Pitter Patter. Pitter Patter. The windscreen wipers sloshed the water off one side of the window and then dragged grime back to the other. Charlie grumbled and scrunched up his eyes, as if that would help him see better through the wet dirt. He leaned over the wheel and peered at the road ahead. The old truck creaked and hiccuped its way up the track. Nearly as old as Charlie and not as well looked after, if it had been a horse it would have been able to drive this way blindfolded. It was not a horse however and every pothole threatened to be the final straw for that rear axle.
Bert sat next to him bolt upright. Ears up and tongue out to one side, he also appeared to be peering at the road ahead. He was used to this road and braced his butt for each thump of the wheels in and out of the holes to lift him off his seat a-ways
‘Godamn this rain!’ swore Charlie, banging the steering wheel in temper. He should have been helping old Clarence set up the bandstand this afternoon, for the fair at the weekend, but once he had driven all the way over there, Clarence had sent him back home telling him it was too wet for all that lifting right now. To try again tomorrow.
$20 I lost right there, Bert!’
At the sound of his name Bert looked at his Master and narrowly missed being flung onto the dashboard as they hit a remarkably large hole.
He’d been with Charlie all his life, from small gangly pup to the tall black and tan Alsatian he was now. He was used to Charlie cussing and spitting. He knew Charlie when angry, sulking, laughing or at work, and he would never tell anyone, even if he could talk, that Charlie would wake crying in the night, calling for Bert to hug until the early hours, dreams of death and gunpowder smell. In Charlies dreams he would watch his friends exploded into the sky in front of him, and scream until Bert lay on him and licked him gently awake.
Charlie took the risk of removing one hand from the wheel to scrobble Bert behind his ear. ‘Never mind old boy’ he said cheerfully, his moods swinging like the truck up the road, ‘We will eat when we get in, eh?’ Bert whumped his tail and went back to staring at the road in front.
Just as they got home, the skies cleared and a rainbow appeared over their cabin. Bert and Charlie got out of the truck and, standing beside it, watched the rainbow for some time, quietly and together. Bert licked Charlie’s hand after a while and startled Charlie back to his hometown. He’d been back on the front again, watching a rainbow there with his mates before trying to take the next town.
He grimaced and rested his hand on Bert’s haunches and, together, they strolled inside for dinner.
Written as an exercise in character building and as part of the Writing Tasks on Our Arts Magazine http://ourartsmagazine.com/literature/writing-skills-task-35/2017