Friday, December 14, 2012

Dogs at the Gate. A Christmas Dog Ghost Tale. (Repost)

Christmas is a time for ghost stories. It is an English tradition and some of the most famous English/Irish writers engaged in Christmas ghost tales--including of course Dickens, MR James, RL Stevenson. This is my dog ghost story, written (perhaps) in the old style--reposted. Hope you enjoy it and Happy Holidays.

I am not a man who is easily misled. Never have I believed in creatures of the night, nor specters, nor ghoulies, nor goblins. As a God-fearing man, even if I were a sort who believed in the preternatural, I trust in the Lord to protect me.

Now, I have walked the road leading from The Golden Friars public house to my own home a thousand times. The trip is little more than a mile. It leads past no place of notoriety. No sites of ancient scaffolding line the road. There is neither church yard nor graves. Whether I have had my fill of ale, or none; whether darkness or twilight, I had never so much as stumbled upon that road.

That is, until Bindon Babel returned.

Bindon was the eldest child of Silas Babel, a villain already old when I was born. Silas married his young second cousin, and she was more beast of burden than mate. Those who remembered him better than I, said he lost his wife from fever soon after the birth of the last child. Many felt Silas' mistreatment led to his poor wife's death. The elder Babel had two sons and a daughter. His daughter, who had taken her mother's place as workhorse, died of consumption at 15; and some six months after, the youngest son died when a tree he'd attempted to fell, fell upon him--or so Silas swore.

Silas Babel lived on a rocky plot of land with an unkempt orchard surrounding it. This land joined the road I spoke of earlier by way of a broken gate. The Babel home was little more than a hovel. Here Silas drank and rarely ventured outside. Villagers called him Godless. They said he'd never darkened the door of a church except when he enslaved his wife.

The son Bindon left to travel and find fortune for the sake of his family. When his sister and brother died, the surviving brother attended neither funeral. Some 15 years later, Silas Babel also died. If not for a black dog howling outside the door, Silas might not have been found for weeks. As it was, in death, the pale, wrinkled Silas looked little changed from his living self. Again, the son failed to return for services. In all the years of his absence, neither sister, brother, father, nor anyone from the village heard from or about Bindon Babel.

Then, some dozen years after the death of his father, the remaining Babel from the village, returned.

Rumors at the Golden Friars spread for weeks. Some said Bindon had been a mercenary on the continent, and amassed a small fortune in loot. Others swore he'd been aboard a coastal raider prowling the waters of West Africa. A third rumor put Bindon in America at the head of a gang of thieves and murderers. No one, frequenters of the public house, or the wags who passed tales at the back fence, figured Bindon had acquired his money by legal means. But make no mistake, it seemed as if this Babel at least had a surplus of money.

This money, ill-gotten or no, Bindon Babel hurriedly spent. First he married. Like his father, he found a girl much younger than himself. And, like his father, he mistreated the poor thing. Then, he gambled on cards and the races. He drank too much. He travelled with men with shady pasts. In a matter of months, he gambled, misplaced, or invested without return most all his funds. Soon, his wife, misused always, caught a chill and died. Bindon Babel disappeared into the same hovel as his father, broken and mad.

Then, I witnessed the odd events that began along the road from Golden Friars. First, every night for some weeks, I saw a small black dog I'd never seen before at the gate to Babel's land. The dog sat without seeming to notice me as I passed. Then, one twilight, Bindon, weaving, held onto the gate, staring out at the road. Perhaps I wanted talk for the public house, or perhaps I felt neighborly, even with a man such as this, so I greeted Babel.

"Good evening, sir," I said. "Where is your dog this evening?"

"I have no dog," he said, "and this evening has nothing to recommend it."

Taken aback, I bid the man farewell.

The very next night, a black dog stood at Babel's gate. It seemed odd, but the dog had grown considerably, as if it had shot up in stature in just a day. Also, while it again seemed to take little notice of me, something in its demeanor struck me as more aggressive.

A week later after this second sighting of the dog, Bindon again appeared at his gate. He stood some way out into the road, looking in one direction then the other. This time he addressed me.

"Have you seen anything strange around here?" he asked.

"There is a stray or perhaps two stray black dogs who sit at your gate in the evenings. This is all I can report."

Bindon Babel cursed then, and without another word, dashed through the gate.

The next evening, yet a larger black dog, very similar to the first two--so similar that they must have come from the same family--appeared at the gate. This animal's fur stood up along the top of his spine and neck. Though it took little notice of me, I put as much distance as the road allowed between it and me.

As I walked along the road toward my house, behind me I heard the panting of a dog. Afraid, I turned, but saw nothing. I looked about, to each side of the road but saw nothing. I retraced my steps, and found no dog. Naturally, I thought of the black dogs from Babel's, but I saw nothing. Yet, when I resumed my way home, again I heard the panting of a dog following me. Again I stopped. The panting stopped, but I saw nothing. I started home again, and the panting started again. I ran then, alarmed.

The very next day Bindon again stood by his gate, in obvious distress. He asked me if I had seen anything odd that night. I told him a family of strays must have adopted his land as home and that one had followed me last night. In truth, I thought these animals must be Babel's.

"I am worried I may be mauled along the road some evening," I said. "Someone should get the sheriff to remove these brutes."

I thought Babel might admit that this family of animals belonged to him, and that he'd curse me for my comment. Instead, he agreed with me.

"Yes. The sheriff is a good idea. These devils roam my property late at night. I can't sleep. They scratch at my door. They whine. Sometimes I hear them growling near the windows. Fetch the sheriff. They're devils." He then spit out another string of profanities.

The next evening, as I approached Babel's gate with trepidation, another even larger dog stood. It took no notice of me, but I dashed past it, wishing I had a club for protection. Again, I heard an invisible dog of some great size panting behind me all the way home. When I mentioned this to my wife, she suggested that the dog probably followed me behind a hedge and that in the dusk, I would not necessarily have seen him.

"But I never saw him hedge or not, yet I heard him still."

My wife shrugged, but seemed unconcerned.

The next evening, and it was early evening this time, on my way from the Golden Friars, Babel sat in the dirt in the road, in front of his gate, crying.

"I'm not a bad man," he said. "My poor mother. My poor wife. I should have come home. Brother, sister. I should have come home. There was enough for all. Did you know them?"

"I had seen your wife several times," I said.

"Poor girl. She deserved better. She never did no wrong. Not to a living soul. It's all my fault. I deserve it. I surely deserve it. They'll never let me rest." With that, he rose, and trudged through his gate.

The next day, an even larger black dog stood at the gate. This time the animal eyed me every step. It seemed ready to pounce on me, and seemed to be guarding the entrance to Babel's property. I sprinted past the gate. All the way home, I ran. Behind me, unseen, some great hound chased me, panting and growling.

It took nearly a week for me to recover from my fright. The next time I went to the Golden Friars, I asked a few of the lads to accompany me home. A couple of ales each at my expense gained me this gang. We all carried sticks. All the way to Babel's the younger men bragged what they would do to any dog that dared to molest me or them. Then, at Babel's gate, five black dogs of various size stood near the road.

At the sight of us, the dogs began to howl. They crowded through the gate then, still howling, and somehow, they disappeared. The bunch of us heard nothing from them. None of us had been to Babel's since he'd returned. As soon as we came within sight of the dilapidated house, we noticed the door standing open, and the windows broken through.

"Bindon!" we cried. "Babel. Bindon Babel!"

No answer came from the house. As a group, we decided to enter. Perhaps the dogs were inside the house.

