Meanwhile, Pasha planned his escape. He could hear the little yelps King made as he dreamed of catching a squirrel. He heard too Vicky's sleepy chomping. All poodles seemed to have trouble with their mustaches. Every night Pasha listened carefully for the sound of Vicky chewing on her whiskers before he dared to talk privately to King about his secret plan.
Pasha was proud to be a Yorkie. Since he had never seen a drowned rat, he didn't mind hearing people say he looked like one. His coat wasn't silky like King's, and it wasn't fluffy or curly like Vicky's. Because he loved to roll in the wet grass and dirt, Pasha's coat was greasy and stringy-and oh, so comfortable. But this morning Pasha didn't have time to roll and stretch before the sun dried the grass. he was busy plotting his escape!
All the day before, he had gloomily watched a small army of men build a wooden platform in front of the big white house. When Pasha saw the men put up stakes and ropes, he knew for sure they were getting ready for some kind of ceremony. There would be crowds of people behind the ropes, men and women with cameras on the platform, and loud booms from the cannon across the street. Worst of all, Pasha knew he would be confined to his pen all day.
He must escape-and fast-before the sun came up. But for a minute, he hesitated. Should he take King along? "King likes adventures and he is very brave," Pasha thought, "but he is still a puppy." Pasha suddenly remembered how many times the big Irish setter forgot his manners when he met important people. Instead of standing quietly and politely wagging his tail, King often jumped up on men in pin-striped suits and on ladies wearing pretty dresses who didn't appreciate muddy paw marks!
And then there were the times when King got excited and wagged his tail so fiercely that he knocked Pasha smack off his feet!
Besides, King was too big to fit under the fence that enclosed both King's roomy dog house and the smaller house Pasha shared with Vicky. It was too bad, but King would just have to stay behind.
Once Pasha had made the hard decision about his friend, he began to dig furiously in the tiny hole he had discovered under his fence a few days before. Large chunks of soil flew out from under his paws. By the time he had enlarged the hole enough to wiggle through, he was thoroughly dirty and happy. With one last glance back at King and Vicky, Pasha popped through the hole under the fence. He was free!
Streaks of yellow and pink lighted the sky as he dashed toward the canopy in the center of the big white house. The wet grass ticklyed his stomach and several tall blades of grass smacked him in the eye. No matter how hard they tried to keep the gigantic lawn nicely mowed, there were always some tall blades left, but at least there were no prickly weeds to slow Pasha down. In fact, the lawn of the big house was the only one he had ever explored which did not have at least one or two dangerous clumps of weeds and stickers!
Pasha made it to the canopy and, to his relief, found the doors of the big house wide open, waiting for the first visitors of the morning. Pasha boldly passed right by a young policeman standing near the double doors. The policeman, looking serious and important, was busy talking into a black box with a long antenna. Pasha heard him say, "Roger, ten four."
Once safely inside the doors of the big white house, Pasha came to a sudden stop. In the corner of the room, a man was on his hands and knees cleaning the carpet! Fortunately, his back was turned away from the little dog. Pasha passed quickly by. He hated the smell of the clean rug. For the first time since his
escape, Pasha thought of the weedless lawn outside. He decided to walk on the marble floor intead of on the smelly red carpet. Besides, the endless stretch of red made him dizzy. But the minute his feet touched the cold marble, Pasha knew he had made a mistake. His nails clattered loudly on the hard surface! The only person near Pasha, thank goodness, was a man vacuuming the red carpet. He couldn't hear Pasha patter by, Pasha quickly hid behind a marble pillar.
Just as he was beginning to feel safe, he was startled to see a bronze head on top of the pillar! The head was of a man, but to Pasha it looked suspiciously like a bulldog. Secretly Pasha was afraid of bulldogs. He wanted to escape but he was trapped behind the pillar. For ten minutes he watched all the people in the big house pass by. He saw a man pushing a grocery store cart filled with folders and packages and envelopes. An older man rushed past carrying an envelope with a bright red tag on it. He looked smug and important, as if he had just caught a squirrel. A short, round man staggered by with a heavy tray crowded with shiny gold
pots filled with flowers. All these men in their shiny black suits, white shirts and small black bow ties looked so funny to Pasha as they bustled by. Pasha carefully watched for the minute when the hall was empty. Then he made a dash for the elevator. At the end of the corridor, the policeman guarding the elevator was busy talking on the telephone.
Because the phone had at least twenty buttons on it, Pasha decided the man would be much too busy to notice one very small dog. So Pasha boldly walked into the elevator. He could still hear the policeman talking. He hoped and hoped someone would call for the elevator. He had lots of time to think about Vicky and King back in their houses, safe and calm. At last the doors closed and the elevator started going up. The minute the doors opened again, he ran.
Pasha raced the length of the hallway-as far as he could go to get away from the elevator. He found himself all alone in the splendid golden room at the end of the hall. But Pasha didn't like the bright light from the crystal chandeliers and mirrors. It made his eyes water. And he didn't like the slickly waxed wooden floor. How can a Yorkie keep his sense of dignity when he slips and slides with every step! Most of all, Pasha didn't like the portrait of the tall man in the tight white stockings. The man's thin lips reminded Pasha too much of Vicky's expression when she was angry with King and him.
Pasha wandered through several more deadly quiet rooms before he
admitted to himself that he did not like being completely ignored. He decided to try the elevator again to see if he could make it to the third floot where Fina lived. Fina was a happy lady who always spoke to Pasha in Spanish. So Pasha headed back to the gold and white elevator. But Pasha never made it to Three. A stern-looking man dressed in one of those black suits and small black bow ties grabbed the little dog and took him all the way down to the ground floor where the policeman was still talking on the telephone. The ride down was much too fast for Pasha's stomach. It made him feel almost sick as the time he gulped a
dead beetle along with his water. Pasha waited on wobbly legs for Fina to rescue him and take him back to his own little house. When Fina arrived all she said was, "Pobre Pashita."
She carried him down the corridor past a group of surprised visitors. Pasha went past the cold marble floors, past the smelly, perfectly vacuumed red carpet, and out into the bright sunlight. He found himself once more safe behind the fence with Vicky and King. He looked at the tunnel he had dug. It was still there. He thought about his adventures and all the people he had passed by.
Pasha would never admit it to King and Vicky, but he was glad to be home. There were so many things to look forward to in the afternoon. Soon the groups of school children would be arriving at his fence- perhaps even a Prime Minister or a Queen. And Pasha had to work with King on his company manners and help him remember that it is the President's dog who lives in the little house behind the big White House.
Saturday Evening Post Jan/Feb
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