A week has passed since my last entry. I have spent most of my spare time after work and before bed searching for Jack. Except Tuesday night when I kept a prior commitment to play Dungeons and Dragons with some new friends. More about that later. Except for Tuesday and today, I have driven every evening to Dumbleyung and back, a round trip of about 110km, on the very slim off-chance that he headed home. On Monday his owner had texted me to say that she was being transferred to a hospital in Perth, and she thanked me for looking after her boy. I was distraught and distressed. I hated replying with a cheerful message and a Woof! from Jack. But at least I had some sort of reprieve while I searched for him. I put posters up around the town noticeboards.
Then on Thursday I received a strange call on the phone: number withheld. A distinctly Maori voice.
You lost a dog?
Yes I have
How much is the reward?
I was thinking fifty dollars
No fifty. I thought that would be a fair reward for an honest person. Plus whatever it has cost to feed him.
Do you have my dog?
No, I just wanted to know how much the reward was. I might have seen him.
On the main street of Katanning. What is it?
Yeah, Clive street.
Look, if you have him, tell me.
On a hunch I checked my missed calls and saw I had one from an unfamiliar number. I called it. The same chap answered. I spoke, he hung up. After that my calls are not answered.
This evening, in the pub, I took a chance and rang the number again. He answered
Do you have my dog?
Can I have him back please?
Come and meet us at the pub
The Feddy (The Federal. The other pub in town).
Carl insists we talk to the police first. We do. Then head for the Feddy. Carl goes in, I ring the number and tell my unknown friend I am outside at the ATM. He says come in to the pub. I do. Some drunken kiwis greet me and I waste a few minutes greeting them and ascertaining that they are not the ones I was meeting. It turns out that three Maori shearers dashed out the back as I was coming in the front. So close. Why did they take off?
So Feckin close. But I will find them now. I know some people who know some people…