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“Diamond in the Rat” by Roan Rosser (part 1 of 2)

The mission: steal a diamond figurine. The team: a squirrel, a raccoon, a porcupine, and a red panda. No opposable thumbs? No problem for this band of furry thieves.

Today’s story is the first of two parts of “Diamond in the Rat” by Roan Rosser, author of Red Pandamonium, and you can find more of his work on RoanRosser.com.

Read for you by Khaki, your faithful fireside companion.

thevoice.dog | Apple podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts

If you have a story you think would be a good fit, you can check out the requirements, fill out the submission template and get in touch with us on Twitter.

Transcript
Khaki QOD:

You're listening to the voice of dog.

Khaki QOD:

I'm cocky, your faithful fireside companion.

Khaki QOD:

And today's story is the first of two pots of diamond in the rat.

Khaki QOD:

My Rome roster, author of red pandemonium.

Khaki QOD:

And you can find more of his works on Ron rosser.com.

Khaki QOD:

Please enjoy.

Khaki QOD:

Diamond in the rat.

Khaki QOD:

My Rome Rosser part one of two.

Khaki QOD:

I'm bored.

Khaki QOD:

I moderate into Max's hair tugging on the locks that I held, like

Khaki QOD:

reigns to make sure he heard me.

Khaki QOD:

The building was filled with nothing but old human stuff.

Khaki QOD:

And the humans were taking their time, examining every little thing.

Khaki QOD:

Who cared, how much the couch cost.

Khaki QOD:

Me too, bug max ruffled the fare of my tail, but please

Khaki QOD:

stop pulling my hair like that.

Khaki QOD:

It hurts.

Khaki QOD:

I flattened my ears.

Khaki QOD:

Who was he to tell me what to do?

Khaki QOD:

I yanked up as hard as I could.

Khaki QOD:

Max yelped and jerked his head down.

Khaki QOD:

I tumbled head over Paul's landing on my back.

Khaki QOD:

On something soft and springy momentarily.

Khaki QOD:

Losing my breath.

Khaki QOD:

Breathing was important.

Khaki QOD:

. The first thing I'd learned when I'd woken up with a physical

Khaki QOD:

form earlier this month.

Khaki QOD:

Stop goofing off.

Khaki QOD:

Roderick said, crossing his arms and looking down his nose at

Khaki QOD:

me as I scrambled to my pores.

Khaki QOD:

Rhonda Rick was Max's older brother.

Khaki QOD:

He looked a lot like max short, brown hair, dark eyes, sharp features.

Khaki QOD:

Except Roderick scowled more.

Khaki QOD:

I don't think he liked me much, but the feeling was mutual.

Khaki QOD:

I stuck out my tongue at him.

Khaki QOD:

I'm bored.

Khaki QOD:

I repeated.

Khaki QOD:

Climbing up onto the back of the sofa.

Khaki QOD:

I'd landed on.

Khaki QOD:

Careful park.

Khaki QOD:

Don't scratch the leather.

Khaki QOD:

We can't afford to pay damages if you ruin it.

Khaki QOD:

pick me up by my armpits and set me at her feet.

Khaki QOD:

Her, I liked.

Khaki QOD:

She had curly dark hair and wore skirts.

Khaki QOD:

She was a witch.

Khaki QOD:

I told you we should've shopped at the thrift store Maxon.

Khaki QOD:

Roderick's eyes widened and he orderly gasped.

Khaki QOD:

I will not stoop to buying other people's castoffs.

Khaki QOD:

Dude, how is this any different.

Khaki QOD:

. Max made a borough gesture with both arms at the store we were in.

Khaki QOD:

These are antiques they're vintage.

Khaki QOD:

Max rolled his eyes and turned towards me.

Khaki QOD:

In a stifled, a laugh with one hand arise, sparkling with mirth behind the glasses.

Khaki QOD:

Only poor people shop at thrift stores.

Khaki QOD:

Roderick said his voice cracking at the word poor.

Khaki QOD:

Which would be us in a set.

Khaki QOD:

We are technically homeless until we can move into our rental next week.

Khaki QOD:

Roderick scowl, deepened.

