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Surprised, Or You Might Even Say, Shocked (From Hank the Cowdog #2: The Further Adventures of Hank the Cowdog) Hank is stricken with Eye-Crosserosis. To make matters worse Beulah, the collie of his dreams shows up on the ranch with Plato (at least, Hank thinks it's Plato). Although he can't see very well, Hank approaches the visiting dogs with the idea of winning his lady love and dusting Plato's spots once and for all. Plato pushed Beulah aside and leaned over the edge of the pickup. That kind of surprised me. I didn't think he'd take it that far. Anyway, he leaned out and growled again. Drover was hopping up and down, and he whispered in my ear.
"Hank, I don't think that's Plato."
"Is Plato a...doberman pinscher?"
"A doberman pinscher!"
It was all clear now. I'd made an error. I looked over at Beulah.
"Who is this imposter?"
"His name is Rufus, and he just moved to our ranch, and be careful, Hank, because he's very mean."
"What happened to Plato?"
"He's back at the ranch. He's afraid to come out of the post pile because Rufus..."
Rufus took over from there.
"Because I whip him on sight. It's my ranch now, and I don't like bird dogs. And I don't like cowdogs. You got anything to say about that?"
I gave it some thought. Those teeth were awful big and awful sharp.
"I figger there's room in this world for differences of opinion. It just happens that I don't care for doberman pinschers, so I guess we're about even."
"I always heard that cowdogs had a yellow streak."
I bristled at that, and it must have worried Beulah.
"Hank, don't let him get you into a fight. That's what he wants."
She had a point there.
"All right, Beulah, for you, I'll let it go. Come on, Drover, we've got work to do."
Drover took off like a little rocket, heading for the feed barn. I walked away at a dignified pace. I'd gone maybe twenty steps when I heard Rufus snarl.
"You got a big mouth, Beulah. When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it."
"My opinion is that you're a brute, and I wish you'd never come to the ranch."
"Well, you better get used to it, honey, because I'm the main man in your life now. Here, gimme a little kiss, just to let me know that you really care."
"Keep your paws off me, you you you animal!"
"Come on, honey, just a little one."
Bam! She slapped him.
"You shouldn't have done that, Beulah."
Rufus bristled up and started toward her, showing all of his teeth.
I headed for the pickup.
"I just changed my mind, Rufus. I don't think I like your attitude, so why don't you climb down here and I'll give you a kiss you won't forget."
"Hank, don't do it!" Beulah called. "Run away, don't try to be a hero."
I took a deep breath and looked at my lady.
"It ain't a matter of trying, Beulah. To some of us it just comes natural."
Can Hank talk his way out of this one, or does he fight? Will he get whipped, or can he teach Rufus some manners the hard way? Will the lovely Beulah love Hank at last? Find out in Hank the Cowdog #2:The Further Adventures of Hank the Cowdog ((Copyright John R. Erickson)