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Hank Runs a Bluff (From Hank the Cowdog #1: The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog) Hank has been accused of murder! In a fit of despair, Hank resigns his position as Head of Ranch Security and decides to join the outlaw coyotes on the open range. There he's known as Hunk (that's Hank in coyote language). Hank meets Missy Coyote, sister to Scraunch the meanest, roughest, toughest, most notorious coyote in the whole country. If Scraunch found Hank with his sister... well, look out for trouble.
"How can a nice girl like you have such a bad brother?" said Hank.
Missy shook her head. "Hunk be careful. Not safe here."
"I ain't scared. Hank ready to fight whole family for Missy."
"Hunk in trouble. Whole family here."
I looked around. She wasn't kidding. The whole danged family had arrived. We was surrounded by lean-limbed, long-haired, scruffy-tailed, yellow-eyed, hungry-looking coyotes.
One of the first rules you learn in security work is never bite if you can bark; never bark if you can growl; never growl if you can talk; never talk if you can run.
In other words, when the odds are against you, the best kind of fight is none at all. That was my strategy, see. The longer I talked, the longer I could stay alive. And who knows, I just might say something that would change Scraunch's mind about tearing me limb from limb.
A hush had fallen over the tribe and all eyes were on the two of us. He sat down and leered at me.
I leered right back, tried to anyway, though I'd never really perfected a good leer.
"All right," I nodded, "you asked for it, you've really done it this time. Come on! Get off your duff and let's settle this thing once and for all. I'm tired of waiting. I mean, I came out here to get you, Scraunch. Oh, I know you thought I was messing around with your sister. Ha! That's just what I wanted you to think. It was a trap, Scraunch, and you walked right into it.
Missy glanced at me, and I gave her a smile and a wink.
Scraunch cut his eyes toward old Gut.
"Scraunch kill chicken dog."
I marched right up to him until there weren't more than a couple of inches between our noses.
"If you're determined to go through with this, let's get it on. But first, I want you to ask yourself this question: Why would a smart dog walk right into the middle of a bunch of coyotes? If you figger it out, you'll know the secret."
Nobody moved. There wasn't a sound, not a whisper. I was in the process of checking out the escape routes when an old woman coyote (Scraunch's mother) broke the circle and came out to him. She whispered something in his ear.
"No!" he growled. "Scraunch not scared, kill chicken dog!"
The old lady went to whispering again, then old Chief Gut limped over and joined the conference. They growled and snapped and snarled typical coyote family discussion, I would imagine.
"All right," I yelled, "time's up. Have you figgered out the secret or shall we start spilling blood?"
The old lady led Scraunch away. He glared daggers at me over his shoulder. Old Chief Gut came over and stood in front of me.
"Not fight today."
"Rats," I said, and almost fainted with relief. "All right, if that's the way you want it. We'll let it slide this time but I'm warning you, don't ever let this happen again."
"Not happen again."
"Very good. Now, if you coyotes will just stay where you are, I'll slip out of here and get on my way."
"Hunk not understand."
Missy came over.
"Hunk stay, become coyote warrior, prove himself many fight and marry Missy Coyote."
"Make warrior? Well, I...I've always wanted...but I really have to..."
I tried to ease around the three coyotes who were blocking my path. When I moved, they moved. They didn't intend to let me out of there, is the way it looked.
Will Hank escape the outlaw coyotes and return to the ranch to clear his name? Find out in Hank the Cowdog #1: The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog.(copyright ? John R. Erickson)