Little Billy loved Ragsy, his rare hairless Azawakh-Great Dane-Thai Ridgeback mix which his uncle gave him. At least, that was what Billy assumed Ragsy was. He’s looked up a lot of dogs on the internet and, although the pictures didn’t quite match, he just had to assume that was what Ragsy was. After all, the animal was almost the size of a pony with a square head and a long neck. True, the ridgeback dog in the picture had fur ridges and Ragsy’s were more like a dinosaur, but Billy figured that the dog in the online picture would have the same scales without fur.
Billy’s parents, not being too well-versed on the matter, assume all of little Billy’s research must have been accurate and saw no reason why he shouldn’t take Ragsy in for show-and-tell. They dropped Ragsy at the school around 10am, when the teacher said it would be alright for the dog to be there. When he came in, tugging on his leash as he sniffed the classroom air, the class as a whole jumped. The teacher ran to create a barrier between her students and the strange looking creature. Then, Billy jumped up.
“Ragsy!” he cheered and the hairless animal wagged his thick tail.
The teacher regained her composure and moved slowly to her desk. Ragsy watched her, his cat-like eyes blinking at her sinisterly. “Okay, Billy. Tells us some things about your . . . dog.”
“Ragsy is a year old, so he’s still kinda a puppy. He likes to play fetch and sometimes he barks at the mail truck. I’m teaching him tricks.” The little boy took out a baggy of jerky from his pocket. Ragsy excitedly licked his long, forked tongue over his sharp teeth. “Watch. Speak, Ragsy!”
Billy held out a piece of jerky over Ragsy’s nose. At first, the beast tried to nip it out of Billy’s hand. The boy held it out of reach and repeated, “No. Speak!”
Ragsy moved his bottom jaw once and a shrill cry rang out. Children plugged their ears while Billy giggled.
“Good boy!” He tossed the jerky in the air and Ragsy leapt for it. When he landed back on the floor, the classroom tremored from his weight.
Billy went on with his explanation. “Because Ragsy is still young, he’s still growing. He’s starting to get longer nails, which I think might be a Great Dane thing, I’m not sure. And he’s getting these two lumps on his back. I tried to take him to the vet, but he vet wanted to call some people called ‘cryptozoologists’ to look at Ragsy. Mommy said that sounded expensive.”
When Billy ran his fingers along the two golf ball sized humps growing from his pet’s back, the animal made a fearsome purr, then snorted in happiness.
“He like beef the best. Last week, the neighbor’s pet potbelly pig went missing and she kept thinking Ragsy ate him. My daddy kept telling her that Ragsy doesn’t like pork, but she didn’t believe us until we found her pig hiding under her porch. Turned out Ragsy was trying to play with it and the pig got scared. I guess pigs don’t like dogs.”
Ragsy lifted a back leg and started to scratch behind a scaly horn, making his collar jingle in the process. Billy took over the scratching and the forked tongue hung from one side of the toothy grin in pleasure. “He likes to be pet behind the ears. Does anyone else want to pet him?”
A couple of children raised their hands, but the teacher motioned a no and their limbs when back down.
“Billy, thank you for bring Ragsy in to see us. Why don’t you put him in the coat closet until your mom comes back for him and we can have the next presenter come up.”
“He doesn’t really like the dark—” Billy started to explain.
“I’m sure he’ll be okay,” the teacher responded.
With a shrug, Billy walked Ragsy towards the back of the room. The animal lumbered behind, sniffing and drooling on each student’s backpack. He dipped his nose into one boy’s bag and came out with an action figure between his jaws. In a single swift bite, he broke the action figure in two and swallowed the pieces.
“Billy’s dog ate my show-and-tell,” the owner of the action figure tattled, more annoyed than upset.
Billy led Ragsy into the coat closet and told him to be good boy as he shut the door. Once Billy was back in his desk, a little girl walked to the front of the room. She started to show off photos from her family vacation when they heard a scratch, scratch, scratch.
The teacher told the children to ignore it and encouraged the little girl to go on.
Ragsy started to yowl and cry from behind the closed door. Still, the teacher just told the girl to talk a little louder.
Then, there was a hissing noise. A second later, the room heated up as a flame ball burst through the closet door and hit the whiteboard behind the teacher’s head. The wooden door had partially disintegrated, the edges of a hole still sizzling. Ragsy poked his head through the hole and made a little whimper.
“I told you he doesn’t like the dark,” Billy stated.