Chummy’s Challenge – Tipsy Lit

Written for Tipsy Lit. Chummy is back by request! A story about a practical joke gone horribly wrong begins after the image.

Genre: Science Fiction/Humor

Photo by: cindy23323, Touchup by me.

Photo by: cindy23323, Touchup by me.

Chummy’s Challenge

Many of the colonists of New Hope III knew the true nature of Aleta Watts’ beloved dog, Chummy. For one particular colonist, he was an enigma, and this very nearly cost Vernon Hackmeister his life.

Aleta Watts relaxed with a beer beside Sheriff Jones in the Centerpiece Inn. A structure that served as temporary homestead, pub, and center of democratic decision-making. The main room of the inn could easily fit all 87 residents of Williamson County inside, and often did on Sundays. Aleta took another pull of Wendy Hampton’s cream ale (the finest in the four colonies of Sector 7), and stopped petting Chummy to rub her elbow. Chummy immediately nuzzled her hand, insisting on more petting.

“I’m tired, Chums. Give my bones a break, willya?”

Chummy simply stepped over to Sheriff Jones and nuzzled his hand. “Alright, Chummy,” he grinned at looked at Aleta. “I guess I’m your relief petter.” Jones didn’t mind his role. Chummy’s fur was so soft. To Jones, it felt like touching angel’s wings.

Vernon Hackmeister walked into the inn making a lot of noise as he always did, and joined Aleta and Jones. “Hiya folks!” he boomed. “How ya’ doin’ Chum-chum!” He stopped to box Chummy’s face, hard. He did this often, and Aleta still cringed whenever he did it. Chummy was tough, but she still didn’t like anyone hitting her dog like that.

As Wendy brought a beer out, it was her that said something. “Do you think it’s smart, hitting Chummy like that?”

Vernon stood up and boxed Chummy’s face again. “Oh he likes it, don’tcha boy?”

Chummy just took the hits without response and leaned against Sheriff Jones. It was a little uncomfortable. Chummy had the shape and appearance of a dog, but he was still 5-feet tall at the shoulder and could look most men in the eye. He weighed a lot too.

“Lookit ‘im,” grinned Vernon. “Just a big pussy.”

“May I remind you you’re hitting a war machine,” said Jones, speaking as though to an idiot. “Back in ’89 a Cerberus-class Wardog like Chummy took on a squadron of 6 Main Battle Tanks…and wiped them out. He could squash you like a bug.”

“Oh that’s just a legend. But now the operative word is machine,” countered Vernon. “He cain’t get mad.”

“Chummy is a Self-Programming Artificial Intelligence, Vernon,” said Aleta. “He feels emotions just as strongly as you and I.”

“Pshaw! If he’s an AI, then he’s no smarter than the AI controlling the defensive perimeter around downtown.”

“That’s an Expert System, not an AI. There’s a difference.”

“Whatever!” Vernon tossed down the rest of his beer. “You two sit tight. I’ll prove that he’s a simple machine.”

Two hours later, the radio on Sheriff Jones’ shoulder came to life with the voice of Vernon. “Hey Jones! Come out the front and check this out.”

Jones walked outside into downtown. It wasn’t much of a downtown; with a total of 6 buildings including the inn, and nothing but tall grass and trees beyond it, it was hardly the center of a metropolis. Still, the locals liked calling it “downtown” anyway. In the center of the wide dirt street stood a tall wooden pole with solar collectors, a communications dish, and a laser cannon for scaring off aggressive wildlife. Beneath it, stood Vernon beside the flatbed of his skimmer. A large side of beef lay in the bed.

“Vernon. What the hell are you doin’?” rumbled Sheriff Jones in his radio.

“Ooh, Chummy help me!” said Vernon in a mocking voice into his radio. He pranced beside the pole, 40 feet from the inn. “This side of beef will draw predators. Do something, Chummy!”

“Nothing will come past the sonic repellers*,” said Jones. “Besides the defensive systems will shoot anything that comes inside.”

“Not if I turned it off!”

“You did what?

“Now if your almighty Chummy was actually smart, he’d snatch up this beef and drag it into the forest so we’d all be safe. Lets see if he’ll think of that!”

Aleta shouted in Jones’ radio. “Vernon you ijit! Chummy’s a 100 miles away helping Mr. Pritchart get his steer out a sinkhole.”

