Ditch Dogs: Part Three

That Dog had Something to Say

He really had no idea why he brought the book, even the first chapter had been insufferable, but he was certainly glad for it now with the sun beating down on his head. With one end of it stuffed under his collar the thin open novel made an excellent neck shield. Its cool pages were a relief on the raw shedding skin there. Continue reading

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Ditch Dogs: Part Two

The Cave is not an Allegory

Tampico would’ve liked to be known for its architecture. Their cast iron balconies could’ve been right out of any European city a century ago. No matter how desperate your search for god, there was a church in Tampico grand enough to handle it. Its people would gladly sit you down and, in the Catholic hospitality as immortal as their god, share the region’s bounty with you. A tortilla of pounded corn stuffed with roasted iguana meat. Or perhaps armadillo. That was without even considering the bounty of seafood. All you had to do was stay close enough to the buildings, and to the food, to smell them. Straying might mean getting a whiff of the oil in the air. Continue reading

Ditch Dogs: Part One

Author’s Note: This novella was inspired by the animals mankind has used in warfare since the dawn of civilization.  None of them knew what they were doing, but some of them surely wanted to help.  I take you now to one special litter, born in a place not yet swallowed by the first world war.

Birth

Gal rested on her bed of dry straw and whimpered. One of her ears flopped over her eye; she didn’t bother to move it. The freshly-washed hands hovering over her thought this odd, so they moved in and pushed the ear back. Gal loved the light, loved chasing the setting sun to the marshy edge of the island, so there was no reason for her to not see the light in her litter’s eyes. They were due any minute now. One of the hands rested on her swollen belly, both petting and feeling for the position of the puppies. She couldn’t tell the difference. Continue reading

Fortune Underfoot: Part Five

E-denta

It took three separate sessions across two days, but E-denta finally succeeded in painting all of Maggie’s toe nails. The idea came to her when Jones asked for everyone to search the surrounding area for plants. The Riches around them were getting so thick that Maggie couldn’t find enough to eat without their help. Oddly enough, Braxton had the most talent for rooting around the money and bringing up the flattened bodies of mostly dead bushes. The elephant didn’t care for them, so Jones had to chuck the limp plants into her mouth and order the beast to chew. Occasionally she would chew three or four times and spray the pulpy mess back out, staining his shirt a rotten green. Continue reading

Fortune Underfoot: Part Three

Jones and Heart

In an almost frightening way, Jones had lightened up. They had traveled for close to two weeks now with a vague destination in mind, stopping here and there when they crossed lush money-free pastures of tall grass and scrub for Maggie to gorge on. After the initial moment of horror and the attempt at forced separation, things had cooled down between the man and robot. The benefits of the connection almost always washed away Jones’s bouts of feeling manipulated. Continue reading