The high noon sun beats down on my bandana covered hair as I yank on the chain connected to the old engine block of the car in front of me. I dig my old leather boots into the dust and pull with all my strength, but it just doesn't seem to want to budge.
Letting the chain drop, I rip off the bandana and wipe the sweat from my brow, taking off the leather work gloves feeling the sweat drip from my skin.
I let out a few shallow breaths then grab the paint bucked from nearby, flipping it over to create a makeshift stool. As I rest, I remember how easy the work seemed to be at the junk yard when my uncle was still alive. How we'd work for twelve hours straight and we'd clear nearly the whole lot.
Now, with it being only myself I get nearly no work done at all. I toil and sweat over things that used to be simple.
Still, I wouldn't change it for the world. I love this little dust patch, as well as my home back on the farm a few miles away.
And my dogs.
I whistle loudly, sticking two fingers in my mouth, calling for my loyal buddies to come. The sound of jingling dog tags and panting lets me know they're on their way. I smile as they approach.
Cain is a brute of a mastiff. He's tall and bulky, round in the chest and long in the muzzle. The fur on his snout and tail are greying slightly with age, he's almost eleven years old. He's become more of a house dog over the years, even though he tries to be vicious. He growls at the old lazy farm cat as she wanders by, but I never really think he'd do anything.
Able is the vicious of the two. A strong willed German Shepard with a black blotch on his back mimicking a saddle, and a white stripe running down his muzzle. He's slim and mean looking. He rarely sleeps at night, preferring to sleep during the day and prowl my property at night, looking for trespassers and other assholes.
After years of training and loyal companionship, these two dogs are my best friends. Cain even sat there and let me sob into his fur when I left my uncles funeral. Neither of them has ever bit or scratched me. Even as puppies they were always very careful not to harm me.
Now that I've cooled down a bit, I stand up, with one dog on each side of me. We all pile into my old blue Chevrolet truck and rattle along the old dirt road to my farm house. I look in the rear view mirror and smile as I see both my dogs enjoying the warm summer wild, their tongues flapping in the breeze.
When we reach the farmhouse I shove down the stubborn tailgate of my old truck and the dogs bounce out, even Cain in his old age lunges from the truck happily. They run in circles around my feet as I walk into the house.
I take off my boots and throw my jacket on the old maroon sofa. Just as I take my hair from it's messy ponytail my landline rings.
I answer with a somewhat annoyed "Hello, this is Lila."
There is a small chuckle from the other line followed by "Hello ma'am, this is Watkins. I'd like to reinstate my previous offer now that your uncle is no longer here to sway your decision."
I look at my dogs sitting on the floor in front of me and sigh angrily. "I told you, you little bastered, my home is not for sale. Not now, not ever." Cain rubs his muzzle against my leg softly, as if to try and calm me down.
I pat his head gently as I listen to the gruff man on the phone.
"I'm sorry you still feel that way. Oh well. Tootles." The line goes dead, the dial tone ringing against my skull.
I lay the phone back in its cradle and go to take a shower. With the hot water pinging against my back, I run my hands through my soapy hair and think about what the man said.
The man, Watkins, is a short greasy looking man with his hair slicked back like a nineteen thirties thug. His teeth are small and yellow, widely spaced and gross. I met him at my uncle's funeral when he proposed an offer on my farm property, telling me it would be a "wonderful investment for the future."
I snort as I step from the shower and shake some of the extra water from my hair. I could never sell the farm. It's my home.
I crawl into bed after getting dressed, Cain lying at the foot of my old squeaky mattress and Able slipping out the doggy door as usual.
I drift to sleep quickly after working so hard all day, knowing I'd have to do it all again tomorrow.
But my slumber is interrupted by a loud barking, seeming to be coming from my porch.
I slip on my boots and run outside, seeing headlights just as they flick off. A shadowy figure is approaching my house swiftly.
Able as growling viciously, his long teeth bore at the trespasser.
"Get off my property! You're trespassing!" I yell. The figure doesn't stop his approach. He raises something, and Able runs towards him.
The figure lets out a loud yell just as he reaches the light. The scene makes me nearly drop to my knees.
Able had his jaws locked tightly around his leg, blood seeping from the wounds. Before I could call him off there is a crack, and able falls limp. A few seconds later Cain comes rushing from the house, lunging for Watkins.
"No!" I scream, but I'm too late. With another crack, Cain falls onto the ground in an awkward heap.
I grab my small .45mm from the mailbox attached to y house and cock it, aiming for Watkins.
"Get off my property you bastard!" I scream through hot tears, my hands shaking in rage and sorrow.
With his leg bleeding profusely, Watkins stumbles back to his car, driving off fairly quickly. I drop my gun and rush to the bodies of my beloved dogs.
I lay them side by side on the yard next to the house and run to get a couple old blankets. Petting their rapidly cooling heads, I sob as I wrap them in the blankets. I can early see through my burning tears as I dig a deep hole and gently lay their corpses in, covering them with earth.
I collapse in my crying over their grave, hot angry sorrowful tears wetting the dirt.
I'm not sure how long I sat there, but it must have been awhile, because soon there were red and blue flashing lights nearing my home. The officers explained that someone had heard gunshots coming from this direction as was worried.
They checked the property but having no evidence of the trespasser, they left, giving me a small slip of paper. Telling me that I may need better guard dogs.
I stumble inside and read the paper.
"Canopasians" it reads in big bold black lettering.
I read further, curious.
"Guard dogs exstraordinar! $3,000 for two! Well trained, easily adaptable to any environment. Bipedal and loyal!" there's also an address and a phone number written on the back.
I lay the paper on my bedside table and lay back on my bed, though much too angry and hurt to sleep.
I'll skip my chores at the junkyard tomorrow and head straight to the kennel. Maybe these so called Canopasians will be able to put Watkins in his place.