...sorry, no Swahili - it seemed rather like African overkill since I already have a prominent non-swearing Kenyan elsewhere in the mix - but I did manage to work in the machete and a little mental illness for good measure.
(My readers are a treasure! Mwa!)
We were interrupted by the sound of frantic screaming. People were starting to gasp and run toward a huge willow tree. Just under its branches we could make out a commotion, but couldn't really tell what was happening. More screaming; It was Evie! Dad and I leaped off the stage and pushed through the stunned crowd.
What we saw made my stomach go cold. A huge, fierce rotweiller had Marcus' robe by the hem and was pulling with all his might. Marcus, our little samurai, was gritting his teeth and pulling for all he was worth in the other direction. Evie was hitting the dog and screaming. Everyone else seemed to be just standing around in shock. I was two steps ahead of Dad, so I dove into the fray, grabbing Marcus around the waist and pounding on the dogs nose with my fist.
I heard a voice in the crowd shout, "Give him the robe!"
I quickly undid the tie belt and pulled the robe off Marcus' shoulders. To my surprise, Marcus turned on me shouting, "No! I shall be shamed! No! No! NO!"
I pried the last bit of robe out of his fingers and the dog suddenly staggered backwards shaking the robe viciously as though to make sure it was dead. Then he stopped growling, dropped the robe and plopped down on his haunches, panting heavily. Evie sank to the ground crying. Dad was beside her in an instant, holding her tight. The people in the crowd were clapping.
I tried to hug Marcus, but he stiffened in my arms a moment and then clawed himself away from me, his face red, his eyes burning. Before I could stop him, he marched right up to the beast and bowed low, "You are a worthy opponent," he conceded reluctantly. Then he swooped up his robe and turned. Immediately the dog was up, a low growl emmanating from his throat.
I was just preparing to tackle the big black monster and save my baby brother yet again when a voice from crowd commanded, "Sit, Bambi!" It occured to me that it was the same voice that had suggested taking the robe off of Marcus. The dog instantly sat, his adoring face turned toward the voice, the stub of his tail working
back and forth.
Suddenly someone squawked, "Oh my word! He has a knife!" The gawking crowd rapidly parted as everyone backpedaled several feet and gasped.
A tall, thin man with a dark flattop and a whisper of a moustache stepped out from the growing crowd. He was wearing deep blue straight leg jeans with loafers and a sweater, all of which looked brand new. He was maybe a little younger than my folks. In one hand was an empty leash, in the other a machete.
He seemed unaffected by the fear he inspired in the mob. He strode over to Bambi, lay the machete on the ground, and clipped on the leash, then turned toward Marcus, "Bambi likes to play tug-o-war."
Evie leapt to her feet. Her face was puffy and red. "What were you thinking letting that vicious brute loose in park full of people. Are you crazy?" My sweet. gentle stepmom looked ready to rip his throat out.
The man looked nonplussed as he absently scratched his dog on the neck. "She likes to play here with the children," he answered. "She likes tug-o-war."
My dad sidled over to the machete and grabbed it before any more discussion took place. "You do realize he could have hurt our little boy, don't you? It is irresponsible for any dog owner to let their dog loose in a public place like this. You ought to be ashamed of yourself!"
The crowd murmured, fixing their disapproving stares on the stranger.
"N-no!" the man said. "Bambi is a GIRL. And she likes to play tug-o-war. She likes children. She wouldn't hurt a fly."
Just then an insect buzzed by, low to the ground and the rottie snapped at it. My eyes met Franklin's and we both our faces began to twitch as we stifled snickers. The tall guy looked normal enough, but there was something about his stilted speech and repetitions that made him seem a bit odd. He looked confused, "I want my knife back, please. Please give me my knife."
My dad's eyes narrowed, "First we talk to the police…"