June 3, 2011
The shit has hit the fan and the only thing our Archangel can do is retreat – to VEGAS, baby!
Heaven’s Shine, Chapter 8
April 22, 2011
Mickey is in Nashville right now, so I didn’t have to worry about him when the tornado siren went off, but I encountered a totally new and different issue this year: Recalcitrant pups.
Last year when the sirens began to blare, all I had to do was clip Slevin’s leash on him and lead him down into the basement. I was completely unprepared for what I faced with both he and Shooter tonight. Slevin was not going to cross the kitchen linoleum, period. He dug in and refused to move. So with the siren wailing in my ears and my heart in my throat, I had to carry my 100-pound darling across the kitchen. I set him down on the first basement stair and told him to go. Did he? Of course not. Suddenly, Slevin was acting like a dog. Seriously. Just like an ordinary, run-of-the-mill dog, not the highly cooperative, intuitive, obedient, intelligent example of canine perfection that I’ve come to expect of him.
Keeping one hand out to block Slevin from coming back up the stairs, I started calling Shooter. Shooter, who normally comes the minute you breathe, was having no part of the basement either. I had to grab him by the collar and drag him to the top of the stairs where I was able to lift him up and carry him down into the basement.
About the time we all three got downstairs, the sirens stopped. And the sun came out. And somewhere, no doubt, the gods are laughing. I’m sure my dogs and I put on quite a show, tyvm.
So, what have I learned from all of this? I’ve learned that both dogs need to be trained to react to a command I’ll only give in emergency situations. A command that means, “last one into the basement gets sucked into the Whirling Vortex of Death”. I’m thinking “Toto” would be an excellent command word.
As for Mickey, well, I found out last year that the tornado siren and EBS alerts on the radio are more like “guidelines” to him. He’s on his own. After all, I can’t carry him into the basement. Hmmmm…or maybe, given a megadose of adrenaline, I can. Time will tell.
March 8, 2011
Tell me again, Mickey, all about how Shooter is not your dog. Better yet, tell him. He’s the one who’s been parked on the coffee table, staring out the window since you left. I can’t distract him, Slevin can’t distract him. He watched you drive away and he’s maintained his post like a good soldier ever since. I really didn’t need this current example of his fidelity to know that he adores you. Cartoon hearts float out of his eyes when he scrambles between us in bed and lays his pointy head on your chest. And for pity’s sake, he TALKS to you. But staring out the window for almost an hour in anticipation of your return just about caps anything I’ve ever seen. It’s reminiscent of Greyfriar’s Bobby, except he’s not a Skye Terrier and you’re not dead.
I know you wanted a Basset Hound. And, yes, I know you’d rather lay claim to a really good dog like Slevin. But it is what it is, Sweetheart. That little, undisciplined, yarking, pooping, nipping, furniture-eating, shoe-destroying Beagle/Heeler hound from hell has laid claim to you and he’s not to be dissuaded.
So please, tell me again how he’s not your dog, but I don’t think I’ll believe it any more than Shooter does.
May 11, 2010
I’ve lived in Tornado Alley for three years and this was the first time I’ve heard the sirens go off, but it wasn’t as if we were unprepared for this. It wasn’t as if every newschannel in this part of the country hadn’t been warning us for over twenty-four hours that tornadoes were imminent. It wasn’t as if we didn’t have a basement to retreat to. Yet, for all of the cooperation around the Blood-Mills household, one would think yesterday’s funnels of wind were as unexpected as if daises had suddenly sprouted out of our collective ass.
We’d just finished dinner under a steadily darkening sky when the Emergency Broadcast System began blaring over the radio. That was enough to discompose yours truly. I made sure I had a flashlight and my purse and Slevin’s leash within reach. When the tornado siren three blocks from the house went off, I was ready.
“That’s us,” I told Mickey. In my mind it was very simple, like when you’re sitting at an airport gate and they announce boarding, or waiting at the DMV with a paper stub in your hand when they called your number. “That’s us.”
I grabbed my purse, hooked Slevin’s leash on his collar and made my way through the kitchen to the basement stairs. Slevin hates crossing the kitchen linoleum and he really hates the basement, but he apparently sensed my urgency because he followed without protest.
I went down basement stairs with Slevin and hit the tap light on the wall in case power went out. I could hear the wind howling outside. I’ve always read that tornadoes sound like freight trains. It didn’t sound like that. It was more like a semi going by a few blocks away. Okay, maybe it was nothing to be panicked over, but the damned siren was going off and, God as my witness, I wasn’t going to be caught above ground with unshaven legs when the Wind Tunnel of Death roared down Dorothy Avenue.
Slevin looked at me. It was if he was saying, “Okay, here we are, I’m not sure why, but if you say so… By the by, where’s Dad?”
Where’s Dad, indeed.
Dad was apparently upstairs checking the weather radar on wonderfuck.com or whatever the name of his favorite weather website is. He certainly wasn’t in the basement with us, which, with every fiber of my being, I believed he needed to be.
I wanted to go back upstairs and get Mickey, but I knew I couldn’t do that without taking Slevin with me and I wasn’t going to take my puppy back into harm’s way. So I shouted for Mickey. He shouted something back, I don’t know what. I shouted again. Then I started crying.
There’s something gruesome about making that kind of choice: Do I go upstairs with Slevin and try to persuade Mickey to come down into the basement with us? Or do I stay in the safety of the basement with my dog and hope the man I live for decides to eventually saunter down our way?
Three or four hours later, the sirens stopped. Mickey says it was less than two minutes, but he wasn’t the one in the basement having a moral crisis. We were safe; even the van and Mickey’s beloved motorcycle Pearl were unscathed. But afterwards I’m sure I smelled urine and Slevin didn’t have that guilty-dog-grin going, so it was probably me who pissed myself.
What’s the moral of this story? First of all, move my ass out of Oklahoma. Secondly, until we’re relocated out of this area, if the sirens ever blare again I’m still going to hightail it to the basement with my dog. Lastly, I would really like Mickey to be down there with us.
March 25, 2010
I had another piece of flash fiction published last week and although it’s probably the most technically unsound story I’ve written, it’s also my personal favorite!
Meet Faith, the brave little terrier. Faith knows something that her humans don’t, namely that there’s a monster who lives in the mirror. In this battle of wills, the little dog isn’t about to back down. She’s there to protect her human family, and by God, that’s just what she intends to do.
If you have a chance to swing by, please take a moment to check it out: