Tag Archives: dogs

Down State Road 66


Passersby likely suspect the eerie little house. The overgrown yard in a shaded wood within that isolated area lends to its rot being practically sensible by smell. She’d just been unfortunate enough to hit an animal when driving past and not simply write an apologetic note to the pet’s potential owner.

A final suspiration left her lungs as the man pulled her inside the sagging door frame after answering her knock. The woman scarcely deserved punishment for such a deed of Good Samaritanship. Not only would the dog she had fatally struck expire that morning but she would as well.


100-Word Challenge – WRITE


Filed under country noir, writing

Back in the saddle

The firsts just keep coming and coming. Tonight I’m claiming myself an expert in the fine art of snot rocketry after having blown my first two in the entirety of my lifetime. If I were an Olympic judge with this gross performance a qualifying sport, I’d give myself high marks for trajectory and aim. That’s what happens when a person tries to get back at it after a week with a summer cold, no cycling, and then going without tissues the first time back on the bike.

The good news is I always see beautiful things on my rides. Like the neighbors’ flowers. Exhibit A:

1CI stop and smell flowers from time to time, literally and figuratively, even at the risk of not remembering to kick out of my doggone triple-link pedals. Why is it so tough to remember “Kick Out?!”

What I do know is Karma is a big be-yotch, although I don’t usually like to use that turn of phrase. Just seems every time I get all judgey, like mentally berating the a-holes who though similarly enjoying my favorite Lacroix Pamplemousse sparkling water are inconsiderate enough to toss a can along the road. Gravity pulled me back down to earth to check my superior attitude for a bloodletting. The top scrape came from pavement, and the bottom one layered drying poison ivy breakout yet healing there.

Exhibit B:


Laughing helps when I think of my son quoting Napoleon Dynamite asking the bullied kid, “How’s your neck?” I felt like the kid answering, “It stings,” only about my knee and elbow.

My country adventures lead me to ponder the sights and smells. Such as, “Is that mixed leather/Freon smell in the air actually someone cooking meth in the woods?” Being an avid reader, I recently learned how to gauge how much daylight is left by the number of finger-widths of sunlight on the horizon still visible. Riding with my shoes clipped to my pedals doesn’t allow to test that theory, though. (See Exhibit B above.)

I wonder whether the big four-wheel-drive truck’s driver will follow and kill me, or if I can subdue him with mace tucked in my tank top. Such is a woman’s concern riding her bicycle alone at dusk. Men don’t usually feel the need to carry weaponized pepper spray on a ride, do they? Think about that for a minute.

A passing truck has large red letters marking the vehicle as “ANGLER AID,” as we live near a lake, and I consider whether I could need “CYCLER AID” from a similar but non-exist truck in the future. A mysterious man behind the wheel of yet another large 4WD pickup parked in a church lot stares curiously at his phone. Is he still there since Wednesday night service (it’s the Ozarks, after all), is he lost and consulting GPS, or does he simply have a wife who makes it difficult to want to go home? I’ll never know.

Exhibit C:


Not the actual church in question. I saw it during the 26-mile ride & liked the name. (Note the burnout marks from teens doing donuts.) Hurts, don’t it?

Finally, I returned home for my nightly walk with Woody during which I enjoy many gorgeous sunsets. He’s hearing-impaired and can’t see very well but is so patient with my dawdling to pulls weeds at walk time. He waits with bated (and weighted, poor sot) breath at the driveway’s end, his heart seems to explode with pure joy at just getting to sniff the neighborhood. The poor boy is over the moon at getting to go, such simple pleasure at life. I wish I could be more like him.

Exhibit D … for “DOG,” of course


It’s hard to get an antsy pup to stand still for focus!



Filed under biking, life, writing

Un-mending the wall

“I thought you died, stupid cur,” Marie muttered as she walked Woody past the house next door. She hated and cursed it since the bulldog mix attacked her Lab. He’d simply tried to make friends, invisible fence or not. Its instinct taught Woody canine manners and territory.

Just like his owner.

Another neighbor said Tom wasn’t such a bad guy. Marie couldn’t deny what Robert Frost claimed about fences and neighbors.

“I’d sure hate to beat you both with a plastic bag of shit …” She flashed them the side-eye and brought Woody to heel.

Leave a comment

Filed under creative non-fiction, life, writing

Keeping Watch

copper fittings

He squinted his eyes to get a better look at the blue metal building from a safe distance. All he could see was a rusted scoop tractor parked by the door but nobody milling about the structure. “Where do you think he keeps that ol’ shit-eating dog?” he asked his partner in crime, as they hid within a copse of trees just off the property. They preferred their presence go unnoticed there, as the duo planned to break into the place.

“Don’t worry about that mongrel. It don’t have enough teeth to nip either one of us, much less land a bite that’d do any damage,” Cyrill tried to convince him.

