Our Dog, Mike


The woman who sold us the pup swore it was a Boston Bull Terrier.  Well, half of him looked the part, but the front was a different story, for he had ears any mule would have been proud to wear.


Everybody liked him, but no one could figure out just what his breed was.  We named him “Mike” for no good reason and welcomed him into the family.


In those days automobiles sported running board and that was just fine for Mike who rode there whenever we took the car out.  He swayed just right when the car turned.


Since there was no leash law, Mike was free to make friends with everyone in town.  The lady at the drugstore gave him scoops of ice cream from the fountain and someone at Miller’s Meat Market presented him with dinosaur-sized bones when he begged at the back door.


Mike went everywhere with us, so it wasn’t unusual for him to be part of the trip to the Saturday afternoon matinee we six-year olds enjoyed.


The movie house had open doors at that time, with just a dark curtain at the entrance so it was a cinch for Mike to join our crowd.  Because it was dark and cool inside and the theater had no sound track Mike curled up in the aisle and was off into dreamland.


One afternoon the screen was filled with mysterious figures of ghosts and goblins and the young audience horrified at the drama gasped or screamed at what they witnessed.


This day was different.  It had a Lon Chaney look-alike that scared us all dumb with terror.  I glanced away from the screen for a moment to assure myself that I was away from the fiend when I noticed Grandpa Booth, the owner of the theater, coming down the aisle.


Because I was at the tender age of six, I reasoned that Grandpa Booth being as bowlegged as any cowboy, living or dead, would never contact Mike, but would pass over him-one foot on each side of the sleeping animal, I looked back at the screen in horror.


The theater was completely silent-that is until Grandpa Booth stepped on Mike’s middle.  Both dog and man let out bloodcurdling screams and the entire audience turned into a howling mob.


The screen went black and the lights came on as we all left the theater and when the grownups asked my name, Mike and I just kept on running.


Mary Elizabeth Mruzik

Pacific, Missouri