Katie Wild Child celebrates her 11th birthday
on October 23, 2009.
And, as is our custom, we celebrate this occasion
with a BASH Adventure!

We can keep TRACK of the WC 101 adventure on our "Virtu-GPS" Scottie-o-tracker!!!

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Chapter 1
ScotCorde Entertainment

The legendary ScotCorde seemed to LEAP off the ground, its nose pointed purely vertical as it made an incredibly fast and NOISY ascent into the cloudless sky.

Captain Scotty smiled to himself as his head swung around to catch a fleeting glimpse of the final guest's Mam standing in the yard, waving farewell to her furry adventurers. He watched, as the wake turbulence of Sleek One's jet wash blew her off her feet. Trash barrels, lawn furniture, flowerpots, the paper boy, and one unsuspecting mailman...... were all tossed into one chaotic huge heap up against the privet hedge on the far side of the yard.

Captain Scotty chuckled. "She won't mind. She'll get over it....those Mams ALWAYS overlook these 'inconvenient' take offs!"

Turning his attention back to the blue sky above, pushed Sleek One hard, taking her higher and higher. He listened to the excited chatter from the main lounge, as the Scotties and their friends renewed old acquaintances.

"It's time to start the FUN!" he thought to himself. Reaching to the FAR side of the instrument panel, into an obscure recess in the controls, he found the button. With a devilish grin, Captain Scotty pushed the button.

Oliver Knaub stood in the Main Lounge, leaning against one of the bulkheads. He was plotting.... errrrrrr, chatting happily with Duke Wilson, Truman Huckstep, Bran Burks, Duffy Parker, Sweeney Harness, Hobbes Devine, Louis Saidel, and Murphy Beach. The group chatted quietly, but would occasionally all lean forward to whisper excitedly, then rear back in uproarious laughter!

Grace Gersch, a newcomer to the Guardian Brigade, watched the suspicious behavior....and frowned. She had taken the Guardian Brigade Orientation film VERY seriously... as some of the videos had been entirely TOOO frightening... and MUCH too dangerous! She was determined to earn her Guardian Brigade stripes!

Turning, she spotted Jake, far at the back of the Lounge, talking with the Council of Elders, who were comfortably seated in plush recliners, being waited on hand and paw by the youngest Terriers.

Grace hurried back to Jake, and gave him a quick nudge in the ribs.

"Jake," she whispered. Pointing up to the group at the front, who were still in their conspiratorial huddle, whispering eagerly, Grace said, "They're up to no good! I'm SURE of it!"

She raised one eyebrow to add emphasis to her statement... then stared at Jake with a "and WHAT are we going to DO about it?!??!" look on her face.

Jake leaned back, peered up the aisle, lowered his muzzle, and stared intently at Oliver and his friends.... who never slowed down, never stopped their suspicious whisperings, but continued to break out in occasional bursts of laughter.

Jake turned back to the Council of Elders, and grinned. He turned to Grace and replied, "YEP, they most certainly ARE up to no good! And, I agree with ya.... I'm SURE of IT, too!"

He gave Grace a playful push, adding "But, I suggest ya save your strength. Not much they can do HERE... and even if they DO get creative here on 'Sleek One', we have PLENTY of Mams' bank accounts to fix our ScotCorde RIGHT up! They've already redone her at least FOUR times, that I KNOW of!"

Grace shrugged, then added, laughing, "Okay, then.... I'll just make sure they don't OPEN the bulkhead door!"

The Council of Elders smiled knowingly. Billy Delli Carpini, Webber Riches, Maggie Belvin, Miss Katie Williamson, and Bohdi Tucker began to regale Jake and Grace with stories of PAST antics, of Midget Wion's famous wrestling contest with the bull 'gator.... of the Scottie lads' theft of the enormous 18-wheeler, of the police chase that followed, and wise Judge Brimley keeping them from having a 'record'!

The tales continued, each more hair-raising than the last. Each story was accompanied by gasps and laughter.

And, then the Council of Elders' private 'cockpit phone' rang. Millie Reyner, seated closest to the Elder's console, answered.

"Yes, Captain? .....REALLY? .... OHHHHHHHH, FUN!! Okay, we'll get ready!"

Millie hung up the phone, then leaned forward, and, under her breath, announced, "You'd best make SURE your belted in! Captain Scotty is about to take us on a little RIDE!"

The Council of Elders, from YEARS of experience, KNEW what that meant! Immediately, they pushed themselves to the very back of their seats, and hooked the seat belts, then gave them one last, reassuring TUG!

Jake watched as the beloved Council of Elders belted themselves securely into their plush seats. Patting each Elder on the shoulder as he headed up the aisle, Jake called to Grace.

"Okay, I have a pretty good idea of what's in store for us......but ya may want to find something to hold ONTO! Come on, it's about to get crazy in here!"

And with that, the two Guardians headed up to the center of the Main Cabin, where they just seemed to be chatting nonchalantly with the BASH guests.

Captain Scotty checked his aft-cabin monitor, saw his Council of Elders safely cinched into their seats, and smiled to himself.

"Welllll....The Wild Child SAID to give them a "WILD CHILD RIDE" down to the Bayous! Her wish is MY COMMAND!"

The Captain turned on his intercom mike, and gave them only the BAREST of warnings. "May I have your attention, PLEASE! Your hostess for this BASH, one Katie WILD CHILD, has INSTRUCTED me to SEE TO IT that your journey will NOT be a peaceful, sedate, or boring experience. ***One wickedly humorous Captain's chuckle was heard*** You've been WARNED!!"

At that instant, as if by magic, the seatbelts in the Main Lounge ALLLL unhooked.....and retracted...DISAPPEARING back into the seats. Shocked gasps and surprised exclamations were heard, as Terriers all over Sleek One immediately stood, turned, and began searching for the now-absent seatbelts!

Uproarious laughter from the rear of the huge jet drew the attention of the confused Terriers. The young BASH guests saw their Council of Elders, all seated comfortably, all belted SECURELY, all waving GLEEFULLY at the Terriers standing in the aisles.

But, it was Webber, lifting his paw and WAVING wickedly and giving a 'paws UP' to the 'unbelted' Terriers up front, that got their attention.

"Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, this isn't GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD, guys!!!" Tana Lawrence warned.

Too late, she added, "GRAB SOMETHING!"


Chapter 2
A Flight As SMOOTH as SILK!

It was as if someone had taken the ScotCorde and stood it on END!

The legendary jet was pointed straight UP, climbing faster and faster. The Terriers could FEEL the growl of the enormous engines as they tore through the sky, headed higher and higher.

Inside Sleek One, everything not nailed down had gone flying toward the rear of the luxurious Lounge cabin.... Terriers, chairs, tables, soft drinks, hot chocolate w/marshmallows, chips and dip, popcorn balls, treats and goodies, Guardians... all had become one huge MASS of debris at the rear of the ONCE-luxurious cabin.

The Council of Elders, safely belted in.....and amazingly protected by a clear sheet of plexiglass, were laughing uproariously as they watched the pile of Terriers try to find their footing. Paws, muzzles, tails, more paws.....all squirming, all trying to extracate themselves from the sticky, wet, gummy pile.


Sleek One, as if turned into a roller coaster at the peak of the first hill, seemed to reach the top of the arc... its nose suddenly turned DOWNWARD....... and instantly, the entire mass at the rear of the jet....became weightless!!!

Captain Scotty listened. He waited for it....and almost immediately he heard it. Squeals of delight, loud aaarrrrrrrrroooooooooo's of joy, followed by sounds of a 'weightless game of chase'.

Another glance at his monitor reassured him that the Guardians had it well in paw.....well, as good as they COULD, under the circumstances! Haley Gersch had a firm grip on very wee Mariah Massi's paw... her OTHER paw desperately trying to maintain hold of Grace's collar. Grace, on the other hand, had her paws wrapped around the arm of a chair, and was trying vainly to maintain SOME oxygen flow to her brain, in spite of Haley's constant pull on her collar!

Aggie Donnelly, Ceilidh Yeager, Sparcky Tucker, Tiree Straw, Sherman Sheets, Maggie Miller, and Fiona Walsh had apparently been near the galley when they'd become weightless... as the front area of the cabin was SOAKING wet from the 5 gallon water jug that had fallen OFF its base during the chaotic flight.

Food, furry Terriers, soft drinks, cushions, bowls - now empty of their in-flight treats, all floated gracefully around the huge cabin... until Sleek One made a sudden change in direction... AGAIN!


The ScotCorde had reached the bottom of her arc and was enroute back to the TOP....AGAIN!! Once again, the rear of the enormous jet was awash with furry bodies, now covered in food, liquids, and anything that would easily stick to wet, sticky fur!

FOUR more times the ScotCorde made its roller coaster journey.....UP to the top of their flight arc.....then a descent that took your BREATH away!! Weightless play throughout the cabin as Sleek One plummeted toward the ground... only to pull out at the BOTTOM of the arc and repeat the trip...again and again!

And, Captain Scotty enjoyed every MINUTE of the flight! The WC wanted her guests to experience 'wild-eyed excitement'.... that's what they'd GET!!!

He checked on the Elders again, noticing in the monitor that they'd taken advantage of the closed tumblers, and were contentedly sipping on cafe au lait and munching on the sweet, sugary beignets, as they watched the younger Terriers thump and bounce around the huge cabin.

Glancing down at his watch, Captain Scotty realized he had to get back to straight-line flying to keep the WC's schedule! He pushed the yoke over, returning the ScotCorde to level flight, then accelerated to make up some time.

Turning on the Cabin intercom, the Captain announced, "Hope you enjoyed your little bit of EXCITEMENT that the WC ordered!"

He listened to the groans and mumbling from the cabin. Glancing around, he watched as the Terriers began to pick themselves up from the floor. Fur askew, food and debris stuck in furnishings, eyebrows and beards looking frazzled and bedraggled... they were a MESS!!

He couldn't help but chuckle. "They're going to LOVE the arrival!" he thought, shaking his head at the WC's very specific instructions!!!

Back in the Main Cabin, the Terriers were exhausted. Morghie, Peter, Maddie, and Odie, of the Killeen Wild Bunch, along with Maisie Jane Baugh-Riechers, and Molly Reyner, were trying to remove the bits of food, gum, and lollipop that were firmly stuck in their fur.

"We look TERRIBLE!" Molly complained. "HOW are we EVER going to get cleaned up by the time we land!?"

Just then, they all heard the crackling of the intercom. IMMEDIATELY, the Terriers' eyes lit up!! MORE FUN!!! OH, GOOD!!

The Captain, with a definite hint of humor in his baritone voice, began to explain. "My dear BASH guests. We have REACHED the Bayous... your hostess, Katie Wild Child, eagerly awaits!!!

He paused, as the Terriers all began scrambling to gather their bags and return to their seats for the landing. Only THEN, did he allow the "OTHER SHOE" to drop!!

"Just ONE tiny DETAIL!" Captain Scotty added. He laughed out LOUD as, through the open cockpit door, he heard the loud groans coming from the cabin!

"If you'll PLEASE check under your seat, each of you will find a PARACHUTE, specifically designed for YOU! If you'll put them on, we'll soon be ready to 'de-plane'!!"

"We're gonna WHATTTTTTTTT????????????"




"I don't NEED no puny PARACHUTE! I can FLY!"

The Guardian Brigade froze... then with a loud bark from Jake, the Brigade sprang into action. Sadie Williams, the Golden, Jordan Massi, a collie, Ruby Massi, a German Shepherd, and Mungo Connolly, a Bouv, began hurrying up and down the aisle, assisting the Terriers as they hurried into their parachutes.

Just then, Captain Scotty strolled down the aisle. He smiled at each Terrier, patted many on the head, but continued walking. He came to a stop at the Council of Elders. Looking at the Scotties' Elder Statesmen, he smiled.

Nodding to the Elders and their private Guardians... the Bouv, Cluny Connolly, and Lab, Molly Pell, Captain Scotty led the distinguished group to the Aft Cargo Hold. Standing in the doorway, the Captain motioned for the BASH guests to join them. The Guardian Brigade herded the now-excited Terriers toward the rear of the plane, where they watched eagerly as Captain Scotty closed the Aft Cargo Bay door, and then turned to uncover an elaborate hot air gondola in the shape of an old wooden sailing ship. Inside the gondola were seats for each of the Elders, as well as their personal Guardians.

Captain Scottie opened the side of the gondola, and with a respectful bow, waved the Elders into the Gondola. He made sure that all of the distinguished passengers were safely cinched in, then he reached to the bulkhead overhead and pulled a lever. The rear of the ScotCorde opened, revealing a flat ramp.

The Guardian Brigade again leaped into action, this time herding their Terriers away from the huge, gaping hole at the rear of the ScotCorde, as the Gondola, on tracks, began to ease toward the open ramp.

Just before the gondola reached the open ramp, an enormous balloon emerged from a compartment at the very far end of the ramp. It seemed to fill with amazing speed, and as the gondola reached the VERY edge of the ramp, the huge, red and black plaid balloon lifted it off the ramp, to float gently away from the jet.

Wild applause erupted, as the Terriers cheered their Elder's most impressive departure. Turning to their friends, they eagerly anticipated their OWN exits from the plane. Only the Guardian Brigade appeared stressed. Only the Guardians' faces showed the worry and anxiety... worry for their Terriers....anxiety that a Terrier's behavior would prove foolhardy!

Captain Scotty turned to the Terriers, put his hands on his hips, and gave his instructions.

"Okay, Terriers....listen CLOSE! The Guardians and I WILL check each of your parachute fittings, we WILL make certain that your trip will be uneventful. You WILL follow my directions. No one is to invade another's air space. Stay AWAY from each other's open parachutes. Keep your paws folded in front of you. Your parachutes are automatically set to deploy as soon as you exit the aft ramp. So, you'll float easily and softly to the ground. Expect a hard landing, so keep your paws ready to roll when you land."

Captain Scotty paused. He watched the Guardians as they gave each parachute harness a last check. He saw a couple of Guardians with very wee youngsters strapped in front of them. They'd do a tandem jump with those smallest Terriers.

When he was satisfied that all was ready, he moved to the edge of the aft ramp.

"Here's your door! Your hostess, the Wild Child, awaits you below!! Have a happy trip!!"

And with a wave of his hand, the Captain gave the BASH guests free rein to race off the very back of the ScotCorde....to run straight out into empty space!!! What fun! What excitement!!

Captain Scotty watched as the Terriers ran, screaming and ARRROOO'ing, off the end of the ramp..... and within 30 seconds, he was alone, it was quiet!!!

Grabbing a rear strut, he leaned well out over the ramp, and saw 177 parachutes, gracefully floating down to the lush Bayou below.

"Nothing like a nice, quiet start to a BASH!" he thought to himself, as he strolled back toward the cockpit.... to check the NEXT item on the WC's "TO DO" list!

Chapter 3
Work for your Supper

Riley leaned casually against the Giant Bald Cypress tree that grew at the very edge of the Bayou. He watched the fish as they darted in and out among the huge cypress knees that rose out of the murky bayou, surrounding the enormous tree.

Glancing back toward the bungalow, Riley saw Katie just coming out onto the broad front porch. She smiled at him and waved... then perked her ears, her head tilted, ever so slightly, to one side.

Riley KNEW that look! He pushed himself off the tree, leaving its shady coolness, to stand in the center of the sunlit yard. Katie trotted forward to join him, and together, they began searching the skies. Katie had HEARD it, she KNEW the sounds of those mighty engines. She cocked her head, listening intently.

With a smile, she nodded....and pointed toward the northeast, into the clear, blue sky. Far off, the two Scotties caught a faint glimmer in the distance. The sleek, silver jet shone in the morning sunlight, glistening like a diamond as it sped closer and closer.

The Scotcorde soon closed the distance, then seemed to slow as it approached the Bayou. Katie and Riley watched eagerly, as the parachutes began exiting the aft ramp of the legendary jet. Within seconds, the sky was filled with brightly colored parachutes, fluttering lazily to earth.

Riley grabbed Katie's paw and tugged. Together, they moved back to the safety of the front porch. The parachutes grew larger and larger as they closed the distance.

It was the Elders' gondola that landed first, a precision landing in the very center of the yard. The enormous chute fluttered to the ground beside the gondola. Duncan Vacheresse, ever the gentleman, stepped out of the gondola, then turned and offered his paw to Maggie Belvin, then to Holly Massi.

Cluny Connolly stepped out of the gondola, gave herself a Bouvier sized shake, then turned to count noses. Looking up, Cluny saw the imminent danger from the approaching parachutes and quickly herded the Elders, the complaining and GROWLING Elders, up to the safety of the front porch.

Warm greetings were exchanged, as the Elders greeted Katie and Riley. ESPECIALLY noteworthy, were the greetings exchanged by the WILD CHILD and her handsome hunk, Webber! BUT, to coin a phrase.... 'what happens on the Bayou, STAYS on the Bayou!'... so we'll not pursue this topic any further!! VEG

Suddenly, the sky darkened... and was filled with parachutes, all aiming for the open grassy area. BASH guests, covered in food and beverage from their roller coaster flight, rained down into the yard, BASH guests on TOP of each other, piling up into a tangled heap, being covered by layer upon layer of parachutes.

As the last parachute floated to the ground, Riley, Webber, and Billy Delli Carpini rushed to the wiggling heap of grumbling BASH guests. They peeled off parachutes, they untangled paws and bodies, and slowly, one by one, they yanked, tugged, and dragged each BASH guest out of the pile, and onto the grassy yard.

