THE CABIN ANTHRAX, MURPHY, N.C. – (CT&P) – Banjo, or Banjo the Stubborn as he is known in and around his Kingdom of Anthraxia, celebrated his 18th birthday yesterday by taking a nearly day long nap. The event was a far cry from celebrations of old, when canine royalty from all parts of Cherokee County were invited to a three-day long Feist Festival that featured agility competitions, tree climbing tournaments, and baby rodent eating contests. Most of the attendees were fellow members of the Feist royal family, but all canines were welcome at these events.
For those unfamiliar with this noble breed, Feists are generally small (shorter than 18 inches, and weigh less than 30 lb), short-coated dogs with long legs and a pointed (snipy) nose. The ears set high on the head and are button, erect, or short hang ears. Traditionally the tail is a natural bobtail. As Feists are bred for hunting, not as show dogs, there is little to no consistency in appearance. They are identified more by the way they hunt and their size than by their appearance.
Individual dogs can hunt in more than one way, but in general, Feists work above ground to chase small prey, especially squirrels. Most Feists have an extreme drive to chase rabbits, squirrels, and all other rodents.
When hunting, Feists, unlike hounds, are silent and stealthy on track until they sight a squirrel. They locate squirrels using their eyes, ears, or nose then tree them barking loudly and circling the tree. This circling and barking can go on ad nauseam for hours on end in the case of a particularly persistent Feist such as Banjo the Stubborn.
When they have treed a squirrel, Feists will chase the squirrel until it leaves their sight. During the chase they will wade through streams, leap over logs, and dash across roads to get to their prey. Most Feists exhibit a blood lust seldom seen outside the Middle East.
Although they put up a furious chase, Feists rarely catch squirrels, expecting their owners to obliterate them with a shotgun blast or an anti-tank weapon.
Banjo, the last aristocrat in his line of Treeing Feists, first assumed the throne as a young pup 17 long years ago when his father, Viola the Violent, was assassinated during a fifth column revolt masterminded by Viola’s half brother Cello the Squirrel Crusher. Cello met his demise under the wheels of a 72 Ford pickup shortly after the assassination when forces loyal to Viola chased him out onto Hwy 64.
After ascending the throne Banjo instituted a series of reforms which effectively abolished serfdom within his kingdom and granted equal rights to all canines, regardless of breed, color, religious affiliation, or sexual preference. The reforms were greeted with great praise within the kingdom and indeed all across Cherokee County.
Banjo even founded the “Pooch Project,” a series of dog houses built to feed and house strays that are down on their luck and need help to “hike their leg up” and become productive members of society again. The system has been studied by other rulers across the state and several have adopted it as a mutt motivator and effective safety net for the less fortunate.
Nevertheless Banjo has ruled with an iron paw for most of his reign, reserving the right to send lawbreakers away to serve long kennel sentences. Occasionally, some unfortunates are even sent into exile across the state line into Tennessee, a fate considered worse than death by canines and humans alike.
In general however, most miscreants are allowed to earn degrees in obedience while incarcerated and often come out changed dogs.
Banjo, is an almost universally adored regent, and has assured the immortality of his reign by commissioning statues and palaces to honor his ancestors. These monuments dot the landscape of Anthraxia to this day.
A sculpture depicting Geetar the Great’s victory over the coyotes at Chlamydia Creek, a five bedroom stone dog house dedicated to the reign of Harmonica the Horrible, a full sized bronze statue of Mandolin the Malodorous, and a diamond-encrusted golden water bowl cast in honor of Piccolo the Pernicious, who once slaughtered 37 chipmunks in a single day, all stand as great monuments to Banjo’s ancestors.
As his reign winds down, Banjo now spends most of his time napping atop his sofa throne inside his palace, the Cabin Anthrax. It’s doubtful that Cherokee County will ever again see such an extended period of peace and prosperity. Indeed, pundits have compared Banjo’s reign to that Augustus of Rome, James I of England, and even the Sun King, Louis XIV of France.
Although a pack of canine well-wishers surrounded the Cabin Anthrax yesterday howling in unison “God Save our Gracious King,” Banjo declined to appear, preferring instead to feast on a royal brunch of pork sausage, cheese and kibble Quiche made by his attendant and aide Uncle Jerry. Afterwards the sated sovereign returned to the sofa to snooze contentedly while his humble servant watched Arsenal defeat Manchester United in exciting FA Cup 6th Round action.