Khaki QOD:

He turned and stalked off without another word.

Khaki QOD:

Max watched him go with a pained expression and I felt his guilt mixed

Khaki QOD:

with empathy through our familial bond.

Khaki QOD:

In a stomp, Paul come like that.

Khaki QOD:

Max whispered to her.

Khaki QOD:

You know how hard this has made on him.

Khaki QOD:

We'll humor him here for another hour, then tomorrow you and I can go

Khaki QOD:

hit up the thrift stores without him.

Khaki QOD:

Ron.

Khaki QOD:

Doesn't have to know where the furniture came from.

Khaki QOD:

Fine.

Khaki QOD:

She said, as max reached for me.

Khaki QOD:

Her eyes widening.

Khaki QOD:

She blocked his hands then pointed at something hidden from my view

Khaki QOD:

behind the couch we stood in front of and moused a word to max.

Khaki QOD:

He glanced that way.

Khaki QOD:

And his eyes widened to.

Khaki QOD:

Max glanced around the empty shop.

Khaki QOD:

We were the only ones here except for a lone employee Manning the cash register.

Khaki QOD:

Her nose stuck in a book.

Khaki QOD:

He glanced down at me with a raised eyebrow.

Khaki QOD:

You can walk around, but try not to break anything.

Khaki QOD:

I pat it off.

Khaki QOD:

Before I rounded the corner into the next aisle.

Khaki QOD:

Ina said,

Khaki QOD:

maybe we should get him one of those bubble backpacks,

Khaki QOD:

like for cats or a stroller.

Khaki QOD:

. That would help save my shoulders.

Khaki QOD:

Mack said, and my hair.

Khaki QOD:

No way were they putting me in either of those they'd learn.

Khaki QOD:

The eyeline entered, had a variety of things in it.

Khaki QOD:

Stuffed toys, statues, crystal animals, polished rocks, and more.

Khaki QOD:

The humans had passed it by because it didn't contain any furniture.

Khaki QOD:

But I'd spotted something interesting.

Khaki QOD:

A basket full of tiny cars.

Khaki QOD:

From the other side of the shelf, I heard max say good thing, POG.

Khaki QOD:

Didn't see the toy electric cars.

Khaki QOD:

Too late.

Khaki QOD:

I thought with a chuckle.

Khaki QOD:

As I padded silently down the aisle, swiveling my head around as I looked for

Khaki QOD:

the Wicker basket, the hell the cars.

Khaki QOD:

Help me.

Khaki QOD:

The faint cry was barely audible.

Khaki QOD:

I paused mid step point in the air and swiveled my ears around, trying to

Khaki QOD:

figure out where the voice come from.

Khaki QOD:

If it was another human in the shop, I'd have to make sure they didn't see me.

Khaki QOD:

And if they needed help.

Khaki QOD:

I should go get max.

Khaki QOD:

Help me.

Khaki QOD:

The voice wasn't yelling for help.

Khaki QOD:

It was more resigned, close to a whisper, like the speaker had repeated the word

Khaki QOD:

so often that they'd lost their meaning.

Khaki QOD:

My triangular ears pivoted towards the sound.

Khaki QOD:

Somewhere above me.

Khaki QOD:

That made sense since humans were also tall.

Khaki QOD:

Except I wasn't alone in this dead end aisle.

Khaki QOD:

I stood up onto my back legs.

Khaki QOD:

I didn't do it often.

Khaki QOD:

It was hard to balance like this, but this gave me a better angle to

Khaki QOD:

see what was on the higher shelves.

Khaki QOD:

I spotted the side of the Wicker basket that had the cars in it

Khaki QOD:

and forgot all about the voice.

Khaki QOD:

I taught it over to the shelf, my long tail swaying behind

Khaki QOD:

me helping to keep my balance.

Khaki QOD:

Stretching up as high as I could.

Khaki QOD:

My front paws barely touched the bottom edge of the basket.

Khaki QOD:

Dang.

Khaki QOD:

I'd have to go get max to help me.

Khaki QOD:

Except when I tried to pull my paws away, one of my blunt

Khaki QOD:

claws caught in the Wicker.