The BASH guests, eyes shining with excitement from the plane ride, were all talking at once as they sauntered toward the bungalow, to greet a smiling Katie Wild Child.  She rushed down the steps to welcome her friends and renew old acquaintances. It was Riley who finally brought the 'hug fest' to a halt.

"Okay, guys and gals!! We have things to DO!! After all, we're here to celebrate the WC's 11th birthday!!"

Loud ARRROOOOOOOO's were heard from the throng of Terriers and their friends.

Riley continued. "BUT, before we get to the purpose of the BASH.... I'm CERTAIN that you've ALL worked up quite an appetite!!!"

More raucous cheers were heard.

"GOOD!" Riley responded. "We're going to have a good ole bayou style SHRIMP BOIL!!!"

Wild cheers erupted from the Terriers, their muzzles already watering at the mere thought of succulent shrimp, spicy new potatoes, and ears of corn... all bubbling away in an enormous cauldron! Turning quickly, the Terriers scanned the yard, searching. They saw a bonfire, lit and burning brightly. Beside the fire, they saw a huge, black cauldron... sitting in the grass, cold and empty.

They turned questioning eyes back to Riley, who laughed merrily. He turned to Katie, and with a flourish of his paw, yielded the floor to her.

Katie smiled wickedly. "Ohhhhhhhhhh, yes! There IS just one TINY thing we left OUT! We have to CATCH our supper!!! We're all going SHRIMPING!"

"HUH?? Ya mean they don't just show up on a plate???"

"We hafta CATCH our SUPPER? COOL!"

"Will it mess up my coiffure?"

Katie smiled. "No free meal tickets HERE! NOW, the quicker we get started, the quicker we can EAT!"

Riley pointed across the front yard to the bayou beyond, and explained. "If you'll notice, we have a Shrimp Trawler moored and waiting. What do ya say, Scotties?? How about we go SHRIMPING?!?!?!"

Linus Smith, Kramer Bush, Duncan Lyons, Baxter Tucker, and Toby Benson raced toward the weatherworn trawler... the rest of the BASH herd hard on their heels. Reaching the bayou, Linus and Toby skidded to a halt, causing a massive pile-up of Terriers.

"WHOA.......wait a minute!" Linus said, a suspicious frown on his face. "JUST WHOOOOOOOOSE Shrimp Trawler IS THIS?"

The Scotties and their friends, for the first time, stopped to take a good LOOK at the vessel that was to take them out into the OPEN SEA! A closer inspection of the trawler drew gasps and moans from the Terriers.

The old double-rigged Shrimp Trawler, tied up to two cypress trees on the bank, swayed gently at its moorings. She seemed to have a slight list to STARBOARD... but maybe that was just the angle of the sunlight glinting through the Spanish moss.

The trawler had apparently not seen paint or regular maintenance in years. At one time, it HAD been white, but now, she displayed more aged, gray wood than pristine white marine paint. Holes were visible along both sides of the trawler, some just above the waterline, many large enough to SEE through to the engine room inside. The wheelhouse door was hanging by one rusty hinge, the windows were cracked, or missing completely, and only part of the roof remained. The massive boom arms that extended out on either side of the aged lady were dented, bent, and rusted.

As the trawler swayed at her moorings, the boom arms seemed to reach out to the cypress trees, to help STEADY the ancient vessel. The nets that hung suspended from the boom arms showed years of wear, with gaping holes in the webbing. There was nothing about the old shrimp trawler that looked even REMOTELY seaworthy.

The Scotties stared at the Trawler, wide-eyed....but it was Cammster Meverden who drew the full attention of the group. "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Riley........ WHOSE trawler IS THIS?"

Cammster cast a suspicious eye toward Riley, who simply shrugged and pointed to the name, in faded, peeling red lettering on the bow of the decrepit old trawler.

"HISSSSSSS!" Riley announced wickedly.

Groans were heard from the group as they became aware of whose trawler this actually WAS!

White paint, peeled and missing on parts of the bow....red lettering, faded over time... but still visible....


"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!" Duncan groaned. "I want a life vest!" He grinned wickedly as he turned to Baxter and Kramer as the three collapsed in boisterous laughter.

Riley strolled to the bayou's edge, took a firm grim on the trawler's railing, and easily swung himself aboard. Right behind him, Katie easily cleared the railing, with Webber only a paw-length behind. The three Scotties stood on the deck of the old trawler. Katie flashed a 'Wild Child' smile and announced, "Ya planning to EAT?? Ya'd best get aboard.... your supper's out THATA WAY!"

As if someone had shouted "FIRE", 178 Scotties and their friends raced toward the faded old trawler. Paws were stepped on, beards and tails were tugged, as everyone scrambled aboard the 'BOUDREAUX BELLE'!

The Guardian Brigade did NOT like where this was headed. Sadie Williams, Haley Gersch, Jack, Sammy, and Eddie of the Killeen Wild Bunch, and Ruby Massi were desperately trying to hoist the short-legged passengers aboard the swaying vessel, to prevent them being crushed between the bank and the rusting old trawler. Jake hurried up on deck, raced to the bow, leaned way over, and began yanking Terriers onboard by their collars.

As the last paws scurried onboard, Mason Bruce and Stewart Collett released the mooring lines and gave the BOUDREAUX BELLE a shove away from the bank before making a last-second leap onto the trawler. Jake and the Guardians began a frenzied muzzle count, wanting to account for all 178 guests, as the old shrimp trawler sputtered down Bayou Lafourche, headed for a day of shrimping.

It took almost two hours for the BOUDREAUX BELLE to reach her destination. Cap'n Arsenault slowed the old trawler, scanned the deck and shook his head, tsk-tsk'ing loudly, as he watched the same 6 seasick Terriers race once more for the railing, where they leaned far out over the railing. Groaning, they stood back up, then quickly wiped their muzzles. HOPEFULLY, with the trawler now slowed to a crawl, the deck would cease its stomach-churning rolls.

(At this point, I MUST admit...I've been sworn to secrecy! The Scotties have forbidden me from divulging the names of the 6 seasick fur-sailors, to preserve their dignity! *sigh*)

NOW-- back to our story!

Shaking their heads vigorously, the 6 Terriers raced toward the stern, where the rest of the group had gathered. Cap'n Arsenault was barking out orders, sharp and fast. The Terriers were scurrying around the deck of the old trawler, not wanting to anger the grizzled old captain.

Lyndi King, Ginny Placer, Heidi Delli Carpini, Piper Truett, and Reba Sue Parker were near the stern, working the two winches that controlled the boom arms, all paws furiously working to turn the seized-up, rusty cranks.

Meanwhile, high overhead...Jake Bradberry, Maggie Sugar, Kenzie Clarkson, Fiona Harness, Tucker Knaub, Lucky Laddie Zeigler, Connor Bruce, Mochreigh Reyner, Cooper Fones, Chak de Mitey, Sunny Riches, Bo'sun Howatt, and Baxter Tucker had scurried up the boom arm, to finish rigging the nets.

Cap'n Arsenault glanced back at the winches, shouting, "Put your PAWS into it, there!! MOVE IT!"

He turned his attention overhead, to the dozen or so Terriers desperately hanging onto the now-swaying boom arm. "Avast there! Keep your paws on that rigging! I don't wanna see my nets ruined!"

Tucker turned to Sunny, Laddie, Connor, and Bo'sun and grinned wickedly. "He wants us to hold on with TWO paws??? Who does he think we ARE??? PUHDULZ???"

The group immediately responded to the comment by taking one paw OFF the dented, rusting starboard boom arm. As Jake glanced up overhead, he saw Tucker Knaub, Sunny Riches, Laddie Zeigler, Connor Bruce, and Bo'sun Howatt, swinging precariously from the starboard boom arm, one paw grasping a flimsy length of rotten netting, the other forepaw waving gleefully to the now-cheering crowd below.

And then........ several things happened at once.

The BOUDREAUX BELLE suddenly hit a swell that caused the trawler's starboard list to worsen dramatically. This brought the starboard boom arm dangerously close to the water. At that SAME moment, the Terriers on the stuck winches at the stern managed to put their weight into the cranks and managed to loosen the rusted cranks, causing the boom arm high overhead to swing wildly.

Everyone on deck gasped as they stared skyward. They watched as the boom swung crazily, Terriers hanging on for dear life, paws flailing, tails whirling to maintain control, and ears pricked at full attention!

Perhaps it was the swell, perhaps the rusted crank that'd broken free, perhaps the over-confidence of the five one-pawed show-offs....but in that instant... Tucker, Sunny, Connor, Lucky Laddie, and Bo'sun lost their grip on the netting... and fell.....SPLASH....into the muddy waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Chapter 4
Trawler - Trash or Treasure??

Cap'n Arsenault immediately threw the throttle of the old trawler into reverse. The aged vessel shuddered as its weary engines brought the BOUDREAUX BELLE to a stop.

Down on the deck, the BASH gang had all rushed to the railing, all eager to help their friends, who were bobbing on the waves, and being pulled farther from the trawler with each moment. Guinness Bailey and Pippen Baugh-Reichers, in an over-exuberant effort to HELP, leaned WAYYYYYY over the railing in an attempt to grab their friends' paws.

They didn't mean to.....they hadn't PLANNED to..... but they did!! Guinness and Pippen, in their eagerness to HELP, moved their center of gravity a TAD too far over the railing.... and they both fell OVERBOARD!

Jake and the Guardian Brigade had raced across the deck when the Terriers had fallen from the boom. Jake had spotted Guinness and Pippen balancing precariously atop the railing, and had realized IMMEDIATELY what was about to happen. The Guardians thundered across the deck, but were a half paw-step behind as the two Terriers disappeared over the railing, joining the flotsam five....with Jake leaping over the railing in hot pursuit!

Mungo Connolly, Sorbet Graves, Haley, Grace, and Snickers followed Jake into the dark, choppy Gulf. Their huge bodies cut through the water, their powerful legs digging deeply to propel themselves faster and faster. Within seconds, the Guardians had reached the desperately paddling Terriers, and had quickly grasped each collar in their strong jaws. Heads held high, the Guardians paddled back toward the trawler, where Cluny, Jordan, Ruby, Jack, Sammy, Sadie, Molly, and Snickers hurriedly scooped the waterlogged Terriers out of the murky water and deposited them unceremoniously back onto the deck.

The Guardian Brigade formed around the seven soaked Terriers, with the BASH gang crowding in behind, peering around huge Guardian bodies, peeking under tall Guardian legs... all eager to see... and HEAR.

The seven soaked Terriers exchanged glances, then braced their legs, and SHOOK... vigorously! Laughing uproariously, they clapped each other on the back, congratulating themselves on adding a little EXCITEMENT to the trip!

Jake raised one furry eyebrow, glanced at his Brigade of Guardians, and winked. As one, the huge Guardians all began to shake the water out of THEIR fur, absolutely soaking the entire crowd on the deck. Turning his attention to the Terriers, Jake raised his paw.

"Okay.....now that we all smell like seaweed, can we PLEASE get back to the task at hand??? I believe we have SHRIMP to catch....and SOME of us would like to put our paws back on SOLID GROUND!"

The crowd of Terriers laughed and headed back toward the wheelhouse, where Cap'n Arsenault stood, hands oh his hips.

"Ooooohhhhhhh," Jake added. "And, PLEASEEEEEEE...... keep your furry little paws off that railing!!!"

Snickers and giggles were heard as the Terriers trotted off to get their assignments from the Cap'n. The next three hours passed quickly. No one was excused from 'shrimp duty'. The Elders were assigned supervisory tasks around the deck....to guarantee that no younger Terrier decided to be brave and bold. None of the younger Terriers DARED cross the 'Elder Line'....those Elders has long SINCE mastered 'the LOOK', and looked like they MEANT IT!

The afternoon was winding down as the last net was hoisted aboard, and the last net of shrimp was safely stored in the trawler's hold. Everyone cheered as the hold was sealed up for the trip back.

"GREAT!" Jordi Miller exclaimed. "LET'S EAT!"

Laughter floated across the water as the BASH gang of shrimpers agreed. They'd certainly worked up an appetite. They glanced back toward shore, now many miles north. Their eyes scanned the BOUDREAUX BELLE... and they groaned.

"We'll be MIDNIGHT getting home!" Campbell Beach sighed.

Suddenly, they heard the loud ringing of a ship's bell. Turning, they smiled as they saw Katie WC, standing at the wheelhouse door. She had one paw on her hip, the other braced against the doorjamb.

"Did I understand ya to say ya wanted to get home FASTER than the 2 hours it took us to GET HERE?" Katie gave no hint as to her plan. But, the wicked gleam in her eyes, had anyone noticed, was a dead giveaway!

Jordi and Campbell were the FIRST to reply, followed by quick choruses of agreement.

"PIDDLE, YEAH!" the Terriers exclaimed.

Katie smiled, as she saw the Terriers' eyes take in the ancient old trawler. She watched their shoulders sag.

"WELL NOW.... I wonder what we can DO about THIS......" Katie spread her paws wide to indicate the weatherworn old shrimp trawler. She casually removed her hand from the doorjam. In it, was a silver box, a remote control... but for WHAT?

The Wild Child reached overhead, gave the ship's bell three sharp tugs, then pushed the center button on the remote in her paw.

The deck of the BOUDREAUX BELLE became totally silent. Everyone was mesmerized. They had no clue what was happening, but they knew that if the WC had a paw in it, it WOULD be EXCITING!

Suddenly, the grumbling shudder of the frail, overworked engine changed. The engine's sound changed... to a smooth hum. The trawler itself began to vibrate, ever so slightly. The Terriers' eyes grew wide as they realized that the shrimp trawler was rising up out of the water!

Racing to the side... with MUCH Guardian supervision, mind you...they were amazed to see a sleek, silver hull shining in the late afternoon sun. Confused, the Terriers turned back to Katie, who smiled sweetly.

"Ohhhhhhhhhh, THIS sad old trawler that you all thought so little of.... is a state-of-the-art research vessel. The BELLE has three gas turbine engines which generate 16800 HP. This girl can reach speeds of 65 knots, if the seas are calm. She has the latest in oceanographic technology.... and has set the world speed record...TWICE!"

Gasps of surprise echoed across the deck as everyone looked at the trawler with new respect.

Katie continued. "And, THIS........." Katie spread her paws wide to include the entire vessel.

"THIS visual you see before you was done EXCLUSIVELY for US... for THIS BASH! The BOUDREAUX BELLE is never seen without her spit and polish gleam of metal and brass. She's a top of the line ship... camouflaged for us by Cap'n Arsenault, the research scientist in CHARGE of the BELLE."

Katie paused to allow her friends a minute to absorb this news, then she dropped the OTHER shoe!

"Ohhhhhhhhhh," the WC added, as she tucked a paw around the arm of the grey-haired Cap'n and pulled him closer. "THIS gentleman happens to be very familiar with someone we all know and love!"

Katie leaned into the wheelhouse, took a firm grip on a well-tanned hand, and tugged. Looking over her shoulder toward the Terriers on the deck, she finished with, "Cap'n Arsenault is OUR Captain Scotty's FATHER!"

And with that, Katie pulled Captain Scotty out of the wheelhouse into the late afternoon sun.

Wild, enthusiastic applause erupted across the deck. Everyone crowded close, to greet Captain Scotty and to introduce themselves to Cap'n Arsenault. The minutes ticked by as the BASH gang listened to the telling and retelling of how the BOUDREAUX BELLE had been camouflaged.

It was finally Cap'n Arsenault who interrupted the excited chatter. "I understand you all have a shrimp boil to attend this evening. Since we're so far from shore, it just seems to me that it MIGHT be necessary to get a LITTLE more speed out of those engines than we did on the outbound trip!"

MORE cheers from the excited Terriers.....

"Soooooooo, if you'll look forward, there are now seats on the bow for you all. Take your places, and the Guardians will double-check the harness straps attached to each chair. We'd NOT want to lose anyone!"

Cap'n Arsenault's rich laughter echoed across the deck as he added, "Put your PAWS into it! MOVE IT!"

The Terriers snapped sharp salutes to the elder Captain......and raced toward the bow of the BELLE. The Guardian Brigade made CERTAIN that the 3-point harnesses were securely fastened, and after a quick, second check, they nodded back toward the wheelhouse, where Cap'n Arsenault stood at the helm. Captain Scotty stood on deck. He leaned casually against the front wall of the wheelhouse......waiting.

"Okay, my Terriers," Captain Scotty called, with an obvious air of anticipation in his deep voice. "Are you ready for THIS?"

As with one voice, the Terriers ARRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOO'ed their approval.

Cap'n Arsenault gripped the throttle firmly in his weathered hand. He pushed the throttle forward, ever so slightly. He felt the change in the engines, he could hear the smooth hum of the powerful engines as they slowly came to life. He could feel the power. Pushing the throttle ahead, he watched the bow begin to slice through the water... faster and faster.

A quick glance at the water ahead showed a calm sea. The choppy waves they'd encountered on the way out had calmed, leaving the sea flat calm. He smiled. He'd give these Terriers of Scotty's a ride they'd not soon forget!!!

With a devilish grin, Cap'n Arsenault mumbled softly. "Airplanes....... HMPH!"

And with that, Cap'n Arsenault adjusted his footing, braced his legs against what was to come, and smoothly accelerated the BOUDREAUX BELLE to full throttle.

The Terriers felt the BELLE'S speed gradually increase. Their excitement was written in their eyes.....bright and shining. Their beards, eyebrows, and furnishings were fluttering in the breeze now, and as the speed increased, the Terriers raised their muzzles into the wind, feeling the power under their paws.

