Numchucks: The Legend Ch. 06byMy Erotic Tail©
The Blue Ford died and a Black Ford F 250 pick-up truck took its place. The reality of income verses bills forced me to take a job in Houston. Still doing deliveries and Numchucks was still able to ride with me after he was tested.
"Here boy, Numchucks! Come on..." My new boss tried to coax Chucks out with all the tricks, acting like he had food, dropping the tail gate and calling him. For awhile I offered a hundred dollars to any one who could get Chucks to jump out of the bed of the truck. Luckily I never lost that bet but I quit in fear that I would.
The only time that I recall Numchucks getting out of the Truck was when I was downtown Houston. I had held up in a little Mexican Cantina to allow traffic to die down. The rains began again as they always do in the warm summer afternoons of Southeast Texas. I was nestled deep with in the cities tunnel ways and skyscrapers.
"Its hailing cats and dogs out there," a customer had come into the Cantina dripping wet. Shaking the water from his umbrella and placing it at the bars edge. "There's even a dog at your front door to prove it." My ears perked up while everyone else thought it was a joke.
"What kind of dog?" I asked.
"A Big Black Lab laying under the eve of the building out of the rain at the front door." That's when everyone realized he was serious and I went to see. The rains had become heavy hailing and blowing in such a direction that the corner of the truck that I kept covered for Chucks to get out of the blistering sun or pouring rain was getting sopping wet. Chucks had jumped out and went to where he had seen me disappear into the building. Just laying up in the corner of the entrance out of the pelting gumball size hail.
A small crowd gathered around to see the big black dog that was guarding the entrance of this downtown establishment. The owner was so overwhelmed by Chucks that he allowed Numchucks to come into his place of business anytime I was in there. Chucks was very obedient to curl up next to what ever chair I was sitting in. Seeing-eye dogs were common in the city. Of course many people feel compelled to pet a very gentle and inviting canine. Chucks was always polite and eager to socialize.
One of the electrical supply companies we delivered for daily had a large grassy yard that would be Numchucks favorite running area. His tail would begin wagging before we turned into their yard. The employees loved Chucks and would break out their lunch pales to offer tid bits to watch him do a trick or two. He would jump from the truck to the dock as soon as my bumper laid against the rubber stop.
They made balls out of rolled up tape and paper and would play catch with him while I got the truck loaded for delivery. His quick stroll through the back pipe yard would give him room to run and stretch his legs. A stroll across the vacant field next to this place was were he perked up his tail and slowly sniffed out and flushed the local birds while leaving his mark.
Numchucks got an invitation to their Christmas Party as if he was jotted down onto their Christmas guest list. The huge warehouse was decorated with green and red streamers and kegs of beer were set into new trash cans full of ice. Rows and rows of picnic tables were scattered along the front. A bar was catered and brought in operated by a professional bartender in a vest. The food was catered by a local and very well known Barbecue company. It didn't take Chucks long to get to know the meat carver and all the burnt black and fat that got cut off the brisket was given to Numchucks as fast as he cut it off.
The back area seem to be where most of the action was. Two craps tables were made and both were crowded along with a few tables that had card games going. The yelling and excitement made it a lively party indeed. The heated warehouse was tolerable but everyone still had on jackets and drinking cold beer.
"Art! Where's Numchucks?" Greeted by the friends that we had made from our routes and rounds.
"By the food, where else?" I replied as I went around shaking hands and handing out some heartfelt "Merry Christmas's."
"I need a beer, tell Numchucks to bring me a beer," The man said drunkenly and perhaps not seriously. I whistled and called Chucks and he came running. Looking from person to person till he spotted me. Wagging his tail as he recognized a few faces.
"I need a cold can, Get the can Chucks." Numchucks took off running. I had an idea of where the coolers were and not really certain that Chucks did either but the gesture was worth the fun. The game of dice got heated up and we all had forgotten that we were joking with Chucks when he come up with a beer in his mouth. It wasn't his brand of beer but the fact he brought one was awesome enough that he didn't complain a bit, in fact relished in Numchuck's ability.