Inside, we found no dogs. We did find Bindon Babel on the floor. It looked as if he'd been attacked by wolves. His clothes were shredded. His entire body was covered with blood and in some places one could see the bites. Upon a table sat a sheet of paper. "The dogs are walking on two legs," it read.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Whew! So I Saw This Dog...repost of a dog adverture



So I saw this dog in a pet store window the other day who even knew there were pet stores anymore, but I saw this dog in this pet store
window and I had to go into the place and tell them it was too damn hot for the dog out in the window and what the hell did they think they were doing torturing a little dog like that, especially one that cost $650 for a little dog I could see if a big dog cost that much but this dog was little and not even that cute and it was burning up in the heat of the window so I told this dumb-ass woman in the store that it was too damn hot in the window and I didn't even know they had pet stores anymore and she said well they do and I said well this is why they don't have them anymore because some dumb idiot like you leaves an expensive dog that isn't even that cute in the window to burn up and the lady said mind your own business the dog is just fine it's not that hot, so I said get the damn dog out of the window or I will do it myself and she said get the hell out before she calls the cops and I said call the damn cops I dare you because they will arrest you for animal cruelty and she ignored me and started for the phone while I started for the window and so this damn woman comes over and lays her hands on me SHE LAYS HER HAND ON ME I said don't you lay your hands on me I'm going to get this damn too expensive mutt out of the window before he or she burns the hell up you stupid dog-hating bitch and she runs over to the phone and I can't figure out how to open the blasted window up to let the dog out so I'm looking around the store and they don't have anything in there to help open the door but fish tanks full of ugly little too expensive fish and a couple of fucking lizards that I swear are dead cause they don't move and I can't find a thing but I pick up this big leash and decide I am somehow going to attach it to the window and to the bumper of my car and in the meantime this animal hating little tramp is on the phone, yes she's stealing and threatening me and I say I'm not threatening you you fucking tramp ass little slut son of a heathen bitch and if you keep it up I'll really show you when you're being threatened but she just goes on and on with the police they say I should stay on the line they're coming right away and I said sure they are like the police don't have better things to do than to protect some dog hating little fucking tramp who is too stupid to know when she is killing an animal but the police come and I point out what the hell is happening she is murdering little fucking dog mill too expensive puppies and you should be talking to her and nonetheless NONETHELESS they take me to jail then to observation and then they let me out and the fucking psychiatrist tells me the day that I get out that maybe I should look into getting a companion animal maybe like a dog or something.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sgt. Prestleton & His Wonder Dog Prince Return!

Sergeant Prestleton, his wonder dog Prince, and  his new partner, the lovely Private Fox sat around the campfire one fall evening, eating beans. The Sergeant sat watching the sparks float up from the fire, and disappear into the night sky.
Private Fox and Prince kept a steady eye on their companion. The Sergeant sighed.
"What's up, handsome," asked Private Fox. "Cat got your tongue?"
Prince shook his head. He disliked these "feline" expressions, especially from a female named Fox. Such nonsense was entirely uncalled for.
Sgt. Prestleton sighed.
"What's up, Tiger," Private Fox asked.
Prince had to turn his head. Such rot.
"Well," the female tried again.
"I don't know," said the sergeant. "I just can't explain it. Something has me down."
"Is it me honey?" she asked. "Is partnering up with me a disappointment."
"No, no," said the sergeant.
Private Fox looked up a the mantle of stars above her. She smiled, and looked at her partner. "Is it Prince? Is that old flea bag bothering you?"
Prince looked at the female with disbelief.
"No, no," said the sergeant.
"You worried about the case, Sugar?"
The sergeant, Private Fox, and Prince had spent days tracking that notorious female horse thief, Lil' Latin Loup Garou without success.
"No," he said. "You know, sometimes I just get kind of down. I can't really explain it."
Private Fox and Prince got up and sat next to their companion. Prince licked his master's hand.
Private Fox put her arm around the sergeant. "That's called life, sweetheart. Sometimes you take life by the short hairs, and other times, well, other times, it's got you. It's nothing to worry about. Prince and I are here."
Again, the dog licked his master's hand.
Private Fox kissed her man on the cheek. She brushed his jaw lightly with her fingers, as if rubbing the lipstick off his face.
The sergeant smiled for a moment, then hung his head again.
"It's okay, honey," she said. "I get it. I understand. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. We still love you. Don't give up."
He sighed, "Not me," he said. "Not me."
The sergeant thought for a moment, then he imagined the stars falling like rain onto his head, filling his brain with light.
Prince settled down next to the fire. Private Fox hummed a tune. There were plenty of beans left in the pot.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Maybe Cute, Not Too Amazing Dogs

I got up at my usually late hour this morning and danced with my dog. No, my dog can't do a series of involved dance steps. She puts her paws up on my legs and I dance her around until she looks like she is too embarrassed for words (which she is) and I let her down and then soon after make her do it again. We used Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark for dancing this morning.

I used to dance on Sunday mornings with my girls--wife included if I remember. XTC's Senses Working Overtime taught them to count to five. "1-2-3-4-5-senses working overtime..."

I hope they remember the routine as well as the dog does. We'd dance, then use the cd boxes to torture the cat by shining the reflection on the wall. Cats are tortured by things like that. Dancing too is torture to a cat not doubt. You can't get up on a weekend morning and dance with a cat. Dogs may be tortured or embarrassed by dancing with their human, but they are too damn nice to complain and bite you or something. A cat thinks nothing of scratching the person who feeds it if that person annoys him or her. Imagine if your dog scratched and bit you every time you made him feel silly. You'd be a mess.

Now I can turn this piece into whatever I want. I can go on about how fun dogs are and what a drag cats are. I can turn it into a nostalgia piece about dancing with my little girls when they were...little girls. I could go on about Joni Mitchell or XTC. Maybe we could talk about reflections... I write so damn well, I can pontificate about just about any subject including mornings.

Let me instead, go on about my favorite subject--me. Yes, I am one Narcissistic human as I have been told, diagnosed, and realize. I'm lucky as hell to get up this morning and dance with the dog. This last week has been holy hell for my state of mind. I battled doubt, confusion, and craziness and came out of it and danced with the dog. My dog went right along with the joke. No bites or scratches. Better yet, I never bit or scratched anyone either.

You know, I have been in this group for awhile and we have been talking about a self-soothing kit. Five cool things you can have around to take the edge off a bad day or bad few minutes. Well, I'm going  to do it. In a way, I want to be a little bit superstitious. In my bag will be a compass, so I will never be lost. Also I will include an old dime (silver) so I will never be broke. My wife asked me today if I ever worry about being broke, and I said only if she decided to "kick my sorry ass out." Also in my kit I will put a cd. No, not XTC, but Carey by Joni Mitchell will get on there--"The wind is in from Africa, last night I couldn't sleep"--It's Just the Motion by Richard and Linda Thompson will be on there--"Don't worry..." I would like some kind piece of cool, smooth stone to run my fingers over. That's four items. The fifth item is either a picture of a woman or a tarot card. I am sure I will probably pick the picture of a woman. This may surprise you. I considered that the picture should be Marlene Dietrich from Blue Angel, but that seems nothing like soothing. I think the picture of a woman might be either Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, or my granddaughter Anika, I already have her picture with me always--Anika I mean. She soothes me no end since she is such a sweet child and pretty. I know she is all right. That is soothing.

You know the one thing that won't fit in my self-soothing kit? A dog that will dance with me on weekend mornings. Just won't fit, but dogs are the ultimate in soothing. They dance, you can pet them, and they always know how to get home.

Ah well. And now, my dog will dance the quickstep.


Friday, October 5, 2012

DOGS AT THE GATE. Christmas Dog Ghost story. Repost.

Christmas is a time for ghost stories. It is an English tradition and some of the most famous English/Irish writers engaged in Christmas ghost tales--including of course Dickens, MR James, RL Stevenson. This is my dog ghost story, written (perhaps) in the old style--reposted. Hope you enjoy it and Happy Holidays.

I am not a man who is easily misled. Never have I believed in creatures of the night, nor specters, nor ghoulies, nor goblins. As a God-fearing man, even if I were a sort who believed in the preternatural, I trust in the Lord to protect me.

Now, I have walked the road leading from The Golden Friars public house to my own home a thousand times. The trip is little more than a mile. It leads past no place of notoriety. No sites of ancient scaffolding line the road. There is neither church yard nor graves. Whether I have had my fill of ale, or none; whether darkness or twilight, I had never so much as stumbled upon that road.

That is, until Bindon Babel returned.

Bindon was the eldest child of Silas Babel, a villain already old when I was born. Silas married his young second cousin, and she was more beast of burden than mate. Those who remembered him better than I, said he lost his wife from fever soon after the birth of the last child. Many felt Silas' mistreatment led to his poor wife's death. The elder Babel had two sons and a daughter. His daughter, who had taken her mother's place as workhorse, died of consumption at 15; and some six months after, the youngest son died when a tree he'd attempted to fell, fell upon him--or so Silas swore.

Silas Babel lived on a rocky plot of land with an unkempt orchard surrounding it. This land joined the road I spoke of earlier by way of a broken gate. The Babel home was little more than a hovel. Here Silas drank and rarely ventured outside. Villagers called him Godless. They said he'd never darkened the door of a church except when he enslaved his wife.