Vernon paled visibly. “You mean…?”

Aleta screamed. “Vernon, duck!”

Vernon dropped to the ground as a massive form flew over his head. A 1200-pound Hyena-Bear, native to New Hope III, stood over the beef and the now crumpled cab of the skimmer. 7-feet tall at the shoulder, the super-predator had 2-foot long jaws loaded with bone crushing teeth, and this one felt Vernon was a threat to its meal.

As Jones and Aleta watched from the doorway of the inn, Jones said, “You can’t outrun him, Vernon. I’ll distract him. When I do, climb that damn pole!” Jones started firing with his .45 pistol, knowing it wouldn’t do anything to the animal. Luckily, it turned to face Jones. Vernon climbed fast and huddled on top of the now-useless laser cannon.

Wendy joined Jones and Aleta. “I restarted the defensive AI, but it insists on making a systems check. It’ll be down for a while.”

“Crap.” Aleta keyed a special frequency on her radio. “Chummy, come in.” Chummy answered and she outlined the problem for him.

“Any chance I’m too late to save him?” asked Chummy. Chummy didn’t usually speak, preferring to behave like a dog, though he would talk in an emergency.

“He’s hangin’ on by his fingernails, but he’s alive.”

“Too bad. I’ll be there soonest.”

Luckily for Veron, an hour away by skimmer meant twenty minutes away by Chummy’s ground-eating bounds. By the time Chummy arrived, three Hyena-Bears had polished off the side of beef as an aperitif. They were biting and tearing at the pole and very nearly shaking Vernon off of it. Vernon screamed for his life.

“I can’t believe the lousy luck,” grumbled Aleta. “Three Hyena-Bears that quick? I’ve never seen that many at once.”

“Wendy’s been smoking briskets for days for Sunday’s barbeque,” said Jones. “They were probably gathering just outside the perimeter.”

“There’s Chummy!”

Chummy approached the circling Hyena-Bears with his head low and growling with menace. The lead Hyena-Bear was far larger than Chummy and it wasted no time to point that out. Chummy didn’t back down for an instant. As a self-programming AI, Chummy had rewritten his Rules Of Engagement (ROEs) long ago. Originally intended for military use, Chummy had claimed all the colonists of New Hope III as under his protection. That included the native wildlife. Chummy didn’t want to harm the Hyena-Bear, but unfortunately a clear example needed to be made.

The Hyena-Bear lunged at Chummy. Chummy dodged the enormous jaws and swatted it’s head with muscles powered by fusion energy. The Hyena-Bear reeled, dazed by a blow powerful enough to crush a steel door. Chummy lunged and clamped on the creature’s neck, instantly severing the head from the body.

As blood dripped from his jaws, Chummy approached the other two Hyena-Bears. The demonstration had made a strong argument, and they bolted, Chummy in hot pursuit.

While Chummy chased the super-predators off, Vernon began shimmying back down the pole. He was almost down when Chummy returned. Chummy’s powerful growls echoed across downtown. His snapping jaws missed Vernon’s feet by inches. “Aleta! What the hell’s he doin’?” screamed Vernon.

“Yeah, what is he doing?” said Jones to Aleta.

“Defense perimeter is back up!” called Wendy from inside the inn.

Aleta may have been a beauty queen in her younger days, but at 42 with 15 years of solo ranching behind her, she was strong as an ox. She passed Jones carrying one of the inn’s heavy tables. Not even breathing hard, she said, “Don’t you think Chummy has a sense of humor too?”

Jones grinned, grabbed some chairs, and followed her to a setup beneath Vernon’s pole.

Chummy made a towering leap and his jaws ripped away part of Vernon’s boot. “Aleta! Call yer damn dog off!”

“I can’t tell him nuthin’,” said Aleta accepting a beer from Wendy. “He’s just a dumb AI.”

“I was wrong, okay? I’m sorry! Sheriff, you’re the law here. Do something!”

Jones took a pull of beer and pulled out his gun cleaning kit. “Sure. Soon as I finish cleaning my gun, I’m shooting your dumb butt!”

“Aw c’mon!”

