When Little Jimmy was, well, littl-er, his mother had taught him The Code of the Dogs. It went like this:
The postman always rings twice
Run after him, like a cat after mice
And ever since he had heard The Code, Jimmy had imbued it into his heart and soul. It was his life’s mantra now, and he lived it on a daily basis, except Sundays of course, which was a weekly off for postmen.
Since ever he could remember, their village postman had been an old, silver-haired, portly bloke called Harry. Just like Jimmy and his mom, Harry was Old School, and so, he knew The Code, and would die before disrespecting it.
So, every Monday to Saturday, at 4pm sharp, the doorbell of the Smith’s would ring, and then ring once again. And as soon as it rang the second time, Jimmy would dash out of the door, stand in the front yard, and start barking madly at the postman standing across the iron gate which was bolted from the inside. Jimmy would somehow jump over the gate, and then chase Harry as per the directions of The Code. In short, a good time was had by one and all.
Till yesterday, that is.
Yesterday, the bell had rung once, and then twice as usual. Jimmy ran out and started barking at the postman as usual. But what was not usual was that the postman this time was not Harry, but a strapping young lad called Simon. And Simon, belonging to the ‘new generation’, did not even know The Code, let alone respect it.
So when Jimmy ran out barking towards the iron gate, Simon nonchalantly picked up a stone from the street, and with unerring accuracy, threw it at Jimmy with considerable force. Shocked out of his wits, Jimmy turned quickly to escape being hit, but he was just not fast enough, and the stone hit him on his considerable behind, eliciting a sharp yelp from him, and a bout of uncontrollable laughter from Simon.
Jimmy was outraged beyond belief. The Code was his life, and now, this newbie had shattered his entire belief system, his life so to say, with a single well-aimed throw of a hefty stone. How could the Gods let this happen? What had he done to deserve this? No, he could not let that traitor get away with such utter perfidy (Narrator’s Note: With due credit to PV Narasimha Rao for the term). Simon deserved to be punished, and he, Jimmy, would be the one to bring down God’s wrath on him.
So Jimmy planned, and plotted, and kept simmering for a very long time, till he finally knew how he would extract his revenge upon Simon. And it was only then that he slept.
It was 4pm the next day now, and Jimmy was waiting behind a bush, right by the iron gate in the front yard. Right on time, the bell rang once, and then twice. That’s it, thought Jimmy to himself, it’s showtime! And running towards the iron gate, he picked up speed, and then launched himself high into the air, straight at the postman’s face….only to realize, that it was not the postman at the gate, but Colonel Baxter, with his regal bearing, his thick, upturned moustache, and, the most relevant in this case, his thick walking stick.
The Colonel had not been the terror of Germans in the Second World War for nothing. He saw the small dog jump towards him with great speed, but to his trained eyes that had helped him evade countless bullets in the war, the dog was moving almost in slow motion.
And so, the Colonel had all the time in the world to step aside gracefully, like a ballet dancer, so that Jimmy fell in an ungainly heap on the street. And as the Colonel, and his thick walking stick, fell upon Jimmy’s derriere (still tender from yesterday’s misadventure) with a vengeance, Jimmy remembered, a little too late, that today was a Sunday.