Saki

David lay in bed trying to sleep, Saki was always on the floor with her head by his face waiting to have her ears rubbed, she knew her left ear from her right. He would say, “Gimme your right ear, now gimme your left ear,” and she would turn her head to comply. This boring motion would put them both asleep.

Suddenly a crash was heard outside; it came from the side wall near the alley, a metallic banging sound. David grabbed a flashlight and cautiously opened the door; Saki was again by his side. He flashed the light at the dumpster, it was open, and four eyes stared back, and growled. Two black bear cubs had climbed the pallets stacked next to the dumpster and went dumpster diving. the result of leaving the dumpster lid open.

David did not want to be between them and the cub’s mother, nor wake up everyone at the motel. So he went inside, grabbed a few bananas, peeled them, and threw them on the ground. He hoped the bears would come out and take the bananas, and leave; he would later come back and shut the lid. This worked, Sake was out two bananas, but everyone got sleep, even the bears.

David felt eyes staring at him and heard heavy panting, he knew it was Saki wanting to go outside so he got on his pants and shoes to take her out; Saki went for the trees and he sat on the steps watching. The sun was rising; he looked to his left, saw a pile of leaves,  and heard heavy breathing. The cubs were back, apparent orphans, huddled together in the leaves, and sleeping soundly, now what.

He thought it was great that he did not have to start his job today;  it was good that his friend could help him decide what to do with his new furry friends. They too would be surprised. Saki sat on the steps; he left the door open and went inside to make some coffee, maybe that would help him decide on his next move

Within an hour everyone came out except the owner; Jack Burns, in the room next door, walked out with a cup of motel coffee in hand. He looked at David to say something, and saw the two bear cubs,  asleep in the leaves between their rooms. This startled him, so he whispered, “What the hell.”

Saki

The shadow of a Great Horned Owl could be seen. It would hoot and another hoot would be heard. It was similar to a wife saying who, and a husband saying what.

A short, muscular old man, wearing a hard-hat, sat very near the fire; he was cleaning, and oiling a heavy old-fashioned chainsaw. Soon he was peeling off more clothes, due to the heat of the fire; his helmet came off to reveal a bald head on top with long tied grey hair. His large semi-tractor stood parked next to the tree line; it did not have a trailer and the name on the door could not be seen. He was no longer silent when his tools were clean and oiled.  He stopped David in his conversation, saying, “You’re the fellow that followed me; I drive a login’ truck now, was an ax man.” He looked at David and spat a chew of tobacco,” saying, “Names’s Jack Burns.”

David replied, “Not much left of that ridge just out-of-town.”

Jack answered, “Yeah, I saw you chasing your dog before the fog set in, how did you find your way back?”

David, “I followed an eagle.”

Jack, “They don’t have much to perch on anymore.”

David, “Yah, too bad.”

Jack, “Login’ and fishin’ is all we do here, or drink.” He brushed the sawdust off his pants and continued, “Then I fish, when the login’ stops, I take my truck out to my fishing shack and hole up.”

A middle-aged man in fishing gear was fiddling in a bag; then he found it, a bottle. Suddenly, he looked up, saying, “I come up here every year to fish, I also get here for the rodeo; it is hard to get around for that, no place to stay. I have to sleep in back of my truck; there are so many horses for the rodeo, the streets become plastered with horse ****.”

David laughed at that thought.

A tall nervous man sat on the biggest log, wearing jack boots, and a beat up leather flying jacket, finally spoke, “Well, good night.”

Everyone said some version of good night as he left.

The fire was burning out; the flames twinkled with the wind, the small circle of friends talked about tomorrow, an extended holiday. They did not have plans; they would get together,  and throw on some more wood. Collectively they shuffled to their rooms.

Saki

David walked toward them with Saki unleashed at his left side; he stopped several feet short, and said softly, “May I join you?”

A young couple wrapped under an Army blanket replied in  unison, “Sure.”

David moved to the other side of their log and sat down; Saki sat on her haunches beside him staring at the fire and the movement in the limbs of the trees. A pair of bright eyes flashed in the darkness; the leaves moved and snapped. Saki got on all fours, walked to that tree, and walked around it with her head pointed up.  Saki stood on her hind legs and hopped around the trunk of the tree; she looked like a member of the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Josh wrapped in the blanket with his girl friend Jan, stood up and said, “Look at that, she is chasing that coon around the tree on her hind legs.”

Jan sat in awe saying. “She sure is cute, looks like a polar bear.”

A very large, long-haired man spoke as he refilled his coffee cup, ” She is a good-sized female, but my male Akita is more than fifty pounds heavier.”

David introduced himself and Saki. David had a way of bringing out unknown facts about people; he liked to get total strangers to talk about themselves, he was polite, and a good listener. He continued around the circle of logs in a conversational manner. Darkness, a hot fire, and a very warm drink have a way of revealing your inner most self.

