I was playing poker the other night when Moses Swampy bluffed me out with a pair of deuces. I had two pair but the way Moses call so fast make me wonder about his hand. I been reading poker books but they’re not as good at poker as Moses Swampy I guess.
I got a little black bitch with one blue eye named Daisy that Moses really wants, but I don’t want to let her go. She’s a good leader and I make a few bucks running dog races around town. So I sell him a litter of pups instead for a hundred bucks and get back in the game. But before I finish my coffee, I’m broke again. Moses tell me he’s going to send his boy to pick up them pups end of the month when they get older. I agree. Only one problem though, them pups is not born yet.
Granny Boots got an old wheeldog named Biscuit. Biscuit been tied to that chain for last fifteen years and I figure he’s about ready to breed. I wait a couple of days till Daisy is in heat and I put them both inside the dog fence. I figure I could stall old Moses a bit while Daisy get knocked up. But old Biscuit get shy around Daisy and stand in the corner when she rub up to him. I try everything to get him interested in Daisy but he’s got what they call, social anxiety. I even get our last great medicine man, Isaac Ratskin, who got pushed out of business by Father Binette, to make little tea from roots and beaver fat that I spit in his mouth, but even that don’t work. I figure there’s only one sure thing to do.
Harvey Dogpot make real good home brew he call “slough juice,” made from molasses and potatoes. I keep Biscuit from water all day then I dump a gallon of that slough juice in his bucket. Boy, before long he’s howling like Hank Williams and Daisy is gearing up for some breeding. Biscuit mount her and go at it till after supper. But I can see his eyes is droopy and his plumbing is not working on account of the alcohol in the slough juice. He finally collapse from exhaustion and pass out in the mud.
When Biscuit finally get his bearings Daisy is out of heat and laying around and paw at a hole in the dirt. She’s not much interested in Biscuit anymore and Biscuit kinda sulk around at his missed opportunity. I can’t help but think of my buddy Chubby when I think of Biscuit.
When I see Moses Swampy I lie to him about his pups. I tell him they’re getting bigger and already digging in the fishpit for grub. Moses send his boy over a few times but I always make an excuse that I have to go uptown for flour. But after the second or third time, Moses quit sending his boy over and he quit talking to me too. And I don’t go down to old Steamboats for poker game anymore. Some of the boys ask me on the street if I’m going to come around but I run out of lies for them too.
Aunty Gerty Swampy see me slinking around town and she called me in one day for cup of tea. I tell her what happened and she tell me best medicine for that kind of situation is the truth. I’m not used to telling the truth and it’s hard for me to take the scolding but I do. Then she read little bit from a book called Aesops Fables about a fox lying to a crow or something and losing his friend. I know what I have to do.
The boys is playing a hand of five card stook when I walk in. I got Daisy at my side and I hand her chain over to Moses Swampy. He look at me a minute before he take it. I give him a little bag of her stuff too; old harness and her sleeping blanket. I’m sad to lose Daisy but a deal is a deal and I have to own up to it. There’s one more chair at the table but I’m broke. Old Steamboat say he’ll see me one hand but first I gotta mop the floor. I get a bucket and as I’m swishing the mop around the floor, Daisy lick my hand. I finish mopping and sit down for a hand of straight poker. I catch a pair of nines right off the bat. I watch Moses eyes and see one side of his eyelash flutter like a hummingbird do. I wink at Old Steamboat and he push me another five to bet. Moses sneeze and Daisy come to my side. She knows I got a good hand this time.