The BOUDREAUX BELLE leapt forward, throwing the Terriers back into their chairs, as the vessel continued to move faster and faster, wanting even MORE speed. The g-forces were incredible. Try as they might, it was almost impossible for the Terriers to lean forward from the chairs, gravity simply wouldn't allow it. The Terriers' furnishings were now plastered back against their bodies, their ears had gone flat to their heads... and still the muzzles were raised, noses eagerly sniffing... eyes gleaming joyously.

As the BOUDREAUX BELLE reached her top speed of 65 knots, she broke onto a plane, her bow rising up gracefully out of the water. She was really flying now, slicing cleanly through the water. The engines, at full power, now had a deep, rumbling growl to them ... pure power that Cap'n Arsenault had unleashed just for these Terriers.

And, seated way at the front, on the front row of chairs, was Katie Wild Child... Riley on one side, and her Webber on the other. The muzzles of the three Scotties were raised, their eyes sparkling with excitement. The Scotties could feel the powerful engines beneath their paws.

With all the strength she had, Katie pushed herself away from the back of the chair. Straining, she leaned forward, INTO the wind....wanting to face it head on. Muzzle into the wind, she let out a proud ARRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....

As the wind ripped the ARROOOOO away from her lips, she heard it... the chorus of ARRROOOO's joining hers... the pure joy of the moment. .

Chapter 5
A Wild Child Party

As far as the windblown Terriers were concerned, the 15 minute return trip to the bungalow didn't take NEARLY enough time!! The BOUDREAUX BELLE easily slipped back into her original moorings, between the cypress trees on the quiet bayou. The Terriers, beside themselves with excitement, were all talking at once. Everyone thanked Cap'n Arsenault and Captain Scotty for the amazing trip, and dragged the two captains along to share in the coming party.

As the Terriers left the BELLE, Janabel Parker turned....and gasped. "LOOK!" she shouted.

The BOUDREAUX BELLE had lost all of her camouflage. The full-throttle trip had ripped off her 'costume' in the 65 knot sprint back to the bungalow. Revealed in the late afternoon sun was the beauty beneath.... a sleek silver vessel, built for speed, with a definite TERRIER attitude about her. The Terriers smiled proudly. The BELLE was was one of a kind... and she SURELY did know how to FLY!

"CAN WE EAT NOW????????" Campbell asked, breaking the spell. "HUH???"

Laughing, the group headed to the front yard, where the huge bonfire still burned brightly, having been tended all day. Above the fire hung a huge black cauldron, steaming water bubbling as it awaited the day's catch.

Katie and Riley quickly began issuing instructions. Molly Walsh, Beamer Wilmer, Bentley Jaramillo, Dylan Janis, and Katie Massi began dragging the long picnic tables into the center of the yard, placing them end to end beneath the three huge oak trees. Long sheets of butcher paper were laid out down the length of the tables. Small baskets containing Louisiana hot sauce, lemons, and seasonings were spaced down the long table. The table committee rushed around, checking, and rechecking the supper table. They wanted it to be PERFECT for Katie's shrimp boil. There would be no need for forks or utensils this night...this was a PAWS ONLY kind of meal!!!

The rest of the Terriers had gone back to the BOUDREAUX BELLE, to unload the shrimp which were being dumped into huge buckets that were being dragged across the yard to the waiting cauldron. Grunts and groans were heard as the short-legged fisher-terriers struggled to drag the heavy, white, 30gallon buckets across the yard to the steaming pot.

Everyone crowded around, as Riley added first one spice, then another, to the boiling water. As the buckets filled with wriggling shrimp arrived at the cauldron, Riley disappeared around the corner of the bungalow, to return with his own huge bucket. He plopped it down beside the steaming pot of water, next to the other buckets.

"Tonight's menu will consist of spicy new potatoes, corn on the cob, and....... BOILED SHRIMP.... AND boiled Bayou BLUE CRABS! Get your taste buds ready!! It won't be LONG!"

Muzzles watered as everyone pushed in closer, all wanting to "help". Riley had turned away from the pot to grab his container of crab boil seasoning from the nearby tray. He looked back JUST as Bea Duffy, Guinness Bailey, and Angus Jaramillo stuck their furry noses MUCH too close to the white bucket of angry blue crabs!

"WATCH IT!!! They PINCH!" Riley TRIED to warn the three youngsters.


"OUCHHHHHHHH!" Angus growled, as one crab maintained a pinser like grip on the young lad's now-throbbing nose.

"EWWWWWWWWWWWW...... get 'em OFF!" Bea complained. Her front paws were tugging angrily at the two blue crabs dangling from her once-lush beard.

Mariah, a crab firmly holding onto her left ear, was turning in quick, tight circles, trying to catch the offending crab as it swung crazily close to her mouth.

Guinness grumbled, through a mouth full of snapping crab. "Don't TOUCH 'im!! He's MINE!! I'll teach him to SNAP at ME!!!"

And, with that, Guinness made a valiant attempt to give the offending crab a lesson in 'death shakes'... which was rather difficult, since the crab had his OWN death grip... on Guinness' lip!

The three scotties hopped around, turning and twisting, trying to grab the crabs that simply refused to let go. Add the dozen or so EXTRA paws, who were attempting to HELP the three youngsters, and it was just simply..... CHAOS!

"HOLD STILL so I can GRAB 'em!" Cluny ordered.

She, Molly Pell, and Sorbet made quick work of releasing the crabs' grip on the angry, agitated Terriers. Tossing the crabs back into the bucket, the three Guardians brushed off their paws, then looked back at the four Terrier 'helpers'.

"All better now," Cluny announced as she deftly slid her Bouvier frame between the Terriers and the bucket of crabs. She watched as the four terriers headed off, eager to tell.....and retell the others about their 'fur-raising' adventure!

As the crowd dispersed, Riley and Katie, finally able to GET TO the pot, made quick work of filling the huge kettle with the shrimp and crab... and it wasn't long before Katie stepped up onto the porch of the historic bungalow and rang the dinner bellb.

"COME AND GET IT!" the WC called loudly. Pointing to the 40 foot line of picnic tables, she ordered, "Go take a seat. Your supper will be brought TO YOU! No silverware, no plates...this is a seafood boil. You Eat with your PAWS!!!"

She laughed as the excited terriers raced to the long table. The BASH guests swung their wee legs over the picnic benches, to swing airily under the table, and swiveled around, paws on the paper-covered table.....ready for chow!

The entire Guardian Brigade had been called to duty as 'servers' for the 178 hungry Terriers. Each large Guardian wielded a massive scoop, which they shoved into the huge pot. They lifted out enormous shovels full of steaming hot shrimp and crab, which they carefully carried to the tables, where they dumped the steaming seafood onto the paper-covered tables.

In a remarkably short time, the entire table's length was groaning under the weight of tons of boiled shrimp, hundreds of blue crab, and thousands of boiled new potatoes and spicy corn on the cob. The guests dove in, paws grabbing their meal right off the table.... no manners, no paw delicately in the laps....eating like a TERRIER!!

NOTE: Okay, so here's another of those "FORBIDDEN" areas. It seems that SOMEEEEE terriers were rather embarrassed to admit that they didn't know ya had to PEEL shrimp....and we won't even DISCUSS the blue crabs!!! *sigh* Let me just say, Shrimp peeling lessons WERE given....and all Terriers passed the Shrimp PEEL-OFF quiz with flying colors!

Okay, now......BACK to the story. VEG

Conversation had stopped. For the FIRST time that day, not ONE voice was heard. No one had TIME to speak. They were too busy peeling and shoveling seafood into their furry mouths.

No one noticed Riley get up and disappear into the bungalow.... or saw the new guests who followed him BACK out onto the front porch. They totally ignored the new guests as they arranged their equipment...

But, then..... Riley barked!! Once....loudly!

Everyone turned toward the porch, to discover a BAND, set up and ready to play!!

"My friends.....and my Warrior Princess sister!! For your entertainment, a dinner accompaniment!! I give you...a Creole legend... BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO!"


The party cranked up....the paws started tapping... seafood and zydeco ... it was a perfect night for a party!

Chapter 6
Behind the Gate??

The sun was just peeking over the bungalow, yet Katie WC and Riley had roused everyone early... MUCH too early! Breakfast had been served out on the veranda... cafe au lait and beignets, after which, Riley hurriedly rounded everyone up and herded them around the bungalow to the backyard.

Interestingly enough, the BASH gang's curiosity was stirred, for in the many visits to the bayou, they'd never BEEN around to the back of the bungalow. Perhaps, there'd never been TIME to explore. After all, these BASH adventures were ALWAYS hectic, busy, and crowded with 'things to do, places to go, and trouble to stir'! But, today was different, as Riley led them right around the corner of the bungalow to the back yard.

The Terriers were amazed to see a lush and colorful garden with well-tended shrubbery and exquisitely blooming flowers. In the center of the garden stood a very old oak tree, its lower limbs gracefully swooping down almost to the ground. Higher up in the old oak, massive amounts of Spanish moss swayed gently in the breeze.

The Terriers nudged each other and smiled as they spotted the striped yellow lounge chair sheltered in the cool shade of the oak. Beside the chair several ORBS lay scattered around in the grass.

But, as their gazes roamed the garden, they were suddenly impressed....and curious as they spotted a very tall privacy fence that extended all the way across the back of the garden, through the field, and off in both directions, as far as the eye could see.

The Terriers, always known to have a nosy streak a mile wide, surged forward eagerly as Riley reached for the latch on the ornate, double gate at the very back of the garden, behind the azaleas and crepe myrtles. Riley felt the push of the Terriers. He turned, and smiled.

"SOOOO, BASH guests... you've had quite an adventure down here on the Bayou! But, now.... it's KATIE'S turn to run the show!"

The group suddenly turned, their eyes searching the crowd, all realizing that they'd not SEEN the Wild Child since she'd scarfed down that third beignet. Realizing that she wasn't with with them, they turned back to Riley, suspicion and curiosity written on their furry faces.

Riley smiled wickedly. "Yeah, I know. It's NEVER a good thing when Katie is OUTA SIGHT! No telling WHAT that gal will have her paw into!"

Everyone laughed. They knew the WC's reputation, they knew she lived on the edge, and took no prisoners.

Riley put his paw on the gate latch and turned to the crowd of Terriers. With a "P.T. Barnum flourish", he pushed open the gate, spread his paw wide, and announced proudly, "I GIVE YOU THE WARRIOR PRINCESS!"

GASPING in amazement, the BASH guests broke into wild applause. The Wild Child was gonna be on a TEAR today...they could TELL. They knew the WC was about to crank things up.....big time. Every eye riveted on the lass as she stepped back and threw open the other side of the gate. Motioning everyone inside, Katie stepped over to a large stump and hopped up.

She watched as the Terriers scanned the area in wide-eyed wonder! They'd had NO IDEA....ever!!!

Riley strolled over to the stump and leaned up against it, leaving the 'high ground' to Katie. Throwing a glance back over his shoulder, Katie nudged him in the back with her paw...

"You start", she whispered.

Riley began. "What you see here behind me is a 15,000 foot runway, 20,000 sq. feet of tarmac, a state-of-the-art tower and hangar facility... AND, if you watch those massive doors on the end of that hangar, you MIGHT see something you recognize!"

Not a sound was heard as the Terriers focused totally on the huge hangar, watching intently as the enormous doors began to slide open. Within seconds, the huge doors had parted.....and the INSTANT the Terriers saw that nose emerge from the darkened hangar, they KNEW!!

It was SLEEK ONE!!!!! They clapped and cheered, they waved their paws overhead! Sooooooo, THIS was where the ScotCorde lived..... THIS was where she came when each BASH adventure came to a close, and she'd returned each Scottie safely home!!

Amazed, they could only stare.... as their beloved ScotCorde taxied across the tarmac, to stop nearby, at the edge of the concrete. The door to the ScotCorde swung open, a truck hurried to the jet and eased the stairs up to the fuselage. Out onto the stairway stepped Captain Scotty. He leaned against the fuselage and waved at the Scotties and their friends.

Katie raised her paws and quickly had the full attention of the BASH gang.

"WELL NOW..... looks like this BASH is about to take its show on the ROAD, huh!!!" she teased, a wicked gleam in her eye. Everyone nodded excitedly, unable to control their eagerness.

"Soooooooooooooo, let me just tell you what we're about to do. Captain Scotty has my list of stops that I'd like him to make. He's filed his flight plan, and has programmed it into Sleek One's computer."

The excitement was almost palpable. The Guardian Brigade was braced. Haley slipped a glance at Jake. They both groaned inwardly. This was about to get REALLY complicated, they could TELL!

Katie explained. "I have several destinations in mind for us....with a definite plan. This BASH will be for ONE PURPOSE...... you are ALLLLL about to enroll in my "WILD CHILD SEMINAR"!!! I'm going to teach each and every ONE of you how to be a WILD CHILD!"

The crowd went nuts!!! Leaping and cheering, clapping each other on the back, high fives all around!!! They were going to learn from the WC, herself!!! INCREDIBLE!!!

The Guardian Brigade was STUNNED. They'd dealt with the random, occasional antics of a FEW Scotties.... but the thought of 178 Scotties, Terriers, and wanna-be's ALLLLL receiving WC instructions......at SOME unknown location??????? A moment of panic swelled up in the great beasts, but quick shakes of those massive heads brought calm reason back into focus. Jake looked at his Brigade and nodded.

"It's all good," he said. "If nothing ELSE, we're BIGGER than they are!"

The Guardians exhaled, long and slow, and spread out... returning to their duties.

Katie raised her paw again, and the group quickly quieted. "Sooooooooo, if you plan to go with ME... wherever it IS that I'm GOING... ya'd best get a move on, and GET ON THAT PLANE over there!"

And, with that, Katie's paws flashed down to her side, grasped the two hand-held high-powered water cannons, and jerked them from their fast-draw holsters. A flip of her paw changed the water setting to wide spray, and she cut loose on the amazed Terriers.

Screaming and squealing, loud ARRROOOOOO's from everywhere at once, the BASH gang began jumping and waving, daring the WC to 'spray ME, ME'... 'over HERE, KATIE'...paws waving excitedly in the air... the water soaked the entire group.

It was ONLY the sound of the ScotCorde's engines roaring to life that changed the focus of the game. Suddenly, the Terriers raced for the stairs and the safety of the ScotCorde... Katie and Riley hot on their heels. The crowd that hit the stairs created a bottleneck. It became almost impossible for anyone to get INTO the jet, due to the 40-50 furry bodies all wedged into the doorway.

Snickers and Mungo began grabbing Scottie tails and pulling them back down the stairway, to ease the crowding at the door. Scotties grumbling, Guardians pulling and yanking, Guardian voices raised in "ONE at a TIME!!"

*SIGH* Okay, now...
I'm told to say: "Everyone reached their seats with an abundance of grace, polite behavior, and perfect decorum."
Author's note: Uh HUH...ya believe THAT, dontcha!!

The last Scottie had settled comfortably into a seat, the Guardians had counted muzzles and passed out towels to the soggy Terriers.  Katie rose to stand at the front of the luxurious Main Lounge aboard the ScotCorde. She took the intercom mike in her paw, checked the volume, and finished her speech.

"Nowwwwwwww, as any good WC knows, it's just no FUN being a WC without an audience! Sooooooo, while Captain Scotty gets the ScotCorde ready for take-off......as your 'Professor WC', I'd recommend that you grab your cellbone and LET your MAMS and DADS know of the WONDERFUL opportunity you have...you're about to FURTHER YOUR EDUCATION!!!!"

Snickers and guffaws were heard through the cabin. Katie ended with...
"NEXT STOP --- somewhere northeast of here.... Wild CHILD 101 -- LESSON 1 !"

And, the cellbones went crazy!

The Oak above grows in
City Park in New Orleans,
home to the LARGEST collection of mature oak trees in the WORLD!

Chapter 7

WC 101 - Lesson 1:
Live On the EDGE!

Liam King, Capt. Eddie Zeigler, and Jaimie Sugar had spent the last hour trying to figure out the ScotCorde's destination. Heads together, they'd been concentrating on Eddie's GPS... occasionally peering through the window at the terrain speeding by far below.

Abby Sagadin and Willow Clarkson joined them in the Lounge, offering their own thoughts on where they were headed.

"Well," Jaimie sighed. "We've crossed 4 states... we've passed Nashville and Columbus... and the GPS still shows us holding a steady northeast track."

"MAYBE we're going to GREENLAND!" Liam suggested, smiling. "Don't think my Speedo will be very useful up there!"

Collapsing onto the long, chenille sofa, Liam laughed wickedly at THAT mental image.

Abby leaned over and gave Liam's furry paw a sound thwack.

"No HORROR stories, m'lad!" she warned, her muzzle twitching as she tried to hide her mirth.

As the group continued their guessing game, Abby turned and glanced out the window once more. She shook her head.....and looked again.

"Uhhhhh, y'all might want to loo........", she began.

"Noooooo, ya push THAT button to get the GPS to flicker that way...." Lian argued.

Abby tried again. "Y'all REALLY might want to come see....."

"GIVE ME that thing!" Capt. Eddie grumbled, grabbing the GPS device and expertly adjusting the settings. "NOW, maybe we can figure out WHERE......"

"HERE!!! LOOK HEREEEEEEEE!" Abby finally shouted, between clenched teeth. "Ya wanna know WHERE we're going?? We've ARRIVED! LOOK!"

