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Rusty by Richard Krause

When at first Rusty the Poodle got hit with a golf ball, everyone ran up wobbly to him. As if to show they too out of sympathy had also been hit, felt in their own ribs the golf ball that struck Rusty and left him on his side, panting by the time the people got to him. They too wanted to collapse on the green grass but knew they could not then oversee him. They knew that he must have seen them wobbling.

But now Rusty lay, as if hypnotized by the force of the golf ball. Half the people the next instant collapsed with Rusty, moaned with him, while the other half took turns stomping the pitted white golf ball into the green, one after another until it was completely submerged.

The moans of Rusty’s friends grew louder as they held their ribs just where Rusty had been hit. Finally, and to everyone’s surprise, Rusty jumped up on all fours as if he had been struck by lightning, and started licking the faces of the people lying on the green. His pink tongue washed their faces until they had to turn away from him to keep from laughing. To keep from letting Rusty know that his own sympathy was what made him better.

When the owner of the golf ball came running up, for a moment he was confused thinking his one golf ball had knocked so many people down. He could barely account for the power of his swing. And curiously, he never looked at the poodle who seemed now to have so many masters. The people too had fluffed the grass over where they had stomped his golf ball out of sight to let him know what they thought of golf, or at least the ball that had hit Rusty.

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