I originally wrote this short story as a submission for a column to appear in a pet enthusiast magazine, but this magazine does not print stories relating to dog shows (I honestly didn’t even think about that), so I’m posting it here. Obviously, I’m crazy about my dogs, and we all just watched the Westminster Dog Show together (Zip, in particular loves watching dogs on tv).
So here’s the story!
Chaos at the Dog Show
By Rascal, the Jack Russell Terrier
Last night, I dreamt I was at the Dog Show. I was backstage amid the hubbub, the handlers and the hair spray. While the Poodle got his hair puffed, and the Doberman barked strict orders, I trotted between the legs of the Great Dane and hopped over the Pekingese. I’d never seen so many dogs in one place, and had definitely never seen so many hairstyles.
The Parson Russell Terrier sniffed his way over to me.
“Hello, Cousin,” I said to him. “What’s your name?”
“They call me Spot,” he replied. “I enjoy frolicking in the woods and am a great companion. I’m energetic and was bred to hunt foxes. I enjoy success but can be stubborn at times.”
“Okay,” I shrugged. That’s a little TMI for our first meeting, I thought. “Want to take a spin around the room and see who’s who?”
Spot, the Parson, stood on his hind legs and turned in a circle. “Spin,” he said.
“Very funny, show-off,” I laughed. “Let’s go for a quick walk.”
“WALK?” he yipped. A few dogs near us snapped to attention. “WALK?!” He started bouncing as though on a trampoline.
I realized my mistake once the word slipped across my flat tongue. My canine cousin’s enthusiasm was infectious, though, and I couldn’t help myself. Soon I was hopping up and down next to him. We were like two pogo sticks with tails.
“WALK! WALK!” we chanted, and soon other dogs joined in. The handlers frantically grabbed for their leashes and tried calm the pups with liver treats.
“WALK! WALK! WALK!” our chorus continued. We leapt and jiggled through the area. The big dogs stumbled and tumbled over the smaller ones, while those in the Toy category found refuge near larger, protective breeds. I noticed the Pug seeking cover under the Mastiff, and the Chihuahua climbing onto the back of the Rottweiler.
“WALK! WALK!” was our mantra. Spot led the charge through the doors and into the arena, where a surprised scattering of audience members watched our parade. The dog handlers chased us. Round and round we went, pooches and humans, dashing in circles on the green carpet of the arena.
Finally, our excitement waned and dog after dog flopped down. I found a good space to lie down near Spot and we tucked our heads next to each other. Spot yawned. My eyes drooped with sleep.
“That was a great walk,” Spot said dreamily.
“Great walk,” I agreed. My eyes closed and the sounds of doggy snores slowly faded away.
I woke up in my bed, warm and soft. My human was leaning over me with a smile on his face.
“Wow, that must have been some dream, Rascal!” he said. “You were barking in your sleep and your legs were going, as if you were on a walk.”
I jumped up from my bed, tail wagging and ears perked. “WALK?!” I yipped.
Piles of boxes line each wall
A precarious mess, that threaten to fall
Stacks upon stacks of trivial things
Oh, the weighty trouble these boxes bring
Picking my way, so carefully treading
Stepping and stirring, unaware of where I’m heading
These boxes impede and mislead; I despair
I plead to be freed of the cell that we share
The dust takes hold and obstructs my breath
These piles won’t be my last sight before death
I grip at the boxes, pulling everything down
While those trivial things unload and abound
Those dusty boxes, those burdens and fears
Have compiled and swelled in this room through the years
A window, a door, a crack in the wall
I search for my exit, I grapple and crawl
And just when the darkness and dust seems its worst
I find my opening and tumble headfirst
and stumbling ahead
Ripping and splitting
you out of my head
The lesson you force-fed
me when I was young
Like a bitterness
on the tip of my tongue
I spit you out
Fling you far, far away
But you return with gusto
If only you’d stay
I’m gone and I’m free
You creep back and sneak in
where you shouldn’t be
Age and heart take the
brunt of your force
The ransacking chaos
of your brazen course
Your hit-and-run game
is so obscure
that I barely realize
I’m stuck on your detour
I’m breaking apart
Hoping my next fight
leaves me my heart
The January Flash Fiction contest has been announced over at Devin O’Branagan’s writing blog. This month’s challenge is to write about disturbing news from a fortune teller … in under 1,000 words. Check it out and enter – the rules are posted at the link I included.
I’ve found flash fiction to be a great exercise for when I hit a slump in my writing. I know I do a lot of poetry on this blog, but short stories are where my heart really lies. Unfortunately, I don’t get struck with the lightning bolt quite as often. But a challenge issued for a flash fiction contest can usually do the trick for getting inspired quickly. And the best part is that it’s only 1,000 words, so it doesn’t take quite as long for the writing, then editing, then re-editing. And then re-editing.
So check out the contest here and enter – it’s easy!
Somewhere deep inside of me
the words shout out, cacophony
it wasn’t til we met, you see
The words turned into poetry
The tune began to softly play
as I walked down that sandy way
to meet you where the palm leaves sway
that new year’s morn, our wedding day
I hold these words inside my soul,
the songs and rhymes our love has told
of how a thief broke in a stole
a half a heart to make one whole
This love began beside an ocean,
waves and words concoct a potion
So now we’ve set it into motion
a poetry of sweet devotion
Let’s pick our way through nettles
And romp among the brooks
Singing and sliding down muddy hills
These woods are made for adventure.
Let’s hide in the roots of the tallest trees
and shout and laugh and play
Resting and racing through falling leaves
These woods hold hidden treasure.
You fly like Peter and I’ll be Wendy
in a mystical, magical land
Vines rise like masts and this log is a plank
These woods hold worlds of wonder