The son Bindon left to travel and find fortune for the sake of his family. When his sister and brother died, the surviving brother attended neither funeral. Some 15 years later, Silas Babel also died. If not for a black dog howling outside the door, Silas might not have been found for weeks. As it was, in death, the pale, wrinkled Silas looked little changed from his living self. Again, the son failed to return for services. In all the years of his absence, neither sister, brother, father, nor anyone from the village heard from or about Bindon Babel.

Then, some dozen years after the death of his father, the remaining Babel from the village, returned.

Rumors at the Golden Friars spread for weeks. Some said Bindon had been a mercenary on the continent, and amassed a small fortune in loot. Others swore he'd been aboard a coastal raider prowling the waters of West Africa. A third rumor put Bindon in America at the head of a gang of thieves and murderers. No one, frequenters of the public house, or the wags who passed tales at the back fence, figured Bindon had acquired his money by legal means. But make no mistake, it seemed as if this Babel at least had a surplus of money.

This money, ill-gotten or no, Bindon Babel hurriedly spent. First he married. Like his father, he found a girl much younger than himself. And, like his father, he mistreated the poor thing. Then, he gambled on cards and the races. He drank too much. He travelled with men with shady pasts. In a matter of months, he gambled, misplaced, or invested without return most all his funds. Soon, his wife, misused always, caught a chill and died. Bindon Babel disappeared into the same hovel as his father, broken and mad.

Then, I witnessed the odd events that began along the road from Golden Friars. First, every night for some weeks, I saw a small black dog I'd never seen before at the gate to Babel's land. The dog sat without seeming to notice me as I passed. Then, one twilight, Bindon, weaving, held onto the gate, staring out at the road. Perhaps I wanted talk for the public house, or perhaps I felt neighborly, even with a man such as this, so I greeted Babel.

"Good evening, sir," I said. "Where is your dog this evening?"

"I have no dog," he said, "and this evening has nothing to recommend it."

Taken aback, I bid the man farewell.

The very next night, a black dog stood at Babel's gate. It seemed odd, but the dog had grown considerably, as if it had shot up in stature in just a day. Also, while it again seemed to take little notice of me, something in its demeanor struck me as more aggressive.

A week later after this second sighting of the dog, Bindon again appeared at his gate. He stood some way out into the road, looking in one direction then the other. This time he addressed me.

"Have you seen anything strange around here?" he asked.

"There is a stray or perhaps two stray black dogs who sit at your gate in the evenings. This is all I can report."

Bindon Babel cursed then, and without another word, dashed through the gate.

The next evening, yet a larger black dog, very similar to the first two--so similar that they must have come from the same family--appeared at the gate. This animal's fur stood up along the top of his spine and neck. Though it took little notice of me, I put as much distance as the road allowed between it and me.

As I walked along the road toward my house, behind me I heard the panting of a dog. Afraid, I turned, but saw nothing. I looked about, to each side of the road but saw nothing. I retraced my steps, and found no dog. Naturally, I thought of the black dogs from Babel's, but I saw nothing. Yet, when I resumed my way home, again I heard the panting of a dog following me. Again I stopped. The panting stopped, but I saw nothing. I started home again, and the panting started again. I ran then, alarmed.

The very next day Bindon again stood by his gate, in obvious distress. He asked me if I had seen anything odd that night. I told him a family of strays must have adopted his land as home and that one had followed me last night. In truth, I thought these animals must be Babel's.

"I am worried I may be mauled along the road some evening," I said. "Someone should get the sheriff to remove these brutes."

I thought Babel might admit that this family of animals belonged to him, and that he'd curse me for my comment. Instead, he agreed with me.

"Yes. The sheriff is a good idea. These devils roam my property late at night. I can't sleep. They scratch at my door. They whine. Sometimes I hear them growling near the windows. Fetch the sheriff. They're devils." He then spit out another string of profanities.

The next evening, as I approached Babel's gate with trepidation, another even larger dog stood. It took no notice of me, but I dashed past it, wishing I had a club for protection. Again, I heard an invisible dog of some great size panting behind me all the way home. When I mentioned this to my wife, she suggested that the dog probably followed me behind a hedge and that in the dusk, I would not necessarily have seen him.

"But I never saw him hedge or not, yet I heard him still."

My wife shrugged, but seemed unconcerned.

The next evening, and it was early evening this time, on my way from the Golden Friars, Babel sat in the dirt in the road, in front of his gate, crying.

"I'm not a bad man," he said. "My poor mother. My poor wife. I should have come home. Brother, sister. I should have come home. There was enough for all. Did you know them?"

"I had seen your wife several times," I said.

"Poor girl. She deserved better. She never did no wrong. Not to a living soul. It's all my fault. I deserve it. I surely deserve it. They'll never let me rest." With that, he rose, and trudged through his gate.

The next day, an even larger black dog stood at the gate. This time the animal eyed me every step. It seemed ready to pounce on me, and seemed to be guarding the entrance to Babel's property. I sprinted past the gate. All the way home, I ran. Behind me, unseen, some great hound chased me, panting and growling.

It took nearly a week for me to recover from my fright. The next time I went to the Golden Friars, I asked a few of the lads to accompany me home. A couple of ales each at my expense gained me this gang. We all carried sticks. All the way to Babel's the younger men bragged what they would do to any dog that dared to molest me or them. Then, at Babel's gate, five black dogs of various size stood near the road.

At the sight of us, the dogs began to howl. They crowded through the gate then, still howling, and somehow, they disappeared. The bunch of us heard nothing from them. None of us had been to Babel's since he'd returned. As soon as we came within sight of the dilapidated house, we noticed the door standing open, and the windows broken through.

"Bindon!" we cried. "Babel. Bindon Babel!"

No answer came from the house. As a group, we decided to enter. Perhaps the dogs were inside the house.

Inside, we found no dogs. We did find Bindon Babel on the floor. It looked as if he'd been attacked by wolves. His clothes were shredded. His entire body was covered with blood and in some places one could see the bites. Upon a table sat a sheet of paper. "The dogs are walking on two legs," it read.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Poem--New Season of Sgt. P to Come?

Hey guys. Hope to get into the swim of things sooner rather than later. Want to write a new Sgt. Prestleton piece someday soon. Fact is, and I will reveal this now, not that it is earthshaking, but I am writing a novel. First draft is about almost done as first drafts go. I have not completed the story. I know where it is going, but I admit, I am slowing a bit. I had set a Halloween deadline on myself.. I would still like to finish it by then. Halloween is an apt date, and I will reveal more when I finish. I think three people know about this book before now. It was two, now three, now however many go here will know. I have said book, writing a book, but it has been years and years since I have been so close to completing one. My last two "complete" novels have been stinkers I'm afraid. I have a better feeling about this. Thus, when I need to vent, I write poetry usually.
One person has read part of the first draft. Thanks for that one person for feedback. Three people know the subject. I do not discuss plot or subject too often. I have found discussing such subjects are counter-productive. So, there you have it. Hope these little poems are fulfulling in some sense. I love to write poetry. I have been writing it since high school.
Recently, I read Yeats book, A Vision about the occult and supposedly automatic writing. It is a difficult read in that I didn't know what the hell he was talking about most of the time. When it did make sense, it was fascinating. Now, I don't equate my feeble scribbles with Yeats on any level. Yeats, when he writes about women and love, was a master. Also, Stolen Child--my goodness, what poetry! Mingling hands and mingling glances... Ah, how wonderful. The one thing I do have in common with Yeats though, is that most poems I write in a few minutes, though I may think about them for hours beforehand. Perhaps the quickness of my writing is not an advantage. You judge.
I did post this on my Facebook page.
 
This is by moi. Thanks for reading.


 
Old gray dog comes pawing at the door
Disappears before you know it
Runs who knows where
This dog never kept
Never leashed
Runs away before it is welcomed
Never licks the hand
Never sleeps it seems
Howls only at the moon
Eye lights
Never barks
Drinks only rain water
Big gray dog visions
You think you saw him on the beach
Or maybe in the open spaces
Big gray dog that might not be
Or rush of fog
Ghost of coyote spirit
Gleaned not seen
Crepuscular visions
Or jumping at grasshoppers that
Whirl into the air around its ears

 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

COYOTES, SURFERS, AND MUGGERS MEET THE MAN WHO CAN'T SHUT UP.