Abby had gotten EVERYONE'S attention, and with that, the entire group crowded around the windows. GASPS and AHHHHHHHHHH's were heard throughout the Lounge as everyone gazed in awe at the sight beneath them. Captain Scotty, ever the showman, took Sleek One lower, passing as close as safely possible... "for a closer VIEW", he'd reported over the intercom.

As the ScotCorde regained altitude, and banked to the left, headed toward the airport... it dawned on the Scotties. Eyes blared, mouths agape, they STARED at each other...in MUTE shock!

"You DON'T think.... SURELY NOT!" Willow whispered, almost to herself.

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, she COULDN'T be thinking.....OHHHH NO!!" Jaimie muttered.

"ALLLLL RIGHTTTTTTTTTT!" Bartholomew van Dulken crowed, as Connor Bruce, Bailey Doud, and Noots Mancuso raced up, eyes shining gleefully.

"FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!", the group chanted, wicked gleams in their eyes.

Katie sauntered up the aisle, having been seated in the aft Lounge with Webber.....wellllllll, we won't go there.... ANYWAY, Katie moved forward to stand on the 2nd step of the spiral staircase that went up to the ScotCorde's GAME ROOM. She watched the BASH terriers crowd around, their eyes shining, muzzles panting with expectation.

Katie held up her paw....and waited. She heard the engines change pitch, she felt the ScotCorde descend, then felt the jet lightly settle to the runway. As Sleek One began to taxi toward the gate, she began to explain.

"We've just landed in Buffalo, we have a charter bus waiting for us outside, we'll all be heading over to Niagara FALLS... I hope you're all ready... it's time for CLASS!"

Libby Timm, Hot Rod Rammbler, Kelley Lyons, and Bonny Baugh-Riechers answered IMMEDIATELY, jumping excitedly, "ARRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOO-ing" loudly as they raced for the doorway, with Connor, Bart, Bailey, and Noots hot on their heels. Their excitement spurred the other Terriers...and suddenly, the Guardians had the same problem EXITING the plane as they'd had at boarding!

Jake, Molly, and Jordan quickly herded the pushing Scotties into a more manageable line, and the group was soon enroute to the Falls.... where, for ONCE in their furry lives, they were rendered SPEECHLESS!

The charter bus pulled into the Visitor Center parking lot, just one of hundreds of OTHER tour buses that lined the enormous parking lot. But, being merely "one of hundreds-- a copy" was not in the Wild Child's mindset. So, with Riley's guidance, the charter bus made its way down a side road to a restricted, well-guarded gate. The Scotties, their noses plastered to the bus windows, watched spellbound as Riley stepped confidently to the door, and flashed a high-level security clearance badge at the guard, who snapped a sharp salute, quickly opened the gate for the unmarked bus, and with much ceremony, waved them through.

The BASH bus continued up a maintenance service road that ran alongside the Niagara River. Upstream, about a mile, the bus finally came to a halt beside a large maintenance building. The Guardians, now weary of the seemingly new habit of mass Scottie pile-ups at each entrance and exit they encountered, moved into the aisles, where they stood..... just STOOD!

Riley stepped out into the aisle, then backed up enough to allow Katie to exit. She trotted eagerly to the front of the bus, then just as she started down the stairs, she leaned over the railing, looked down the length of the bus at her friends... and flashed a broad smile.

"One at a TIME, Terriers!!! Save your STRENGTH for the 'WC Class'!! You're gonna NEED IT!"

It went against their nature, but they stood slowly, and with great dignity, allowed each row to exit into the aisles. The Guardians, well impressed now, didn't notice the Scotties farther back in the bus, venting their frustration at the "TOO SLOW" exit. Only the frequent "ack", "CHOKE", "COUGH", "GAG" was heard.....as scotties, wanting to "GET ON WITH IT", were yanking back on the collor of the Scottie ahead of them....creating a bus full of choking, gagging, and coughing Scotties. By the time the BASH gang had re-assembled in front of the maintenance building, there were quite a few Scotties and their friends who were wound up and ready to 'cut loose'!

The Wild Child moved to the huge doorway of the maintenance building, produced a sheet of paper, and quickly punched in a 10-digit key code. The doors, acknowledging the access code, began to slide aside, providing the Scotties with UNRESTRAINED access to this building. (Color the Guardians "RELIEVED"!)

Katie, with Riley and Webber right beside her, began trotting purposefully through the huge building, apparently heading for the rear wall of the facility. The rest of the BASH gang, hurrying along behind the three, became more and more curious with each pawstep.

Katie soon reached the rear wall, a duplicate of the door they'd come through back at the entrance. Again, Katie keyed the control panel, and once again, the wide doors began to slide aside. But THIS TIME... the view was staggering!!

Directly head of them lay the Niagara River, its waters running swift and strong... the roar of the Falls downstream creating a deep rumbling roar around them. Wedged in, in a narrow strip of land between the building and the river, a long sidewalk ran parallel to the river, at its very edge. But, suddenly....it wasn't the RIVER that had their attention, but the objects that were perched ALONG that sidewalk that had the entire BASH herd wide-eyed with wonder.

Almost as far as the eye could see, down the length of that sidewalk, lay 178 barrels. HUGE, heavy, oaken barrels... with shiny, metal staves, tightly cinching each barrel together... lay side by side. The end of each barrel yawned open revealing an interior, dark and mysterious. The open door of each barrel lay back against its hinges, propped against the body of the barrel.

Katie smiled, spread her paws wide, and announced:
"Wild Child 101 - LESSON 1: 'LIVE ON THE EDGE'!"

Staggering under the implications of what was about to take place, Jake and the Guardians eyes scanned the group of Scotties and their friends. He watched with dread as the level of excitement began to escalate, he KNEW these Scotties would face this challenge with glee. The adrenalin levels of the Terriers were climbing dramatically, becoming almost palpable. The huge Guardians spread out around the 178 excited wee adventurers, doing what they could to contain the situation...dreading what now seemed to be inevitable!

Katie began to give orders, fast and sharp. "Each of you will have your own barrel. The Guardians will seal each barrel, to insure your safety. Once inside, your weight will stand the barrel on end, which will allow it to bob along down the river in a vertical position. Your seat, inside, will anchor the barrel in that position."

"You will notice that once you take your seat inside the barrel, you will see a steering wheel, a visual monitor, as well as a certain GREEN button....that is VERY IMPORTANT...at the RIGHT MOMENT, JUST as your barrel reaches the very EDGE of the Falls, your monitor will begin flashing a green signal..."NOW, NOW, NOW". Do NOTTTTTTT be late pushing that Green Button! REMEMBER THAT!"

"You may turn the steering wheel to control the twirling, turning motion of your barrel...but I'd suggest ya try to maintain a steady, straight course. Otherwise, you're likely to become too dizzy to enjoy your DESCENT. These barrels will operate pretty much the way bumper cars do....so watch your NEIGHBOR barrels!"

"Once inside and sealed, the barrels will ALLLL be moved into the river simultaneously, you'll have no control over THAT phase of your journey....SO THERE'LL BE NO CHEATING!"

Katie smiled wickedly, and finished her instructions with, "Okay, are there any questions?"

"Do the barrels have accelerator pedals?? Can we go FASTER?" asked Prada Saidel, smiling mischievously.

The Scotties could no longer contain their excitement...they milled around, laughing, talking, bragging, and making all sorts of bold pronouncements.

"I'll beat ALLL of you over those Falls!" Capt. Eddie exclaimed.

"Eat my DUST, Eddie!" declared Libby Timm, a broad smile on her face. "RACE ya!!"

Realizing that she was about to lose control of this eager crowd, Katie announced,

Eddie, Libby, Katie Placer, Piper Pell, Tana Lawrence, Kate Janis, Delia Duffy, Phoebe Bruce, Nancy Ann Bush, O'Henry Donnelly, Mac Williams, Rory Knaub, Ivy Grant-Atkins, Morgan Jaramillo, Lucy Smith, Abby Benson, Hamish MacBeth Wilson, and Morley Reyner threw caution to the wind and raced for the closest barrels. Squealing, laughing... eyes twinkling with pure Scottie excitement, the Scotties were ready to get ON with this adventure!

The Guardians closed ranks, staring helplessly as they watched their Scotties race down the sidewalk, then dive headfirst INTO the empty wooden barrels...only to twirl around and peek back out, like so many rabbits peering out of their burrows, awaiting the Guardians to come seal them into their wooden boats.

BAAAAAA....BAAAAAAAA! Jake's cellphone rang! Angrily, he flipped it open and put it to his ear. As he listened, his expression changed. After only a few seconds, he quickly ended the one-sided conversation with "GOT IT!"

Closing his phone, Jake leaned forward, and began whispering hurriedly to his Guardian Brigade. Without another word, the Guardian Brigade began scattering, to seal the hatch of each barrel. And, as the last adventurers, the Guardians claimed the very LARGE barrels at the very end of the line, sealed themselves in... and waited.

Inside the 178 barrels, excited Terriers stared at the viewing monitors...almost breathless with anticipation. Then, they felt the barrels begin to move. The sidewalk began to move, almost as a conveyor belt, each barrel moving quickly, orderly, and quickly down the length of the sidewalk toward the end, where it dropped easily and effortlessly into the raging Niagara River.

And, down the Niagara River flowed 178 oaken barrels, twirling and turning in the current, bobbing along, bouncing and bumping into other barrels as they ALLLL moved relentlessly toward the growing rumble in the distance.

Chapter 8

WC 101 - Lesson 1:
Live On the EDGE!

OVER the Edge!

Downriver, people at the Visitor Center suddenly realized that something HIGHLY unusual was happening. Crowds began to gather at the railing, at the very EDGE of the Falls. But everyone's attention was focused UPRIVER, where dozens and dozens of wooden barrels had appeared, all bobbing along, whirling around in the current, and headed for the Horseshoe Falls.

Some tourists later claimed to have heard laughter coming from the barrels. Others reported hearing strange "ARRROOOOO-ing" noises. Inside the spinning barrels, however, the barrel-to-barrel communication system was working even better than expected!

"WHEEEEEEEE!!!" Ceilidh Doud exclaimed into her headset. "My speedometer says 22mph!!! WATCH! I'm gonna make my barrel TWIRL FASTER!!!" Her paw grasped the control, and pushed the wheel hard left. Her barrel immediately began spinning rapidly, still maintaining its constant 22mph run downriver.

"WHOA....watch it, Barrel 117!" Bohdi Tucker warned. He'd been working really hard to keep his barrel in mid-stream and away from the 'wilder barrels'. He grunted as Ceilidh's barrel bumped into his with a solid 'thunk', then began to smile. "FUN!" he decided, as he steered his barrel, 25, straight toward Barrel 1, bobbing along gaily at the edge of a large group of barrels.

"HEADS UP, WC!" Bohdi called. "Barrel 25 - inbound. RACE YA!"

"Eat my WAKE, Bohdi Tucker!" Katie WC responded into her communication headset, laughing happily. Her paw pressed down harder, and the barrel sped down the river even faster.

Webber saw the race developing....and decided that it was time to add some SPICE to this game.

"Attention all BARRELS!" Webber shouted into his mike. "The WC is 'IT'! We're now playing CHASE!!! YOU get tagged...then YOU have to tag someone ELSE........before we get to the brink of the Falls!!! So, ya'd best watch your barrel. The WC is IT!"

Riley listened to Webber's challenge, and laughed. He knew that Katie would eat that UP. He listened as the open mikes on the barrels began to chatter. Squeals of laughter, bold challenges, quick warnings as every barrel suddenly became very aware of where Barrel 1 was located in that great mass of bobbing wooden barrels.... racing downriver at breakneck speed.

Bohdi swung his barrel around, causing it to sway dangerously from side to side. "CHASE!! AHHHHHH!!!" he exclaimed. "YES!"

Katie Wild Child's eyes sparkled as she watched her screen...barrels all around her, all bobbing, all twirling, and now.....all trying desperately to get OUT of her WAY!

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, SOOOOOOO many CHOICES!!!" she crowed wickedly into the mike. "HMMMMMMMM, whom shall I CHOOSE!??!?!"

Like children on a playground, the barrels surged forward, teasing the WC, then bouncing back out of the reach of Barrel 1. Laughter flittered through the Barrel Communicators as the 22mpg game of Chase escalated...

"MOVE, Barrel 17!! MOVE!! Barrel 1 is right behind me!!! EEEEEEE!!" Megan Daisy Wilson shouted, as she added body language to her 'barrel driving', leaning into the turns and twists as she tried to dodge a fast-approaching WC barrel.

Barrel 1 swerved, dodged, and feinted...the WC homed in on Megan's barrel. THUMP! The two barrels collided noisily.

"YOU'RE IT, MEGAN!!" Katie laughed.

"WILSON'S IT!" Katie warned, as she desperately tried to find REVERSE on the control panel.

Pagan Marie Mancuso had been working feverishly, trying to avoid Katie's 'Barrel 1'. She hadn't expected the faked direction change, and had been surprised to see the WC tag Megan's barrel as it bounced along right NEXT to her.

Now, suddenly, Pagan Marie was in TROUBLE! PIDDLE on the Falls, quickly approaching ahead. She was about to be TAGGED!!! Megan was 'IT'.... Megan's barrel was RIGHT BESIDE HER! This was SERIOUS!!

Pagan Marie gave her directional controls a violent twist, sending her barrel almost over onto its side, as she tried to evade a fast-charging 'IT'. The laughter was contagious, the fun was electric, and the adrenalin was flowing!

Meanwhile, about 20 yards downstream from the Barrel Chase game, another group was encountering an adventure of their own.

Hobbes Devine, Hamilton Straw, Carly Rose Beach, Taylor Burks, Bonnie Belle McAfee Bush, and Alex Mathisen had inadvertently steered their barrels into each other... the impact somehow causing the metal barrel staves to become entangled.

Now, this group of barrel drivers was desperately trying to separate themselves.....but were only making the problem worse. They'd created a Buncha-Butted-up-Barrels... headed for the brink!

Lucile Sagadin's barrel was twirling madly as she attempted to steer hers OUT of the huge crowd. She hoped to sneak off and be the first barrel OVER the Falls. But, try as she might, she couldn't shake Barrel 73 and 88. It seemed that she had competition. Pushing her barrel to its limit, Lucile's barrel sped on toward the brink.

Meanwhile, in Barrel 73, Molly Wynne was just as determined to have her OWN barrel reach the Falls first. She kept pace with Lucile's barrel, her paws gripping the controls tightly to eliminate spinning... which she'd decided only served to SLOW her progress.

Angel(almost)Schaus, at the controls of Barrel 88, stared intently at her video monitor. She spun the camera, housed atop the barrel, to check for any challengers. She was convinced she'd out-floated the other Scotties, and could, even now, visualize the headlines in tomorrow's papers! She gasped as the camera caught sight of the other barrels, ahead of the crowd, making a dash for the edge of the Falls.

To the mesmerized tourists, observing from behind the railing, the Barrels seemed to have minds of their own...racing and dodging and bouncing and twirling and bumping... and behaving STRANGELY!

Onboard the bouncing barrels, however, things were about to change! They'd now floated to within 25 yards of the brink of the Falls, and each barrel's driver was now listening to a very familiar voice over their Barrel Communication System.

"Okay, my BASH Terriers. LISTEN UP!" Captain Scotty announced, his voice firm and confident. "You're now nearing the edge of the Falls. You WILL follow my instructions, to the LETTER!"

He didn't need to hear a response from his Terriers, he didn't need to SEE the dozens and dozens of furry heads nodding affirmatively in response to his order. He KNEW!

Captain Scotty began a running commentary. "Okay, Guardians. YOUR Barrels are configured differently. The MOMENT you feel the barrels begin their descent, push the YELLOW buttons on your panel!"

He paused only a second, then added, "NOOOOOOO Scotties! You can quit looking. You HAVE NO yellow button!"

The Scotties smiled sheepishly. Captain Scotty surely KNEW his Terriers. They watched the monitors intently as the huge Guardian barrels reached the edge of the Falls....and gasped as the barrels disappeared over the edge.

Jake checked his control panel. The Guardians' barrels had been supplied with special monitoring devices, that enabled them to insure that each Scottie's barrel was functioning within proper safety parameters. They also enabled the Guardians to communicate on a separate frequency.

As the Guardians' barrels fell over the Falls, the yellow buttons were pushed. Immediately, the large barrels moved into a purely vertical position, and from the top end of the barrel emerged a set of helicopter rotor blades!!! Each large barrel immediately assumed a stable hover just over the blinding spray from the Falls below, then gently maneuvered into horizontal flight toward a waiting barge about half a mile downstream from the Falls.

"Now, THAT'S what I call GOING over the FALLS!" Grace said admiringly, as her barrel fluttered along toward the barge, in tandem flight with the barrels of the other Guardians.

Jake quickly counted the Guardian barrels, and reassured that they were all safely approaching the barge, he sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Captain Scotty watched the Guardian Brigade's barrels settle gracefully to the barge, and smiled as the large Guardians emerged and shook vigorously after the confining trip over the Falls. He saw the Guardians' focus immediately move towards the Falls, their eyes focused intently on their wee charges...floating toward the edge.

"Okay, wee Ones!" Captain Scotty announced, his deep, rich voice calm and sure. "It's your turn! Look on the Control panel. You'll see a large GREEN button. Put your paw on the acrylic lid that covers the green button.....and wait! I'll tell you when to push it."

He deftly checked his own elaborate control panel in front of him, that displayed the statistics for each and every barrel on the Niagara River. He didn't know if he'd TELL the Scotties that HE'D been in control of each of those barrels... that HE'D been able to restrict speed, or stop a barrel completely, if it'd been necessary. He didn't think they really needed to KNOW that!

