Boy Scouts + and a Shaggy Dog
A note from the author:
Wha? what's this at the top? is it a NEW FEATURE? It is! I'm pleased to announce Reality Fan Fiction is now available in "Read it for you" mode. Now, Reality is available wherever you are. That's what I call convenient! Now RFF updates twice a week! New Stories on Wednesdays, and 'Read it for you' on Tuesdays.
At the end of a long winding dirt road, deep in the woods by a shallow pond, under a clear sky and a blanket of a million billion stars, a campsite and nine figures is silhouetted by a small crackling fire.
"So Sam hobbled up to the mansion, barely daring to put weight on his leg which he had broken when his canoe went over Niagara falls, remember? He was worried the butler would take one look at his clothes which were torn-up from the miles of briars and thorns he had walked through to get here. Take another look at his hair, pulled out in patches by the troupe of escaped circus monkeys. And take a final look at his one remaining shoe, you all remember what happened to the shoe?" Giggles and nods were his only response. "He'd take one look and turn Sam away. But he swallowed his fear and walked slowly up to the front door. He lifts the heavy golden knocker and lets it fall. One... Two... Three times and he waits."
The leader of troupe 58008 waited. The dying firelight flickering on his face as his scouts leaned in closer, their marshmallow and chocolate stained mouths hanging slightly open.
"The door was open by a butler, dressed in a fine suit of white and black, who was professional to the point where he didn't even bat an eye at poor disheveled looking Sam. I'm--"
"What's de-shoveled?" asked a scout with curly red hair, freckles, and wide green eyes.
"Nooooo, Joseph!" the boys chided him. "He's just going to make the story longer!"
"I'm glad you asked," the scout leader said, smiling. "Disheveled is an ooooold English word, which is probably why you don't recognize it, that means untidy, or disorderly especially when relating to appearance. It's similar to the word
." His eyes twinkled as he waited for them to take the bait.
"What's--" Joseph began, but the other boys elbowed him and he shut up.
"Get back to the story," the boys demanded.
"Well, if you're not enjoying it..." The scout leader seemed about to get up to leave.
"We're not! But we want to hear then end!"
"Really? It doesn't sound that way."
"Tell it!" Demanded the tallest of the boys, William, a Pop Warner quarterback for the junior midget division.
"Not if you ask like that!"
"Pleeeeeese?" Said Joseph.
"Fine, but no more interruptions." The scout leader settled back down. "Once, deep in the great forests of Ontario Canada, there was a man named Sam..."
"No! That's the beginning we were almost to the end." The boys were practically ripping out their hair.
"I know, but I forgot my place, so I have to start all over. Once, deep in the great--"
William stood and said, "Samwalkeduptothedoor. Heknockedthreetimes. Thebutleropenedthedooranddidn'tcarehewas...disheveled!" he was punctuating his sentences with a gesture like he was shaking someone by the shoulders.
"Ah yes, that's right. Thank you William. This butler was a real professional and didn't even bat an eye at Sam's
appearance. Nor did he turn his nose up at the shaggy dog, with its hair brown and smelling like swamp muck from their journey through the great swamps of northern Michigan, and it's shaggs even shaggier from all the thorns and burrs. 'I'm here,' said Sam, 'Because of the newspaper article offering a million dollars for the world's shaggiest dog.' he took the soggy and battered, but still legible newspaper clipping from his back pocket and handed it to the butler who brushed it aside. He knew exactly why Sam was here. 'Of course sir.' he said, bent over, picked up the shaggy dog, and carried him inside. For a long time Sam waited."
The chorus of crickets and katydids laid a perfect soundtrack for the waiting. The scout leader stood, partially to relieve himself from the smoke as it drifted his direction, and partially to act out Sam waiting on the door step. A bullfrog from the nearby lake started croaking.
"Then what happened," said Hayao, as he put a pine cone on the fire.
"Hayao, the fire is smoky enough as it is. Stop putting pine cones in, I'm not going to ask you again."
"Good, that means I can keep doing it without you bothering me."
"No. It mean you go to bed without hearing the end.
"So there was Sam, waiting on the stoop of this huge mansion and he's listening to the footsteps of the butler walk away as he carried the shaggy dog deep into the house to show to his master. And he waits for a long time, thinking once again to how he was going to spend that million dollars."
"I'd buy a go kart," said Hayao.
"You could buy a hundred go karts! I'd buy an amusement park!"
"I'd buy a hundred go karts then!"
"I'd quit my job," said the scout leader.
"Heeeeeey!" the scouts cried.
"Don't cut me off! I was
So I could work for the scouts full-time
." They eyed him suspiciously, and he continued. "Finally Sam heard the footsteps returning. The door opened and the butler set the shaggy dog back on the stoop, not seeming to mind the grey stains the wet pooch had left behind. 'So when do I get the million dollars?' Sam asked. To which the Butler replied, 'the master says, this dog's not so shaggy.'
The look on the boy's faces was one of disbelief and surprise. It was the look of a person who just realized they'd been conned out of a lot of money. It was the look of someone who'd just been told they were about to die and as they thought back over their life they realized the whole thing was entirely meaningless. It was the look of someone who has just binge-watched
How I Met your Mother
and had just finished the finale.
The scout leader checked his phone. 10:52pm. He did some quick math in his head,
That's... ninety-eight minutes. Goddamn you Ron Clements!
"Time for bed!" the scout leader said, and continued speaking over the din of the boy's groans, "Remember to check yourself for ticks and zip your mummy bags up all the way. Lights out in TEN MINUTES!"
Under the suffocating, but light and sound proof sleeping bag shelter, the boys huddled close together. Whispering as the iPhone was drawn from the bottom of Hayao's sleeping bag, "What the was up with that crap story?" Joseph said. "Such a letdown."
William shook his head, "I don't know, but we're going to find out."
Hayao turned it on. "Only one gee here, the signal's weak."
"One Gee?!" William said.
"Search for 'long crappy stories'."
"No. Search for 'Sam the Canadian'!"
"It's a wikipedia page for Sam Sniderman."
"Sniiiiderman... Sniiiiderman... doing the things a Sniiiiderman can!" The boys all giggled, then shushed each other.
"He's just some butt hole, there's nothing about a dog."
"Butt hole!" one of them sniggered.
"Oh grow up. Search for 'shaggy dog'."
"No turd shirt, it's just going to be pictures of dogs."
An owl hooted as they waited for the page to load. The first hit was the Internet movie database.
"It's IMDB, what the hell? Disney made that upper-decker of a story into a real-life movie, TWICE!"
"What's on upper-decker?" asked Joseph.
"You don't know what an upper-decker is?" said William.
"They make baseball cards," said Hayao.
"Baseball cards!" William laughed, "You nerds, it's when you poop in the top part of a toilet."
"Why am I a nerd for not knowing the names of weird places to poop?"
"Shhhh, you guys, I found it!" Hayao whispered. "A shaggy dog is a type of story that is intentionally long and pointless, with an anticlimactic ending."
"What the hell, he told us the longest, boringist, drawn-out story just for the hell of it?!"
"Wikipedia says Ron Clements was a scout master in the nineties, who was raised almost to the status of urban legend for holding the record for telling the longest 'shaggy dog story' ever. One hundred and four minutes!"
"Pssh," William hissed. "That story's not so long."