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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bark is Worse than His/Her Bite (10/17/13)

TITLE: Ripper
By Jeff Lockshin
10/23/13


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Some years ago I was employed as an outside on the road salesman. One of my favorite stops was a customer located in the outlying portion of a major Northeastern city. I was required to call on them at their main office, which was not situated in the commercial city zone, as one would expect. Their headquarters were uniquely established within the posh finished basement of the company owner’s private residence.


I loved calling on this account. In addition to being blessed with a substantial amount of revenue from the multiple orders I received from them; the people that I transacted business with there were the most pleasant and kind hearted individuals on my sales route. After awhile I grew to value them as more than mere customers, but indeed as true friends. I suspected that their comfortable home style work place served to enhance their naturally engaging spirits; though questioning at times if they would have been so extra delightful if they had to bear the burden of toiling within the sterile fluorescent borders of a typical commercial office venue.


As pleasing as the sales calls were, there was a downside. Offsetting my joy was a colossal and quite frightening barrier I needed to conquer before gaining entrance to the basement office. Getting there required walking up a lengthy driveway. A brief distance before approaching the arch, which looped over the upper portion of it, I would inevitably heed the resonant thunderous earsplitting bark that indicated Ripper was outside standing guard.


Penned adjacent to the office door within a wrought iron fence complete with bars, lay in wait a truly daunting mammoth sized German Shepherd. He was the largest of the breed I had ever encountered, and still to this day, I have not yet espied his equal. Ripper was fear and terror in perpetual motion. I remember considering that if he was not the devil incarnate, he was at least possessed by legions of his raging demons.


Ripper insanely provoked all visitors and strangers with his deafening, viscerally intimidating repertoire of barking and snarling. His huge bulk lunging forward in attack mode was scarcely held in check by the iron bars of his small enclosure. And his obvious frustration of not being able to lurch over the fence and rip an observer to shreds, he transmuted, by chasing his tail in a seemingly endless circuitous pattern.


One day I sauntered up the driveway to the tune of his typical cacophonous din approaching the dreaded beast at the same time that one of my customer /friends was returning to work from her lunch break. She caught up with me in front of Ripper’s corral. “Ripper…Quiet!” she ordered casually. The giant canine immediately sat down on his haunches muttering a soft whimper.


“I guess it’s trite to say, but his bark is much worse than his bite.” She commented with a smile.


“You’ve got to be kidding!” I was incredulous over what I had just seen and what I imagined Ripper’s bite might be like. As bad as his bark was, and it was bad with a capital B. His bite would certainly sever limbs and cause severe permanent bodily damage to any human he set his teeth to.


My friend reached into her pocketbook and retrieved a small chocolate bar. Signaling for me to open my hand, she placed the treat within. “Go on and feed him.” “Don’t throw it in there.” Let him eat it out of your hand.” “You’ll see he won’t bite.”


“Absolutely not!” “This hand has served me well for thirty years; I like it just the way it is.”


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This article has been read 172 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lois Farrow10/24/13
Great story and perfect for the topic. I'd like to see some faith shown at the end by offering the treat!
Jeff Lockshin 10/24/13
Regret, that I did not copy and paste the entire story. You may read the finish as follows: “Go on chicken.” She urged me with a smile.


I trusted my friend and hated to be called chicken so nervously I approached the furry devil, my hand outstretched. He went for the chocolate and jawed down on my hand. Astonished, rather than amputated fingers, my hand became trapped in a warm rubbery cavern. Ripper let go my hand swallowing the food whole.


“You see, all is well. Ripper has no teeth, the Vet removed them because of a severe gum infection”…she heartily laughed aloud.


And so did I, relieved that my hand was still attached to my wrist. Moreover, equally humorous was my awakened insight into the tactics of the real devil. Fear and intimidation is his game. Scripture says he roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he will devour. Surely he does. But, he has no teeth!




Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/26/13
This is a sweet story. I liked the voice of the MC. I was almost killed by a Shepherd mix and agree with your MC. I prefer to keep all body parts away from any dogs, especially big barking ones.

My main red ink was the beginning was a tad slow. I suspect that this is a true story and think you might have fallen into a common trap. When recounting a memory, things are important in our minds and vivid. The reader, however, doesn't need all those details. I might have started with something like: As a traveling salesman, I had to overcome many perilous encounters, but the huge, ferocious dog known as Ripper made me shake in my loafers.

It's not perfect, but hopefully it creates a picture for the reader and introduces the conflict right away. You have a delightful subtle sense of humor and I'd loved to have seen more of that in the beginning. You definitely covered the topic, both literally and figuratively. Fear can stop us from many things. Who knows Ripper might have become your best buddy. :) That's a great message and a wonderful way to show it without coming off has preachy. You did a nice job. Keep writing for sure!
Camille (C D) Swanson 10/27/13
I enjoyed your story and your brilliant way of bringing the images of the dog to life. I could see it all unfold before my eyes. So, nicely done!

I flinched inwardly though at the thought of "chocolate" being given to a dog, it could "kill" a dog, that and raisins and olives. But that's me, because I am such an animal lover.

Anyhow, back to the story, I thought it was a fantastic read with a perfect blend of levity to pepper and spice it up.

God bless~
Camille (C D) Swanson 10/31/13
Jeff,

I loved your story! It is a winner all the way for me.
So glad it got recognition.

I repeat, I LOVED IT.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/02/13
Congratulations on placing 5th in your level and 17th overall!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/02/13
I'm a bit slow. I thought your continued ending was from another writer. I liked it and thought it would work well. It wasn't until just now that I realized that it was the author commenting. Be careful about commenting on your own piece until the judging is done just to maintain that anonymity. I do like the ending quite a bit and laughed out loud for real when I read it. I don't know that you needed the last paragraph to summarize the analogy because you did a good job of doing it in your story. Ah, I'm sure if the whole thing had been copied, it may have been in the top ten. Even with part of it missing, you still did a great job. Before you hit submit next time, hit preview. That way you will see the story just like the reader will and it makes it easy to spot spacing problems or other errors. I do quite a bit of editing after I hit preview. There is something about seeing the story in its full format that clicks with me. Again amazing job! This was one of my favorites.