They sat still and didn’t say another word to each other for several minutes, anticipating a visitor to the building or the owner himself. The pair hoped no one would arrive. Staking out the place proved to be a much more tedious task than originally thought.

“You know, this might not be such a good idea,” Tony offered. “Maybe we oughta just call it a day.” He nudged Cyrill in the back with one shaky hand from behind and dug in his front pocket for a cigarette with the other hand while glancing down at his wavering knuckles. Taking a last drink about 5:30 that morning, before daylight peered over the horizon, meant Tony’s body either wanted another one or desperately needed some sleep. They’d sat hidden in the overhanging branches for about three hours, and his ass felt frozen to the ground below it.

Cyrill turned to glare back at him and crossed a fat, tobacco-stained finger across his lips to shush him. “Shut the hell up, why don’t ya? If anybody’s in there, they’re gonna hear ya.” He’d have never told Tony about the heist if he knew how much belly aching he’d do.

The man waved his hand back and forth in front of Tony’s face and turned away from him, whispering sharply, “Damn, Tony. I can smell your breath from here. Eat a Tic Tac, man!”

Tony’s hand continued to shake as he covered his gaping mouth with it. “’Scuse me,” he replied. “Didn’t mean to upset your delicate sensibilities.”

An undeveloped plan followed the pair out of the bar at closing time. Knowing the bar owner meant they’d stayed on drinking well after the public left. Too many whiskeys meant they left half-cocked and ready to rip off Ol’ Man Jenkins of all the copper inside his plumbing warehouse and sell it for scrap. Cyrill and Tony’s small-time burglary could still get them put back in county lockup. Neither man found work since last released from jail, so they needed any quick cash they could scrounge. Quite a risk for so little return, but bad habits stayed with them after their previous incarceration.

Tony glared when Cyrill finger-shushed him again. “I just think this is a bad idea. We should get on back to those boys. Have another beer maybe.” He wiped his mouth with his sleeve, nodded empathically, trying to convince Cyrill of the error of their ways.

“Go on,” Cyrill said, “if you ain’t got the stomach for it.” He sniffed in disgust and settled in against a tree stump, shoulders hunched forward, and stared intently at the metal building he continued to watch. Their mission seemed quite fruitless.

The rumble of a rusted-out exhaust pipe woke them both up a few hours later. Ol’ Man Jenkins’ truck stopped on the gravel path several yards from where they sat. Its owner opened the door with a creak and stepped out to address the due. Hands on his hips, he shook his head and asked, “Now, what have we here?” A fat mutt of a dog tumbled out the door after him, promptly sat down, and scratched briskly at an itch behind its ear that took some digging to remedy.

Tony and Cyrill shook off a hungover sleep still clinging to them and stumbled to standing. Tony practically fell into his friend, who coughed and spat a long line of phlegm off to his side. They both stammered but couldn’t come up with an explanation of their intentions between the pair of them.

Jenkins assessed the situation as best he could. “I don’t quite know what you’re doing,” he grunted, scratching his head like the hound. “My dog don’t seemed too troubled, though, so you must not present too big a threat.”

He kicked up a cloud of dust in their direction and said, “How ‘bout y’all get on outta here, anyway, the both of ya? Do that and I won’t call the Sheriff.” The dog stood up and shook itself all over, floppy ears flipping back and forth across the top of its big head.

Sensing they should take the man at his offer, Tony and Cyrill moved quickly back up the driveway from whence they came in the dark early morning hours. Jenkins motioned toward the truck and opened the door for the dog. “Come on, Pearl. Let’s go back down to the shop. You done yer work for the day.”


Image: Tony Hisgett via Flickr

Studio 30+ writing prompt – undeveloped Studio30


Filed under fiction, writing

Lonesome Blues

He had a bum knee from a long-ago car wreck that caused him to walk with a stitch in his gait. That limp kept him from doing much of anything, least ways gave him an excuse from fixing or cleaning anything around the house. Carpet hadn’t been hoovered since Charlotte left him several months prior. Didn’t matter anyway with all the leavings from his boot heels. Traipsing all over muddy back lot left them pretty nasty and hard to scrape with that bad leg and all.

boot scraper

Those things never bothered him and Ol’ Buck, the dog his sole compatriot these days. The Setter stood to be about all he’d get in the dispersal of his marriage as well. They slept in a mutual bed and shared the same measure of filth throughout the abode.

Lawrence’s self-esteem left with Charlotte, so the state of his dwelling became the least of his worries. Personal hygiene certainly moved down the priority list, too, exacerbating his loneliness as well. Buck didn’t mind the stench of recycled tube socks and week-old drawers turned inside out. “That’s why you canines are called ‘Man’s Best Friend,’ ain’t it, Ol’ Buck?” He smiled down at the dog’s speckled face and admired his oblivious loyalty.

