“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 37: What’s a Prom?

 On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

“Attention, everyone! Ahem, I said, ‘Attention, everyone!’ Attention, ev – ”

“ATTENTION, PEASANTS! YOUR PRINCESS IS SPEAKING!!”

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Cocoa Bean’s powerful bark rings through the yard, halting us all in our tracks. Since I’m standing nearby, the forceful sound lingers in my ears long after a tense silence settles over the crowd.

Scarlett stands before her captive audience, her body quivering slightly in the aftermath of Cocoa Bean’s Supersonic Bark.

I wonder what this is about…

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“As many of you know, we are well on our way to summer. But before we bid the mild weather and budding blossoms adieu, we shall partake in the most elaborate of human festivities,” Scarlett says, pausing to let us fully absorb her words.

Human festivities? Does she mean we’re going to throw a party?

My tongue slides across my lips as I imagine all the food we’ll get to eat; at my parents’ parties, there are tiny hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pepperoni pizza, chicken wings, and so much more…

I quickly snap back to reality when a string of sticky drool lands on my paw. I guess I got a little carried away!

“One week from today we shall all attend…prom!”

Prom? Looking around me, I can see that no one else has heard of it either. It must be a very special party…

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“You just made that up, didn’t you?” Max calls out from the other side of the crowd.

Scarlett’s dark eyes blaze with indignation. “I would expect such haughty ignorance from you, you mangy Shepherd! I am afraid that you shall have to seek the explanation you desire from a more forgiving canine!”

“Actually…I don’t know what ‘prom’ is either,” I say, bracing myself for a similar answer.

Scarlett blinks at me, her anger giving way to baffled surprise.

“Of course Bing doesn’t know what prom is! He doesn’t know what anything is,” Cocoa Bean declares with a laugh.

The dogs around me burst into a fit of laughter, flashing their bright pink tongues and wagging their tails with glee. I lower my head with a sheepish smile, and though I can’t argue with Cocoa Bean’s words, I hope the others will soon forget what she said.

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“Silence! Bing has made an earnest appeal to my superior knowledge, and what sort of cruel, heartless princess would I be to deny him?” Scarlett replies, turning her nose up in the air.

“Wait a minute, so you’ll answer his question but not mine?” Max asks, a hint of amusement in his bark.

“As a phenomenal judge of character, I reserve the right to be cruel to whomever I deem appropriate,” she says without sparing Max so much as a glance.

“Now, a prom is a party that young humans attend while they are in school. They wear their finest clothing and spend the evening dancing, eating, and making merry. But, the most important part of prom is finding a date to accompany you,” Scarlett says, her gaze wandering over the whispering crowd.

A date, huh? Well, I know exactly who I want to ask –

Across the yard, I see Max talking to Lucy. Her face brightens with a kind smile as he speaks, but I’m too far away to hear what he’s saying…

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My heart sinks. He must be asking her to the Lodge Prom!

I forgot…Max also loves Lucy. We talked about it so long ago, and I thought I’d pushed these gnawing feelings of fear and jealousy aside. But Max’s affection for Lucy hasn’t changed at all. In fact, it only seems to have strengthened with the passing of time.

I can’t be a selfish beagle! I have to be happy for Lucy and Max, no matter how hurt I feel. That’s what a good friend would do…

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Out of the corner of my eye, I see a dog sitting near the fence. She’s all alone, even though the rest of us are clustered in the middle of the yard. From here I can see that she’s an older dog, but her glossy black fur reflects the gentle sunlight. There’s a youthful quality to her, in spite of the patch of white on her chin.

“Hello,” I say, approaching her. “Did you already find your prom date?”

She looks up at me, her eyes flashing with shock. Did she not notice me until I spoke?

“It’s no use! No one will to go to the prom with me…”

Staring at the sadness marring her elegant face, my heart swells with empathy. We’re an odd pair, this hopeless stranger and I. I know nothing about her, but I feel her sorrow so deeply…

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“Why not go with me?” I say, blurting out the words before my nerves get the best of me.

Her eyes widen in surprise.

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Then, to my horror, her lips curl back, revealing her sharp, white teeth.

I think she’s going to attack me…!

…to be continued…