Another friend wanted a beer too as well as to see if he could do it again or was it dumb luck. I sent Chucks after another cold can and he returned with a beer in mouth just as quickly as he could run. The list of people now wanting a beer was paying one dollar a piece to have this Lab retrieve them a beer with the understanding that what he brought back may or may not be their brand. But exchanges and swapping fixed some of that. Numchucks went to work quickly understanding that as soon as he brought one beer and I pointed to who it went to. Chucks would go and sit before them till they took the beer from him.
Then spin around and dart to get another one. It soon became apparent that he was doing this rather a beer was needed or not. I went to the bathroom and passed the front area up and noticed that when Chucks would come for a beer a group of people would open the cooler lid and Chucks would run up and pick out a can with the aid of his new friends he made in this area of the warehouse. He was a charmer.
As I returned to the dice table area and things had died down a bit some new customer Christmas guests had shown up and were eager to play a few games. The tale of Numchucks retrieving beer peaked one mans interest.
"I'd pay to see that," he said. A little tipsy of course this man refused to believe a half a dozen guys standing there telling them they saw this dog, go get a beer. "I bet you twenty dollars that a dog can't go get a beer from a cooler."
I whistled for Chucks and he come running up with a beer in his mouth already. I pointed to the man and Chucks went over to him and sat down at his feet waiting for the man to get his beer.
"No, that don't count. He has to go get one, someone probably put it in his mouth. This is a trick." The man stammered, another man took the beer saying he wanted it if that man didn't. The tension grew thick a moment but I sent Chucks after another beer. This man sent one of his friends to ensure that the dog did what was claimed. After Chucks and this man returned Chucks handed me the Beer and the man's friend claimed Numchucks had help at the cooler.
So ground rules were laid and people posted at the cooler and us back by the tables. I sent Chucks on another can retrieval. The twenty dollar bet was now a hundred dollars and side bets were being exchanged while awaiting Chucks return. Some bet on how long it would take cause most knew he would do it. But how long would it take since he had to open the cooler latches (This man's rules) and retrieve a particular brand of beer out of two cans pushed to the bottom of the ice. The situation turned serious. For me it was a fifty-fifty chance that Chucks would bring back the right beer, for this man he didn't believe it could be done.
Chucks came running up and wagging his tail. The yells from the front let it be known that Chucks had gotten into the cooler and dug into the layers of ice and got the beer as required. The yells and cheers from the back was that he had arrived and delivered the beer. Numchucks proudly walked up to me and sat before me wagging his tail. I took the beer from his mouth and sat it on the table. Squatted down and hugged him. He was as faithful as a geyser and my best friend.
I paid the man his One Hundred dollars. The beer he brought back wasn't the brand he chose. But that didn't matter Chucks won the hearts of many that night. The Owner of the company wanted to meet the dog he had heard so much about. He and his lovely wife whom was dressed very nice and in a Christmas miniskirt came to the back and met Chucks the wonder dog. Numchucks shook hands with them both and the owner and I were in a conversation when we realized the giggles from the owners wife was her trying to get Chucks nose out from under her short dress.
"Numchucks No!" He didn't hear me I guess cause I had to physically pull him from her, "I'm sorry. He normally minds very well." The lady was gasping for air and saying that it was all right. But it was still embarrassing. Numchucks gained fame and popularity for his tricks and charm that night as well as our daily routes and people we encountered while working in the city.
Our lives were not routine cause you never knew when you would get a run to West Texas or Louisiana. Galveston wasn't bad cause we would stop at the beach and stretch our legs along the shore. I would stop and visit my fathers grave when we got runs to Amarillo or call a friend I had met in Trade school when I went through Wichita falls. Slept in the back of the truck with Chucks in the night air of Odessa and Midland waiting on dawn, to unload and return to Houston.
Most deliveries were turn around trips. Deliver and head back was always the objective. But stops were a necessity to say the least. From the Guadelupe River to the Red River. From El Paso to Beaumont we bounced around Texas like a pin ball. Pick ups in places like El Campo and take them to Lufkin. Or Huntsville to Lafayette, Louisiana which was another frequent route that took us through the Annuac National Wildlife area. Another great migratory flyway hold up for passing birds on they're way to Mexico for the winter.
We rode in that truck for more miles than I could count. Like the trip to Corpus Christi when it rained the whole way there and back. We had some long talks on trips like that. He might not have said a whole lot but he was a darn good listener.