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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)

TITLE: Mushrooms, Bulldogs and Peaches
By Teri Wilson


The mushroom stared at Simone. It glared at her with its missing chunk in the perfect shape of a bite. Unfortunately, this particular mushroom wasn’t stuffed with breadcrumbs sitting among other hors d’oeuvres on a shiny silver tray. The mushroom in question stood alone, in the center of the tiny yard next to Simone’s deck. A stark white umbrella poking up out of the green grass.

Simone looked at the offending fungus and then down at her bulldog Popeye, who let out a loud snore.

Popeye, what have you done?

Within minutes, the three of them found themselves at Surf City Animal Clinic. Simone, Popeye and the mushroom, now sealed in a plastic bag.

“I’m sorry to pop in without an appointment. I think my dog ate part of this mushroom and I’m worried it could make him sick.”

“No problem. We can get you in right away but Dr. Franklin isn’t here. You’ll have to see his nephew, Dr. Rick.”

Simone, suddenly self-conscious in her Scooby-Doo pajamas, found a chair in the waiting area. She had known sweet Dr. Franklin for years. In her panic over the mushroom, she’d hopped in the car without a second thought. But now that the mysterious Dr. Rick was on duty, she was beginning to have doubts.

“We’re ready for Popeye now.”

Simone entered the exam room and found herself face-to-face with an incredibly handsome man in blue surgical scrubs.

“You must be a Scooby fan.”

Is he smirking? “Um, yeah.”

“So what seems to be the problem?” Dr. Rick nodded toward the mushroom.

Simone was starting to feel more ridiculous by the minute. “Um, I think Popeye took a bite out of this mushroom and I’m worried it could be poisonous. He’s really lethargic.”

The young man poked and prodded Popeye. “The mushroom isn’t his problem. I think Popeye is feeling down because of his weight. He’s a little on the portly side.”

Dr. Rick grabbed a handful of loose coat on Popeye’s back as part of some kind of humiliating demonstration.

Why do I suddenly feel the need to suck in my stomach? “He does have a lot of extra skin.”

“It’s not skin. It’s fat. Blubber. Lard.”

That was the last mortifying straw. Simone began gathering her belongings and nudging Popeye from his prone position on the floor. “Thank you for your help.”

“I’m sorry if I offended you. He’ll be fine if you put him on a diet.”

“Popeye, get up.” She started dragging him out of the room as Dr. Rick kept talking. What is it with this guy?
“Popeye’s a great dog. An interesting choice for pretty lady like you. Most women like those cute little dogs they can carry around in their handbags.”

If I don’t get out of here, I’m going to die of embarrassment. “I’m not a silly little girl, Dr. Rick. I don’t want some stupid rat-dog. Popeye is a real dog, not a neurotic fashion accessory.” Then she spun on her slipper-clad heel and walked out.

Simone longed to forget the whole experience and crawl in a hole. But she still had a strange fluttery feeling in the pit of her stomach five days later when she thought about Dr. Rick as she tried to take Popeye for a walk on the beach.

“Popeye, we need some exercise.” She tugged on the leash and Popeye planted his large doggy bottom in the sand.

Simone tried every manner of cajoling to get the bulldog to stand up and walk. Passersby on the beach snickered at their tug of war.

It could be worse. Dr. Rick could be here to witness this humiliation.


Lo and behold, there he was.

The familiar fluttery feeling swarmed her insides and then, a huge smirk spread across her face when she spotted it.

She pointed at it with glee. “What is that?”

Dr. Rick blushed. “My dog, Peaches.”

“Oh, that’s priceless.”

“Are you insulting my dog?”

“My dog is obese. Why would I insult yours?”

Simone looked down at Peaches, an apricot teacup poodle, complete with bows over her ears. Dr. Rick looked down at Popeye, puffing and wheezing in the surf. Then they looked at each other and, with butterflies swirling in both their bellies, began to giggle. They stood on the beach laughing while the salty water swirled around their feet and their toes sank into the sand.

As for Popeye and Peaches, they just looked at one another and wondered what was so funny.

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This article has been read 982 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/26/07
Open mouth, insert slipper, er, foot. This is a lovely, humorous story! Could there be a worse possible way to meet someone? I think the dogs will get along just fine, and I hope the people will, too. (They're made for each other.) :)
Betty Castleberry07/27/07
I always love a good animal story, and this was no exception. Love the tone, love the dogs. A great read. Thanks for sharing.
Melanie Kerr 07/28/07
Good narrative. I am not so sure that the opening couple of sentences about the glaring mushroom really was the best way to begin the story, but I liked the contrast between Popeye and Peaches.
Joanne Sher 07/29/07
Cute and clever - that vet needs some bedside manner lessons, but this was fun.
Jan Ackerson 07/29/07
Love it! I should have seen Dr. Rick's dog coming, but I didn't, and it was delightful.
Elizabeth Burton07/29/07
I was in the mood for a nice love story that didn't make me want to throw up--this was perfect. Love the mushroom! I think the dogs will get along great, :).
Lynda Lee Schab 07/31/07
Very cute story! Nicely written...the only thing I would say is that in the end, you slip out of POV, which kind of distracte me a bit. But otherwise, completely engaging and entertaining. :-)
Kristen Hester07/31/07
This is so much fun and very cute! I enjoyed it!!