While walking in the nearby park one morning, I turned off onto a winding side path, the midst hanging close to the side of the hilltop. I rounded a corner, and about 15 feet away, there was a coyote. We have seen coyotes close up before, but never this close. The animal and I saw each other about the same time. I moved forward, with caution, and the coyote growled. I backed up, slowly, and a little frightened.
This is how I work. I figure good intentions make every difference in in life. I want to see things, and sometimes, my good "vibes" do not work.
I used to get into occasional arguments surfing. Never could I let them go. I made every effort to use logic. Hey, we should be having fun, and you shouldn't have cut me off, or I didn't see you, etc. Can't we all just get along? No, I never had a fight on the water, or later on the shore. I did get hit once by a kid at work long ago, who had heard too much of my explanations and attempts to resolve an argument. He slugged me in the face. I turned the other cheek. At the time, I fought regularly at a martial arts academy in San Francisco. It wasn't fear that stopped my hand. It just wasn't worth a battle.
Once, I was dragged into a doorway in San Francisco while hitch-hiking to Berkeley. The muggers pulled a pocket knife on me, and grabbed for my wallet. But no, "Peace, love, be cool man." It was 1970 and I wasn't giving up my five bucks. Like that was "totally uncool" muggers. I got away from these guys, and killing me would have been too much work I expect.
I used to drive a taxi cab in San Diego. I had a few problems, and got scared, but never got hurt, even when I drove the "bad" side of town. (It was so easy to get fares from people other drivers wouldn't serve.)
Once, I tried to calm down a biker with a gun, taking sense to him. I have revisited past battles that involved the potential for violence upon seeing the strangers again.
You know what? I talk to much.
I get too near to coyotes.
I try to work out problems when it seems useless. Violence, poking rattlesnakes with a stick, online spats--doesn't matter. I want to work it out-- I want to know how it works.
But sometimes I just have to shut up. Sometimes I guess people just want a minute to think, or be angry, or even to be unreasonable.
Someday I suppose I will try this method of being.
So far, no one has bothered to kill me, maim me, or even particularly harm me. I've probably been lucky.
I offer next--silence...


Did somebody have a question?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

AMAZING NEWS--New Font of Healing Liquid Found--Forget Lourdes!

It turns out Lourdes is not the only source of healing waters in the world.

Try this.

Healing dog spit--dog kisses work miracles.

Kiss your dog today, and let your dog kiss you back. No, it needn't be on the mouth.

Research indicates that dog owners have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress. Even cats can help people live longer. I know, that is the nicest thing you will hear here about such creatures. Okay, cats are all right. God, please, write me nasty letters. I'll take any reaction I can get.

Friends, thanks for reading. I've heard some nice things about my Sgt. Prestleton and Prince stories. He happens to be on summer hiatus. Stay tuned. The Dog Chronicle execs have promised to renew the show.

Lulu!
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Episode 6--Sergeant Prestleton and Prince Go All In for Love--Finally


Why are these two smiling?
 Sergeant Prestleton and his Wonder Dog Prince sat around the campfire eating beans. The night sparkled with a hint of frost on the limbs of the pines, and the stars above shone white and brilliant. But this was no ordinary trip to the wilds of the Yukon for the sergeant and his long time canine friend. The RCMP officer had been chosen to train cadets, the next generation of brave young men and women who would keep the territory safe and free from crime.

A tall, handsome, young cadet stood next to Sgt. Prestleton. The older man put his arm over the cadet's shoulder, put his face close, and pointed skyward.

"Right there, see those three stars in a row? They are Orion's Belt, and if you have a good imagination, like our ancestors, you will see the rest of the mythical hunter surrounding the belt."

Prince, lapped up the end of his bean dinner, happy for once that he didn't have the responsibility of keeping his master amused. Frankly, Prestleton could be, well, colossally boring, even to a dog.

The sergeant slapped the young man on the shoulder.

"Ah, we've got all night to look at the stars young man, unless you sleep on your stomach, huh? Ha, ha."

Prince groaned a distinctly doggy groan.

That moment a tall, graceful figure entered the scene, and sat next to the campfire.

"Cadet Fox," the sergeant said. "I was just telling Cadet McKenzie here about Orion the Hunter."

Cadet Fox, smiled--removed the RMCP hat, and shook out her beautiful dark hair. She looked up at Sgt. Prestleton, the dancing flames from the campfire reflected in her eyes. She said, "How interesting."

The older man began to stammer. Finally, he managed, "My God."

Prestleton's face showed alarm. "Oh, oh, I'm so sorry for cursing. What on earth made me say something like that? Really, Miss Fox--I mean Cadet Fox, I never ever curse like that. What you must think."

"Quite all right sergeant," she said. "We are in the wilds after all. Bivouacked so to speak. I'm sure we'll hear worse from the criminals."

The officer kept staring at the young woman, ignoring his other trainee who now sat near the campfire.

Prestleton said, "Um, er, indeed. Terrible language from those miscreants, but no excuse, none at all for me. How can I ever apologize enough?"

Cadet Fox smiled.

Prince the Wonder Dog chuckled, a very human chuckle. The dog said, "Well, I'll be damned."

Cadet McKenzie's eyes got wide. "Prince, you talked."

"Don't be silly," the sergeant said. "Dogs don't talk." He sat down next his female trainee.

"So, tell me about the stars," she said.

"While I am being inappropriate Cadet," Sergeant Prestleton said. "May I say, you are stunning."

The moon rose. Shooting stars streaked across the sky. And Cadet Fox, with her big, beautiful eyes looked at the older man, and said, "Has anyone ever told you how handsome you are?"

The sergeant blushed.

Cadet McKenzie, unrolled his sleeping roll, lay down, and closed his eyes.

Prince the Wonder Dog set his head on his paws.

The sergeant and his beautiful trainee, leaned back against a log. He pointed up, "So those stars, right there. They form the mythical flying horse Pegasus."

Cadet Fox moved closer to her mentor. "Beautiful," she said.

THE END


Friday, July 13, 2012

Sergeant Prestleton and Prince Discuss Beauty-- Episode Five

Sergeant Prestleton and his Wonder Dog Prince sat around the campfire one night, eating beans. The wilds of the Yukon had exploded into a chorus of wolf calls, the hoots of owls, and the gurgle of the river. The stars seemed to swirl and shoot across the sky. The crickets kept time for the other creatures of the night. The moon sat fat and yellow above the mountains. Usually, the sergeant reveled in such splendor, but tonight, Prince noticed that his master only picked at his beans.




The sergeant and Prince had just that day outfoxed the infamous forger Frank Fanny Forestmedival, thus saving all the fiscal funds of the Frisky Folk Fabulous Furry Orphanage. Life as an officer of the law was good. But poor Sgt. Prestleton seemed not to notice anything.



Prince looked up from his plate of beans. He could take his partner's silence no more.



“Hey, Sarge,” Prince said. “What's wrong with you?”



The sergeant looked up, seemingly startled.



“Wait a minute,” said Prince. “Don't start that crap again. I speak. Wonder Dog. Blah, blah, yada, yada, yada. So on and so forth. How amazing. Yeah, yeah.”



The sergeant sighed. “No, I wasn't going to say anything. I just wasn't like...present, I guess.”



“What's up, Sarge?”



“Love,” said the sergeant.



“The school marm?”



“Gone, married the butcher.”



“Ah, heck, Sarge. She was kind of a—dog—and I don't mean that in a good way.”



The officer tossed down his plate of beans. He sighed again.



Prince smiled. “Hey, how about when we get back home you go see that Frenchy Fifi Ferguson?”



The sergeant opened his eyes wide. “Why Prince, she's a common... a common tart.”



“You betcha,” said Prince. “Got more tricks than Lassie.”



“I don't see such women,” the man said.



“Heard she likes it, human style. Like to sniff around some of that huh, Sarge?”



“Prince please!”



Suddenly, the wilds had gone silent. Even the river seemed to have stopped its flow.



“Just trying to help. Gee sarge, you seem so lonely.”

“Not so lonely Prince. I always have you.”



Prince stared at his master for a long time. He gulped down another mouthful of beans, still watching the sergeant. He then lay on the ground, and tucked his tail.



“I'm sorry I barked at you,” the man said.



It's going to be a long night, thought the dog.



“I'll be okay.”