Smiling, he adjusted the master speed knob for the 165 barrels still on the river, and within seconds had the entire mass approaching the Falls' edge simultaneously. He watched as all barrels fell over the Falls, into empty space. He gave the Terriers that 1-2 seconds of free-fall, just to insure that they'd REMEMBER that moment in time...

"GREEN! NOWWWWWW!" Captain Scotty ordered. His eyes were glued to the master panel, and he saw the green light beside each barrel's number light up.....except 1. With lightening speed, he reached forward and hit the 'override' button for that barrel, and with a sigh of relief, he watched as the last green light appeared, glowing brightly.

The Guardian Brigade stood on the barge, staring in amazement as 165 barrels, filled with wee Scotties and their friends, fell over the Falls, into empty space. The barrels immediately righted themselves, and, standing on end, helicopter rotors appeared at the top of each barrel. Amazingly, 165 barrels were instantly hovering, a scant 50 feet above the rocks at the base of the Falls.

Captain Scotty turned the directional knob slightly, and the barrels began gently fluttering toward the barge, maintaining elevation just above the river. The Guardians scattered, providing ample landing space for the arriving barrels. As each barrel settled softly to the barge, the Guardians hurried over, opened the hatches, and helped the excited Terriers to the deck of the barge.

Eyes shining, tails twitching excitedly, the Scotties were too busy patting each other on the back and bragging to notice that they were being expertly rounded up and herded to the far side of the barge by the much larger Guardians.

"Quit PUSHING! Where are we GOING? QUIT SHOVING!" Caileigh Fones suddenly barked. The Scotties around her, suddenly wary, went on immediate alert, ears up, eyes narrowed...glaring. The Scotties, en masse, braced their feet wide apart, refusing to budge.

Jake rolled his eyes. He'd certainly dealt with THIS stubborn streak more often than he'd care to THINK about, with his OWN Scotties. It just seemed to be much too common among these short-legged Scotties... but he knew better than to CALL 'em on it!

He took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, let some 'soothing' thoughts run through his mind, then began to explain.

"You're not WET YET!" Jake stated, quite succinctly.

Amazed looks, wide-eyed shock, stunned silence... all expressed on the Scottie faces staring back at him.

Agatha Bruce, never one to pull her punches, blurted out, "OH, Dear GUSSIE! They're gonna take us back up and make us DIVE OFF the blamed thing!!!!"


The world went silent.... I don't think the Scotties even BREATHED for several seconds.

Mason, standing beside her, looked at her as if she'd grown a second muzzle.... then THWACKED her soundly on the paw.

"FOR PETE'S SAKE.....don't give 'em ANY IDEAS! GOOD GAWSH!" Mason grumbled, as he and Agatha began exchanging paw-swats.

Captain Scotty appeared at that instant, the epitome of 'arriving in the nick of time'... as the Scotties were a half-step from full revolt.

"WEE ONES," the Captain called. "Relax. If you will LOOK to the back of the barge, you'll see a VESSEL, moored and waiting. That vessel is the MAID OF THE MIST. YOU are about to board THAT VESSEL, and WE are going to ride THAT VESSEL UP the Niagara River, where we will stand at the FRONT of THAT VESSEL, as CLOSE to the Horseshoe Falls as is reasonably safe......and get a VERY "up close and personal" view of Horseshoe Falls."

He paused as the explanation began to sink in, then... he made a statement that would most definitely trigger the SCOTTIE reaction he knew so well.

"NOWWWWWWWWW, for those WEAKER souls, the Maid of the Mist provides hooded rain slickers......for those who might fear a little moisture. SOOOOOOO, those who have need of the RAIN SLICKERS, please step to the BACK of the line... so that those BRAVE adventurers can now move ONTO the 'Maid of the Mist' and take their places up on the main deck, to receive the BEST.....errrrrrr, VIEW!" Captain Scotty finished, and made a very subtle sidestep, getting out of the way of the coming onslaught.

And, as surely as the sun follows the dawn, the Scotties and their friends made a wild stampede to the Maid of the Mist, moored at the back of the barge. The Guardian Brigade boarded last, having made yet another muzzle count, and finding all of their Terriers safely up on the bow of the Maid, nodded to the Captain.

The Maid of the Mist, free of her mooring, began to move out into the middle of the Niagara River. She made her way past the American Falls, as well as Bridal Veil Falls...and headed straight for the roaring Horseshoe Falls. The closer the vessel got to the Falls, the louder the roar.....the air became thick with mist, soaking everything. The Scotties, their paws on the front railing of the Maid of the Mist, felt the massive engines fighting the furious river current as it labored to pull even closer to the Falls.

The Terriers, seeing the Horseshoe Falls towering above them, causing the very river to rumble under its power, stood even closer to the railing. Muzzles raised into the mist, they faced the Falls, FEELING the strength of the Falls surging through the vessel.

"CLOSER!! WE GOTTA GET CLOSER!" Caileigh and Agatha shouted.

And the Captain complied... as close as he'd EVER gone, as close as he DARED.....and held the Maid into the current at the very base of the Falls.....until the vessel's engines began to show signs of overheating. Backing off, he took the Maid of the Mist back downstream a half mile, where he idled the engines, and waited.

There was not a dry creature onboard... fur plastered to their bodies, the Terriers shook...vigorously. Knowing there would be NO WAY they'd ever be able to dry off....the Scotties shrugged, then grinned at each other......and as one voice, shouted: "AGAIN!!! WE WANNA GO AGAIN!!"

And, AGAIN, the Captain complied. Back went the Maid of the Mist, back to the very base of the massive Falls......and again, he held her on station until the motors threatened to seize up. Only then, did he move her off a safe distance, where he'd idle the motors.


And, the Captain would always comply.... again....and again....and again!

Thank GOODNESS for SUNSET!!! The Captain was exhausted, the Maid of the Mist was in danger of burning out her motors. But, as the sun set in the west, the Captain convinced the Scotties that he was FORCED to return to the dock... reasoning with the Scotties that 37 trips back under the Falls was enough for ANYONE.

After an incredibly eventful day... Lesson 1 of the WC 101 class had come to an end. The Terriers, proud of their achievements, were CERTAIN that they'd all passed Lesson 1 with flying colors. Soaking wet, smelling of the river and the Falls, exhausted beyond reason, the Scotties boarded the charter bus to take them back to the airport, where they trudged tiredly up the steps, dragged themselves down the aisle to the first available seat... to plop, damp and smelly, into an exhausted slumber.

Captain Scotty smiled at his wee ones as they collapsed into the seats. He closed up the ScotCorde, and turned toward the cockpit. He glanced at the Forward Lounge, to the plush settee where Katie Wild Child lay sprawled, he saw her lift her muzzle. She smiled at him, gave him a thumbs UP, then with a wicked gleam in her eye, she lifted her paw... and held up two toes.

Captain Scotty chucked softly......and snapped the WC a sharp salute. Her head tucked around on a paw, she was soon sound asleep......and Captain Scotty moved silently into the cockpit. He had a LIST.... he had places to GO.....and a schedule to KEEP!

"Onward and upward!" he thought to himself, as the ScotCorde lifted off... headed for Lesson 2!

Maid of the Mist,

Be SURE to click on "View the Experience", then 'Play the Video'!
Author's NOTE: THE most exciting experience, EVER!


Chapter 9

WC 101 - Lesson 2:
Bounce Through Life

The ScotCorde made short work of the journey to its second destination. Captain Scotty had been SURE that he'd have a quiet, peaceful trip... he'd expected the exhausted Terriers to sleep the entire way. But, that hadn't happened!

The ScotCorde hadn't been in the air more than 10 minutes when Captain Scotty heard activity back in the Forward Lounge. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw Liam King, Capt. Eddie Zeigler, and Jaimie Sugar back at it, GPS device in their paws, muzzles crowding close together, all trying to see the small viewing screen. Abby Sagadin, Duncan and Robbie Jaramillo, and Willow Clarkson were both standing behind the couch, leaning over to peer over the others' shoulders. Lots of advice was being 'shared'...all of it very loud and opinionated.

The racket quickly roused the rest of the snoozing Terriers, and the cabin was soon abuzz with eager advisors, all convinced of their destination. Monte Reyner and Owen Henrichsen had their muzzles plastered to the nearest window, and were busily giving 'sighting updates' to the GPS crew.

"We're coming up on a river ahead... sun is rising behind us, so we're heading WEST!" Monte announced proudly. "BIG RIVER!" he added, as the ScotCorde quickly left the river in its wake. "Musta been the MISSISSIPPI!"

The GPS crew checked the device once more. "Says we're flying west/southwest... and yep, that must have been the Mississippi! GPS says we've just passed St. Louis....seem to be taking a more westerly course now!" Eddie volunteered.

The ScotCorde continued to gobble up the miles, heading ever westward. Muzzles glued to the windows, the Scotties' curiosity began to get the better of them, their restlessness becoming more and more apparent to the Guardians.

Grace sighed. "Ya'd have thought that the Falls woulda taken some of the STARCH outa their step! But, NOOOOOOOOOO.... they're cranking up AGAIN!"

Jake laughed. "We could tell you stories that'd CURL your paws! Way back 'WHEN', there were only TWO Guardians... Ty and Dom, the Bruce dals. Talk about having their PAWS full of crazy Scotties!! I remember some of the stories Dom and Jubilee told me when I first joined..... it was SCARY STUFF! Just remember the training videos we showed you! Eyes open, ears sharp!!"

"MOUNTAINS!!! WE have MOUNTAINS!!!" Harmony Devine shouted excitedly. She and Baby Ruth Donnelly had been straining to see what lay ahead, both muzzles pressed firmly to the window. Breathlessly, they watched the ScotCorde eat up the distance, and were thrilled when they had begun to see the landscape change.

Now, mountains appeared ahead of them... tall, majestic mountains. The BASH guests swarmed the windows, eager to see the view from this altitude. Immediately, the group began speculating.

"We're going MOUNTAIN CLIMBING!" Baby Ruth exclaimed.

"NAH!" Harmony retorted. "We're gonna dig a tunnel THROUGH the mountains!"

Everyone's head swung around at Harmony's suggestion.... shock and DREAD clearly written on their faces.

"NOPE... those are the ROCKY Mountains!! DON'T think we'll be DIGGING our way through to UTAH!! HOPE NOT, anyway!!!" laughed Gracie Girl Kubicek.

The ScotCorde's change in speed and altitude drew everyone's attention, as the Guardians began working their way through the two Lounge areas to return everyone to a seat. Completing that task, the Guardians spread out through the cabin, and belted themselves in for the landing.

Within minutes, the wheels of Sleek One settled onto the runway. The BASH guests, eager to be up and off, anxiously waited while the jet taxied to the far end of the runway, where it could be out of the traffic lanes and ready at a moment's notice.

Captain Scotty's voice suddenly boomed through the intercom. "WEE ONES, I welcome you to the FREMONT COUNTY AIRPORT!"

Silence... no one spoke. The Scotties exchanged glances....and shrugged their shoulders, with paws outstretched as if to ask "WHERE.....???"!!!

Katie WC strolled up the aisle to stand at the front, near the door. Turning to her friends, she began, "GOOOOOD MORNING, CLASS!"

Laughter spread through the BASH gang as they dutiful responded, "Good MORNING, Wild CHILD!"

Katie smiled broadly, and continued. "LESSON 2 of our WC 101 will take place here, in Canon City, Colorado. Lesson 2 is entitled 'BOUNCE THROUGH LIFE'! Don't EVER let anything get you down. BOUNCE back, bounce ON, and bounce it YOUR WAY!!!"

Cheering erupted, paws waving in pure SCOTTIE agreement.

Katie nodded, and explained. "Soooooooo, today's lesson WILL involve bouncing!! We're going BUNGEE JUMPING!"

WILD cheering erupted! Everyone began talking excitedly.

"BUNGEE jumping!! COOL!" Darby Yeager exclaimed. "THAT'LL BE FUN!!! I've seen 'em do that on TV!"

Other Scotties eagerly crowded around as she explained. "Ya climb into a lift, and they raise it up to the top of a tall crane -- ohhhhhh, 60 feet up... maybe 100 feet! They strap ya in, cinch a big elastic cord to your paws, and ya leap off the platform at the top of the crane! The elastic cord makes ya bounce before ya touch the ground!"

Eyes lit up with excitement.... MORE excited chatter.

Clio van Dulken, her eyes gleaming with excitement, added, "AND if we measure the bungee rope right, we can SKIM the ground with our paws just before the cord jerks ya back into the air!!! THAT'LL BE COOL! LET'S SEE who can TOUCH the ground with their paws AND then get the most REBOUND bounce from their jump!! YEAH!!"

Competitive by nature, the Scotties eagerly signed on to THIS idea... with bold promises and boasts being made, one after another.

Holly Grant-Atkins, Polly Riches, Dickens Burghart, Angel(almost) Schaus, Archie Wilmer, Jaimie Janis, Cammster Meverden, Allie Duffy, Rooney Vacheresse, Hurley Wolinsky, Brewster Wynne, Alex Mathisen, Gracie Lou Graves, and Teddy Sheets immediately threw their paws together and on the count of "3", made a 'pact'! THEY would jump TOGETHER from the crane ... their paws would SKIM the ground, their rebound would be the MOST dramatic, and they would be the BRAVEST Terriers in Lesson 2!!!

Much laughter, good natured teasing, and bold promises were heard as the WC 101 class exited the ScotCorde, and piled aboard yet another charter bus.... headed toward LESSON 2 -- BUNGEE JUMPING!!!!

Ahhhhhh, very simple lesson.....very straight-forward... NOTHING to WORRY ABOUT here!!!

YA THINK???????

Chapter 10

WC 101 - Lesson 2:
Bounce Through Life

As the charter bus pulled out of the small airport, Cluny's attention was drawn to the Wild Child. Each time one of the Terriers mentioned the crane, the WC smiled... a 'knowing' smile... a very UNSETTLING smile. She watched, as Katie, Webber, Billy Delli Carpini, Miss Katie Williamson, Sparcky Tucker, and Duncan Vacheresse, seated on the front two rows of the bus, carried on a conversation in hushed whispers, their heads together SUSPICIOUSLY!

Catching Jake's attention, she nodded her muzzle towards Katie and the group of Elders. Jake turned his attention to the group, watched for a moment, then glanced back at Cluny, and nodded his head in agreement.

After a rather uneventful ride, the bus pulled to a stop in front of a large building with a huge white sign over the entrance that read "VISITOR CENTER". Katie, Riley, the Elders, and the Guardian Brigade exited the bus. Almost immediately, Katie and Riley had the Guardians in a tight huddle, whispering excitedly. As Katie and Riley continued explaining, the Guardians' eyes grew larger and larger. Every so often, one of the Guardians would JERK their heads up, look in the direction BEYOND the building, and shake their head doubtfully!

This drew the FULL attention of the BASH guests who were watching through the bus windows. They knew that if Katie had the GUARDIANS worried...then, they were about to have a LOT of fun!!! They watched as the Guardians began shaking their furry heads....strongly and emphatically, NO!! The bus passengers' focus immediately switched to the Wild Child, who never budged. Her small stature stood firm, and with a wicked smile, she nodded her head only once.... "YES"!

Jake sighed, then rose to his full height, shook himself vigorously, and grinned. "WELL, if this doesn't SCARE 'em to death, it'll SURELY make 'em hard to LIVE WITH!" he admitted.

The Guardian Brigade, resolved now, turned and waved the eager BASH gang off the bus. Scotties and - their friends began POURING off the charter bus. They surrounded Katie, their excitement obvious.

Katie said nothing. With a quick wave of her wee paw, she merely motioned for her BASH friends to follow her, then turned and headed toward the "Visitor Center". The Wild Child began walking purposefully through the "Visitor Center" and out onto a path that took them directly toward a BRIDGE that loomed ahead.

"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!!" Lucy Sheets squealed, gleefully. She was quickly opening a brochure she'd grabbed on the way through the building. "WOW!!! 1053 FEET??? WOWWW!"

"WHAT??? WHERE? HERE??"Lexy Jaramillo asked, as the group came to a stop at the end of the Bridge.

"CLASS!!! Your ATTENTION, please!" Katie WC announced, her paw raised for silence."I give you... ROYAL GORGE! This Bridge is the world's HIGHEST suspension bridge, a grand total of 1053 feet ABOVE the Arkansas River!!!"

Katie spread her paws wide. "THIS is today's classroom!"

She gazed proudly at her friends, as they happily trotted out onto the Royal Gorge Bridge and began peering through the railing to the river FARRRRRRRRR below.

"OKAY, class.... let's get ON WITH IT!!" Katie quickly pushed, coaxed, and guided the BASH herd into one reasonably respectable line, then proceeded out onto the Bridge, where a large group of Bungee experts, 'jump bosses', stood waiting along the bridge railing.

"First order of business- LISTEN to your 'jump boss'!! SECOND order of business- move down the bridge and stand beside one of the Bungee harnesses that are already prepared for you."

Turning to her left, Katie added, "Elders, your bungee stations are at the very center of the Bridge. The 'jump bosses' there have your equipment ready...cushioned seating, an upright position for your jumps, as well as stereo headphones for your listening pleasure!"

She smiled broadly as the Elders boldly sauntered onto the Bridge. Finding their stations, the Elders turned and taunted their younger companions back at the end of the Bridge with bold waves and loud boasts of their HARSH jumping conditions!

