The following special preview of Falen: Semper Fi by James MacKrell appears here with the permission of the author.
By the forth ring, Falen watched through the screen as Rick answered the phone.
"Hello." A little apprehension was heard in his voice. Rick wasn't expecting any call. What if something had happened to his Mother and Dad?
"Rick, this is Susan, please don't hang up."
A slight grin crossed his face, "No way, no how."
When she called the hospital in Germany, Rick couldn't handle the conversation he thought would be about pity, so he broke the connection. After running the call over and over in his mind, he blamed his rudeness on pain medication. In reality her voice reminded him of much better times and his heart balked at the recurring memories.
"Ricky, I want to apologize for barging in on you this afternoon. I forgot to give you a warning. I wanted to visit you so much."
"No apology is necessary, I enjoyed you being here." Susan thought she detected a small amount of strain in his voice.
She went on, "I should've called first, but you know me, enthusiasm takes over and my manners fly out the window."
"Well, to tell the truth you surprised me pretty good," he laughed.
Since the party months ago he hadn't been around too many folks, especially a person he cared for. He thought to himself, "would this strain of losing his leg ever leave him?" He stared out of the window.
Rick recovered and added, "I thought you were working in Chicago, and I couldn't believe my eyes when you came bounding out of your car. By the way, what a nifty new set of wheels you got, girl."
A smile crept across his troubled face for the first time in days. Susan being on the line brought a warm feeling in his chest and momentarily made him forget about his missing leg.
"Well, Mr. Rick Gonzales, you are going to have to put up with me for quite a while because I just moved back to Big Timber."
He quickly sucked in air. This second surprise grabbed him for a moment. Grasping for something to say, he pushed his left hand against the wheelchair arm and attempted to readjust his position. Falen barked and pawed the screen outside, begging to be let in. Rick said, "Can you wait a minute, Suz? I've gotta let this yapping dog back in." Pushing himself over to open the door, he nearly fell over as Falen bounded in like a racehorse breaking from the gate, trying to get into the chair with him so she could lick his face all over.
"Am I hearing the adorable Aussie I saw when I was there?"
"None other. She visited me the night of my party and quickly took up residency." He scuffed her head. "She's one of Javier Coronado's pups out of his Jenny Dog. Oh boy, is there a long history in that story."
Falen recognized him talking about her and nothing pleased the red tri more. Rick laughed and thought if Falen had ever had a tail, she would have shaken it off by now, but being tailless like most Aussies, her butt got the full benefit of the wiggle.
Boy, was Falen happy. A grin spread across her face, her red tongue lolling out the right side of her mouth. She whined a loving sound all the while Rick messed up the fur on her neck.
She had heard her Mother, Jenny, say many times, "Its a shame that people don't understand dog talk. There is so much we could teach them, but that's the way the Spirit of Day and Night made it. We'll just have to continue trying to make them understand us by signs and expressions."
Falen never forgot the concern on her Mother's face, somewhere between exasperation and sorrow.
"Only, if only." Jenny stopped her dissertation long enough to give a good scratch behind her copper ear, paused for a minute and looked up at Falen, then continued, "Well, my beauty, you will learn soon enough in dealing with the people animals, that you will have your heart broken many times. No matter how hard you try to protect and serve, they will leave you and ignore you just when you could be the most helpful to them."
Now almost in Rick's lap Falen wondered if he would be the type of people animal who would break her heart?
After a successful career in radio, music publishing and many facets of the entertainment industry including appearances on popular television shows and in feature films, James MacKrell was inspired by a dream to try his hand as an author. James' first book, Down from the Mountain, is being hailed as one of the best new dog stories of our time. It is a gripping tale about an intrepid Australian Shepherd. Set in the mountains of Montana, it is a story of bravery and loyalty and it celebrates the connection between animals and their people.
Down From The Mountain
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