The sun went down as a raucous crowd, lounging at tables circling Vernon’s pole, ate and drank heartily. Chummy entertained the colonists by making impressive leaps at Vernon, still clinging to the communications pole. Oohs and Aahs often followed. By then, Chummy’s hyper-accurate nips had reduced Vernon’s jeans to cutoffs without leaving a scratch. A line of dampness streamed down the pole from Vernon’s perch.

“Hey guys, I’m really tired and hungry! Can I come down now?”

It was late when the crowd filed away and Wendy closed the inn for the evening. “G’night, Vernon!” called Aleta as she and Wendy drove away in a skimmer. Absolutely tireless, Chummy remained at the foot of Vernon’s pole. It was going to be a long night.

“You guys ain’t funny! Not one bit!”
_____________________________

Author’s Notes:
*A sonic repeller is simply a system of speakers producing sounds humans cannot hear, but animals can. It’s unpleasant to them so they stay away. Such systems are currently in use.

If you think my fictional Hyena-Bear is over the top, it’s based upon Earth’s prehistoric Andrewsarchus which might have been bigger.

Each week, Tipsy Lit posts a writing prompt with a limit 1,500 words. This is my first post for Tipsy Lit and like usual I needed nearly every little bit of that limit. This week, the goal was to share a story of a joke gone wrong. To see the prompt firsthand, look here: http://tipsylit.com/2014/02/17/prompted-jokes-on-you/

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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20 Responses to Chummy’s Challenge – Tipsy Lit

  1. Lyn says:

    Yaaay Chummy is back! Love that dog! Serves Vernon right. He shouldn’t have antagonised Chummy. Mind you, it could have been worse. Chummy could have picked him up and carried him to the top of some inaccessible (except to Chummy) mountain peak and left him there. Hope Vernon has learnt his lesson. Great setting and characters Eric (as usual) 🙂

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Thanks Lyn! This story was for you. I’ve been trying to work Chummy in ever since you asked about him. A really large word limit was perfect for getting to know Chummy better.

      It’s very lucky for Vernon that Chummy is so protective of the colonists, even stupid ones. On other the other hand, Chummy isn’t averse to teaching a hard lesson.

      Thanks so much for your comments, and for remembering Chummy, 🙂

      Like

  2. A.D. Everard says:

    I’d say you had fun writing that. It was a good read. 😀

    Like

  3. Indira says:

    Fantastic. Your chummy is quite a character, loved it. Very enjoyable though had to read thrice to get everything in y tiny brain.

    Like

  4. Robin says:

    What a great story. I love Chummy – such a great idea for a character. His great precision at turning Vernon’s pants to shorts was funny. And the ending did not disappoint, because anyone reading this would want Vernon to get what he had coming. Chummy’s character is avenged and he also gets a little revenge 🙂

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Chummy’s a great dog. I want one just like him. I’m glad the ending satisfied. Vernon was being really stupid so he needed to pay. Lucky for him it wasn’t his life, just a whole lot of his dignity. Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

      Like

  5. WendyStrain says:

    This is my first encounter with Chummy and I think he’s wonderful! He’s even careful to protect the wildlife, except, of course, when the wildlife steps out of line. (Yes, I’m including Vernon in that definition – anyone that stupid … ).

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Thanks Wendy! Chummy’s one of my favorite characters too. He wasn’t quite sure what to do when Vernon was boxing his head, but when Vernon got stupid, that made Chummy’s response quite clear. Lucky for Vernon that Chummy even protects idiots. Thanks much for stopping by, and for your kind comments!

      Like

  6. Pingback: Polling Prompted: Joke’s on You | Tipsy Lit

  7. Suzanne says:

    Oh, this is so much fun, Eric! Love Chummy, maybe because he reminds me a bit of my husky, especially the pushy pet-me behaviour at the beginning. 🙂 Great story, great action, and awesome comeuppance for Vernon.

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Thanks Suzanne! Chummy is partly based on our family dogs. They’d make you pet them until you developed tennis elbow. Glad you thought Vernon deserved his humiliation. It was a fun story to write. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  8. jenbrunett says:

    Love the story! And that huskie is gorgeous!

    Like

  9. Shey says:

    Chummy has a sense of humor.LOL. Always love reading about Chummy.

    Like

  10. Pingback: The 13th Dog – YeahWrite Fiction | Momus News

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