Katie turned back to the younger bungee jumpers. They were chomping at the bit to get on with this new adventure. "DO NOT push, as there are 177 Bungee harnesses already rigged to the Bridge. Once at your station, follow the instructions of your 'jump boss'!"

As if she'd never spoken, bedlam broke out on the Royal Gorge Bridge, as Katie stepped to the side and, with a wave of her paw, gave the gang permission to proceed. Scotties began racing forward, all trying to get as FAR out into the center of the Bridge as possible! Pushing, bumping, and more than one low growl was heard as the Terriers stampeded onto the bridge.

The Bungee team had been warned, but were totally shocked by the sudden onslaught of small, furry beasts in a mad dash... in THEIR direction. Backing up as close to the railing as possible, the wide eyed bungee team awaited their jumpers. The Scotties quickly sorted out their positions along the long bridge railing.

Holly Grant-Atkins, Polly Riches, Dickens Burghart, Angel(almost) Schaus, Archie Wilmer, Jaimie Janis, Cammster Meverden, Allie Duffy, Rooney Vacheresse, Hurley Wolinsky, Brewster Wynne, Alex Mathisen, Gracie Lou Graves, and Teddy Sheets maintained a tight formation as they stormed the bridge, and managed to claim bungee stations side by side. They smiled proudly as they began to be harnessed for the jump.

Teddy Belvin, Allie Mae Graves, Bridie Nixon, and Angus Henrichsen raced past, determined to be even farther out on the bridge. "It's DEEPER water over HERE!" Allie Mae had bragged.

The Bungee team was suddenly overwhelmed with eager, squirming, impatient Terriers, all wanting to get ON with the adventure. But, one by one, the 'jump bosses' discovered another problem.

"HEY, FRANK!" one of the bungee team shouted, as he called for the Bungee Boss. "How're we supposed to harness these guys IN? They don't have enough LEG for the harness!!!"

Down the railing, 'jump bosses', one after another, discovered the same problem. TOO much harness... and too LITTLE leg! They tightened the straps, they cut off excess webbing, they even tried to restring some harnesses to 'make do'!

"It's just not going to work! They DON'T have enough LEG!" one bungee worker complained."We could attach it to their collars," he suggested.

"WHAT DO YA MEANNNNNNNNN, we don't have enough LEG???" Bert Williamson growled, turning on the shocked worker. Immediately, dozens of other Scotties backed him up, all stiff legged, all showing teefers, all resenting the implication of the Scotties being 'leg challenged'!

Stunned, the bungee worker began backing up. "FRANK, get OVER HERE!" he called desperately.

Frank appeared, almost immediately, accompanied by Guardians Haley, Grace, and Mungo. Frank took one look at the very irate Scotties and immediately began to diffuse the situation.

"WHOA, there, little ones.....errrrrr, wee ....uhhhhhhhh, just give me a minute, and we'll fix this problem right up!" Frank promised. He turned to the Guardians. "Uhhhhhh, they aren't going to carry OUT those teeth threats there, are they???"

Haley's teeth flashed a smile... a smile that didn't quite reach the eyes. "Not if ya get those harnesses tended to so we can get ON with this BOUNCE lesson of HERS!"

"I'll get RIGHT on that.....right NOW!" And Frank scurried off down the Bridge, personally stopping at each bungee station, rigging the harnesses himself, patting the frowning Terriers on the head as he went.

Miraculously, in a very short span of time, all the harnesses had been adjusted. Katie WC, Riley, and Webber had take positions at the very center of the Royal Gorge Bridge. On her order, the entire BASH contingent stepped up ONTO the railing of the Bridge....and waited.

Scottie muzzles peered down into the vast chasm below. From this distance, it wasn't even possible to SEE the river in any detail. It appeared only as a tiny, silver ribbon running through the deep canyon beneath the bridge.

The Guardian Brigade, widely spaced, and on full alert, watched the Terriers balancing precariously atop the railing. They knew all the signs.... the ears perked forward, the wee bodies tensed with anticipation, the intensity in the gazes. Yes, these Terriers were definitely ENJOYING THIS!!

"READY!!!!!!" Katie called.

A crowd of tourists, drawn to the Bridge by the boistrous goings-on out over the Gorge, stared in open-mouthed shock at what was about to happen. Anticipation built as they awaited Katie's next words.

"REMEMBER, jump WAY OUT! And STRETCH your paws....ya wanna TOUCH the WATER!" Clio reminded everyone, ONE LAST TIME!

"SET!!!!!!!!!!!!" Katie braced herself for what was to come.

The huge throng of tourists seemed to crowd closer to the Scotties and their friends as they wiggled their forepaws back and forth in an effort to maintain balance atop the bridge railing. Breathlessly, they all stared at the Scottie in the center of the Bridge, waiting.

Allie Mae glanced over at Cammster and his team, teetering and weaving on the narrow railing. "WE'RE gonna get down there FIRST, Cammster! We're gonna BEATCHA DOWN!" she bragged.

"GOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Katie shouted.

Paws stretched overhead, muzzles straining forward, the BASH gang, as one mass, LEAPED off the railing of the Royal Gorge Bridge.... out into empty space.

"AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" echoed down the canyon as the Terriers and their friends came as close as canine-ly possible to free flight.

Styles varied -- some chose a classic 'jack knife' approach, clean and smooth. Others took a more avante-garde style as they performed double twisting loops as the bungee cords continued to extend over the Bridge, taking the Terriers farther and farther down into the canyon far below.

Down on the Arkansas River, a large tour group had signed on for a white-water raft trip down the river this day. Their day had been totally uneventful, until they'd hit that small patch of swift water, that'd given them a moment of excitement as they'd gone crashing over the drop-off and around that enormous boulder. They'd been certain that had been the MOST exciting part of their vacation.....

That is.... until they were suddenly the target of 177 bungee jumpers, ALL screaming at the top of their lungs, ALL with sparkling white teeth shining and SNAPPING, and ALL with furry paws outstretched in an attempt to touch the river below.

Later reports from the terrified rafters included: 3 ladies fainted...1 gentleman fell into the river as he jerked violently backwards trying to dodge a "giant, black furry head with the eyes of a monster!" (his words!)... one banker's toupee was 'taken' from the banker's head as a certain bungee jumper began his upward bounce... an unnamed 'Hollywood' celebrity on 'holiday' accused the papparazzi of staging the entire event in order to get a photo of her new PUHDUL, Persephiny, who'd been along on the trip... and ONE ruined raft, that seemed to be the focus of NUMEROUS 'bite marks'!!!

Descending Scotties and their bungee friends, barking at the top of their lungs for the pure JOY of it... rafters being accosted from above, screaming in fright at the FLOCK of furry invaders that'd appeared out of nowhere... the noise was deafening!!!

The Scotties had reached the bungee cords' limits, they could feel the recoil beginning... they knew they were about to experience the WC's BOUNCE lesson!! As the bungee cords began to pull the Terriers back upwards, the Scotties smiled broadly, flashing teeth ...and waving happily to the angry rafters disappearing around the river bend in a rapidly sinking raft.

Finally alone on the river, the Bungee jumpers spent a glorious morning, swinging pendulum style from one side of the canyon to the other, and working on their 'advanced BOUNCING' strategies. It was only when the Park Rangers arrived, that the 'jump bosses' finally reeled in the BASH gang... bringing the class to an end.

Exhausted, the Guardian Brigade was eternally grateful to have their paws once again on solid surface, and performed yet ANOTHER muzzle count before steering the happy, chattering Scotties back towards the bus.

We CAN report that the Terriers spent an AMPLE amount of money in the GIFT SHOP at the Visitor Center, Many Mams and Dads will be proud to know that their furchildren spent substantial sums for those 'priceless' cedar salt and pepper shakers.....the canyon snowglobes... and the 'set of 10 3-D postcards'!

The bus trip back to the airport was loud and filled with laughter...and the group soon made its way back to the airport and a waiting ScotCorde, that was soon back in the air... heading for LESSON 3!

NOTE: HOPEFULLY,  it will go totally UNNOTICED on the credit card bill... Rooney SAID she wouldn't mind in in the least... and it WAS the quickest way to quiet the threats of litigation from the rafting company. Soooooooo, Rooney bought the Rowdy River Rafters, INC... and charged it to his Mam's card!

SHHHHHHHHHH.......don't tell her!


Spectacular vistas...
.....Tram ride is just CRAZY high.....
.....Incline Railway will take your BREATH away....


Chapter 11

WC 101 - Lesson 3:

The ScotCorde had only been airborne a few moments, and had just reached its cruising altitude. The Terriers and their friends had settled in for what they assumed to be another lengthy flight. Eddie had once again pulled out his GPS device, and the group had returned to their task of 'location detection'....when Captain Scotty's voice was heard on the cabin speakers.

"Don't get comfortable, Wee Ones... we've ALMOST reached our destination! We'll begin our descent within the next 20 minutes!"

The BASH gang was immediately curious. WHERE could they be going NOW?? What could the WC have up her sleeve THIS TIME? Baby Ruth Donnelly immediately made her way to the nearest window, on the left side of the aircraft. Looking out, she saw the majestic Rocky Mountains below them. The ScotCorde was moving parallel to them, apparently in a northerly direction.

Ruth quickly looked back over her shoulder and addressed the growing crowd in the Lounge. "Okay, we've been over Niagara Falls........we've JUMPED into Royal Gorge! Now, she's taking us NORTH.....what's NORTH of here that'd scare the bejebers out of a LESSER furchild??"

The BASH gang laughed at Ruth's very TRUE statement. The Terriers had EAGERLY embraced these 'WC classes"... they'd not flinched, they'd not wavered....they'd raced TOWARD every challenge, often creating MORE drama and danger in the process! No, "WC Classes" were NOT for the faint of heart!

"We're going to CANADA!!! Maybe we're going to do the IDITAROD!" Lucy Collette suggested eagerly.

"OHHHHHHH, NO!!" Zoe Baugh-Riechers replied. "That's WAY too much work!! If we DOOOO, I wanna be the one that rides in the sled!!!"

An argument quickly arose, as the group discussed who would RIDE and who would PULL!!! It was Murdock Wilmer who intervened. "NAH, NAH, NAHHHHHHH!!! It's not even Iditarod SEASON! That's not until next MARCH!" Murdock shook his head, tsk-tsk'ing at the group's lack of IDITAROD knowledge! Then, with a wicked grin, he added, "WELLLLLLLLLL, unless Katie is scheduling her OWN IDITAROD!!!"

Groans and moans were heard as the Terriers considered THAT possibility.

The Guardian Brigade was NONE too thrilled with that idea, realizing that as LONG-LEGGED canines, they would, by leg-length alone, end up in the HARNESSES for that expedition! Sorbet, Jack, and Sammy shut their eyes, dreading the mere THOUGHT of such an expedition!

Captain Scotty interrupted the discussion. "Take your seats, Wee Ones. We've arrived! Be quick about it, now. We have THINGS TO DO! HURRY along!"

Captain Scotty heard the sound of thundering paws as the Terriers and their friends raced up the aisles to their seats. One quick glance back into the Main Lounge showed the Terriers in their seats, and the Guardians making a final pass down the aisle before taking their own seats.

Captain Scotty smiled to himself. "Smooth as silk...!" he thought, as he eased the ScotCorde down onto the runway, bringing it to a stop at the far end of a seldom used portion of the airport. He appeared at the main cabin doorway, and quickly opened the door, throwing it back against the outside fuselage.

"WELCOME to Rapid City, South DAKOTA!" Captain Scotty announced. "Your PROFESSOR will now give you today's itinerary!"

Katie strolled up the aisle, climbed up onto the front seat, and turned to face back down the cabin. She could tell by the frowns that they didn't know WHY they were here, in SOUTH DAKOTA!

Smiling broadly, Katie announced, "Today's WC class, Lesson 3, is entitled "PLAY ON A GRAND SCALE!" Soooooooo, today..........we PLAY!!!"

PLAY??? That's IT?? Skeptical expressions on some of the Terrier's faces revealed their newfound craving for adventure, for living on the EDGE, and BOUNCING through life at a high trot!!!

Katie smiled proudly. Her students were coming along nicely.....they were now LOOKING for the LESS traveled route through life... they were wanting THRILLS! She raised a paw. "REMEMBER.... the class title tells you all you need to know..... 'play--- ON A GRAND SCALE'!! Never fear, we're going to PLAY!!!"

Cheers, applause, and ARRROOOO'S were heard! They KNEW the WC would keep it cranked up!!! Everyone began preparing for the day.... dumping out GPS devices, jewelry, and other valuables that they might loose on this PLAY DATE! They'd learned their lessons already --- TWICE!!!!

MOST of the BASH gang had lost their cell phones going over the Falls... either broken as the barrel bounced downriver....or INTO the river as the Terriers scrambled OUT of the barrels. Between the cell phones, the GPS devices, the Bluetooth earpieces, the iPods, they had spent the past several evenings ONLINE, getting immediate replacements for all of their lost, broken, and water-logged technology devices. None had been the least BIT concerned about the exorbitant costs for a 12 hour delivery schedule!!

But, after TWO major 'rush deliveries' by UPS, its plane chasing the ScotCorde around the country in a desperate attempt to MAKE its 12 hr delivery promise......the Guardians had INSISTED that today, for THIS class, the Terriers and their friends WOULD empty their pockets, take all dangling devices OFF their collars....and leave EVERYTHING in their seats, BEFORE they exited the ScotCorde!!!

Mams & DADS: you have The Guardian Brigade to thank for eliminating ONE charge to your cards! They regret that they couldn't stop the HUGE expenditures online after 'SOMEONE' discovered a certain 'Ultimate Scottie' website!

Once again, the BASH gang exploded down the stairs of the ScotCorde and onto yet another waiting charter bus. But, THIS TIME... Katie made a request.

As the charter pulled away from the ScotCorde, and headed out of the airport, Katie looked back down the bus. "Penny and Polly Lawrence, would you both come to the front of the bus, please??"

The Terriers were immediately curious.....nah, they were NOSY!! Ears perked, eyes watched, as the two mini-donkeys from Little Bit Farms clippity-clopped down the aisle to the front, to stand beside Katie.

"You both have been very patient and very willing, as we've completed the first two WC Lessons, and we appreciate your understanding about the size of your barrels. We'd not had time to get LARGER barrels, and I surely do hope that blister on top of your head soon heals! Y'all were GREAT with the bungee jumping! Your weight sure made it EASY for you both to REALLY make an 'impression' on those rafters! So, for Lesson 3... we're going to start this day with something just for YOU two!!!"

Penny and Polly were grateful for the kind words and embarrassed by the attention. As the bus sped down the road towards its destination, the two mini-donkeys stood at the front, chatting with Katie and Webber. The BASH guests watched the scenery zip by as they passed through rolling hills and lush pastureland.

Finally, the bus pulled to a stop at yet another Visitor Center. Katie, as if on cue, stood up and announced, "Our first stop today is here at Custer State Park, where they have a herd of 1,500 free-ranging buffalo, as WELL as a large number of wild donkeys!!! Today, Penny and Polly will get to visit with some of their RELATIVES!!!"

The two surprised donkeys smiled broadly as everyone cheered. As the bus entered the Park, Katie began giving instructions to the driver... and the BASH gang crowded the windows as they took the Needles Highway Scenic Drive through the Park. They watched buffalo, by the HUNDREDS, leisurely stroll across the road, bringing the tourist traffic to a standstill.

Snickers and Mungo had their Guardian paws full, however, when a huge buffalo bull stopped in the center of the road and challenged the bus full of Terriers. Owen Henrichsen, Malleagh Reyner, Ceilidh Nixon, Lucy Sheets, Bert Williamson, Campbell Donnelly, and Finnlay Truett had decided that the bull needed a dose of Terrier Tenacity. They'd seen the Guardians lounging in the center aisle of the bus, so decided, instead, to make an exit out the side window at the rear of the bus. By the time Mungo and Snickers had spotted the furry tushies disappearing out the bus window, Bert, Finnlay, Campbell, and Ceilidh had their paws on the ground and were enroute down the shoulder of the road, headed directly for the belligerent buffalo bull just in front of the bus.

Mungo raced to the rear of the bus, where he grabbed Owen and Malleagh's rear paws just as they disappeared through the window. Jerking the two angry adventurers back inside the bus, Mungo slammed the window, and stood glaring at the frustrated would-be escapees who HADN'T made it outside.

Snickers, meanwhile, had raced up the aisle, thrown open the door, and with Jake and Haley hard on her heels, the Guardians exited the bus JUST as the escapees reached their position. Paws skidded to a halt as the wee warriors slid into the wall of Guardians.

"MOVE!" Bert ordered. "That big cow's gotta learn some MANNERS!"

"LEMME at 'IM!" Ceilidh, Campbell, and Finnlay were squirming and wriggling, trying to perform an 'end run' around Haley, who used some herding moves of her own to head them off.

"WHOA!" Jake ordered. "You MIGHT just wanna take a minute to look at the beast you're trying to take ON!"

Snickers, Haley, and Jake each had a firm grip on the wee warriors' collars. They swung around, allowing Bert, Campbell, Finnlay, and Ceilidh a clear view of the enormous bull buffalo, who'd taken notice of the commotion, and seemed to have taken the behavior of the furry creatures PERSONALLY. The fact that Campbell was doing his OWN impression of a bull pawing the ground SURELY had nothing to do with the escalating anger of the 2,000 pound animal!!!

As the 3 Guardians stood there, restraining the wiggly, argumentative escapees, the bull moved closer to the front of the bus, lowered his massive head, and began pawing the asphalt road angrily.