Prince continued to stare at the man.



“So, Fifi, huh?”



Prince wagged his tail.



“Pretty girl,” the sergeant said. “Very pretty. Can't believe everything you hear, right?”



Prince barked.



Nature seemed to come alive yet again.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Episode Four. Sgt. Prestleton Falls in Love--The Adventures of Sgt. Prestleton of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and His Wonder Dog Prince

Sergeant Prestleson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and his wonder dog Prince sat around the campfire one night in the wilds of the Yukon. They'd spent the day, hot on the trail of the notorious bandit, Dangerous Dan McGroan. The clouds of stars lit the night sky. The companions ate beans. Wonder dog Prince eyed his friend as the Sergeant picked away at his dinner.

"You know, King," the Sgt. said, "Maybe I'd like to settle down someday soon, maybe get married and raise some children."



King stopped gulping his beans.
"I really like that new school marm in Whitehorse. She's the kind of woman I can imagine marrying."

King snorted.

"She's got beautiful eyes..."

"Sarge," King said. "Are you crazy?"

The sergeant beamed. "King, you spoke!"

"Yeah, I spoke. Remember... Wonder Dog, I can speak... You know all this."

"Of course," the man said. "It's just you keep quiet for such long periods, I just get surprised."

"Yeah, well," said the dog. "Get over it and think. The school marm? Those eyes of hers are colored contacts. And didn't you notice she's kind of cross-eyed. Makes her look goofy."

"No, never really noticed it," the man said. "She's got a beautiful smile..."

"False teeth," said the dog.

"Nice figure..."

"Silicone."

The sergeant blushed. "Nice legs..."

"One of them is wooden."

"Great personality..."

"Prozac."

The sergeant grabbed a stick and poked at the fire. "Why are you so hard on this woman?" Prestleton asked. "I find her very attractive and I like her."

"She's been married three times."

"Stop!" said Prestleton.

"What's the problem?" the dog asked. "I just think you could do better."

Sgt. Prestleton sighed. "But I like this woman."

King shook his head, then returned to gulping his beans.

"You know the difference between a can of beans and a mind?" the sergeant asked.

"Now, you want to play riddles?"

"Just listen," the man said. "The difference between a can of beans and a mind is that when you open the can of beans, they spoil in a day or two. But an open mind never goes bad."

The Wonder dog returned to his plate of beans. Silent now.

And, under the stars, with the moon shining overhead, and the hooting of owls in the distance, Sgt. Prestleton sang this lullabye.

There is no train
To take you away
There is no train
You won't be leaving
There is no train
to take you away
I will greet you
in the morning

No more tears
No more pain
No more fears
There is no train
There is no train
to take you away
Time for dreams
You'll not be roaming


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Part III--Sergeant Prestleton and His Wonder Dog Prince Clean Up the Yukon Drug Trade

Sergeant Prestleson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and his wonder dog Prince sat around the tiny campfire eating beans. The pair had camped on a stony bluff devoid of trees, above the Yukon River. Earlier in the day, the rain came down in cold, heavy drops. A hard frost followed. Sgt. Prestleton and Prince had spent the last week hunting down the nefarious Yukon drug kingpin, Frenchy "Buds" Lopes. While they missed catching Frenchy, they managed to locate all the hidden bales of contraband.

"I'm so cold," Sgt. Prestleton said to Prince. "There's not a scrap of wood here. Bet you're cold too, huh, boy?"

Prince shrugged as convincingly as a malamute could shrug. He felt pretty toasty under his fur.

Sgt. Prestleton began to shiver. Bits of frost began to fly from his hat. He glanced around as if to locate some source of fuel, but sadly, there was nothing to see. "You know, I'm not a drinking man, but I could really go for a cup of cocoa right now."

Prince bent down for another mouthful of beans, and then decided he would curl up around his friend, even if the man's odor repulsed him.

But the Sergeant rose with a grin. "You know, there's all those bales of dried drugs. I'm going to get one from the bottom of the pile and throw it on the fire."

The man fetched a bale. As soon as Sgt. Prestleton tossed it onto the fire, it flared up to a near bonfire. The sergeant moved closer to the blaze, and stretched out his hands. "Ah, this is better," he said, breathing deeply. "Right boy, this is the ticket, right?" The man arose and stood with his face over the top of the flames.

Prince curled into a ball, prepared for sleep.

"Beans!" the man shouted. "I need more beans. How 'bout you boy? You want some beans? I want some beans."

Prince looked up at his friend, then put his head back onto his paws. He heard the man open another can. His companion chuckled to himself. Prince fell to sleep, secure in the notion that his master would now spend the night comfortably.

Was it the sergeant's snoring that awoke him? No, not the snoring. What? The gravel crunched from the weight of a foot. The dog stood at alert. He sniffed the smell of strangers. Where?

He barked to alert his friend, but the sergeant continued to snore.

Prince noticed movement some 50 meters behind Prestleton. To the left came another flash of movement, and to the right. Behind, Prince heard the scrape of someone climbing the bluff.

Although Prince had vowed never to speak as a human again, he called to his man. "Sarge! Hey Sarge, wake up!"

He ran over to his friend and licked his face. "Sarge, come on."

Still the men neared the campsite. Prince recognized the fat face of Lopes.

Sgt. Prestleton snored on without waking. Prince licked his face again. He pawed the man. He even bit his friend's hand. The sergeant snored away.

Prince noticed the gleam of weapons only some 20 meters off now.

"Sarge! Damn! Sarge, wake up! What's wrong with you?"

His friend snored without stirring.

Prince fetched a burning ember from the fire. He shoved it down Prestleton's boot. Prestleton stopped snoring but shook the ember free.

"Damn Sarge! You're gonna get us killed!" Prince lifted his leg and urinated on his partner's face. The sergeant wiped at the wetness, reflexively.

Now the bad men stood around the edge of the campsite.

Prince pawed and bit and licked Prestleton, all without waking him.

"Ahh, ha, ha, ha!" said Lopes. "I'm going to carve up de sergeant into little pieces."

Prince charged back and forth between the four men, bared his teeth, and growled.

All the criminals seemed afraid, but Lopes said, "Don't hurt the nice doggie. I will feed him to my fighting wolves for sport."

Prince now ran back and forth, feigning madness, and awaiting his chance to attack.

The bad men began to poke at him now with their hunting knives, laughing and making sport of poor Prince.

Suddenly, behind the group rose Sgt. Prestleton with his rifle. "Drop 'em boys before I aerate your gizzards."

The men dropped their weapons.

"Good job, Prince," the sergeant said as he began tying the hands of the captured men.

Prince stood guard over the men while the sergeant continued to tie them up.

When the four were finally bond hand and foot around the glimmering fire, Sgt. Prestleton said, "Another good day's work. We really fooled them into thinking I was fast asleep huh? By the way, Prince, your breath is getting a little funky. We might have to get those teeth cleaned. Well, how about some more beans."

Prince sunk to the ground, a little embarrassed.

Fine

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sergeant Prestleson and His Dog Prince-- Prince Speaks English Poorly-- A Very Short Work of Fiction

Sergeant Prestleson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and his wonder dog Prince sat around the campfire one night in the wilds of the Yukon. A cold fog clung to the tops of the pines. Sergeant Prestleton ate the remains of a can of beans. His dog Prince also had beans in his bowl. They had been on the trail of the outlaw Frenchie Maurice Noir for six days. Frenchie had robbed an old miner and his granddaughter Kelly of their life savings. Prestleton meant to get it back.



The howl of wolves pierced the still night.



"I'm glad I have you nearby boy," said Prestleton to his wonder dog Prince. "I can count on you to protect me."



Prince looked up from his beans. Prince said, "Protect you from what?"



The sergeant started. "You spoke!" he said.



"What do you expect?" Prince said. "I'm a wonder dog."



"I just never knew," said Prestleton.



"Yeah, well, get back to the point. What do you expect me to protect you from?"



"That's not speaking English well," said the man. "One shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition."



A snarl curled on the dog's lips. "I'm a wonder dog," he said. "Not an English professor. Nonetheless, I suppose you think I will save you from the jaws of my brethren, the wolves."



"Well of course," said the sergeant. "You are my dog. My bosom companion. Mon ami. Pal. Buddy."



"Despite my wonder status," said Prince, "I am still a dog. A canine, but one step removed from the wild. I may join the wolves and have you for dinner. After all, beans are not very dignified fare for a wonder dog."