Khaki QOD:

I tried to bat at the stock pole with the other to unstick it only

Khaki QOD:

to catch a claw on that poor too.

Khaki QOD:

Max help.

Khaki QOD:

I twisted and flailed trying to get loose.

Khaki QOD:

My tail whipped around and hit the shelf, knocking off a bunch of

Khaki QOD:

human shaped dolls with large creepy smiles on their plastic heads.

Khaki QOD:

My efforts were awarded.

Khaki QOD:

. I felt the basket shift.

Khaki QOD:

Max came around the corner.

Khaki QOD:

Justice had pulled three.

Khaki QOD:

Totally cars bounced off my hand and scattered all over the floor.

Khaki QOD:

I stack it back, dragging the empty basket with me.

Khaki QOD:

My claws still stuck in the side and fell over.

Khaki QOD:

Pug.

Khaki QOD:

He said with a sigh and knelt on the floor.

Khaki QOD:

I held still while he worked my clothes free of the wicked mesh.

Khaki QOD:

At least you didn't break anything.

Khaki QOD:

I wanted to see the tiny cars.

Khaki QOD:

. Next time, ask for some help.

Khaki QOD:

Okay.

Khaki QOD:

He didn't sound angry that I'd found the cars that he hadn't wanted me to see.

Khaki QOD:

He gathered up cars and dumped them back in the basket.

Khaki QOD:

I kept my poles on a purple convertible and a white sedan.

Khaki QOD:

Max at the full basket next to me and cleaned up the dolls

Khaki QOD:

while I pushed the cars around.

Khaki QOD:

They didn't roll very well since the little wheels caught on the carpet.

Khaki QOD:

Max we leaving.

Khaki QOD:

In this came around the corner with a slump shouldered Roderick.

Khaki QOD:

All right.

Khaki QOD:

Max tilted the basket at me.

Khaki QOD:

POG put the cars back so we can go.

Khaki QOD:

This one looks like K's old car.

Khaki QOD:

Except this purple.

Khaki QOD:

I want this one.

Khaki QOD:

I said, I tried to pick it up, but my poor couldn't close enough

Khaki QOD:

around it to get hold of it.

Khaki QOD:

Max glanced at the side of the basket, his eyes widened.

Khaki QOD:

$10 each.

Khaki QOD:

Are you kidding me?

Khaki QOD:

He shook his head and took the cars from under my poles and returned to the basket.

Khaki QOD:

There are only a dollar brand new he grumbled as he slid

Khaki QOD:

the basket back into place.

Khaki QOD:

I huffed and crossed my arms.

Khaki QOD:

Money again.

Khaki QOD:

As he picked me up, max said, I'll get you one next time I go grocery shopping.

Khaki QOD:

Uh, climbed onto Max's shoulders and took hold of his hair.

Khaki QOD:

Hope.

Khaki QOD:

The voice was louder now.

Khaki QOD:

Like it was right next to me at Max's head Heights.

Khaki QOD:

Max began walking away.

Khaki QOD:

Max, we should help that person before we leave.

Khaki QOD:

I tugged on his hair.

Khaki QOD:

Hello, who pod?

Khaki QOD:

Max stopped and turned around.

Khaki QOD:

Then you hear them go back into the aisle.

Khaki QOD:

I kicked my back boards into his shoulders.

Khaki QOD:

Like the characters on television did to horses.

Khaki QOD:

Max was my trustee Mount after all.

Khaki QOD:

He humored me and turned around.

Khaki QOD:

Who me.

Khaki QOD:

The cry was louder now, or I could hear it better.

Khaki QOD:

Now that I was this high up.

Khaki QOD:

I could see a lot more of the aisle than I could from the floor.

Khaki QOD:

Most of the bottom shelves were toys and higher were more breakable things.

Khaki QOD:

The sound came from a case in the corner filled with crystal animals.

Khaki QOD:

The glass case I said to max and kicked my legs again to get him moving.

Khaki QOD:

Could you totally moved over to stand in front of it?

Khaki QOD:

I scanned the shelves that were now at my eye level and waited for

Khaki QOD:

the voice to ask for help again.

