It was early in the morning when I got a page for another swearing in. I went to my post and I saw Benjamin. I was stunned. I crouched down, grabbed his legs, and began to sob.
“That breaks rule number 9,” Benjamin said. “No more rule breaking,” he said “There’s a new Sheriff in town.”
I looked up and saw the stars from the beautiful sky twinkle off his badge.
“I am sorry Benji,” I said, as he wiped my tears with the back of his paw. I know we are not supposed to cry when we see one another, but I could feel all the pain from the mortal side of the river caused by Benjamin’s passing. It passed over us like a dark thunder head then stopped, waves of sorrow thundering overhead, the ground shaking.
Benjamin stood on his hind legs looking up towards the cloud, so brave, so strong, the qualities he exuded on the mortal side of the Bridge, where he was appointed sheriff Doggyville and looked after each one of us keeping us from harm’s way. He did the same for me at the top of the stairs, until, after what seemed like a fortnight, the cloud of sorrow dissipated into a driving rain of tears.
He patted my head when the cloud had passed. I stood on my hind legs, the tears dripping from my robe and his Pomeranian hair, puddling at our feet, and soaking into our paw pads, so we would carry them forever. I swore in my good friend, and took him for his wing fitting. I don’t know if it was his police training or if someone had been teaching him how to fly in his dreams but he took right too it.
Then we went to Tommy’s mansion so he could check on his Mom. The poor woman was quite broken. Benjamin climbed up to the TV and tried to wipe his Mom’s tears on the screen with the back of his paw like he did mine. He then climbed down and went to the couch where he curled up with a plate of freshly made donuts to eat away his sadness.
Tommy came out with a freshly baked batch of cronuts and asked Benjamin if he wanted some. “I like donuts!” he barked with a mouth full of fried dough.
We understood. Watching your Mom suffer is hard. After he had his full of donuts Benjamin said he was going on his first patrol and asked me if I wanted to go with him. I knew I was the biggest rule breaker of them all and was risking ending up at the Bridge Hoosgow for the night but I couldn’t abandon my friend and we ran outside, jumped in the air and flew like Alison Williams in the Peter Pan Live musical except without highly visible guide wires holding us up.
As Ben patrolled the land I asked him what kind of Sheriff he would be. I know I am a rule breaker and did not want to have one of my oldest and dearest friends being an advisory. “Why a Sheriff of fun, of course,” Benjamin answered. We saw some pups under a tree looking bored. Benjamin swooped down while I followed and then he dropped some magic dust on them and suddenly the dogs were running and playing. After we flew back up to cruising altitude Benjamin told me it was his job to make sure we were all having fun while we waited for our parents.
“Out Moms could use some of that magic dust,” I said. “They are very sad about us leaving.”
“They will be fine,” Ben said. “Humans are amazingly resilient. Their hearts get broken dozens of times during their lives. They lose their parents, their siblings, their children, their friends, their pets, they see horrible tragedies, inexplicable injustices, they face financial ruin, and somehow they persevere. They are truly remarkable and that’s why we love them.”
“It’s hard waiting for them,” I admitted. “It doesn’t just seem like an eternity, it is one. The whole system is messed up Humans are terrible at saying goodbye and we are terrible at waiting. I just hate it.”
Benjamin saw some more depressed dogs waiting for their parents and swooped down. The Sheriff of Fun sprinkled them with dust and we watched them playing. Ben then spotted a donut shop and went into a dive, once again hungry for his favorite treat.
I watched him entering the shop and thought the immortal side of the Bridge would be more fun with Benjamin as the Sheriff of Fun but the mortal side would be much sadder. They could really use a Sheriff of Fun there instead of so many Ministers of Misery.
But while they suffer, and endure, on the mortal side we will be having fun here on the Immortal side.
Lots of fun, and donuts.