Prestleton frowned at this. A tear formed in the corner of his left eye. "But you have been my friend for years. My compadre. My mate. My..."



"Cut the crap!" said Prince. "How is it that you see predatory humans all the time-- that you view their inability to rise above the savage, and yet a dog, wonder or no, is expected to ignore his beastly instincts and save you, naive young fool that you are."



The man stared at his dog with disbelief. "But your acts of bravery... Your kindness... How do you explain these things if you are not my friend? My partner?"



"So now I am your partner, huh?" said the dog.



"For all these years," said Prestleton.



The dog stared at the man for nearly a minute. Then a smile came onto his muzzle. "I'm just messing with you Sarge," the dog said. "Would I let you be eaten by a pack of wolves?"



The Mountie sunk back onto the boulder at his back. "You really got me," he said. "You really, really got me. I thought you were serious."



"Don't be silly," said Prince. "You're my buddy. Besides, wolves are a bunch of Philistines."



"That's my boy," said the sergeant. "But all this time you could talk. Why didn't you let me know sooner? Think of the conversations we could've had on lonely nights such as these."



"Who can talk?" said the dog, and he went back to his beans and never spoke another word.

8/6/10 by Frank Criscenti

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sarge Gabe--Army Dog

ARMY.MIL, The Official Homepage of the United States Armythe United States ArmySkip main navigation Home


News



News Front PageArmy National GuardArmy ReserveCommunity RelationsCurrent OperationsEnergyEnvironmentHealth

Human InterestInside the ArmyScience & TechnologyAfricaAmericasAsia & PacificEuropeMiddle East

ArchivesARNewsArmyLive BlogNews ReleasesSTAND-TO!TranscriptsFeatures

Media



Media Front PageAudio/VideoSlideshowsImagesMobileFeaturesPublicationsResourcesInfo



Info Front PageInstitutionOrganizationHistoryReferencesFAQsA-ZLeaders



Leaders Front PageSecretaryUnder SecretaryChief of StaffVice Chief of StaffSergeant MajorArmy Life



Career ManagementVeteransJoin



ActiveNational GuardReserveCivilian ServiceAllArticlesImagesVideo

Search News Front PageSECTIONS

Army National GuardArmy ReserveCommunity RelationsCurrent OperationsEnergyEnvironmentHealthHuman InterestInside The ArmyScience TechnologyREGIONS

AfricaAmericasAsia PacificEuropeMiddle EastRESOURCES

ArchivesARNewsArmy Live BlogNews ReleasesSoldiers MagazineSTAND-TO!TranscriptsTop Story

Soldiers place 'Flags In' for Memorial Day

Soldiers placed more than 260,000 flags in front of gravestones at Arlington National... Read More

Homepage >News Archives > ArticleHero dog: After 170 combat patrols, K-9 lives a life of leisure

May 3, 2012



By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson Leader







Gabe1Gabe shows affection for his owner, Staff Sgt. Chuck Shuck, a drill sergeant leader with the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School.

Gabe2Gabe retired from the military as a sergeant first class. During his time in Iraq to sniff out weapons and explosives, the dog received three Army Commendation Medals and one Army Achievement Medal.



Gabe3Gabe, seen napping above, has more than 11,000 followers on Facebook, and is a candidate for the 2012 Hero Dog Awards.



Gabe4Gabe receives his medal as the American Kennel Club's Military Working Dog of the Year in 2008.

Related Links

Vote for Gabe

Follow Gabe on Facebook

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- These days, Gabe lives a life of leisure, spending most of his days snoozing on the couch. A few years ago, his time was spent working under the scorching Iraq sun, trying to find explosives, ammunition and other weapons before they could be used against him. He racked up 26 "finds" during the 170 combat patrols he took part in, the largest of which was a cache of rounds discovered on the banks of the Tigris River.



Retiring at the rank of sergeant first class, Gabe is 9 years old.



And he's a dog.



"When he's working he's very focused," said Staff Sgt. Chuck Shuck, a drill sergeant leader at the Drill Sergant School. Shuck is Gabe's former handler and now, in the animal's retirement, owner. "He's getting a little older now, so he's pretty docile. He still chases squirrels in my yard at home, but now he pretty much just lies around the house."



Despite the success he'd eventually rack up during his time in Iraq, Gabe wasn't a welcome presence when he and Shuck first arrived. Using an animal to sniff out weapons and explosives was a new concept to the Soldiers tasked to put him to work, and Shuck said Soldiers weren't excited about using an animal during already tense searches for weapons and explosives.



"On our fifth mission we started finding things," he said. "When we found a cache of 36 122-mm rounds, they couldn't get enough of us. He was the most productive dog in the Iraqi theater during that one-year period."



Not all of the finds involved direct discoveries of weapons, though. On a few occasions, the dog directed Soldiers to look a little deeper into the backgrounds of the people they were searching.



"We'd find a lot of pistols and, sometimes, find nothing in the vehicles," he said. "But we'd test the drivers and there'd be residue of explosives, C4 or TNT on their hands."



Shuck said Gabe serves as an example of what communities lose when animals fail to find homes at shelters. Originally a pound puppy from Houston, Gabe was picked up and sent to school by the Army.



Shuck was paired with Gabe and another dog in 2006, with Gabe passing his final evaluation in Numa, Az., after five months of training. A few weeks later the two found themselves on the ground in Iraq.



"Gabe left Iraq with three Army Commendation Medals and an Army Achievement Medal from the different units, and about 40 coins of excellence," Shuck said. "Me, as his handler, I only got two."



Gabe received the 2008 Heroic Military Working Dog Award Medal from the American Kennel Club, a national award that included animals from all armed forces. But Gabe and Shuck briefly parted ways when they returned to America, with the dog sent to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where he was paired up with another handler.



The working relationship didn't last long, though, because Gabe refused to work with his new handler.



"I got to adopt him and he's been living with me since July, 2009," Shuck said. "At home he's eating tennis balls and lying on the couch, and he's gained about 25 pounds."



While Gabe is no longer working, he's staying active in other areas, and currently has more than 11,000 followers on his Facebook page. He's visited wounded Soldiers in hospitals, and has maintained a pen pal program with students in Georgia.



"We like to educate kids on respect, and staying in school," Shuck said. "We talk to them about the Army Values in general and sent each of the kids Army dog tags. And my Soldiers in basic training wrote to them what Army Values meant to them."



"Team Gabe" is currently mobilized to help the dog win the nationwide 2012 Hero Dog Awards from the American Humane Association. He's already collected 30,000 votes, Shuck said.



The Hero Dog Contest has two stages. The first round lasts until June 30 and allows people to vote once every 24 hours. If Gabe wins his category, then he will compete against seven other dogs from other categories starting July 1.



The Hero Dog Awards were created in 2010 to celebrate the relationships between dogs and people. Hundreds of dogs from all 50 states were nominated and some 400,000 votes were cast by the American public, culminating in the selection of eight canine finalists. Panels of past celebrity judges have included Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Mark Hamill and Jillian Michaels.



"Last year, Gabe was the runner-up in our category," Shuck said. "We didn't have the following that we have this year."



He said Gabe is an example of cost-effective resources the Army could put to use every day.



"You can take a pound puppy and make him into a war dog, train him to go out there and do some great things," he said. "All of these dogs that are getting put to sleep in shelters, maybe some of them we could use as military dogs. Rather than going out and buying these dogs, why not look for labs, golden retrievers or German Shepherds in pounds and shelters and start using them?"



To vote for Gabe in the 2012 Hero Dog Awards, visit www.herodogawards.org.

Find Gabe on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VoteGabe2012



Bookmark & ShareFacebookTwitterDeliciousMySpaceYahoo BuzzSee All...FacebookTwitterDeliciousMySpaceYahoo BuzzBookmarksDiggRedditDiigoFriendFeedLinkedInLiveMixxmyAOLNewsvineStumbleUponTechnoratiBookmark & Share Email Print RSS

Podcasts MobileContact UsFAQCreateAccessibilityPrivacy & SecurityiSALUTENo FEAR ActFOIAAKONeed help? Try A-Z Page last updated Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 00:00

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Real Story of the "Royal" Family--By Lulu/Mariam the Dog

So I was supposed to take over this blog long ago. It was promised to me but one little critical remark about high master muckety-muck alpha male, and my column gets put on hiatus. What did I say so wrong, that alpha male slept all day and never took me out for a walk? Was that a lie? This guy was a disaster. Really. He was depressed as could be. He ought to thank me for my perceptions. Two-and-one-half years this guy couldn't snap out of it. Now, he seems a little better but he's gone all day, too tired to play when he gets home, and still no walk. How is this fair, I ask you?