Saki

Morning came too soon; David sensed eyes staring at him; he opened his eyes to see they were. He knew she had to go out and opened the door to watch her run behind the bushes, shy. David dressed and went outside; it was still the weekend and they should see the rest of Spooner and eat somewhere. They got into his new scratched Ford with windows he could not see out of and drove to a gas station. It was a truck stop with fast food so he went in for more sandwiches; he took the keys and left the window open. Who would be foolish enough to get into a car with a full-grown Akita?

They had no particular place to go and it was sunny so he followed a logging truck out-of-town; they gained elevation and drove into a wooded area with trees from a second-growth. A parking place was found and they jumped out to look around; David sat on a fallen tree and Saki sought the highest limb for the best view. They sat in silence to view whatever came out of hiding.

A red fox came out of a hollow log and looked at them with curiosity;  it did not see the fast approaching shadow, but felt the talons of the eagle and cried out. It went limp delivered to a high eagles nest. Two human eyes and two dog eyes watched with interest; they locked eyes with the eagle as she opened up the fox and fed her chicks.

The day passed quickly and they moved from place to place; the same eagle sat on nearby limbs and looked down at them with knowing eyes.  David lost his sense of direction; a mist and a pending storm remained, suddenly the eagle flew off flying low to the ground. David said, “Why not,?” he followed the dirt road without signs and endless turns and returned to town. The sight of  the low flying rear end of an eagle remained with him.

David turned his beat up old Ford into the gravel Motel drive; he pulled the bag of groceries out of the back seat and entered the door. He gave Saki a bowl of dog food and put his food in the refrigerator. It was nearly dark; a window outside revealed a  fire was lit for a bonfire.  The fire threw shadows around a circle of folks, sitting on logs, around the fire. There was laughter around the bright blaze. David heard it and went outside.

Saki

David lay in bed trying to sleep; Saki was always on the floor with her head by his face waiting to have her ears rubbed, she knew her left ear from her right. He would say, “Gimme your right ear, now Gimme your left ear,” and she would turn her head accordingly. This boring motion would put them both to sleep.

Suddenly a crash was heard outside: it came from the side wall near the alley, a metallic banging sound. David grabbed a flash light and cautiously opened the door, Saki was again by his side. He flashed the light at the dumpster, it was open, and four eyes stared back and growled. Two black bear cubs had climbed the pallets stacked next to the dumpster and went dumpster diving, the result of leaving the dumpster lid opened.

David did not want the cubs between him and the cub’s mother, nor wake up everyone at the motel. So he went inside, grabbed a few bananas, peeled them, and threw them on the ground. He hoped the bears would come out and take the bananas, and leave; he would later come back and shut the lid. This worked, Sake was out two bananas, but every one got to sleep, even the bears.

David felt eyes staying at him and heard heavy panting; he knew it was Saki wanting to go outside so he got on his pants and shoes to take her out; Saki went for the trees and he sat on the steps watching. The sun was rising; he looked to his left, saw a pile of leaves, and heard heavy breathing. The cubs were back, apparent orphans, huddled together in the leaves, and sleeping soundly, now what.

Saki

Saki, a white female Akita, leaped from the car seeking to melt the snow; her urgency stalled by a pack of timber wolves with reflective eyes. They seen by the light of the harvest moon as they approached in a horn formation; silent except for the sound of pads on crusted snow. She moved in front of David; he reached down to feel the bristled hair on her neck and heard her low guttural sound. He said, “Saki, car!”

David moved to the open car door on the driver’s side, he waited for her to enter, but she was holding her ground by his side. He shouted, “In now,” she leaped to the passenger side. He got in shut the door as the wolves jumped to the windows on both sides. The two Alpha wolves separated and leaped to the hood and trunk. The pack surrounded the car; it was the echo of hell. There were at least a dozen, however he wasn’t counting.  He just hoped the windows would hold. 

The windows had the frightening images of snarling blood drenched yellow teeth, a multitude of piercing eyes that viewed them as a meal. The windows held as they attempted to bite at what they saw and the windows grew damp and streaked with saliva. Saki barked at each window.

David started the engine, put it into gear and hit the gas, saying, “There are enough deer around here; why are they after our?” A scratching sound was heard as the hairy creatures slid off the car. They sped down the road by the light of the moon. Saki was now calm.

Within minutes they rolled into Spooner, Wisconsin, a small northern city with the lights on. David had just gotten to Spooner last night. David and Saki lived in a room at the Spooner Motel; he opened the door and then the refrigerator to stare inside. It was empty; Saki would get a carrot, yogurt, and a banana. She laid on the floor undecided as to what to eat first; her eyes moved to each in turn. Saki put the banana between her paws; she gently snapped the end with her teeth and peeled it, then in one gulp it was gone. David made a sandwich out of sliced meat and some bread and turned on the TV to watch Sgt Preston of the Yukon. He soon broke out into laughter at the irony of it.