An ode to smelly hounds.
(It's also a formatting test, but don't tell anyone)
Boris the basset, known to his mates as Farty, looked up at Arthur with soulful, sorrowful eyes and, whining apologetically, let off a corker.
“Bloody hell!” said Arthur, whipping out a hankie and covering his nose hastily, “He's at it again. What we need, my boy,” he mumbled to Vinnie through the grey cotton, “is a garden…”
“Yeah,” choked Vinnie, eyeing the explosive mutt with disgust, “to bury him in. It's either that or a cork.”
“Farty needs a garden where he can fart to his hearts content,” said Arthur, waxing lyrical and frowning at his son reprovingly.
This priceless nugget of unintentional elegy was lost on Vinnie however, as he was too busy dragging the protesting animal into the loo. The trouble was that the more poor old Farty matured and mellowed, the smellier, louder and more frequent his explosions became.
Arthur and Vinnie had discovered Farty in Battersea Dog's Home where they'd gone with their mate Teabag. Teabag had carelessly mislaid Petal, a mongrel of indeterminate parentage to whom he was totally and hopelessly devoted. A be-whiskered, beer-bellied bruiser with arms covered in tattoos so dense it looked like he was wearing a psychedelic jumper, the distraught Teabag had been devastated by his loss.
Quite overcome with grief, he'd persuaded Arthur and Vinnie to accompany him on his quest in case he should suffer an emotional breakdown. Happily Petal, only slightly the worse for wear, was discovered safe and sound. Teabag, overwhelmed with gratitude, had donated a fiver on the spot.
Vinnie meanwhile, idly peering into the adjacent pen, had spotted a large, slumbering pooch with droopy jowls and a dribble.
“Woof!” he said conversationally through the bars. The comatose canine raised a head framed by ears the size of an old lady's bloomers and grinned before nodding off again.
Vinnie was impressed. This was obviously a fellow creature after his own heart. He, too, found sleeping one of the greatest joys in life, especially if he could do it all day.
“Hey, Pa!” he called to Arthur, who was proffering his ubiquitous hankie to Teabag in order to mop up the tears of joy Teabag was shedding at Petal's safe deliverance, “Look at this one. Ain't he cute? Shall we take him?”
Arthur peered dubiously into the pen.
Boris, suddenly alert, grinned and drooled hopefully.
“He's a bit big, ain't he? What would we do with a thing that size in a council flat, I ask you?” He turned to the kennel girl, a pretty young thing with a pink scarf covering the lower half of her face.
Arthur failing, understandably, to notice the warning sign asked, “How long's he been here then, love?”
“A year,” muttered the mouth behind the muslin, “It's a real pity. He's got a lovely temperament, that one. Really gentle he is, but no-one wants to take him.”
“What a shame…” sighed Arthur, who always had a soft spot for the underdog.
“Not ill though, is he?” asked Vinnie, concerned.
“Oh no, not exactly. He suffers a bit from flatulence, that's all…”
“Blimey,” said Arthur, under the impression that flatulence had something to do with fallen arches, “Is that all? Well, we'll take him then, shall we Vin? He looks really friendly, don't he?”
Thus it was that Boris, soon to be christened Farty, was duly examined and, having been given the all-clear by a masked vet, took up residence with Arthur and Vinnie. The true extent of Farty's miasmic digestive disorder did not, however, become fully apparent until all three found themselves enclosed in the cramped confines of a council flat.
“Maybe we're giving him the wrong grub,” said Arthur faintly, watching Farty wolf down a bowl of tripe and expelling wind like a deflating balloon, “We'd better take him to the vet.”
The vet, green and gasping, could find nothing wrong with Farty's rations, other than they were, perhaps, slightly on the generous side.
“Right,” said Vinnie to a dismayed Farty, “We'll cut back a bit, then.”
It didn't help. Quite the contrary in fact because Farty, possibly in protest, became windier and more pungent than ever. Arthur and Vinnie, in despair, took to opening the windows wide in all weathers, even in the depths of the direst winter.
They purchased aerosols of sea-breeze air freshener by the dozen and ended up spending a fortune on pot pourri.
Nothing worked though and even Petal, initially a staunch and faithful admirer, refused to enter the putrid portals.
Teabag had to leave her at home when he visited for their weekly poker sessions.
By this time, Farty had been in residence for almost three years and Arthur and Vinnie had naturally become quite attached. They finally had to concede however, that it was a toss up between suffocation or relocation. Which was when Arthur, in a rare flash of inspiration, had come up with the brilliant idea of a garden for Farty to fart in.
This solution would, hopefully, save father and son from certain asphyxiation. The council was duly contacted and bureaucratic wheels put in motion. Farty meanwhile, sad and lonely, languished in the loo for the duration.
“Brilliant!” cried Arthur and “Cool!” whooped Vinnie the next week, after postie had delivered an official letter informing them that a house had been found and they could move in the following month. Farty was allowed to spend his last night in the living-room.
“After all,” pointed out Vinnie, “It don't really matter if he stinks it up now, does it?” and they all went to bed dreaming of a house smelling sweeter than a field of mimosa.
Arthur was snoring gently and Vinnie was dreaming of the acres of illegal plants he was going to cultivate in their lovely new garden, when they were awakened by an almighty crash followed by much barking and yelping from Farty.
“Bloody hell!” shouted Arthur, still half asleep, “What's that?” and shoving in his dentures, he grabbed his boxing trophy. Never having been a man who shirked confrontation, he prepared to do battle.
Bumping into Vinnie in the hall, the two made their way cautiously towards the living-room where Farty could be heard whining and snuffling. A terrible stench pervaded. Arthur and Vinnie, relatively used to Farty's expulsions, gasped nevertheless as they threw open the door.
There, lying on the floor and out like a light, lay a supine form clutching Arthur's telly under one arm and Vinnie's video under the other. Farty stood over him, breaking wind furiously and dribbling like Niagara Falls.
“Blimey,” breathed Vinnie in awe, “Farty's managed to knock him out without raising a paw!”
“This dog,” grinned Arthur, nudging the intoxicated intruder with a bare foot and patting the proud hound on the head, “Is a bloody miracle worker…”