Alpha female gets me out a walking a few times a week. I like that. Now she's home all day. That's pretty cool really. She looks me in the face and talks to me all the time. I like that, but she did slap my butt the other day when I barked at that weird lady with the weird coat and her weird poodle. She said I was going to wake the baby. But what could she expect? The lady's coat is like a million years out of date, and her dog has got sneaky eyes. Hello, this is 2012 and you are not on the ski slopes and poodles are passe. Do you see poodles on tv as anything but a joke? Cute mixed-breeds are in honey.

Don't think I'm going to pull any punches here. I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. Here's the thing. Did anyone think to ask me before they pasted my image all over this blog? What is my image anyway, public domain? HELLO? I mean what the hell? If I'm good enough to use as a model, how bout at least at little mention. Think I'm going to post another head shot here. Not on your life.

So, I covered Alpha male and female. Now to the rest. You know Ren from Ren and Stimpy? That nihilistic little chihuahua? That is Moo. Now Moo, his alpha male, female and alpha baby stayed here for three months while they looked for a house. At first I was kind of shocked when I wasn't even asked my opinion of this. Could you at least have asked me? Anyway, you'd think it would be great having Moo the chihuahua/terrier mix around. I thought we could hang out in the back yard, and chase squirrels and birds and bark at the neighbors together, but no, little Mr. Sissy Pants gets sick in the back yard, how precious. He was a depressed little pain around here, and though I know he's got issues, come on. Sheeze, he spent more time in bed than Alpha used to. At least he could have helped me raid the garbage once in a while. Oh well, how was he to know his alphas were going to have a human puppy?

That reminds me about Holly, the human puppy who lived here for awhile. She is pretty cool when you get used to her. When she first started hanging around, she was like this squawking little bare bird or something. If you just looked at her, she'd want to crap her pants, or eat, or turn over, Except for crapping, she couldn't do anything for herself, and you'd think she'd learn to go outside to do that, but she still hasn't learned anything about house training. She's a little slow if you ask me. By six months a dog puppy has pretty much learned not to mess in the house--if not, they kind of hit the paper most of the time anyway. A human puppy carries their crap around in their pants. It's uncivilized if you ask me. But this human puppy Holly is really very affectionate. She wants to hug me all the time, or follow me around holding onto my butt like we're in some conga line. Once in a while, she'll drop the food she's eating, and I can get to it before that little vulture Moo--so she has some good points.

Which reminds me--hey, my alphas--if you don't like those frozen meatballs and fatty little chicken bites, what makes you think I want it? No sauce even. If I wasn't so hungry all the time eating those crunchy little round things, I'd turn my nose up at that crap you feed me to get rid of it. Really. Two cups of food and a couple of cookies each day? You try eating that. ARE YOU GUYS GETTING MY MESSAGE? Why not throw me a bone now and again? How bout those chicken breasts or a cube of butter? No. Let me just watch you eat those Pepperidge Farms cookies then. Know how many calories are in those? Enough to sustain a dog I bet.

Finally I will describe the other dog in my life, the female Xena. She's about the same age as Moo, but lives with her alphas and an alpha adolescent name Anika. I do like that Anika. She like doesn't tell me to shut up or get down or anything like that. If I want to sleep with her, that isn't a problem. She pets me and acts nice. There's no crap in her pants at all.

Xena's humans besides Anika are okay for people. It's not like they feed me any more than my humans though. I stay with them sometimes, and sometimes Xena stays at my house. Xena is a terrible attention hound. If I am getting some affection from a human, and she's around, bam, she knocks me out of the way and butts in. Really, have some dignity black dog. Why so needy? There's plenty of affection to go around. Let me have mine. After all, I am the senior dog in this freaking family. Relax!

Well, that's about it, the good and the bad. Everyone of the humans has a few weird habits. The dogs too aren't perfect, even me. Hey, I grew up in the streets. I used to be known as Miriam in my past. I spent some time homeless. My original family let me stay in jail, and didn't even try to bail me out. Then came these guys. Truthfully, these overly-enthusiastic folks scared me to death when I first met them. Didn't want anything to do with Alpha male. I seem to remember some issues with a broom from my past. Don't want to think about it. I've been here a long time now, and it's a good place. There's squirrels, raccoons, skunks (nasty creatures,) an occasional possum, gophers, lizards, well, the amusements are endless. I even get a rat sometimes. It's a good life, if you guys would just consult me now and again regarding household matters.

Finally, what's with this name you guys gave me anyway? Lulu? Try living with that moniker. You know why no humans are named Lulu anymore? It's a stupid name!

That's it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dogs at the Gate

I am not a man who is easily misled. Never have I believed in creatures of the night, nor specters, nor ghoulies, nor goblins. As a God-fearing man, even if I were a sort who believed in the preternatural, I trust in the Lord to protect me.

Now, I have walked the road leading from The Golden Friars public house to my own home a thousand times. The trip is little more than a mile. It leads past no place of notoriety. No sites of ancient scaffolding line the road. There is neither church yard nor graves. Whether I have had my fill of ale, or none; whether darkness or twilight, I had never so much as stumbled upon that road.

That is, until Bindon Babel returned.

Bindon was the eldest child of Silas Babel, a villain already old when I was born. Silas married his young second cousin, and she was more beast of burden than mate. Those who remembered him better than I, said he lost his wife from fever soon after the birth of the last child. Many felt Silas' mistreatment led to his poor wife's death. The elder Babel had two sons and a daughter. His daughter, who had taken her mother's place as workhorse, died of consumption at 15; and some six months after, the youngest son died when a tree he'd attempted to fell, fell upon him--or so Silas swore.

Silas Babel lived on a rocky plot of land with an unkempt orchard surrounding it. This land joined the road I spoke of earlier by way of a broken gate. The Babel home was little more than a hovel. Here Silas drank and rarely ventured outside. Villagers called him Godless. They said he'd never darkened the door of a church except when he enslaved his wife.

The son Bindon left to travel and find fortune for the sake of his family. When his sister and brother died, the surviving brother attended neither funeral. Some 15 years later, Silas Babel also died. If not for a black dog howling outside the door, Silas might not have been found for weeks. As it was, in death, the pale, wrinkled Silas looked little changed from his living self. Again, the son failed to return for services. In all the years of his absence, neither sister, brother, father, nor anyone from the village heard from or about Bindon Babel.

Then, some dozen year after the death of his father, the remaining Babel from the village, returned.

Rumors at the Golden Friars spread for weeks. Some said Bindon had been a mercenary on the continent, and amassed a small fortune in loot. Others swore he'd been aboard a coastal raider prowling the waters of West Africa. A third rumor put Bindon in America at the head of a gang of thieves and murderers. No one, frequenters of the public house, or the wags who passed tales at the back fence, figured Bindon had acquired his money by legal means. But make no mistake, it seemed as if this Babel at least had a surplus of money.

This money, ill-gotten or no, Bindon Babel hurriedly spent. First he married. Like his father, he found a girl much younger than himself. And, like his father, he mistreated the poor thing. Then, he gambled on cards and the races. He drank too much. He travelled with men with shady pasts. In a matter of months, he gambled, misplaced, or invested without return most all his funds. Soon, his wife, misused always, caught a chill and died. Bindon Babel disappeared into the same hovel as his father, broken and mad.

Then, I witnessed the odd events that began along the road from Golden Friars. First, every night for some weeks, I saw a small black dog I'd never seen before at the gate to Babel's land. The dog sat without seeming to notice me as I passed. Then, one twilight, Bindon, weaving, held onto the gate, staring out at the road. Perhaps I wanted talk for the public house, or perhaps I felt neighborly, even with a man such as this, so I greeted Babel.

"Good evening, sir," I said. "Where is your dog this evening?"

"I have no dog," he said, "and this evening has nothing to recommend it."

Taken aback, I bid the man farewell.

The very next night, a black dog stood at Babel's gate. It seemed odd, but the dog had grown considerably, as if it had shot up in stature in just a day. Also, while it again seemed to take little notice of me, something in its demeanor struck me as more aggressive.

