Home > Tucker(The K9 Files #13)

Tucker(The K9 Files #13)
Author: Dale Mayer

 


Prologue

 

 

Tucker Wilson walked across the property and stared up at the building, then gave a long whistle. “Man, you guys have worked fast,” he said. “The new house had gone up like a dream.” He looked over at Badger, who stood there with a clipboard, wearing a hardhat. “I didn’t think this was your deal?”

“Until all seven of us have houses,” Badger said, “it’s our deal.” He glanced at Tucker, noting the lifelike leg under his shorts, and asked, “How’s that prosthetic working for you?”

“Well, it’s one of Kat’s newest prototypes,” he said, stretching it out and twisting the ankle. “A waterproof model while on, apparently. I haven’t had a chance to try out that part. And, of course, I’ve got titanium knees and titanium hip joints now,” he said. “I’m almost a rebuilt bionic man,” he said with a laugh.

“Join the rest of us,” Badger said.

“I’ve got a hankering for heading home though,” Tucker said, looking at Badger sideways. “I didn’t say anything about it because I didn’t want to slow down your progress, and you’ve been such a great help getting me back on my feet.”

“That’s what we’re here for,” he said, “and, if it’s time to go home, then it’s time to go home. Nobody can tell you when and where, except for yourself.”

“Yeah,” he said, “it’s just one of those things I need to do.”

“Any particular reason?”

“My baby sister, Molly, is getting married,” he said. “There’s just the two of us. She’s marrying my old buddy Rodney.”

“That’s a good reason to go home then,” he said. “You thought about work?”

“Well, Rodney’s got a construction company, and he wants me to be a foreman.”

“Well, you’d do that quite nicely, wouldn’t you?”

“Maybe,” he said, “but personally I want five acres out in the middle of nowhere and an opportunity to just, … I don’t know, maybe raise a few dogs.”

“Dogs,” Badger said. “You’re a dog person?”

He looked at Badger and frowned. “Isn’t everybody?”

“Oh no, not everybody is.”

“You seem to be running a ton of dog operations through this place. I don’t quite understand what that’s all about.”

“No,” he said, “and it isn’t always all that clear. But the bottom line is, we’re doing a bunch of pro bono work for the War Dog Division.”

“I heard about that. You’re done though, aren’t you?”

“No, they dropped a bunch more files on us. We did the original twelve, and I guess our success has led them to give us a few troublesome cases.”

“Great,” he said. “Troublesome how?”

“I’ve got a couple dogs that need rescuing, depending on what quarter of the world you’ll be in?” he asked.

“Florida,” he said.

“Well, I’ve got one in Florida, held in a pound, about to be put to sleep in Miami.”

“What? A War Dog?”

“Yes, apparently it attacked a woman.”

“And is that confirmed?”

“No. I’m pretty sure nobody gives a shit, and it’s just another dog to them,” he said sadly. “I’ve been fighting with them for days.”

“Have you got anybody out there to fight on the dog’s behalf?”

“No. I’m trying to get them to do DNA testing on the bites, but apparently the woman’s refusing.”

“Well, that’s suspicious as hell.”

“She doesn’t like dogs,” Badger said with a sigh. “So she’s not being cooperative.”

“Well, Miami isn’t exactly my choice,” he said. “I don’t do huge cities like that. I’m actually from Saint Pete’s Beach originally, but, I mean, that’s a tourist town. Since my sister’s getting married nearby in Tampa though, I’m heading in that direction.”

“So no other family?”

He shook his head. “I’m not sure where I’ll end up settling. My sister and her soon-to-be husband and his company are based farther out, in a smaller town, where he’s doing a couple hundred-unit condo developments.”

“So potentially a place where a dog might have a better life?”

“If I have any say about it, yes. Is this one male, female?”

“Female and they’re not exactly sure why she turned on and bit her caregiver.”

“Aggravation or protecting someone or something,” he said immediately.

“Well, that’s typical animal behavior. We just don’t really know what happened in this case. Nobody’s talking. Nobody has any video, and nobody gives a shit. That’s the bottom line.”

“Yeah, but those dogs have given their lives to the military. The least they deserve is a chance at a decent life.”

“She was adopted by the family, and then apparently the parents went on a cruise, and they left her with a daughter, who was attacked.”

“And how long was the daughter with the dog?”

“Just a couple weeks.”

“Hmm,” he said. “Well, I can be there first thing tomorrow.”

“That would be good,” he said, “because I think she’s slated to be put down on Friday.”

“Two days, counting tomorrow? The dog will die on the same Friday as my sister’s rehearsal dinner? That’s cutting it really close. Not a whole lot of time.”

“Well, I won’t be at all upset if you somehow sneak that dog out of lockdown where she is,” he said. “We have a little bit of money to help buy her way out, if need be.”

“I’ll book my flight and head down there right now,” he said. “You’ll make my sister’s day.”

“Maybe,” he said, “but why don’t we make the dog’s day and not put her to sleep?”

“What’s her name?”

“She’s got a big long Latin name, but basically she’s Bernadette, and they’ve shortened it to Bernie.”

“That’s not a nice name for a beautiful dog,” he said.

“She’s big, heavily muscled. She’s a Malinois with a bit of shepherd thrown in there, typical army breed,” he said. “Very well trained and she was a fire dog.”

“Well, she should be sniffing out fires then,” he said with a frown.

“Wouldn’t that be nice,” Badger said. “There, you were looking for a dog, … for a job. Why not that one?”

“It’s not exactly construction work.”

“Maybe not,” he said, “but you have something to do in the interim, if you wanna look for something else.”

“Not a bad idea.” Just then his phone rang, and he frowned, as he stared down at it. “An SMS message,” he said staring at it. “Apparently my soon-to-be brother-in-law has a firebug at one of his condo complexes.”

Badger looked at him in delight.

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