He envied that matt not having a worry in world and considered his lot in life. The kids gone off on their own, and his wife gone now, too, considering her job down raising up the little ones. She found no other reason to stay with his lazy self, she said, and kept talking about how he’d soon have the goats living inside if he had his way about it. Just like that mean man on that purple movie with Whoopie Goldberg. Least he’d never have to watch such nonsense again, much less have a chick flick thrown up in his face.

Lawrence reached down to pet the dog’s shoulder and choked back a sob. “Damn, my luck,” he gasped. “How’d we end up here, boy?” His knees suddenly went weak and toppled him down onto the crusty, stained carpeting. The man fought desperately to be optimistic about his situation but lost that inner struggle more often than not.

He came to the next morning in that same crumpled spot, a rubber-soled toe of Charlotte’s shoe nudging him in the ribs, a slew of empty PBR cans scattered across the dirty floor around him. “Good to know I’d find you in about the exact spot as I last seen you, Lawrence,” she said. “Just came to pick up my mail. I’m expecting something.”

His head pounded like someone beat on the inside of his skull with a hundred tiny ball-peen hammers, and he watched his soon-to-be-ex-wife step over his body and walk to the messy kitchen counter to search for her letter. Used to be Charlotte would’ve had a conniption to find him in this condition. The woman’s face showed neither anger nor surprise. Just resolve.

Lawrence rolled over to one side and tried to slowly push himself up to a sitting position to watch as Charlotte simply trod toward the door to leave. She glanced back over her shoulder to address him. “You might wanna get up and take Buck out ‘fore long. He took a big shit right inside the door.”

She stretched her arm out to turn the knob and took one last great stride over the pile and across the threshold. Turning away from Lawrence, she said, “It’s not right to trap him inside so long, you know.”

Studio 30+ writing prompt – optimistic  Studio30

(photo: kansassampler.org)


Filed under fiction, writing

If the Shoe Fits

He held the lead rope in his hand and asked, “You want me to guide you around the yard for a little while you get used to her?” Casey sat atop the chestnut mare and looked down on him incredulously. Her familiarity might be somewhat limited, but she certainly didn’t need his help finding her way around a saddle.

“I think I can handle it,” she sarcastically replied. Maybe he was just trying to be nice to his guest, but she wasn’t 12 years old for Pete’s sake. The quickness with which she snatched the reins surely clued him in on her exasperation. He shrugged his shoulders, one raised eyebrow hinting his surprised reaction to her haughty remark.

The equestrian art might be arcane to some, she thought, but she knew the basics. Casey didn’t need help mounting to ride, even with the animal at 14 hands’ height, and she wouldn’t ask for it even if she did. Pride got in the way of appreciation for being invited on the ride.

She’d driven in from the city for the day but had grown up around livestock and knew what to do and not do around large animals. Maybe a total newbie wouldn’t see a difference between a halter and a bridle or know a cinch strap from a bit. Casey didn’t claim to be a caballera, but she knew that much.

A horse warns of its anger by pressing its ears back. Only an idiot would walk behind one and its potentially lethal back legs. Some common sense measures like that stood out in her mind. Perhaps the man insinuated nothing with his remark, but she took offense to it anyway. He had no idea how much she knew, but she still got perturbed at him assuming her ignorant.

“So, then why am I getting so defensive?” she asked herself. Her host walked away across the paddock, dust from his boots rising up behind him, a brown cloud in his wake. Maybe he wanted to kick that chip off her shoulder with his scuffed Tony Lamas, manure encrusted in the heels.

Lost in her own inner monologue, Casey jumped when a dog’s yip brought her suddenly back to the present. She shook away the daydream and spied a terrier mix prancing around in circles on the ground below.

The dog’s short spotted legs propelled it upward to nip at her feet, surprisingly high considering the location of the stirrups. Casey drew up her toes, with their brightly-polished magenta nails detailed in tiny white daisies at her recent pedicure. Looking down to ponder her flip flops, she muttered, “Huh, no wonder.”


Studio30+ writing prompt – arcane

Studio30Meet a younger Casey in The Fence Post and find out why she started getting sassy.

Image: Paw Nation

Leave a comment

Filed under creative non-fiction, writing

The Fringe

Jden Redden on Flickr

Jden Redden on Flickr

He wore a faded brown fedora that protected his hairless head from the sun’s rays as he walked the streets. It was not purchased at a haberdashery, as one might suspect from the tycoon, but was instead a finder’s keeper.

A predilection for thrift store shopping implied Jones was impoverished at first glance but was actually quite wealthy. He was tight with his money although his fortune was made in the oil industry, disenfranchising his family in the process. All the work meant little time for loved ones, who swiftly procured his place in a nursing facility with the onset of dementia later in his life.

