It’s no secret that Mom and Dad are big fans of ghost shows. So while at our rental beach cottage, Asa and I came up with a little plan to scare them. It was suppose to be harmless good fun, until the tables were turned and Asa was the one who got scared! His Imaginary Friend has an evil doppelgänger!
It all started our first night there. As planned that evening I stared down the long hallway and did my meanest growl at an unseen foe in the darkened bedroom. As expected, Mom and Dad dismissed it as me being unaccustomed to our new surroundings. That’s when Asa’s part of the plan kicked in. Asa began trotting around the house, looking up, as if he was following someone. I have to hand it to the little fellow, he’s a good actor. He even would periodically sit down, while still looking up, and would tilt his head with the most perplexed look on his face. This immediately unnerved Mom. “Who are you looking at Asa?” Our plan was working! I resumed barking down the hall. Dad reluctantly got up to check the bedroom and shut the door. Mom then asked the question we all were waiting for, “Do you think this place is haunted?” Oh this plan is working too well! Dad dismissed Mom’s fear and we all headed off to bed.
The next morning was when the real ghost of the house decided to reveal himself. Asa was happily playing in the kitchen when out of the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of his Imaginary Friend. However, upon closer inspection he realized this was not his Imaginary Friend joining us on vacation. This was some sort of distorted twin lurking on the stool’s leg. An evil doppelgänger! Asa lurched back in fear. I laughed and coaxed him back to investigate, but had to admit this friend’s appearance was unsettling. I quickly walked away. This must be some sort of trick. Silly puppy, I wasn’t about to be scared by him. Besides, Mom and Dad once again dismissed his action as nothing, and laughed. The rest of the day Asa steered clear of the stool, and that night he uncharacteristically insisted on sleeping under the bed.
This continued for a few days, until the wee hours of Wednesday morning when Asa finally broke. He saw his real Imaginary Friend hanging out in the mirror on the bedroom door, and started barking. Asa NEVER barks! Ok, I admit this rattled my nerves, and I immediately sprang into action surveying the room, then threw myself on top of Dad…to protect him, of course! I wasn’t scared, honest. Mom instantly comforted Asa and opened the offending door to let him out of the room. But then Asa caught a glimpse of the distorted Imaginary Friend in the kitchen again. He immediately rocketed back into the bedroom and under the bed!
For the remainder of our vacation, whenever Asa was in the vicinity of the kitchen stools, he would let out low growls. It was cute actually. No way would he scare the evil doppelgänger, but it was endearing for the rest of us. However, on that last evening, emboldened by a belly full of kibble, Asa approached the stool and started barking at the distorted Imaginary Friend. I have to admit I was proud of the little guy for standing his ground. Mom and Dad, not so much, and they told him to be quiet. Asa obeyed by hiding under the bed again. To be honest, I’m not sure what was going on with that doppelgänger. Perhaps he wasn’t evil at all? I probably should have comforted my little brother, and reminded Asa of the number one rule of being a Golden Retriever: “A stranger, even if it is a distorted doppelgänger, is simply a friend you haven’t met yet!” But then again, I was just happy my initial ghost plan worked, even if it was on the wrong member of the family!