This story was written in answer to Fandango’s One Word Challenge. The word I had to use was ‘Catch’
Catch means: To intercept and hold (something which has been thrown, propelled, or dropped). To capture a person or creature in some way. Or to make it aboard a bus or train on time.
Here’s what I came up with …
The Builder and the Labrador
“I’m so getting fired today!” builder Paul had awoken late and then proceeded to catch every red traffic light on route. He was already twenty minutes late when he turned his white Astra onto the dual carriageway. A light rain was falling and the morning traffic was building.
Paul overtook a slow-moving lorry into clearer road. It was then he reached for a blueberry muffin on the passenger’s seat of his car. Driving one-handed he took a bite, saw a flash of black fur and hit the brakes. The tyres screech and the car slid toward the barrier. The van driver behind honked his horn and flash by narrowly missing both the Astra and a terrified young Black Labrador running down the road. Paul braked again and stopped his car an inch from colliding with the barrier. He engaged the emergency lights and looked for the dog.
“You silly, creature. Why are you on the dual carriageway?” Paul said his heart pounding as the dog dodged through cars and HGV’s in a bid to get away from whatever had terrified it. Somehow no vehicle hit it, but Paul knew the creature’s luck would run out eventually. Grabbing his phone, he got out of the car and whistled as he ran along the central reservation toward the dog and engaged his phone. “I need the police please, there’s a dog on the eastbound lane. It’s going to cause a crash and get killed.” Paul gave directions. “Hurry Pl — Shit!“
The dog had gone under the front of a car transporter. The enormous lorry flashed by spraying Paul with a shower of rainwater. Dripping wet, he was amazed to see the dog stand and run on down the road.
“How’d you not get killed, Dog.” Paul whistled again and swore.
Without warning the Labrador made a sharp right turn. A red car swerved to avoid it and shot-up the grass embankment. A van’s horn blared – it never stopped, missing the terrified dog by two inches at best. Then the dog was through the central reservation barriers in front of Paul and running with the traffic.
“Come on, Dog. You have to stop so I can help you!” Paul was a fit man and he was running as fast as he could just to keep up. His phone was ringing in his hand. Clicking the green button, he answered it.
“Hello, Paul speaking.”
“You’re late. Where are you?” replied a peeved and gravelled voice.
Paul flinched away from tanker truck spraying water from the road as it flashed passed. “I’m almost at work but I had to stop. There’s a dog, running along the road.”
“Bugger, the dog. You got a shitload of bricks to lay.”
“I’ll catch us up. I’m not leaving the dog to be hit and killed if I can catch and help him.” Paul watched a Citroen turn in front of the Labrador. A lady jumped out and spread her arms to corral the dog. She made a grab for it but it turned in its tracks and ran between other cars, coming back toward Paul. “Sorry!” she called.
Paul raised a hand. His eyes on the Labrador heading his way. He had one chance to grab him now.
“I’ll dock your pay for every —”
“Talk to you in a while.” Paul hung up and stuffed his phone in his pocket. He could see police lights flashing ahead. Dashing between a van and car, both travelling fifty-miles-per-hour; he leapt at the dog. His arms clasped around its middle. He held on to the kicking and yelping dog for all he was worth. “Please, relax. You’re safe with me.” he soothed as trouble loomed.
A blue van was barrelling down on them; the driver oblivious, hidden behind a map.
Paul swore, leapt to his feet and dived toward the reservation. Dog and man hit the curbed and metal barrier as the van swished passed. The builder wasted no time clambering over to safety.
“I got you, buddy.” Paul took off his belt with one hand and made a lead by looping it around the dog’s neck. The poor Labrador was heaving and panting with extreme exhaustion, its eyes wide with terror. Paul could see fleas jumping in its soaked and matted fur and knew it had been suffering for much of its life. The dog was only a young, maybe a year old at the most, as it was. “Shush, you’re safe now.”
“Sir, is this the dog we were told was loose?” asked an officer coming along the barrier.
“Yes, I just caught it.”
“Well done, Sir. Where’s your vehicle?” the officer smoothed the dog’s head. “You found yourself a hero, dog.”
Paul stood with the shaking dog still in his arms. “My cars about a hundred yard that way.”
“Come on, in my car.” The officer ferried Paul and the dog to his car. “What are you doing with the dog? DO you want me to call the RSPCA?”
“No. There’s a vet’s next to my building site. I’ll take him in there and see that he’s alright.”
“He’ll appreciate it.” The Officer smiled at the still shaking dog. He shook Paul’s hand and smoothed the dogs head. “Good luck, boy.”
The dog’s luck had changed for the better. It was discovered at the vets that he had no Identifying chip and was likely a stray. He was treated for his fleas and wounds to his paws from running in the road. The lucky dog had survived with his life by a miracle.
Paul was reprimanded for being late to work but he didn’t care. Saving the dog’s life was worth it. The dog remained at the vets for two days until the vet was satisfied he had no owner and was going to recover well.
From that day forward, Chappy the dog, as he became known, always rode to work in a certain white Astra with his new best friend Paul. The builder decided to adopt and give him the happy life he deserved.
Thanks for reading my friends. As always there are more stories to be enjoyed (I hope) in the Short Stories tab.
Have a great day!