Khaki QOD:

The figurine sparkled in the sunlight coming in through the front window.

Khaki QOD:

Hope.

Khaki QOD:

MI the voice could have come from one of several figures there.

Khaki QOD:

But a sheen of color, like an oil slick moved across one.

Khaki QOD:

As I heard the voice.

Khaki QOD:

There.

Khaki QOD:

The crystal statue of the rat.

Khaki QOD:

I said that's who just asked for help.

Khaki QOD:

Nobody said anything.

Khaki QOD:

Pod max said.

Khaki QOD:

I couldn't see his face from back here, but I felt the doubt in his words.

Khaki QOD:

. Yes, they did.

Khaki QOD:

That crystal rad is asking for help.

Khaki QOD:

No need to point.

Khaki QOD:

It was the only rat statue there.

Khaki QOD:

Max held a hand up, pressing it likely against the glass door.

Khaki QOD:

I don't feel any magic.

Khaki QOD:

Max.

Khaki QOD:

We said we leaving Roderick said coming up behind us.

Khaki QOD:

Coming.

Khaki QOD:

Max said.

Khaki QOD:

Dropping his hand and turning away from the case.

Khaki QOD:

No, we need to help the rat.

Khaki QOD:

I yanked hard on Max's hair.

Khaki QOD:

Oh, max said reaching overhead and pulling me off.

Khaki QOD:

Your shoulder privileges are revoked.

Khaki QOD:

What rat Roderick asked looking back and forth between us as

Khaki QOD:

Mac settled me into his arms.

Khaki QOD:

. You heard me?

Khaki QOD:

Help help.

Khaki QOD:

The monotonous defeated tone was gone now it was desperate and more urgent.

Khaki QOD:

The crystal Ratana case.

Khaki QOD:

I called my long striped tail up around and tapped on the glass.

Khaki QOD:

It's asking for help.

Khaki QOD:

Do you feel anything?

Khaki QOD:

Max asked, moving aside.

Khaki QOD:

Roderick had actual magic training.

Khaki QOD:

Unlike max.

Khaki QOD:

Roderick said his mouth and stood in front of the case for a moment.

Khaki QOD:

Then he turned away shaking his head.

Khaki QOD:

No.

Khaki QOD:

The band of Watchers, too much television.

Khaki QOD:

That's all.

Khaki QOD:

Let's go.

Khaki QOD:

Roderick walked away without waiting to see if max followed him.

Khaki QOD:

Max get the rat.

Khaki QOD:

It needs help.

Khaki QOD:

I wiggle around in his arms and press the top of my head into his chin.

Khaki QOD:

Humans loved that.

Khaki QOD:

Please.

Khaki QOD:

I drew the word out like human children due to their parents.

Khaki QOD:

Uh, let me see how much it is.

Khaki QOD:

He sighed and shifted my weight to his left arm.

Khaki QOD:

So he could pull on the case door to open it.

Khaki QOD:

But it rattled stuck.

Khaki QOD:

It's locked.

Khaki QOD:

He carried me over to the front desk and wrapped on the counter to

Khaki QOD:

get the attention of the employee.

Khaki QOD:

The woman's eyes widened when she saw me just like everyone's.

Khaki QOD:

Is that freaking red Panda.

Khaki QOD:

It's a plush Mack said giving the usual answer.

Khaki QOD:

I waived just to mess with her.

Khaki QOD:

Max saw and grimaced puppet.

Khaki QOD:

And anyway, the crystal rat in the glass case over there, uh, how much.

Khaki QOD:

It's not crystal it's diamond.

Khaki QOD:

She said, and got a book out from under the counter.

Khaki QOD:

Under his breath, max muttered.

Khaki QOD:

Fuck.

Khaki QOD:

I didn't understand his distress.

Khaki QOD:

Crystal diamond.

Khaki QOD:

What was the difference?

Khaki QOD:

They were both rocks.

Khaki QOD:

The employee flipped through the Boca moment.

Khaki QOD:

Hear me.

Khaki QOD:

Oh, it looks like the owner will only sell them as a full set of 12.