A week later after this second sighting of the dog, Bindon again appeared at his gate. He stood some way out into the road, looking in one direction then the other. This time he addressed me.

"Have you seen anything strange around here?" he asked.

"There is a stray or perhaps two stray black dogs who sit at your gate in the evenings. This is all I can report."

Bindon Babel cursed then, and without another word, dashed through the gate.

The next evening, yet a larger black dog, very similar to the first two--so similar that they must have come from the same family--appeared at the gate. This animal's fur stood up along the top of his spine and neck. Though it took little notice of me, I put as much distance as the road allowed between it and me.

As I walked along the road toward my house, behind me I heard the panting of a dog. Afraid, I turned, but saw nothing. I looked about, to each side of the road but saw nothing. I retraced my steps, and found no dog. Naturally, I thought of the black dogs from Babel's, but I saw nothing. Yet, when I resumed my way home, again I heard the panting of a dog following me. Again I stopped. The panting stopped, but I saw nothing. I started home again, and the panting started again. I ran then, alarmed.

The very next day Bindon again stood by his gate, in obvious distress. He asked me if I had seen anything odd that night. I told him a family of strays must have adopted his land as home and that one had followed me last night. In truth, I thought these animals must be Babel's.

"I am worried I may be mauled along the road some evening," I said. "Someone should get the sheriff to remove these brutes."

I thought Babel might admit that this family of animals belonged to him, and that he'd curse me for my comment. Instead, he agreed with me.

"Yes. The sheriff is a good idea. These devils roam my property late at night. I can't sleep. They scratch at my door. They whine. Sometimes I hear them growling near the windows. Fetch the sheriff. They're devils." He then spit out another string of profanities.

The next evening, as I approached Babel's gate with trepidation, another even larger dog stood. It took no notice of me, but I dashed past it, wishing I had a club for protection. Again, I heard an invisible dog of some great size panting behind me all the way home. When I mentioned this to my wife, she suggested that the dog probably followed me behind a hedge and that in the dusk, I would not necessarily have seen him.

"But I never saw him hedge or not, yet I heard him still."

My wife shrugged, but seemed unconcerned.

The next evening, and it was early evening this time, on my way from the Golden Friars, Babel sat in the dirt in the road, in front of his gate, crying.

"I'm not a bad man," he said. "My poor mother. My poor wife. I should have come home. Brother, sister. I should have come home. There was enough for all. Did you know them?"

"I had seen your wife several times," I said.

"Poor girl. She deserved better. She never did no wrong. Not to a living soul. It's all my fault. I deserve it. I surely deserve it. They'll never let me rest." With that, he rose, and trudged through his gate.

The next day, an even larger black dog stood at the gate. This time the animal eyed me every step. It seemed ready to pounce on me, and seemed to be guarding the entrance to Babel's property. I sprinted past the gate. All the way home, I ran. Behind me, unseen, some great hound chased me, panting and growling.

It took nearly a week for me to recover from my fright. The next time I went to the Golden Friars, I asked a few of the lads to accompany me home. A couple of ales each at my expense gained me this gang. We all carried sticks. All the way to Babel's the younger men bragged what they would do to any dog that dared to molest me or them. Then, at Babel's gate, five black dogs of various size stood near the road.

At the sight of us, the dogs began to howl. They crowded through the gate then, still howling, and somehow, they disappeared. The bunch of us heard nothing from them. None of us had been to Babel's since he'd returned. As soon as we came within sight of the dilapidated house, we noticed the door standing open, and the windows broken through.

"Bindon!" we cried. "Babel. Bindon Babel!"

No answer came from the house. As a group, we decided to enter. Perhaps the dogs were inside the house.

Inside, we found no dogs. We did find Bindon Babel on the floor. It looked as if he'd been attacked by wolves. His clothes were shredded. His entire body was covered with blood and in some places one could see the bites. Upon a table sat a sheet of paper. "The dogs are walking on two legs," it read.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Whew! So I Saw This Dog...

So I saw this dog in a pet store window the other day who even knew there were pet stores anymore, but I saw this dog in this pet store
window and I had to go into the place and tell them it was too damn hot for the dog out in the window and what the hell did they think they were doing torturing a little dog like that, especially one that cost $650 for a little dog I could see if a big dog cost that much but this dog was little and not even that cute and it was burning up in the heat of the window so I told this dumb-ass woman in the store that it was too damn hot in the window and I didn't even know they had pet stores anymore and she said well they do and I said well this is why they don't have them anymore because some dumb idiot like you leaves an expensive dog that isn't even that cute in the window to burn up and the lady said mind your own business the dog is just fine it's not that hot, so I said get the damn dog out of the window or I will do it myself and she said get the hell out before she calls the cops and I said call the damn cops I dare you because they will arrest you for animal cruelty and she ignored me and started for the phone while I started for the window and so this damn woman comes over and lays her hands on me SHE LAYS HER HAND ON ME I said don't you lay your hands on me I'm going to get this damn too expensive mutt out of the window before he or she burns the hell up you stupid dog-hating bitch and she runs over to the phone and I can't figure out how to open the blasted window up to let the dog out so I'm looking around the store and they don't have anything in there to help open the door but fish tanks full of ugly little too expensive fish and a couple of fucking lizards that I swear are dead cause they don't move and I can't find a thing but I pick up this big leash and decide I am somehow going to attach it to the window and to the bumper of my car and in the meantime this animal hating little tramp is on the phone, yes she's stealing and threatening me and I say I'm not threatening you you fucking tramp ass little slut son of a heathen bitch and if you keep it up I'll really show you when you're being threatened but she just goes on and on with the police they say I should stay on the line they're coming right away and I said sure they are like the police don't have better things to do than to protect some dog hating little fucking tramp who is too stupid to know when she is killing an animal but the police come and I point out what the hell is happening she is murdering little fucking dog mill too expensive puppies and you should be talking to her and nonetheless NONETHELESS they take me to jail then to observation and then they let me out and the fucking psychiatrist tells me the day that I get out that maybe I should look into getting a companion animal maybe like a dog or something.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

LOVE POWER! GET IT FREE!

This is my granddaughter, Anika. She's not even 16, yet she's already gone on a mission to Mexico to build homes for the poor, she used to give up free time in elementary school to help out with mentally challenged kids, and she is now fostering a dog that was afflicted with parvo virus. I'm incredibly proud of her. She's given a lot of time trying to make the world better for others. For a kid her age, it's a great effort. It takes time and especially love. Love works miracles.
Here's Blue, her foster dog now, hopefully recovering from the illness and soon to move on to a family that will love him.
I'm amazed at the effort people

expend to help out.
Isabelle Ann Tiberghien runs the organization BAJA S.A.F.E. She rescues dogs left for dead in Baja, Mexico. Mexico is a haven for those who run puppy mills, and the practice of spaying/neutering would be nearly unheard of if not for Isabelle. I expect there are times she must feel that she is running up against a brick wall, nevertheless, she carries on, making a difference. Naturally, BAJA S.A.F.E. needs your help. The dogs they rescue are adopted out to good families, and that costs money. They have a page on Facebook. Pass it on. Any exposure helps.
I have a point in mentioning these two individuals in this blog.
You don't have to donate all the time and effort that Isabelle gives to her organization to help improve this world. You don't have to go on a mission to Mexico. We can all help make our world better just giving a minute of time here and there. Maybe it's a matter of leaning down, getting at eye level with a child and encouraging him or her. Or perhaps, next time you visit someone in an assisted-living facility, you can chat in a public area and include another person who is lonely.
There's a million different ways to help the "strays" in our society. It just takes a little awareness, some patience, and a commitment to create a better world.
As I mentioned, I'm amazed at how giving people can be. I have friends on Facebook who go out of their way to help others everyday. I won't mention names because I know these people aren't looking to be lauded. One friend of mine is helping put her godchild through college. I was amazed to hear that, but I shouldn't be. This person knew me when I was young and, let's say in need of someone who cared. You know what, she has been in my corner ever since.
Another friend of mine from Facebook works with mentally challenged children. Her lap is always at the ready to offer some love and affection. It's not in her job description, but it is in her heart.
Whether it's helping out animals in need, people in need, or the environment, it is just a matter of a minute or two sometimes, and a lifelong commitment. We all can make a difference.
Thanks to all those who are trying to make this world a better place.