When someone says, “Dog baptism,” I want the first thing you think of is “Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell.” Okay, the second thing, the first thing probably being, “Say that again; it sounded like you said, ‘Dog baptism.'”
The Dog Baptism Plan
“Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell”
by Marian Allen
“Last night,” Lonnie said, “I done like you told me and sprinkled that holy water around the doors and windows. And this morning, Leona found the pan of water on the table and asked me what it was. And I said I was going to boil some eggs last night but changed my mind. And she opened up the back door and flang the water out, and that hell-hound was standing out there and the water went all over him and he yelped like he was scalded, and run off. Now, what do you think of that?”
I thought that I would have yelped and run if somebody had thrown a pan of water on me out of the clear blue sky, but I could see that Lonnie wasn’t in the mood to be sensible. I didn’t answer him, just stood on the porch and stared at the dog. Like I said, I don’t generally say a lot, so Lonnie let me alone. After a while, he went in and got us both some coffee and an Oreo apiece and we parked our butts on the porch rail and dunked and slurped and thought.
Finally, I put down my cup on the windowsill and said, “There’s only one thing to do, Lon.”
“We’re going to have to baptize that dog.”
When a man has a headache, he takes an aspirin. When a man is certain sure he’s done a service to raise Old Nick, it stands to reason giving equal time to the other side would cancel it out. But would Lonnie think so? That was the question.
Lonnie looked back and forth between the mutt and me. “Sprinkle or dunk?” he asked.
“Well, sprinkling’d be easier.”
“But dunking’s surer. I know Leona wouldn’t count sprinkling.”
I nodded. “Dunking it is….”
~ * ~
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.