The Muzzle Puzzle


ONCE upon a time, in a sleepy little village in the north of England, there lived a feisty Red Lakeland terrier called Jack. Sometimes, for all his intelligence, he didn’t half get himself in a pickle.

One day his owner noticed him acting in a manner that was quite out of character and called him over. Jack jumped on to his master’s lap with an odd grimace across his chops. He was almost cross-eyed. The dog, that is, not the owner.

All efforts to prise Jack’s mouth open were to no avail. At first it looked like the dog was clamping it shut but it soon became apparent that both sets of teeth were fused together with a brown paste that closely resembled congealed sawdust. With each attempt to ease his jaws apart, the wee fellow winced. So the mistress of the house rummaged around for some implement that would help. She found a large nail that was about the right size and passed it to her husband. It was a long process teasing the inexplicable goo from around Jack’s canines, but eventually his jaws were free. The poor lad was overwhelmed and wagged his tail with relief.

The lady of the house spent the remainder of the day scratching her head. That is until she arrived at the house of the local postmistress to post a package. To make conversation, she recounted what had been the most noteworthy event of the day. Then, as she watched the postmistress affix the stamps, she had a flashback to the brown envelope from the taxman that had landed on the doormat that morning, the one that was half missing.

Indignant that her darling mutt had suffered at the hands of HMRC, she growled “How much gum do they need on these effing envelopes?”


Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2015


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