Lonnie calls Tiny in the middle of the night in this excerpt from “Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell” looking for advice. Tiny, as always, obliges.
How To Make Holy Water – “Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell” excerpt
by Marian Allen
The phone rang in the middle of the night. I checked the clock: just a little before three. My heart thudded like it always does when the phone rings after ten. Momma? Grandpa? Mary Lee’s sister, changing her mind about her wallpaper?
It was Lonnie, whispering so Leona couldn’t hear him.
“Tiny? Buddy? That dog is outside. He’s been out there, barking and whining and howling since dead midnight. I woke up and looked out the window and seen him down in the back yard. He looked up at the window here, and his eyes is glowing red!”
“That’s how dogs’ eyes do when the light hits them at night, Lon. Go back to bed.”
“How can I go back to bed, with that hell-hound prowling around out there?”
“Did Rocky ever come down out of the tree?”
“Yeah, he come down and come in, and he won’t go out. Oh, Lordy, I wish I’d never thought of that deal! Now the Devil’s gone and dumped this Beast on me that’s too mean for perdition! That’s what I get for rattling the Devil’s cage. It just serves me right. Oh, I am so sorry. Oh, what in the world am I going to do?”
I had my serious doubts that, if the Devil was going to dump a dog, he’d leave a note, especially not on paper, which is kind of well known for catching on fire. But Lonnie wasn’t in any state for logical arguments, so I said, “Make some holy water and sprinkle it around the doors and windows. He can’t get you, then.”
“Oh, yeah!” I could hear Lonnie thumping down the steps and wondered why he bothered to whisper. If Leona could sleep through that elephant stampede, she wasn’t likely to wake up if he yodeled, much less spoke out loud. Then he said, “Tiny?”
“How do you make holy water?”
“You take some water….”
“And you boil the hell out of it.”
There was silence.
“Swear to God. Some Catholic told me.” Okay, he told me as a joke, but Lonnie didn’t need nothing but comfort. This would give him something to do and make him feel better, and it wouldn’t hurt anything. Unless…. “Let the water cool down before you stick your fingers in it to fling it around.”
“Oh, yeah — Important safety tip. Thanks, buddy. You’re a life-saver!”
~ * ~
Yeah, Lonnie is a natural-born fool.
Just in case you take a notion to read more of the story:
These are stories of animals and oddities–some definitely sf/fantasy, some, maybe not. IS the new dog in the neighborhood a hell-hound? Where was the cat all that time, and how did he show up where he did when he did? If there are aliens visiting us, maybe Cyrano the Lab and Fiona the Terrier did save alien life, and maybe Mr. Sugar, the elegant gay white Persian, really did save the DiMarco woman.
Seven of these stories are collected from previous print and online publication, and three are new.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A friend calls a character in the middle of the night asking for help.