The Case of the Midnight Rustler
by the dawn’s early light.
    Slim had gotten very little sleep during the night. His eyes were red and puffy, and he was in a terrible humor. As he hung the bedding and his clothes on cedar trees to dry, he kept coming back to that treacherous tent rope. He held the two frayed ends in his hands and studied them.

    â€œI can’t believe the stupid tent rope busted, just when I needed it most. You don’t need a fool tent until it rains, and then when it rains, the dadgum thing falls apart!”
    I sat there beside him, thumping my tail on the ground and sharing his sense of outrage at the inferior quality of modern tents. Somebody should have been sued for this. There was absolutely no excuse for it.
    By George, if they were going to be in the tent business, they ought to build a tent that could stand up to the elements of nature. And if they couldn’t do that, then they ought to find another line of work.
    I was outraged. Slim was outraged. We were both just about as outraged as we could be. Why, Slim was so worked up that he vowed to write a letter to the president of the tent company. I didn’t blame him. I would have done the same thing except that dogs don’t write letters.
    Well, our camp was a pretty dull place for the rest of the day. Whilst everything was hanging up to dry, Slim curled up in the shade of a cedar bush and tried to catch up on all the sleep he’d missed during the night.
    That left me with the job of guarding camp against rustlers and wild prowling animals, which I did with all my heart and soul and . . . zzzzzzzzzz.
    I did manage to catch a few winks of sleep somewhere in the middle of the afternoon. Not much, just a quick nap, and only when I was certain that our camp would be safe.
    Short nap, very short, certainly not enough to be considered a breach of security.
    By evening, things had returned to normal. The stuff had dried out and Slim had raised the tent again, but this time he replaced the inferior tent rope with his nylon pigging string.
    He was in a better mood now—although he continued to make a big issue out of the “camp meat” that I had . . . the camp meat that had mysteriously vanished the night before.
    He blamed me for it, but that was okay. I had broad soldiers. I could take it. Shoulders, I should say, broad shoulders.
    He boiled some coffee and fried up some bacon and beans, and by the time darkness fell over our little outpost, he was feeling pretty good—so good, in fact, that he offered to sing me a song around the campfire.
    What could I say? I didn’t happen to be a major fan of his singing, but nobody pays a dog for his opinions, so I listened.
    Here’s how it went:
    Alas and Alack
    â€™Twas the Fourth of July when I read in the paper
    That a circus from Kansas had pulled into town.
    Now elephants had always kind of intrigued me
    And I hadn’t seen a woman in a month and a half.
    A feller gets crazy in bachelor quarters,
    And wishes to gaze on a woman or two.
    And so I forsook all the boss’s fine Herefords
    And went to the circus, alas and alack.
    At two hundred yards I thought she was gorgeous,
    She looked like a mermaid with long golden hair.
    Somehow I missed the tattoo on her shoulder
    And that she weighed in close to three hundred pounds.
    I should have looked closer before I embraced her,
    It never occurred to me that she might have
    The hairiest armpits in Ochiltree County.
    I really goofed up there, alas and alack!
    I guess that some lassies ain’t wild about cowboys
    Who sneak up and grab ’em and kiss on their face.
    In any event, though, she screamed like a panther
    And messed up my jaw with a wicked left hook.
    I sure ’nuff was shocked that she had that big husband,
    A wrestler, in fact, with a bone in his nose.
    Before he got finished, I really looked forward
    To seeing my Herefords, alas and alack.
    I’m warning you boys who stay on them ranches,
    A circus is dangerous to fellers

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