(GOT MILK? © 2017 Alyce Rita Campbell All Rights Reserved; GOT MILK? is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual incidents or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.)
It was sunrise and Kat tried to ignore the harsh sounds that had awakened her. The rooster that lived in the backyard of the house across the street was beginning its day. Desperately, she yanked her pillow over her head but still she could hear the alarm clock of a bird.
Kat had more than once declared to Ms. Thorne, the owner of both house and rooster, that the rooster belonged on a farm and would have to go. Each time, Ms. Thorne had thanked her for her visit but each time had said that the rooster was a family pet and was staying. Kat thought that the very idea of a rooster as a pet was absurd. After their last unsatisfactory encounter, Kat had called Animal Control to see which ordinances were being violated and had been extremely irked to learn that the rooster was legal.
Kat sat up and tossed the pillow aside. Ruminating on Ms. Thorne and her rooster was a waste of a shimmering Saturday morning. And this was a special Saturday—the day of the community dog show. Kat’s pure-bred beagle, Duke, was a beautiful tricolor and as smart as a whip. Ms. Thorpe’s rescue dog, if you could call such a white woolly scruff a dog, was named Patch. For the three years before Ms. Thorne had moved into the cul-de-sac, Duke had won the dog show. But last year, Duke and Patch had tied for first place.
The competition had two events: a mandatory agility test which a dog had to complete successfully and a “free-style” in which the handler and the dog had one minute to demonstrate a unique trick. Final score was the sum of the scores from both events. Kat was certain that this year, Duke’s trick would convince the judges that Duke was the superior dog.
Kat smiled to herself, remembering the day she had stealthily followed Ms. Thorne and Patch to the park. Using her binoculars to watch them practice had given her just the inside information she needed to devise a trick that would surely one-up Ms. Thorne. Maybe the woman would learn some humility.
By noon, Kat and Duke were waiting their turn in the competitors’ tent which had been erected on the community’s soccer field. Because Duke and Patch had jointly won last year’s show they would be competing last. Duke was his normal relaxed self but Kat was anxious throughout the long wait.
Finally, Duke and Patch were up. Duke rocketed through the obstacle course with ease and no faults, as did Patch. Their scores were even.
Then Duke and Kat moved to the designated spot in front of the judges’ table. Kat put down a bowl and a bottle of milk. She commanded Duke to fill the bowl from the bottle without spilling a drop. And Duke did.
Patch and Ms. Thorne came next. Kat’s jaw dropped when Ms. Thorne also put down a bowl and a bottle of milk. Ms. Thorne then ordered Patch to fill the bowl exactly two-thirds full. Patch complied without spilling a drop. Then Patch calmly trotted over to Duke’s bowl and carefully lapped up exactly one-third of the milk. Mission accomplished, Patch sat down between both bowls, facing the judges’ table, grinning a wide, satisfied, doggy grin.