No one noticed when he followed some visitors out through a secure exit and away from the home, never to return. He left with only a lock box of his most valued possessions secured under his arm.

He found the old brown topper on the ground next to a scroungy mottled dog, similar in color, in the park following his escape. Jones spied the hat beside the friendly mongrel, right at its brim, prompting his moniker for the mutt. “Brim” seemed to be waiting for Jones and perked up at his approach. They became fast friends and wandered the streets together, inseparable to the end. Their days were spent outside in each other’s company strolling the park in daytime and sleeping on a secluded bench out of the public eye and scrutiny of the authorities.

Up to that point, the man spent his life as a miser who meant to disprove the old saying, “You can’t take it with you.” He vowed to do so and left a note in his pocket with his last wishes.

The action was more a deliberate obfuscation. A generous person would willingly leave a legacy for others to use, if even for the sake of doing right instead of getting recognized for altruism. Any other man would surely bequeath his riches to surviving family.

No love was there to be lost between the relatives. Jones suspected they only wanted his money and found a greater connection with his canine companion. He said the dog “wagged his tail and not his tongue,” feeling he’d found the perfect relationship with someone who wanted nothing else from him but his company.

The world had sucked the good out of him by then, and his scant remaining empathy was gone by the time his dead body was discovered in the park. The brown dog watched mournfully as workers hauled him away to a drawer at the City Morgue with a John Doe tag on his toe.

Jones felt about life as he did about his headpiece. Having once read words written by Oscar Wilde that, “All good hats are made out of nothing,” he saw fortune the same way. People made their own luck.

Believing everyone deserves only what they earn, he wanted his money to go to whomever befriended his loving pal, Brim. The dog took to few people other than Jones but seemed to sense who truly needed his camaraderie. Someone approved by his sharp canine wits would find a tiny key tied to the collar buried deep in his unkempt fur.

The dog would later dig up the lock box from its hiding place under the park bench where he and Jones met. The charmed schmo who cared for Brim would find the man’s tattered hat inside with a well-worn copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray atop a sizable pile of money.

Losers weepers.   Studio30

*Studio 30+ writing promptHe wore a faded brown fedora” from Ashley.


Filed under fiction, writing

We read, we laugh, we tell tall tales

My son and I read every evening at bedtime.  Besides yoga, it’s my favorite time of day … restful, calming.  The close of the night usually ends with his stating, “Mom, wake me up when you get to a picture.”  I think this partially defeats the point of reading at bedtime, falling asleep.  He usually wants to read books that have pictures, understandably so, and his type of books are usually full of graphics.

We’ve moved on to Kindle books, lately, though.  There are so many great children’s books available for free on Amazon’s daily top 100 free titles (FREE, trust me, FREE).  Most are cute story lines, some with pictures and some without.  He’s built up a Kindle library almost bigger than my own and finds great pleasure in that fact.  Some are actually pretty good (you hear me, Stick Dog Wants Hamburger and Pedro, the Ugliest Dog in the World?).  And I can’t leave out Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, which is really great!

We also make up our own stories from time to time, too.  He mostly wants to hear my tales of make-believe adventure, ala The Princess Bride, but also likes to know things that have happened in the past.  I try to tell him about fun times from my own childhood, growing up with squabbling siblings, creating our own games in the backyard, walking our well-trained dog that we could ‘sic’ on the neighborhood kids if need be, and being afraid of my dad’s horses since that stupid Shetland pony bit me once.

Our house now is in a regular neighborhood, so my little guy especially enjoys the farm stories he finds so exotic.  Me getting chased by a giant pig or peeing my pants because I wouldn’t go behind a tree, my brother riding his bike over the pond dam into the water.  His eyes get big when I tell him how we buried a dead bird and dug it up several days later to see how it had decomposed.  The worst admission was about getting busted for throwing gravel up in the air as cars were driving down our street.  How did they know it came from our house when we were positioned across the street at the time???

Little guy’s are more a stream-of-consciousness-type of narration, usually involving dogs, fishing and/or playing ball.  He’s all about playing ball … basketball, soccer, you name it.  I love that he is already very interested in language and narrative, too, though.  He tries so hard to make things up before the inevitable fruition of “THE END.”

His attention has now moved on from so-called baby books, but at five-years old he doesn’t quite have the attention span for all chapter books yet.  We’ve made it through Charlotte’s Web, Stewart Little and The Dog who Saved Christmas so far.  Even those have some terms that require explanation.  He is, however, very choosey with each night’s selection.

He’s getting it.  He thinks it’s fun to read.  He’s not going to be like his dad who’s only ever read The Old Man and the Sea.  He’s going to expand his vocabulary and his horizons along the way.  This fall, he might just be the most well-read kindergartner his new teacher has ever known.  And I know he’ll tell those kids a story or two!

Leave a comment

Filed under reading