Baxter Black: Talkin’ to the dog
I was talking to Okie. He’s the Farm Dog. He doesn’t care to go out on the range with the cow dogs. His job is mostly guarding, barking and putting up a big front. He does it well. I found him under one of the trucks. He’d dug a little bed in the dirt. It was in the shade. He seemed to be pondering.
“So,” I asked, “what are ya thinking?”
“School,” he said, “maybe goin’ to college.”
This was a new one for me. He never seemed to be the studious kind.
“What would you major in?”
“Bones, I guess.”
“An anatomy student?” I questioned, “Archeologist? Musician? Witch doctor? Osteopath?”
“No, I was thinking about becoming a chef. Specialize in bones. You know, like Colonel Sanders specialized in chicken, Wilford Brimley specialized in oatmeal, and Eve specialized in apples.”
“Have you ever cooked anything?” I asked.
“No, but I’ve eaten a lot of bones,” he said.
“That’s for sure,” I said remembering the thousands of times a wide variety of carcass remnants were left tortured and mangled on the porch. “What kind of menu would you have? I mean, a bone is a bone, right?”
“Oh, you plebian hominid,” he waxed eloquently, “Not to a bone connoisseur. That’s like saying a rope is a rope to a cowboy, a dress is a dress to a bride, or all road kill is the same to a buzzard. When the only caviar you have ever eaten is that Powerball fluorescent fish bait, you have a very limited sense of the bountiful taste sensations that await you!”
“I guess you’re right,” I conceded, chastened by the breadth of his vision. “Do you actually have to cook the bone…?”
“Not just COOK the bone!” he said, looking down his nose at me, “It can be marinated, served au slime rosado, sliced into bone dollars, as ground bone burgers, served bone tartare with or without gristle and ligaments, as bone stew flavored by pieces of offal, hair and toenails, or simply wrapped in a tortilla á la bone burrito.”
“Wow!” said I, “I had no idea…”
“Not only that, the menu could offer organic bones from wild animals who’ve never been vaccinated for distemper, treated for tapeworms, or eaten canned dog food. Ethnic restaurants draw big crowds, too. Look at Burger King.”
“That’s not ethnic,” I said.
“King?” said Okie. “Like the King of England There’re no kings in America. I’m guessing they dig up old kings in England and make burgers out of them. I could serve up King Henry the 8th Clavicle with au jus of Ann Boleyn.
“And, when in Rome, do as the Roman dog chefs do. You’ve heard of Caesar Salad, why not Caesar Vertebrae?”
“Sounds interesting,” I said, “but where you gonna get a regular source of bones?”
“I’ve got a cousin in Miles City named Badget. His owner misspelled Badger on his birth certificate.
He said they’ve dug up thousands of dinosaur skeletons up there. He said they were just like sheep, covered the country.” I looked at Okie. I knew he’d never make it to Montana. He won’t even go to the mailbox with me unless I drive him. But, I thought to myself, it’s nice to know that even good ol’ farm dogs dream big. Kinda like good ol’ farmers.
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