Khaki QOD:

No price listed.

Khaki QOD:

You'll have to call her if you're interested in purchasing them.

Khaki QOD:

Max's on tightened around me.

Khaki QOD:

The employee pulled a card out of a holder next to the register and

Khaki QOD:

slid it across the counter to max.

Khaki QOD:

Max didn't pick it up.

Khaki QOD:

Thanks.

Khaki QOD:

Max turned and left.

Khaki QOD:

As the door closed behind us.

Khaki QOD:

I struggled.

Khaki QOD:

Max pinned me to his chest Ohad.

Khaki QOD:

I could barely breathe.

Khaki QOD:

Max you left without it.

Khaki QOD:

I wailed.

Khaki QOD:

We're not getting the rack POG.

Khaki QOD:

Mack said, as we joined Roderick and ENS on the corner.

Khaki QOD:

Rat in this repeated.

Khaki QOD:

The light changed and they crossed the street walking away from the store.

Khaki QOD:

I struggled harder, but max kept to form arms around me, pinning me to his chest.

Khaki QOD:

Sometimes I hated being so small.

Khaki QOD:

Bogs says it's talking, but it doesn't feel magical.

Khaki QOD:

Roderick said.

Khaki QOD:

I glared at the back of his head.

Khaki QOD:

I was going to buy it to humor him, but they're made out of diamond.

Khaki QOD:

And so expensive.

Khaki QOD:

There's not even a price listed.

Khaki QOD:

What the heck kind of antique store did you take us to Roderick?

Khaki QOD:

Uh, high-end one.

Khaki QOD:

Roderick sniffed sounding like max had just said something completely outrageous.

Khaki QOD:

Where else would we go?

Khaki QOD:

I felt insulted that max felt he needed to humor me rather than believing me.

Khaki QOD:

Why don't you believe me?

Khaki QOD:

You said you couldn't feel innocent, magical protection charm either.

Khaki QOD:

And that's the whole point of a protection charm park in a said.

Khaki QOD:

The long and short of it is even if it is asking for help, we can't afford it.

Khaki QOD:

Why don't you ask sunny?

Khaki QOD:

Max said.

Khaki QOD:

Humans on their money.

Khaki QOD:

Fine.

Khaki QOD:

Sonny was the vampire we were crashing with right now.

Khaki QOD:

She owned a top floor, penthouse condo in one of the new high

Khaki QOD:

rises south of downtown.

Khaki QOD:

Nothing is nice as my old house.

Khaki QOD:

Of course, that's tolerable.

Khaki QOD:

Although it was only late afternoon.

Khaki QOD:

When we got back, Sonny was already awake and playing on her laptop.

Khaki QOD:

She sat on the couch.

Khaki QOD:

I bounded out of the elevator, scrambling a little on the tile,

Khaki QOD:

in my excitement to reach her.

Khaki QOD:

I hit the side of the couch and climbed up and over the armrest.

Khaki QOD:

Sunday saw me coming and lifted the laptop app out of the

Khaki QOD:

way as I oozed into her lap.

Khaki QOD:

Sunny, sunny.

Khaki QOD:

I stood on her legs and threw my poles around her neck.

Khaki QOD:

. Nice to see you too.

Khaki QOD:

Peggy.

Khaki QOD:

Sandy set our laptop aside before petting my head and back.

Khaki QOD:

I stood there a moment enjoying the attention and the way her hands ruffled.

Khaki QOD:

My far after a few minutes, I asked.

Khaki QOD:

Will you buy me something?

Khaki QOD:

Mack said he couldn't afford it.

Khaki QOD:

I gave her the wide-eyed cute.

Khaki QOD:

Look, I'd been practicing in front of the mirror.

Khaki QOD:

Of course.

Khaki QOD:

Only began.

Khaki QOD:

Ask him what it is before you say yes, max cold from the kitchen.

Khaki QOD:

Cutting her off.

Khaki QOD:

Dammit max almost had her.

Khaki QOD:

Sonny pushed me out to arm's length and gave me the look.

Khaki QOD:

I've recognized it from when I was a house guardian, the look

Khaki QOD:

parents gave to naughty children.

