Pique by Mary Mae Lewis
Pique (pronounced Peekay)
A short story by Mary Mae Lewis - November 2018
The little mongrel cowered and growled in a corner; I moved towards him.
“Ah Pique “I cooed “All alone again today, poor chappie. Come, let me pick you up. I only want to fuss you.”
Pillar, the dog’s mistress was out at work. She was renting our apartment, in Spain, on the understanding we could use one bedroom for storage and we had access any weekday morning till 2.30pm.
As I got nearer, the mite barked so menacingly I stopped dead. Saliva dribbled from his jaws soaking into the long hair down his chin and then dripped onto the tiled floor. He’s lonely, I thought. I will offer to take him for walks. “Carino, carino,” I sang, coaxing him towards me.
But Pique bolted and disappeared behind the drapes at the patio doors, which were firmly shut. I wonder why Pillar won’t let the dog use the balcony while she’s out – at least he’d have some fresh air and a nice view of the Mediterranean? Still I had no time to ponder more.
I collected some bedding from the back bedroom and returned to the living room. Pique was still out of sight but grizzling, or so I thought, behind the curtains. “Hasta la vista, bonito,” I shouted from the front door as I let myself out.
The lift was in use, so I struggled down the stairs to the ground floor, where I checked the ‘buzon’ for mail. There were only two supermarket fliers so I left them there and descended further, to the basement, where I exited the building.
My husband was parked across the road, by the sea wall, waiting for me. Before putting down his motorbike magazine, and relieving me of the pile of bedding destined for the car boot, he spoke.
“Isn’t that Pillar’s dog?” he indicated, with a nod in the right direction, to a bundle on the beach.
Instantly, I dropped my load on the pavement; that brown and white fluffy mass, not fifteen metres away, and starting up at us, was indeed our Spanish tenant’s pet!
“Pique. You naughty boy. How the hell did you get there?” I screamed as I raced towards the patchy short legged devil. “Stay still, I am coming to get you!”
The dog turned and shot up the pebbly sea shore. I ran after him clumsily, picking my way through the sandy spots between the piles of rocks.
“Now, now,” I whispered as I closed in on him. “There, there.” But Pique set off again, as if he had been fired from a rocket. I followed lamely.
“Oh no,” I cried, as he legged it onto the promenade, at what seemed like fifty miles an hour. I ran after him, but lost ground!
“Stop that dog.” I waved my arms and begged those out walking. “Stop that dog,” I shouted to the old and young alike. “He’s got out and he’s floating.” I had meant to say that he had got loose but my Spanish failed me, miserably!
The startled passers-by just pressed themselves up against the walls of the walk way and let the dog and this ‘mad’ English woman, pass.
“Stop him please,” I yelled again and again. But nobody did, and the dog ran on.
I was in tears by the time Pique reached the main road and was winding his way through the moving traffic.
“Pique come back. You can’t do this to me! Pillar will kill me if you get run over. Come back! Pillar will never forgive me. Oh God you can’t do this to me!”
“Mujer, que pasa?” My knight in shining armour, Jaime, asked what was the matter.
Him putting an arm around my shoulder calmed my nerves; Pique was still in sight. I pointed. “We have to stop that dog. He’s my friend’s, he’s the love of her life!”
Immediately, the gentle giant, stepped out into the road and like a traffic controller lifted his arms wide. Cars screeched to a halt and drivers lowered their side windows.
“This man will help you.” Jaime shook hands with the driver of a smart car, then addressed me, “He’s a town councillor.”
Sobbing, in between words, I told the senor my story. As I finished Pique left our view.
“But what can I do?” the moustached middle-aged gentlemen snorted.
“Bah.” I was flabbergasted and annoyed. “Nothing, nothing, just like councillors all over the world, nothing.” In my grief I was venomous!
The man, wound his window up, hooted, slammed his foot on the accelerator and sped off, leaving me howling in the arms of Jaime, unaware of the unruly spectacle I was, for all to see!
“Well that’s it. I am dead. Done for, Pillar will have me hung drawn and quartered for this!” I collapsed on the floor hysterical. Jaime scratched his head and gave me space.
“Darling, darling.” Hubby was by my side.
“Pique’s gone.” I sighed.
“Get in the car. We’ll go and look for him in town”
“Or go to the local police station.” Jaime had more sense!
Within five minutes I was ringing the bell at the police headquarters and within seconds the door opened and I was allowed inside. I was ushered up the marble stairs and told to wait in an empty room. Hubby had left to park the car.
Pique was dead, or at least lost forever. I felt sure, and I cried into my hands silently.
How did he get out of the flat? I saw myself running up the beach, along the prom. Red faced I thought, how can I ever speak to Pillar again. Shame on you, a rotten Brit. I would be damned in the eyes of the Spanish forever. I would have to leave Adra, run away. Never to be seen again. A fallen woman! I cried louder.
“We need your report. “The lady police officer guided me into another room and we sat down opposite each other. I spoke as she filled in a form. After signing it I was directed to a large room.
“Wow.” About twenty TV screens lined the walls, CTV cameras relayed their footage to this! Almost every street in Adra was covered. They had seen it all. Pique running wild. Me in pursuit flailing arms like an insane! "Oh, my Lord." I turned crimson.
“I am an idiot!” The police woman looked at me benignly.
“Your dog is safe. Go downstairs. You will find him there!”
I flew down the steps, two at a time, and burst onto the street. A car was parked at the curb, the driver with his left elbow on the open window and his head half way out.
“Here’s your dog.” He pointed to Pique sat quietly on a plaid blanket in the passenger seat. “You can take him now.” I moved quickly and grabbed the dog, keeping my head down in shame.
“Senor, mm, I didn’t catch your name?” But I knew his face.
“Senor Jimenez, Councillor Jimenez, to be exact.” I lifted my eyes and he smiled, then he twiddled his moustache triumphantly.
“Oh, thank you so much senor, thank you so much; I am so sorry I shouted at you earlier. Please forgive me. Forgive ……” But before I could apologise a second time the senor drove off laughing, assuring me that he thought that he had done a good deed for the day and he most certainly had!
Hubby took me and Pique back to the flat and just as we were just about to leave the car park we saw Pillar, arriving home. She didn’t see us and when we saw her again, a week later, we never mentioned Pique’s little adventure! We didn’t think we should!