"OHHHHHH, GOOD!!! NOW look who's angry!!!" Haley groaned. She had NO intention of letting this escalate. Dragging Finnlay and Campbell along behind her, she took the bus steps in one leap, and stood, braced and stiff-legged at the front of the bus, completely blocking the aisle. The Terriers had already risen from their seats and had made their way into the aisle... with the intentions of 'helping' their three friends outside.

Jake and Snickers boarded the bus with their two charges in tow JUST as the now enraged, 2000 pound bull made a full assault on the front grillwork of the bus. The entire bus shook from the force of his attack. The massive bull backed up a couple of paces, lowered his head, and hurled his enormous bulk once again toward the bus. The bus rocked with the impact, as the bull became more and more incensed, taking his anger out on the now-bent and mangled bus.

Terriers by the dozens were headed outside... to, in their words, "explain it to him in TERRIER!"

"OHHHHHHHHH, no ya don't!" Jake warned. "Just back up and PARK it back in those seats!! We're NOT going to start a rumble with a herd of BUFFALO!! As MUCH as I KNOW you'd all love such a parlay, I don't think we have TIME for that little skirmish!"

Jake turned toward the driver. "Back up to that side road we passed about a quarter mile back. We'll go AROUND this guy! Penny and Polly have a family reunion to attend!"

The Terriers watched as the bus backed up the road. They growled as the buffalo continued to advance on the retreating bus, only to lose interest as the bus gained speed and then quickly headed off on the side road.

The Terriers settled back down as the bus continued over the next hill, leaving the bison bull behind. NOW, everyone was searching for the wild burros. Penny and Polly were growing more excited by the moment. Mile after mile was searched as the charter continued to search for the donkeys that roamed the park.

Using the brochure that they'd received at the Visitor Center, Katie advised the driver to take the Wildlife Loop Road that made its way around the southern end of the park, through the grasslands. The BASH gang watched intently as they topped each hill and rounded each curve, all wanting to help the two mini-donkeys locate their comrades.

FINALLY, as they topped a ridge, they saw a group of cars ahead in the valley, stopped in a lush, grassy area, one behind the other along the road. And, in the middle of the road, their heads peering INTO the vehicles to beg food, was the herd of donkeys! Cheering erupted as the bus slowly eased down the road, and coasted to a stop at the rear of the line of tourists' vehicles.

The bus door opened. Penny and Polly trotted off down the road to the herd of donkeys who were busy free-loading from the smiling tourists. The BASH gang watched as Penny and Polly eagerly joined in, learning just the right techniques required to receive the best cookies, or what look will result in the largest apple. Heads shoved into the vehicles, the donkey cousins stood in front of the vehicles, to allow the youngest burros a chance to learn the ropes, even at THEIR tender age.

First Penny, then Polly tried their hoof at 'vehicle begging'. Penny strolled up to a nearby vehicle, and shoved her velvety nose in through the window.... the BACKSEAT window! The 6 year old inside squealed gleefully, reached out with her small hand, and began thwacking Penny soundly on her nose... in a warm greeting!

Blinking, Penny quickly removed her head from THAT window, and tried her luck at the driver's window. Much better luck there, Penny received 3 cookies, a half-eaten Twinkie, and 5 cold french fries. Backing up as the vehicle began to pull away from the herd, Penny continued to much on her free-loading meal. She frowned ... and shook her head. "BLECH! 5-Star cuisine it's NOT!" she thought to herself.

Polly was trying a different tactic. She figured the larger RV's would have a wider variety of munchable fare. The only problem with HER system was that the windows were MUCH higher... and VERY hard to reach! She'd reared up on the last three RV's, and was JUST barely able to reach the offered munchies. Her neck aching, Polly had moved to a more 'dramatic' tactic, hobbling along pitifully on the side of the road, casting pathetic glances over her shoulder at the vehicles ... effectively luring the tourists out of their RV to feed her carrots and good munchies by the bucket full, by hand, one morsel at a time! Polly had found her niche in the theater!! This had possibilities!!!

The morning passed much too quickly, it seemed. Katie leaned out of the bus and called them back... it was time to leave. Polly and Penny said farewell to their donkey relatives, then returned to the bus, to regale the gang with tales and stories of the 'wild side of donkey-dom'!

And.....WAY at the BACK of the bus, the Guardians watched suspiciously as a certain group of Terriers CONTINUED to keep vigil out the rear of the bus, expecting to see... well, after all... they HAD attached a rather LONG ROPE to him!

Chapter 12

WC 101 - Lesson 3:
Playing - the WILD CHILD Way!

The bus passed the Needle's Eye and the Cathedral Spires as it left the Custer State Park. They circled around, making sure that they saw the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mt. Rushmore... before heading up toward Deadwood.

"We're gonna be COWBOYS!" Teddy Sheets predicted, as the bus continued toward its next destination.

Bonnie and Connor Jaramillo eagerly began planning what souvenirs they'd buy, and began counting the money left in their dwindling wallets.

Katie smiled. "Not likely!! We have OTHER 'wild west' action to take care of!!"

The WC watched the scenery speed by as the bus drove on THROUGH Deadwood, past the gambling houses, past the saloons, past the bawdy dancehalls, past the Krispy Kreme shop... headed OUT of TOWN! A wicked gleam in her eye, she merely shrugged as the BASH gang stared at her questioningly. They knew that gleam, the WC definitely had something GOOD planned.

The Scotties watched civilization fade in the distance, as they continued on down the road... a road that was becoming more 'trail' than paved highway. An hour passed, before the bus finally pulled into what appeared to be a ghost town, with old, run-down buildings lining either side of the main street. Hopping down from the bus, Katie motioned for everyone to join her on the desolate, dusty street.

The Terriers and their friends, eager to begin THIS new adventure, hurried to join Katie, crowding around her eagerly. The Guardians, now on full alert, kept the BASH gang herded into a tight bunch... not a problem at this point, as they had surrounded Katie to hear her next words.

Katie, seeing that she had everyone's attention, opened her paws wide, and announced, "WELCOME to PUHDUL GULCH!"

The BASH gang turned and gave the run-down town a closer look... they knew SOMETHING was up! They just needed to figure out WHAT!

Puhdul Gulch was, indeed, a ghost town. Main street, itself, was covered in tumbleweeds, huge ruts, and gaping holes. On either side of the long, unused street stood buildings... abandoned, decaying, and useless. Shutters, most hanging by the one remaining rusty nail, bumped up against the rotting boards of the buildings as they dangled in the breeze.

Doors to the buildings stood open, their movement frozen in time by the mounds of dust accumulated by years of wind and disuse. Ragged, tattered remnants of curtains fluttered through the windows that once held valuable panes of glass. Down the street, the sounds of neglect created an almost sinister aura - the shutters banging against the store fronts, the flapping of the curtains through the gaping windows. And, every so often, a wooden shingle would slip off the sidewalk overhangs to crash noisly into the dusty street.

"WOW, Katie!!! THIS is COOL!" Karey Lawrence announced. "You SAID this lesson would be 'PLAYING'!! What a TERRIFIC place to PLAY!!! Think of the STUFF we can get into......errrrrrrrrr, things we can EXPLORE!"

She smiled sweetly, then nudged Duncan Nixon, and Maggie May Bailey, who were standing next to her. "We oughta find LOTS of treasure around HERE!" Karey whispered conspiratorially.

Duncan and Maggie May grinned broadly. Their eyes lit up at the prospect of .....welllll, PROSPECTING! Together, the three began to plot their strategy.

The Wild Child watched the expression on her friends' faces. She could read the eager excitement in their eyes. She could see them, tense with anticipation, poised to explore this derelict run-down town.

Katie, with a dramatic wave of her paw, quickly got everyone's attention. She nodded her head, understanding their eagerness to be turned loose upon Puhdul Gulch.

But, it was her next statement that drew gasps....

"No, no, no.....dear friends!!" she announced, that wicked gleam twinkling in her eyes!
"We're gonna play up THERE!"

Chapter 13

WC 101 - Lesson 3:

The Guardian Brigade's reaction was a textbook example of the 'slow pan'. Following the direction of Katie's gaze, they saw the water tower, their eyes scanning upward, taking in its extreme height.

Then, two things happened at once.

Jake turned back to Katie and the Terriers. "No, you're not goi....."

Katie shouted, "LAST one to the top gets an 'F'!!"

Bedlam broke out as the entire BASH gang made a mad dash for the water tower. Paws were mashed, beards were pulled, tails were yanked, as everyone took to the ladder, all intending to reach that walkway before Professor Wild Child took out her red pen to mark that 'F'!

"OWWWWW!" Sammy Jo Bush exclaimed, as she scrambled up the ladder. "Toby, get off my PAW!"

Molly Nixon was taking the rungs of the ladder 2 at a time, with Henry and Charlie Tucker right behind her. They were determined to make a good grade in this course. It was Molly's lack of caution that caused her paw to MISS the next rung, which resulted in her dangling by one desperate paw. Henry and Charlie grabbed her other paw, trying to pull her back to the ladder, but her wriggling kept them from getting a good hold.

Snickers slid to the outside edge of the ladder, and paw-over-paw, raced up to grab Molly just before her grip gave way.

"WHEW! Thanks, Snickers!" Molly said. Then, smiling at Charlie and Henry in appreciation, she gave herself a brisk shake... then she, Henry, and Charlie RESUMED their wild race to the top.

Snickers just shook her head in amazement... she just did NOT understand the Scottie mind. She resumed her climb, constantly watching out for any Terriers who might need assistance.

The BASH gang reached the catwalk of the water tower in record time. The Guardian Brigade heaved themselves onto the walkway around the tower, and immediately began yet another headcount.

"Just don't look DOWN!" Jake warned, as the huge Guardians made their way around the very narrow tower walkway, weaving around and through groups of eager, excited Terriers and their friends.

Jake was right......just don't look DOWN! More than ONE Guardian had to overcome an unexpected case of vertigo... 178 BASH guests, atop a NARROW, rusting walkway atop a decaying water tower.

"THIS is just NUTS!" Jake grumbled to himself, as he dragged Sweet Baby James Mancuso OFF the outside railing, and deposited him up against the water tower, as far from the EDGE as possible.

Katie moved cautiously through the milling crowd, to the base of the ladder that went UP the side of the tower, to the very PEAK of the rusting hulk.

"Having FUN YET, CLASS?" the WC asked sweetly. "Remember, a Wild Child lives 'ON the EDGE!"

Glancing down over the wobbly railing, at the ground FARRRRRRR below, Ceilidh Yeager laughed, "Yeah, but we didn't realize ya meant it quite so LITERALLY!"

"Ahhhhhhhhh, but we're not THERE yet!" Katie replied. Her paw motioned UP the rusty, clattering ladder that disappeared onto the roof above the water tower.

"Now, once we get to the VERY TOP, there will be a TINY opening... a hatch! Just DIVE through that hatch..."

She glanced around at the shocked, stricken faces. "DIVE" into a darkened HULK???

"FOLLOW ME!" Katie announced, pure excitement clearly visible on her face!! She literally scampered up the old, rickety metal ladder that shook and rattled with every step she took. Katie never looked back, she never hesitated. She was RACING up the ladder, she actually was LOOKING FORWARD to this!!!

Right on her heels, Riley and Webber were making the climb look easy. The two lads would periodically throw one paw out into space and wave back down at the amazed BASH guests still on the catwalk. Smiling, the two Scotsmen motioned for the others to come on up...

"Puhdul Gulch turned ya into PUHDULZ???" Webber asked, a wicked gleam in his eye.

And, with a rush, the gang took to the ladder, all headed up.... up over the slanted roof of the water tower, to a tiny HATCH at the very top of the old hulk.

Everyone was keeping an eye on the Wild Child. She'd almost reached the very top, when she stopped. Her paw reached over to the tin roof, where she grabbed a latch and tugged. The hatch lid lifted, creaking loudly from years of neglect. Katie gave the lid a jerk, throwing it back onto the roof of the tower.

"COME ON IN!" Katie called, as she literally DOVE through the dark opening." The water's FINEEEEEEEEEEEEEE..............."

The WC's voice faded away as she disappeared into the belly of the Water Tower. Webber and Riley reached the hatch, and with flamboyant waves of their paws, they, too, disappeared into the water tower's dark depths.

Gyppsy Rose Kitty and Rippley, the Psycho Kitty, never hesitated. They leaped through the hatch, disappearing into the depths. Squeals of delight were heard inside the rusting water tower.

That did it. Everyone ELSE just HAD to see what was inside!!!

Fiona Walsh, Murphy Beach, Pagan Marie Mancuso, Kramer Bush, Oliver Knaub, and Maizie Henrichsen all tried to hurl themselves through the hatch at the same time, resulting in a wedge of furry bottoms wriggling and twisting, trying to squeeze themselves inside.

Cluny, one paw on the ladder for support, reached over and put her big paw on Pagan's tushy...and SHOVED! Pagan Marie fell through the hatch into the bowels of the water tower, Kramer, Maizie, Murphy, Oliver, and Fiona right behind her.

As the rest of the BASH gang entered the tower, they were awed by what they saw. The interior of the water tower was bathed in a soft, yellow glow from lights that were strung around the ceiling. But, it was the CONTENTS of the tower that drew everyone's attention.

There was no water in this old, neglected tower....it was filled with ORBS.... millions and MILLIONS of Katie WC's beloved, yellow ORBS!!!

Everywhere, there was "PLAY"! Terriers were climbing the ladder, then leaping off into the Orb Ocean! Jumping into ORBS, throwing ORBS, diving deeply BENEATH the ORBS, bouncing ORBS.... it was ORB PARADISE!!

The Guardians, fighting to maintain their balance, and struggling to remain on TOP of the ORBS, rather than sinking down INTO the bottomless ORB pit, watched their Terriers play among the yellow balls. Relaxing, they watched with smiles, as the wee ones cavorted and played and romped and lost themselves in the FUN of the moment!

Katie WC, an avowed expert on the art of holding an ORB strictly by its FUZZ...

had found some worthy opponents, and had begun an ORB contest!
She'd challenged several of the BASH kitties to a FUZZ-off!

Smidge and Smudge Lawrence, Daphne of the Killeen WB, Gyppsy, and Rippley had teamed up, determined to show Katie how c@ts handle FUZZ! Claws out, they honed the claws on the wall of the water tower... creating a "claws down a chalkboard" sound that echoed through the tank!

"HEY!!!" Agnes Donnelly shouted, as shivers ran down her spine. "HEY, C@TS!! Cut that OUT!!! EWWWW!"

The cats pulled in their claws and stretched... their long, lean bodies strong and graceful. Turning, they located the WC and headed over, eager to begin the FUZZ-OFF!

Katie stood in the very center of the huge tank, balancing easily atop the millions of ORBS beneath her paws. As the c@ts strolled up, Katie held up "THE FUZZ ORB" for the contest, a normal-looking tennis ball, with a normal amount of yellow 'fuzz' covering its surface. Nothing unusual about it...except that it was, presently, being held in Katie's outstretched paw. She quickly explained the rules.

"There ARE no rules!! Last one holding onto the FUZZ wins... PERIOD!"

In one smooth motion, a sign of years of practice, she pushed the ORB against her front teeth, opened the teeth ONLY enough to grasp some yellow FUZZ between her front teeth, then clamped down....HARD! Between clenched teeth, she announced, "Take it FROM me..........IF YOU DARE!"

And, with THAT.....the WC gave the 'FUZZ ORB' a mighty death shake and stood, head high, legs balancing on the ORBS beneath her paws....daring the c@ts to come get the ORB!"

The BASH terriers IMMEDIATELY took sides... cheering and shouting, they encouraged the contest. The noisy spectators only seemed to heighten the confidence of the c@ts, who were circling Katie, plotting their attack.

The assault came, fast and furious!!! Smudge came in from the left, and clapped one claw-exposed paw onto the side of Katie's ORB. Katie immediately responded, turning her body INTO Smudge, at the same time moving her head AWAY. The body block worked, as Smudge's grip on the FUZZY orb was broken.

Katie immediately pivoted, turning her attention to the noise behind her. Gyppsy and Rippley had teamed up and were making a stealth attack from the rear....one on each side of Katie. Their claws snagged the FUZZ ORB from either side, simultaneously. Katie was 'double teamed'!!!

Bea Duffy and Pippen Baugh-Riechers broke through the crowd, determined to come to the Wild Child's aid.

"WHOA, there..." Webber called, as he stepped in front of Bea, blocking her way. "She's fine, she has no NEED for help......not now!" He smiled at his WC, then threw Katie a dashingly seductive 'wink'!

Riley grabbed Pippen's collar, bringing him to a halt. "TRUST ME, she has this WELL in PAW! TRUST ME!" Riley's deep, mischievous chuckle reassured the surrounding Terriers, who were totally entranced by the FUZZ-OFF in the middle of the tank.

Katie, ALWAYS aware of her surroundings, had watched the reinforcements' approach, and had witnessed Riley and Webber's intervention. She HAD seen the wicked wink that Webber had given her... and with her front teeth still clenching the FUZZ, and a cat's clawed paw grasping either side of her ORB, she confidently dipped her muzzle seductively, acknowledging her handsome Scotsman.

Gyppsy and Rippley, deciding to use her distraction to their advantage, put their weight into their paws and pulled, HARD! Katie's reaction was immediate. She dropped to her belly, her head pulling to the left with all her might. This forced Rippley to readjust his grip on the ORB. Katie INSTANTLY gave the ORB one very INTENSE 'death shake', which dislodged Rippley's paw completely.