Khaki QOD:

Why does it, you want.

Khaki QOD:

She asked in a dead Pantone.

Khaki QOD:

Uh, diamond rat.

Khaki QOD:

Not just that max said, coming into the room, wiping his hands on a dish towel.

Khaki QOD:

You have to buy the whole set of 12 diamond animals.

Khaki QOD:

Sonny choked and sputtered.

Khaki QOD:

Her fangs came down and our eyes turned red.

Khaki QOD:

What.

Khaki QOD:

She growled?

Khaki QOD:

No, absolutely not.

Khaki QOD:

It was asking for help.

Khaki QOD:

I wiggled from her grip and snuggled up to chest.

Khaki QOD:

Don't you want to help it?

Khaki QOD:

Sonny pride me off and dumped me on the floor.

Khaki QOD:

. I've already done my yearly charity by letting you all crash here.

Khaki QOD:

What's the big deal.

Khaki QOD:

It's just money.

Khaki QOD:

I said, spreading my pores.

Khaki QOD:

I was still a bit hazy where money came from.

Khaki QOD:

Get a job Roderick said, sitting on the opposite side of the couch.

Khaki QOD:

He had a deep scowl on his face, then you'll see.

Khaki QOD:

Maybe I will.

Khaki QOD:

I got up on all fours and ran off to the bedroom to crawl under the bed.

Khaki QOD:

I curled up in a ball and buried my nose and my tail.

Khaki QOD:

No one believed me.

Khaki QOD:

But they hadn't heard the anguish in the voice.

Khaki QOD:

I knew what it was like to be trapped.

Khaki QOD:

Unable to leave.

Khaki QOD:

Abandoned by the family that created me.

Khaki QOD:

I would do anything to help them.

Khaki QOD:

Bonobos crawled up and cheated at me.

Khaki QOD:

He's a squirrel and ENS is familiar.

Khaki QOD:

It sounds, weren't really words.

Khaki QOD:

But I can understand what he meant.

Khaki QOD:

Him and the other animals.

Khaki QOD:

Dara I'm ways other than money.

Khaki QOD:

Like what.

Khaki QOD:

I uncurled enough to look at him over my tail.

Khaki QOD:

His big fluffy tail was curled into a question mark behind him.

Khaki QOD:

We could steal it.

Khaki QOD:

I consider this a moment.

Khaki QOD:

Who was I kidding?

Khaki QOD:

Less than a moment.

Khaki QOD:

Let's do it.

Khaki QOD:

I crawled out from under the bed, shaking dust from my fur, but then

Khaki QOD:

paused and looked back at Barnabas.

Khaki QOD:

Wait.

Khaki QOD:

How.

Khaki QOD:

It's in a locked case higher than I can reach.

Khaki QOD:

Bonobos sat next.

Khaki QOD:

To me, arm's clutched to his chest.

Khaki QOD:

Tayla knows.

Khaki QOD:

Twitching.

Khaki QOD:

His eyes.

Khaki QOD:

Gleaned we'll need help, but we'll have to wait until after dark to go talk to her.

Khaki QOD:

Ooh, is she a vampire like sunny?

Khaki QOD:

Bond was looked offended, wrinkling up his nose.

Khaki QOD:

. Don't.

Khaki QOD:

Be absurd.

Khaki QOD:

You already.

Khaki QOD:

Really know the humans won't help.

Khaki QOD:

Help.

Khaki QOD:

We waited until the humans had all gone to bed for the night.

Khaki QOD:

Once I was sure they were all asleep.

Khaki QOD:

I tiptoed out of bed.

Khaki QOD:

. Before we left the room, I took Ynez purse, dumping the

Khaki QOD:

contents out all over the floor.

Khaki QOD:

It was small enough.

Khaki QOD:

I could carry it in my mouth.

Khaki QOD:

Once we retrieved the rat, I could carry it back in the bag.

Khaki QOD:

Sonny had gone out to the club after the sun went down.

Khaki QOD:

So with the humans in bed, the condo was quiet and dark.

