In The Movies
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
between takes, a little girl with long blond hair rushed over
to Barkwell. "Oh, Cassie," she sighed, as she hugged him around
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.
brute!" she shouted, and whacked Marshall Bright with her
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.
Marshall Bright woke up, a few minutes later, Barkwell was
Meanwhile, in a car speeding away from the studio, the midget
removed his blond wig. "I wonder how that guy guessed who
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,
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.
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.
get it!" Bright shouted. "Maybe it's Barkwell!" He snatched
up the receiver and heard, "Woof! Woof!"
is that you?" Bright shouted into the phone.
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."
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.
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.
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.
2013 The Silversteins