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Barkwell In The Movies

There was a big sign in front of the movie: LAST DAY! See CASSIE THE COURAGEOUS COLLIE.

Barkwell gazed at the sign. He had seen every Cassie movie. And he wasn't going to miss this one.

The woman in the ticket booth looked out and saw a large great dane standing in front of the sign. "Get away, dog!" she called. "You're blocking the sidewalk."

Barkwell shook himself, turned and trotted halfway down the block. Suddenly he ducked behind a parked car. Barkwell was not an ordinary dog. He had a strange power: he could change into any kind of dog in the world -- and even some you never saw. In a flash he was a tiny chihuahua.

Barkwell waited until a man and woman walked by. The woman's dress was so long, it nearly touched the ground. Barkwell slipped quickly under the edge of her skirt and trotted along with her. When the couple entered the movie, the tiny dog slipped away. In a moment he was a black terrier who could hardly be seen in the darkness of the movie. Soon he spotted what he was looking for: an empty popcorn box. Holding it in his teeth, he jumped up onto an empty seat. He placed the popcorn box on the arm rest. Then, in a wink, he was a tiny pomeranian just the right size to fit into the popcorn box. He hopped in and settled down to watch the picture.

"Cassie, come back!" a little girl on the screen was saying. Suddenly there was a buzzing in Barkwell's right ear. "Barkwell," said a tiny voice, "report to the office immediately!"

Barkwell sighed. He wondered if he'd ever see the end of the picture. Lost in thought, he walked slowly out of the theater. The manager scratched his head as Barkwell walked by. "How did a dog get in here?" he thought.

Outside the theater Barkwell quickly changed into a greyhound. He sped off to the SIA office. He wondered what assignment the Secret Intelligence Agency had for him this time. He loved his country, so when there was a call he became a Secret Agent. "Here's the problem, Barkwell," the Chief began. "The FBI has asked for our help. A gang is threatening the life of the famous dog star, Cassie, the Courageous Collie."

Barkwell barked sharply.

"Is she a friend of yours?" asked Marshall Bright, Agent 000.

The Chief ignored Bright and continued. "The gang has threatened to kill Cassie unless they get a million dollars. Your assignment is to go to Hollywood and pretend to be Cassie until we catch the gang. Agent 000, here, will go with you." The Chief leaned over and whispered into Barkwell's ear, "We're a little short of agents right now."

Barkwell travelled to Hollywood disguised as a French poodle. During the plane trip, he read the script of Cassie's new picture and memorized her part. When he and Marshall Bright reached the studio, they ducked into the Men's Room. When they came out, Barkwell was a collie with a gleaming coat.

"Oh, there you are, Cassie," called the Director. "We've been holding up the scene for you. And who are you?" he asked, turning to Marshall Bright.

"Uh, I'm her cousin from Philadelphia," said Agent 000 quickly.

The Director stared at him for a moment, then shrugged and led Cassie to the set.

Later, between takes, a little girl with long blond hair rushed over to Barkwell. "Oh, Cassie," she sighed, as she hugged him around the neck.

"This must be it," thought Bright. "A midget with a wig." He pulled out his gun, and with his other hand pulled the little girl's hair. The girl began to cry. Her mother rushed over.

"You brute!" she shouted, and whacked Marshall Bright with her pocketbook.

Bright fell over backwards, and his gun went off. The bullet sliced through a rope holding a heavy sandbag. It struck him as it fell.

When Marshall Bright woke up, a few minutes later, Barkwell was gone!

Meanwhile, in a car speeding away from the studio, the midget removed his blond wig. "I wonder how that guy guessed who I was?"

"Aw, it was just luck," said the tall man at the wheel, pulling off his wig.

Barkwell sat quietly on the seat between them. With a flick of his tail, he had turned on a radio signal device. Bright should be able to follow the beeps to the crooks' hideout, Barkwell thought.

Back at the studio, as Agent 000 staggered to his feet he noticed a beeping noise coming from the pen in his pocket. "That's Barkwell," he thought. "I'd better get going." He dashed toward the studio exit and signed out at the gate. He leaped into his car and shot out of the parking lot. At the next traffic light, he listened for the beeper.

"My gosh," he thought. "I left it at the gate." He raced back to the studio. But the pen wasn't there.

Agent 000 went around the studio lot asking everyone, "Have you seen my pen?" Just as he wandered into the Director's office, the phone rang.

"I'll get it!" Bright shouted. "Maybe it's Barkwell!" He snatched up the receiver and heard, "Woof! Woof!"

"Barkwell, is that you?" Bright shouted into the phone.

"That was Cassie," said a gruff voice. "We've got her. And if you don't get that million dollars to us by midnight tomorrow, you'll never see her again."

The kidnapper was about to hang up when suddenly Barkwell bit his hand. He yelped and dropped the phone. Barkwell raced off and ducked behind a box. The kidnappers raced after him. But when they got to the box, a cocker spaniel was sitting on top of it, looking down at them.

"Where'd that mutt come from?" the tall kidnapper exclaimed. "And what happened to Cassie?" They looked around for a while. Then the tall kidnapper remembered they hadn't hung up the phone. He was walking toward it when a bulldog raced up and grabbed him by the pants. The midget aimed his gun at Barkwell. He was about to shoot. Suddenly the door burst open, and the police rushed in.

"That was good thinking, Barkwell," said Agent 000, "not hanging up the phone so I could trace the call." The next day, on the studio set, Barkwell received a kiss from his favorite movie star, Cassie the Courageous Collie.




©1973, 2013 The Silversteins