Khaki QOD:

. Bonobos summoned the elevator by climbing the coat rack and leaping

Khaki QOD:

off of it to hit the call button.

Khaki QOD:

We snuck off the elevator, pass the snooze and God in the lobby.

Khaki QOD:

And out into.

Khaki QOD:

Into the night.

Khaki QOD:

I felt a little thrill as my pole was hit the pavement.

Khaki QOD:

I'd never been out alone before.

Khaki QOD:

Max had been worried about people thinking that escaped from the zoo or stealing

Khaki QOD:

me because he said red pandas were rare.

Khaki QOD:

I'd seen enough of people's all to behavior when they thought

Khaki QOD:

I was just a realistic plush toy to understand this caution.

Khaki QOD:

But this mission was important.

Khaki QOD:

Barnabas chytrid at me to follow and scampered off.

Khaki QOD:

I couldn't respond with the bag, handle clenched in my teeth,

Khaki QOD:

but I jerked my tail to show.

Khaki QOD:

I understood.

Khaki QOD:

Crouched down loan, all.

Khaki QOD:

With my tail stretched behind me.

Khaki QOD:

I made a low profile by sticking close to the buildings in the shadows.

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I stayed on noticed by the few humans passing by in their cars.

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Sunday's condo building was one of the few residential ones in this part of town.

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With the rest being officers.

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And restaurants that were empty after business hours.

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So the sidewalks were clear.

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Barnabas led the way into a small park that sat between two office buildings.

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A huge Oak spread its branches over a circle of benches, grass, and flower beds.

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Dozens of yellow eyes blinked down at us from between the leaves.

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I followed Barnabas slowly, craning my head back to keep the Watchers and view.

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Whew.

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Um, massive raccoon, the largest I'd ever seen.

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Climbed down the trunk.

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They were longer and taller than me by a bit.

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They'll my tail was longer than hers.

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Barnabas darling.

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She said sitting in front of him on her back legs, her gray and black

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stripped tail, lazy flicking behind her.

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What brings you to see me in my humble family?

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Lux bond of us, despite the lack of words.

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I understood the intent of what she said.

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. Well met.

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Bonobos chitter.

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We have a job that needs doing, and you were the first I thought of.

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Oh, I'm flattered, but what is this job?

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. Her eyes flicked over Barnabas and settled on me as I joined them.

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I sat emesis bag at my feet and regarded the raccoon.

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When I'd be in a house spirits after my humans had gone.

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Leaving me abandoned and empty.

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Raccoons are trying to move in several times.

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I'd always been able to scare them off.

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Within a few hours.

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They hadn't intimidated me then.

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But now that I was the same size of them and we were thoroughly outnumber to boot.

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I found myself too scared to speak.

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After a few moments of silence, Barnabas answered for me.

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My friend here is planning a heist.

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View on, in.

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Depends.

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What's the score horizon.

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Cut over to me, calculating and sharp.

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I took a moment to compose myself focusing on why we were here.

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There's an antique store near the river called relics and rarities.

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But score.

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I paused, not sure why raccoons would want to help us steel

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a diamond figure of a rat.

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I decided to be honest and let them decide.

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Is a dozen diamond figures.

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I'm only interested in the rat.

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You can take the rest as your fee.

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Diamonds her eyes sparkled.

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And she took a few steps toward us.

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Are they shiny?

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I nodded.

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They glittered like rainbows in the sun.

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Oh, we're in.

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She rubbed the front paws together.

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I know the store.

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But they have gods will need some money to take them out if they come

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to investigate I know someone Bug you stay here while i go get them Monda

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scampered off With him gone do you Tunai?

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I at each other wearily My name's park I said after a moment and stuck

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out a paul Dudes She looked at my pole but didn't move to take it

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Maybe shaking was only a human thing.

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I lowered my arm You're really brightly colored for a raccoon she said I'm

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from china It's really far away from me or across the ocean I'd looked up

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red panda facts on sundays laptop with her one evening after max went to bed.

