Latitude 19, The Ramblings of THE Rum Runner

Latitude 19, The Ramblings of THE Rum Runner

Sample Chapter

A Day in the Life of Drake, the Boat Dog

I sleep in until about 10. Dad lets me out, and I wander around the yard hopefully, looking for chickens to chase. I hear Dad calling for me, but I pretend I can’t hear him. Finally, he gives up, which gives me one last chance to find a chicken. I really love chasing chickens. Most people don’t know chickens can fly, but when I put on the burners and start the chase, you bet they can fly, but not quite far enough. I finally wander back to the back door and wait patiently, feathers in my mouth, for Dad to open the door and give me my morning treat.

I act like I deserve the treat for remembering to poop outside instead of in the house. Dad thinks that since I was a rescue, I was never housebroken, and he gets so excited when I poop outside. Sometimes I poop a little inside—just to make sure I keep getting my “I pooped outside” morning treat.

I’ve been up for at least half an hour by then, so I take a nap until he starts to get ready. I perk up and get all excited, as going out on the boat is the most fun a dog can have. Once he has packed up the golf cart with all his supplies, I climb on and sit partially on his lap. He keeps pushing me away, claiming that he needs to be able to move the steering wheel. I think being on his lap is more important.

We arrive at Rum Runner and I immediately lift my leg and pee on the dock box. Dad growls at me and washes it off while I jump on Rum Runner, ready to go. As soon as we are tied up on a mooring ball, I jump on the dinghy and assume my normal perch on the port side rear seat. Off we go, heading over to a boat waving frantically for us.

As we pull up, I hear a chorus of shouts: “Drake, Drake, Drake. We love you.” I always find that kind of funny, as I have never met these people before. I hear someone say, “We have been following you on Facebook for a whole year and planned our entire trip around meeting you.” Well, I guess that deserves a few wags of the tail, and maybe even a few kisses. Cameras come out, and I am the focus of dozens of phones taking pictures. I am quite photogenic and know how to put on a smile that melts their hearts.

Now that the introductions and pictures are over, I want to know who has the treats for me. Dad has been cutting down, telling our customers that I’m on a diet so they shouldn’t feed me. He asks them to give me ice instead because I love that as much as treats. Fortunately for him, I can’t speak Human or I would tell him what a crock of crap that statement is. Really—ice over salami and cheese?

We head to another boat, and Dad has a tough time tying up because the winds are strong. I wait for my opportunity and then leap on board the customer’s boat. Everyone clears a path for me as I quickly get lost in the crowd and covertly make my way towards the galley. A lot of petting, a few kisses, and I get closer and closer to that source of treats. Meanwhile, Dad is yelling, but once again, I pretend I don’t hear him.

Someone is standing in front of the refrigerator, so I and give her my most pitiful look. Sure enough, the door opens, and I have a mouthful of turkey. One more look, and I get a couple of chunks of cheese. Only then do I start back, see my Dad’s angry look, and happily jump back on the dinghy. I know he will not discipline me in front of the customers because they would all side on me and he would look like an ogre. A little more petting, a few compliments about how cute I am, the promise to come back next season, and then we are off to the next boat.

After visiting about thirty boats, we are winding down the day. One last call and I lie down, acting like I am exhausted. That always works, as even Dad thinks I may need a treat to regain some energy. We wrap up the order and hop back on the Rum Runner. I tour the cockpit looking for any drink spills that need to be lapped up and then find my little corner to sleep on the way back to the dock. After we’re secured to the dock, I leap off the boat and lie down in the middle of the dock. I know that within minutes, I will be surrounded by a couple dozen people telling me how cute I am, petting my belly and occasionally slipping me a French fry from the restaurant.

Back at the house, I do a few zoomies, jump off and on the furniture, race for my bowl and look at it mournfully, as it is empty. I look at Dad, and he immediately fires up the stove to start my custom-cooked dinner. In goes an egg to be scrambled, then a portion of ground turkey or chicken. He pulls out the bag of super-expensive special dog food and pours what he thinks is a generous amount into my dish. He tops that with the chicken-and-egg mixture and lets it cool a bit. Meanwhile, he keeps telling me what a great meal this is.

Is he kidding? Scrambled egg, ground turkey, and kibble? I want—no, I deserve—some fillet mignon topped with a luscious cheese sauce. I finish quickly and get under Dad’s feet as he prepares his own meal. I will bump him once or twice at the perfect time, making him drop something. Before he can even begin to bend over, I have scarfed it up, and it is in my belly. He washes my bowl, and I retire to the couch.

Soon, I get a sniff of a stupid chicken that has wandered too close to the house. I am off the couch like a dart. I hardly feel the screen tearing as I lunge through the door. By the time I get down the terrace stairs, the chicken has a head start, and I realize the chase will be in vain. That chicken will have to wait until tomorrow morning.

And then I realize I am now in trouble as I have once again ruined the screen door. But after all, I heard Dad bragging that he has changed that screen door so many times, he is faster that a NASCAR pit crew, whatever that is.

I come back and look pitiful so he won’t get as mad, then slink into the bedroom, where I make myself comfortable. I stretch out in such a way that I can actually occupy about 70% of that king-sized bed. I immediately fall asleep and sleep soundly despite Dad’s futile attempts to move me around. A few dreams about chasing chickens and before I know it, it is the morning of another day on Rum Runner.

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