's hand and shook it.

"Are you Peg Milton?" a voice asked.

Peg turned and found she was facing a TV camera and another reporter.

"Why yes." Peg answered. "See this kid right here? He and his dog named 'Dog' just stopped this bank from getting robbed. He and his family are about the greatest people in the world. They saved my husband the Mangler's life last week in Arizona. We are just so grateful to them. And then they stopped a bank robber cold. They're awesome."

Suddenly, Gage's mom came running in and threw her arms around her husband and Gage. "Are you all right? Are you hurt? I saw what happened on TV. Hi Peg, what happened? Tell me." She was excited and couldn't stand still.

"Mom." Gage protested, "If you don't stop squeezing me I'm gonna have a hernia. Everybody is squeezing the life out of me."

"Oh, I'm sorry, Gage." She released him.

Peg Milton pulled her aside and told her what happened. "Gage Larsen." His mom yelled at him, "Don't you ever go and be a hero again. I won't have it. You might get hurt."

Gage was so embarrassed he wanted to crawl under a table or something. Sheesh. The TV camera picked it all up and now all the guys would be razzing him over "Mommy doesn't want her little boy to get hurt."

The TV reporter knew she had a gold mine of a story. She interviewed Peg and learned about what happened in Arizona. By the time they were able to leave it was late afternoon. Peg invited them to spend the evening with her and her husband and have an early dinner with them. The Larsen family accepted. Peg knelt down and hugged Dog. "You are just so special."

"Even more than you realize." Gage told her. Dog growled a warning though at him and sent a mental cartoon drawing of Gage with a mouth big enough to bite a basketball. Gage noticed how Dog wasn't pulling away from all those pats and hugs Pat gave him. He teased his friend, "It doesn't matter how smart he gets, a dog always wants to be petted and pampered. HAH."

"Hah to you too, little pink hairless rat. There are some things a mere boy would never understand. So there." Dog's nose went up in the air and he presented a particularly itchy spot on his head for a little extra scratching.

Suddenly Peg stood and said, "Well, I better get home so I can prepare for you coming this evening. We live just down the road and Ralph so wants to meet you all. Wait until I tell him about this bank robbery stuff. And he thinks he leads an exciting life in the ring." She waved and hurried off.

Gage and Dog got back in the bed of the pickup and sat down. His dad hurriedly drove home, his mom following in her car. As soon as the truck stopped, Gage and Dog jumped out. Dog ran off into the woods to catch a quick meal. Gage went inside to boot up his personal computer and go on line. He wanted to read his email and tell his Internet friends where he was going. No matter whether they knew Pro wrestling was fake or not, to get to eat dinner at Mangling Milton's house was enough to make most of his e-pals jealous.

After all a guy has a right to brag when he gets a chance. Stopping the bank robbery was just a little aside he would just sorta toss out. He knew nobody would believe him. He wanted to build it up to a big finish and then tell everyone to see it on TV or the newspapers. Some guys know how to really brag. The secret is not to act like a hotshot, rather be real laid back and cool about the whole thing. This was the secret to successful bragging.

He went to one of his favorite teen chat rooms. "Hey Hero." one of his chat buddies greeted him. "Was it you on TV?" This was even better than bragging, even the cool kind. Somebody was doing it for him. Gage was almost squirming with all the pleasure he felt.

Then he felt like someone had thrown a glass of cold water on him. One of the chat room messages read, "Well, if you can cheat at chess, you can do about anything. What if I tell everyone how I kissed you on the lips, too? That was for good luck. I won, I WON. ME, I WON THE TOURNAMENT!"

"You," Gage sent back to her.

"It's me and I'm back. Remember we got a date in two years."

"Why don't you go away and come back in forty years?" Gage complained to her.

"Nah. It wouldn't be fun for me. Besides, you and I are both special. It's written in the stars about our destiny. Besides, you have a real unusual dog. He from Earth?"

Gage felt as shocked as if someone had shoved ice down the back of his shirt. "What do you mean about my dog?" he shot back to her. What does she know about Dog? There was something very strange about her.

"Oh, you go kid everybody else, not me. Your dog is special and I know it. I know special when I see it."

"Dog." Gage thought hard. "Dog, come here now. I need you in a hurry."

Dog came padding into the room and took one look at the monitor. "Tell her to come visit. She is special too. We might need her sooner than I anticipated."

"Gage, your dog just opened the door and walked right in. He knows how to open doors." Gage's mom was standing in the room looking at Dog in amazement.

"Mom, if he can stop a bank robber and help save a wrestler, he ought to be smart enough to open a door. He's pretty smart for a dog." Dog snorted at the "pretty smart for a dog" crack. Gage sent a picture of a drooling, cross-eyed and grinning French poodle at him.

"Well he is different from any other dog I ever saw before. I mean he is real different."

"Mom, you know the girl I met at the chess tournament?" he asked.

"Yes, I remember. You mean the one who kissed you."

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