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Because i'd been curious about what i was now That seemed to satisfy her What

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the heck is that i asked when barnabas returned The animal walking next to the

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squirrel dwarfed barnabas in size And was bigger around than deals Of course

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that was because of the collection of long pointy looking hair that puffed out

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from its back and rattled slightly as it walked I'm a porcupine she said in a low

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voice This is clatter barnabas chatted, pointing to his friend She's agreed to

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come along and help take out any gods How i asked looking there over most of her

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size appeared to be her puffy clacking for and she didn't look scary Well it

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kills a really sharp she said shuffling her feet Humans are scared of them But

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my price helping is one of the Shoney's.

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she said Hmm.

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Find my me One for me one for clatter i looked at barnabas What's your price

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Nothing I believed you about the voice I want to help them to barnabas chytrid.

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All right that leaves 10 for the raccoons Is that acceptable I've turned to

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deals Works for me D had said Now that everyone's here let's come up with a plan

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I said We hunkered down and i sketched out the layout of the antique store

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using twigs and leaves There's the front door I put a pole on the twig that i'd

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used as it's marker The case with the shiny animals is here I touched the leaf

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marking the display case near the front of the store They're on a high shelf so

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when lead away to get up to it after we get inside sat up and gestured at the

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raccoons watching us from the branches Three of them scampered down the tree.

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And joined us Show them Dude said The three raccoons formed a tower standing

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on each other's shoulders Stack that way they were almost as tall as max Perfect

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Except the cases locked how are we going to get it open I've got that part barnabas

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set and pulled two twists of wire from the furthest tail Ian has taught me how

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to pick locks Now i liked inez even more Can you get the one on the front door too?

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i asked Not going to work dude said most of the places around here pull big metal

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bars down over the doors and windows at nights So we can't get in that way I

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grumbled Or could we I played hours of car racing games with sonny and in one

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you try to crash in spectacular ways the speeding cars could go through brick

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walls What if i crashed a car through it that will take down the bars right You

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just want to drive a car again barnabas chytrid with a laugh Hmm, He wasn't wrong

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But where would we get a car I shrugged I haven't gotten that far in my plan It

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doesn't matter what anyway Do you shook her head if you do that the humans will

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come running from every direction and we'll never get the chinese Well, How

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do we get in then i asked The roof Deals said humans can't climb so they usually

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forget about high up entrances She gave me an plantar and appraising glance I

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can climb I said flexing my front paws I'd seen red pandas climbing trees and

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videos Although i hadn't tried to do it myself We all looked at clatter with her

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puffy heart for Porcupines are natural climbers too don't worry about me she

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said Are you sure there'll be a way in from the roof i asked That almost

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always is D it said flicking her tail.

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Roofing is then I clapped my pores imitating roderick's authority to voice

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Let's go Uh one more thing Do you have said pointing at me You'll for is

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too bright will be spotted for sure I looked down at my black stomach for.

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Not that The orange on your back and your face You'll need a disguise She

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has a point bonobos chytrid How i asked With this Dude said A bunch of raccoons

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swarmed out of the bushes Each had something clenched in their fists The

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first reached me and dumped what they were carrying all over my back Dust.

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I said craning my head around to look as the raccoon rubbed it in turning my

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pretty for a muddy gray Play it'll wash out don't worry Do you to shoot me?

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After they finished i wandered over to the closest window to look at my reflection

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I almost looked like a raccoon now I rather like my bright colors but i guess

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it was okay as long as it was temporary And this had to be easier to get out

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than the sticky marshmallow fluff that max had accidentally covered me in a

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few weeks ago Our monthly crews at off.

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For relics and rarities This was the first of two pots of diamond in the

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rat by ron rosser read for you by cocky your faithful fireside companion.

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Tune in next time to find out how the characters steal the figurines And

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save the rat As always you can find more stories on the web@thevoice.dog.

Khaki QOD:

Or find the show wherever you get your podcasts Thank you for

About the Podcast

Show artwork for The Voice of Dog
The Voice of Dog
Furry stories to warm the ol' cockles, read for you by Khaki, Rob MacWolf and guests. If you have a story that would suit the show, you can get in touch with @khakidoggy on Twitter and Telegram, and khakidoggy@me.com by e-mail.

About your host

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Khaki