Now free of one c@t's paw, Katie leaped forward and wheeled sharply to the right, catching Gyppsy off guard... and breaking her grasp on the FUZZ ORB.

Smidge, in an effort to overpower the WC, attacked the ORB head-on, both front paws digging deeply into the ORB's surface with the lethal claws. Nose to nose, eyeball to eyeball, Smidge and the Wild Child stared at each other. A low, guttural growl could be heard low in Smidge's throat. Katie didn't blink, she didn't flinch. Teeth still clenched onto her tiny bit of yellow ORB FUZZ, she made no sound... only the soft puffs made as she exhaled out the sides of her mouth, between clenched teeth.

The crowd waited. Smidge waited! Not sure what Katie was up to, Smidge tried to back away, hoping to pull the FUZZ ORB at the same time. Katie merely leaned BACK against the pull... her cinderblock body becoming a dead weight against the much leaner c@t.

Daphne chose that time to assist Smidge, and together they mounted a two-pronged assault... planning to pull the ORB OUT of the WC's mouth. Katie STILL remained motionless, teeth clenched, body low to the ground, her weight heavily onto her hindquarters, her legs providing piston-like strength holding her body back against the assault.

The BASH gang was cheering wildly now. The Wild Child was, literally, putting on a class in "Heavy DUTY PLAYING"!! They watched her eyes, twinkling merrily. They watched her paws, dug in and backing up... ALWAYS backing up... a one-Scottie tug-of-war queen!

Her body revealed nothing of the immense power she was exerting AGAINST the two cats' combined weight... yet, she called this FUN!!! She was, truly, having a SUPER good time!!!

The crowd glanced again at Riley, just to reassure themselves that Katie needed no assistance. Riley was totally unconcerned as he leaned up against one wall of the water tank, his front paws crossed in front of him, one rear paw negligently kicking one of the MILLIONS of ORBS at his feet. He just didn't "GET" this ORB obsession of hers!!

Smiling, his attention returned to the contest. He glanced around at the concerned crowd and smiled reassuringly. One paw lifted, he gave them an "okay" sign. He knew.....she could hold this position all DAY...he'd certainly been on the other end of her tug contests often enough!!!

"Let someone ELSE outlast her this time," Riley thought to himself, chuckling. He watched the marathon contest going on in front of him..... and was the ONLY one who spotted the change. HE knew! He saw her body begin to tense. He saw the EVER-so-small changes in her paw position.

"Watch out, c@ts!" Riley thought to himself. "She's 'bout to ERUPT!"

Katie felt the pull from Daphne and Smidge begin to lessen. She knew that the extended time in the 'hunkered pulling' position would take its toll. It was time!

Her solid body leaped to its feet, her head wheeling right, her rump leading her body towards the left. Her muzzle gave the FUZZ ORB a mighty death shake... ONCE....TWICE... a micro-second hesitation... then a THIRD, even MIGHTIER shake.... and Katie Wild Child stood alone in the center of the water tank, balancing on the millions of ORBS......the FUZZ from the ORB stillllllllll clenched safely between her front teeth.

Head high, ORB dangling by its fuzz...Katie nodded to the crowd!

Wild applause and cheering broke out, echoing off the walls in the huge, metal water tower. Everyone raced forward to congratulate the WC, and the cats who'd so valiantly faced the Queen of the ORB FUZZ!

Katie and the cat combatants spent much of the next hour laughing over strategies and different tactics used in the contest. They all agreed....that kind of 'play' was FUN!

The remainder of the afternoon was spent playing in the water tower, among the ORBS...the ULTIMATE PLAYTIME, in the eyes of the WC!

It was Riley.....LATE that afternoon, just at twilight... that called for the BASH gang to depart.

"Come along, CLASS! We have places to go, 'THINGS' to see, and LESSONS to finish!!! Let's be GONE from this place!!! Last one DOWN BUYSSSSSSSSS PUHDUL GULCH!"

EGADS!!!! The entire gang tried to emerge from the water tower at the same time. Guardians were desperately pulling at tails, jerking collars, and grabbing scruffs....anything to reduce the furry mass of bodies at the roof's hatch. Jake and Grace were atop the tower, pulling bodies OUT, while Cluny and Mungo were guiding them safely down the ladder to the catwalk, where Haley, Sammy, and Eddie were ushering them down the LONG ladder to the ground.

Amazingly, the descent went RELATIVELY smoothly.... RELATIVELY so!!! ( rolling eyes) EVERYONE had reached the ground.....except....... Jake....and ONE Scottie, who simply REFUSED to leave the Water Tower.....in his words, "NOT UNTIL I'm SURE I'm the LAST ONE!!! My MAM would LOVE to have PUHDUL GULCH for a 'week-end getaway'! I PLAN TO GET IT FOR HER!"

Jake finally......FINALLY convinced the determined Scottie lad that he was, indeed, the last Scottie off the water tower....and YES!.... he COULD buy 'PUHDUL GULCH'!!!

Soooooooooo, after much dickering and bargaining with a certain 'Puhdul PETE', the old prospector/caretaker of PUHDUL GULCH.....it was arranged. The BASH gang returned to the ScotCorde, for a LONG trip to Lesson 4.


DICKENS BURGHART, with a newly signed DEED 'in paw', is now the proud owner of PUHDUL GULCH!!!!

Cellphone pic taken atop tower...
of DUKE Wilson, caught red-pawed-- spray-painting the Puhdul Gulch water tower

NOTE: OWNER-Mrs. Burghart, may want to discuss repairs with Mrs Wilson!!

Chapter 14

WC 101 - Lesson 4:
Whisper Like You MEAN IT!

The ScotCorde's flight to "Lesson 4" had been cloaked in secrecy. Sleek One hadn't left South Dakota until close to midnight... effectively removing the windows as 'in-flight visual aids'. Add the fact that Captain Scotty had somehow 'jammed' the Scotties' GPS devices onboard the ScotCorde... thus, leaving Eddie and the 'where are we' gang totally CLUELESS as to their destination!

The Guardian Brigade had HOPED that, MAYBE, the Terriers would use the time sleeping or at LEAST staying relatively MOTIONLESS and SILENT. However, that was NOT the case aboard the ScotCorde.

Scotties raced up and down the aisles with their friends, chatting excitedly about their 'class practicum' and predicting their next stop. Happy smiles and flashing eyes revealed the joy being shared by everyone in this 'adventure seminar'!

The Elders, seated comfortably in their custom-comfort recliners watched the goings-on around them... and smiled. They glanced down at Katie, who was stretched out on the plush, chenille rug that lay in the center of the Elders' Lounge area, tootsies out behind her. Totally relaxed, she had a perfect view up the aisle, as she watched the younger Terriers' excitement continue to build.

Katie glanced back over her shoulder at her oldest friends. Laughing, she remarked, "Wonder if they'll realize that they're going to END this BASH with the same event we experienced on our very FIRST BASH?!?!"

The Elders smiled at the memories and were soon deep into remembrances, sharing tales of past exploits. The younger Terriers began to notice the NOISE coming from the Elders' Lounge corner. They watched the wise sages of their group, heads nodding, faces smiling, occasionally breaking out into loud, boisterous laughter.

More than one overly curious Scottie TRIED to venture into that cozy party the Elders were having, but Cluny, Haley, and Sadie always intervened, expertly herding the younger Terriers away from the Elders' exclusive party.

"NO, sorry!" Cluny stated, softly but firmly. "Private party!"

Jake strolled up, adding, "Ya have to EARN your stripes to enter THAT circle!"

Haley and Sadie laughed, as Sadie replied, "But, you ARE earning your stripes! You'll get there... you'll get there.... IF you survive the experience!!"

The Guardians broke out in great, huge guffaws at their witty remarks... then spread out to get some rest, while they could!

The ScotCorde flew on through the night. It was only in the quiet, pre-dawn hours that the sounds of the engines changed. The Terriers could feel the ScotCorde begin to slow as the flaps came down. Eager anticipation was written on each furry face as Sleek One settled to the runway, and taxied to a stop...somewhere.

The Wild Child stepped to the front of the cabin, placed one paw on the cabin doorway release handle, and faced the BASH gang.

"Okay.....LAST class...LESSON 4! Once we arrive at our 'classroom', you'll need to pay close attention to the FOCUS of our lesson!!! So, let's load up and get TO IT!"

Katie opened the door, stepped out into the pre-dawn dark, and disappeared down the steps. Curiosity aroused, the Terriers hurried to follow Katie out into the inky blackness.

The BASH gang immediately spotted the fleet of big, sturdy all-terrain vehicles awaiting them.

"THIS is a VERY good sign!" Cammster commented, as he jumped up into the first vehicle. He'd seen these types of vehicles on past BASH adventures, and they ALWAYS led to the same place. He smiled in anticipation.

Loaded with noisy, excited Terriers, the all-terrain vehicles left the airport, first down a broad interstate highway, then turning onto a winding, 2-lane road just as the the eastern horizon showed the first morning tinges of pink.

The BASH gang, now able to SEE their surroundings, began to see distinct features. They watched the scenery close in on either side as they sped down the road. Another sharp turn, and the vehicles left paved roads behind as they turned onto a rutted, country lane, with tree branches crowding the route, slapping the vehicles as they continued into the lush greenery.

Yet another turn, and the vehicles moved over unmarked ground now... into a wet, muddy environment. The going was slower as the vehicles began to sink down in the thick goo, then stopped altogether.

"ALL OUT!" Katie called. "ALMOST THERE!"

The Terriers saw swamp.....miles and miles of SWAMP...and 6 AIRBOATS, pulled up onto a lone, grassy mound.

"We're back on the BAYOU!" Chak assumed, seeing the swamp all around them.

"Nah, doesn't LOOK like Bayou Lafourche back at Katie's. This is DIFFERENT!" Holly predicted, as she scrambled onto the nearest airboat.

No more conversation was possible....as the airboats, now loaded to the brim with furry passengers, roared to life, and TORE out across the marshy land. Ears back against their skulls, beards and eyebrows plastered flat, the Terriers raised their noses into the wind and thrilled in the power and speed of the ride.

Ten minutes of unrestrained airboat speed found the BASH gang deep in the swamp. The Terriers saw it just as the airboats began to slow... a level, grassy island, surrounded by cypress trees. Pulled up onto the bank was another airboat. As the airboats came to a stop along the bank, the Terriers noticed, for the first time......that the ground seemed to be ALIVE!

Katie, Webber, and Riley leaped ashore. Katie smiled broadly, and offered her paw to... CAPTAIN SCOTTY! He smiled at the Terriers as they scrambled off the airboats, to join him at the center of the small island.

"Welcome to the EVERGLADES!" Captain Scotty announced, his arms spread wide to welcome them.

But the Terriers weren't watching their Captain...... now, they were only focused on the creatures that surrounded the island, 3-4 deep.....alligators. Everywhere, ALLIGATORS!

"WHOAAAAAAAAA!" exclaimed Rory. "That's a LOT of CRITTERS!"

Katie stepped up next to Captain Scotty, and explained. "WELCOME to Lesson 4 - 'Whisper Like Ya MEAN IT!' You will, today, do some 'GATOR WHISPERING!"

Gasps of shock and surprise echoed across the small island as the Terriers began to give the approaching alligators more SERIOUS attention.

"Your task, for this Lesson, is to 'WHISPER' some 'kinder, gentler' behavior for these 'gators! Hence, you will now become "GATOR WHISPERERS"!!"

Katie stepped back, spread her paws wide.....and announced, "Terriers, find your GATOR!"

STUNNED, the Guardian Brigade stood....open-mouthed. Jake shook his head in amazement. Without saying a word, he merely nodded... and pointed to the Terriers. The meaning was clear......"Do what you CAN!"

Dickens, Sunny, Truman, and Brewster didn't hesitate. They raced down to the bank of the small island, where each one immediately picked out a suitably LARGE alligator. Boldly strolling up to the beasts, they began their assignment.

Sunny walked right up to her 'gator, leaned down CLOSE, and nose-to-nose, she growled, "Okay, SHORTY! You're gonna BEHAVE, ya HEAR??"

The alligator growled low, a deep, guttural rumble. Sunny soundly thumped the 'gator on his snout. "NAH, none of THAT! Ya HEAR ME? BEHAVE... or I'll have to TEACH ya to listen!"

Nearby, Dickens had used a more 'thoughtful' approach. "Listen UP, LIZARD! Behave...OR ELSE!" He threw in a stutter-step, a 360 degree turn, with a paw-stomp at the end, purely for EMPHASIS.

"Psssssssssssst!" Cluny whispered, standing close. "Dickens, these aren't lizards...they're reptiles!"

"HE doesn't know that!! ANYWAY, it's the THOUGHT that counts.....plus, 'LIZARD' is much more alliterative!" Dickens turned and flashed Cluny a wickedly smug grin, then returned his attention to his alligator.

"QUIT THAT!" Truman whispered, LOUDLY, to his alligator. "Don't you DARE raise your voice to me! I'll tell your MOM!" He waited, holding his breath, as the 'gator backed off and deferred to Truman.

"TEETH! YA WANNA SEE TEEEETH?????" Karey growled. She thumped her 'gator soundly, put her muzzle right down in front of the alligator, and bared her teeth.... large, white, gleaming SCOTTIE teeth.

"NOW.....ya want to play TEETH, we can DO THAT! But, trust me...it will NOT be pretty! And, I PROMISE ya... you will NOT win!"

The Guardian Brigade, spaced out around the small island, watched in awe as the Scotties and their friends exerted their overpowering Terrier Attitude upon the unsuspecting alligators. They smiled proudly. Those alligators didn't stand a chance!

Brewster was down at the water's edge, sitting in the mud. An alligator had crawled up to face him, snout to muzzle. Haley strolled over, to act as intermediary, if necessary. She smiled to herself as she heard Brewster's "gator whispering".

"Yes, I know you're living in this mud all the time, and I agree with your argument that you're misunderstood. But, look at how you REACT... big and bad, mouth open, teeth gnashing. And, what does that PROVE?!?! You need to be more accepting of your GENTLER side!" Brewster rested comfortably next to the alligator, their heads together as they exchanged ideas, discussing the 'deeper meaning of swamp living'.

Down the bank, the rest of the BASH gang had entered the fray, isolating alligators and attempting different strategies of "whispering". Methods were different, to be sure... often including "THE LOOK", but the Terrier mentality won the day. The Guardians had only one skirmish erupt....but were able to rescue the alligator from the irate Scottie.

The class, quickly becoming quite proficient in "Gator Whispering", soon had 'gators lined up down the bank, one after the other, every one yielding to the power of the "Gator WHISPERERS"!!

By the end of the day.......there was not one aggressive 'Gator in FLORIDA....thanks to the "GATOR WHISPERERS"!


Chapter 15


Following successful completion of all four WC 101 Lessons, the ScotCorde returned the BASH class to the Bayous... to complete their course requirements, with a GRADUATION!

Once again at home in the bungalow on Bayou Lafourche, Katie stood on the front steps of the porch, gazing down at her BASH friends, who'd come to celebrate her birthday with her....and had taken on the challenges of a real Wild Child adventure.

"I honor you, the graduates of the WC 101 Seminar. You have demonstrated a willingness to "Live on the Edge", an eagerness to "Bounce through Life" regardless of what obstacles you may encounter, a JOYOUS ability to "Play on a GRAND Scale", and an innate ability to "Whisper Like You MEAN IT"!

"It gives me GREAT PLEASURE," the Wild Child continued, "to pronounce you ALL to be successful graduates of the WC 101 Seminar! You are ALL now...officially..... PILLS!"

Wild, boisterous applause broke out on the front lawn along the bayou. The BASH class had PASSED!!!

Katie smiled broadly as she presented each student a personal diploma in recognition of their bold accomplishment... shaking each paw, giving each Terrier a glowing report of their achievement.

By mid-afternoon, the ceremony had finished......and it was on to the PARTY!!! Out came the cauldron and yet MORE seafood, the fire was lit and was soon burning brightly... and while the Guardians tended to the cooking duties, the Terriers and their friends PARTIED... long into the night.

Somehow, in the wee hours of the morning, the Guardian Brigade managed to herd a weary BASH gang back onboard the ScotCorde. Captain Scotty watched as the exhausted Terriers and their friends collapsed into any empty seats for the flight home. He'd let the Mams and Dads drag the limp furry bodies OFF the jet... he just didn't yet know how he was going to deposit the 178 NIAGARA FALLS barrels to each BASH attendee... and get the barrel NUMBERS correct! He glanced down at the piece of paper he'd been handed. It had a scribbled list of numbers, next to a scratchy list of names. He sighed... another BASH....another 'party favor' to leave with each guest.

From long experience, Captain Scotty closed up the ScotCorde, and prepared for take-off. Glancing back into the cabin, he saw furry bodies, curled up, sleeping soundly. Scattered down the aisle, Guardians stretched out....always on duty, even at rest.

Reaching overhead, Captain Scotty dimmed the lights back in the Main Lounge, then turned his attention to the flight ahead. As his passengers slept the sleep of BASH guests who'd survived yet another wild adventure, he returned the ScotCorde to the sky.... delivering each wee one safely home again. They would tell tales of bold adventures, would brag about their exploits and their many brushes with danger ... and dream of adventures yet to come, following in the paw-steps of the WC!


This ORIGINAL story has been created and written by Carol Johnson.
ORIGINAL illustrations are done by Karen Donnelly.
They are NOT to be reproduced in ANY way ....PERIOD!!!!

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