Marvin walked down the lane, watching for the dog that was almost always out.
Nothing came running at him. No barking came from the side or rear of the house. There was no jingling of tags from the bushes. It was quiet. Too quiet.
Marvin pulled the paper from his bag, rolled it up, and slapped an elastic around it. He tossed the paper onto the deck, and started walking back toward the street.
He heard a door open, and a voice behind saying, “Go get ‘im, boy!” Marvin turned just as the door slammed shut, and the dog took off towards him.
The dog was wide-eyed and barking. It was huge, possibly part bear, with jaws that could tear a bicycle tire from the frame. Marvin started running for his bike at the end of the driveway. He reached it, hopped on, and started pushing himself forward. The dog was catching up, but Marvin had just enough of a lead to get to speed and get away from the beast. He zoomed past the next stops on his route, making a note to circle back when it was safe.
The dog gave up the chase, turned, and started trotting back home. Marvin breathed a sigh of relief. He hated the Armistead’s house. Tomorrow, he told himself, I’ll just throw the paper from the street.