“Dog Star” is a story I wrote for the Southern Indiana Writers’ anthology NOVEL INGREDIENTS, where every story was accompanied by a recipe. It was inspired by the very real recipezine WORLD WIDE RECIPES from Joe Barkson. In fact, the story also appeared serially in the recipezine, which made me very happy.
I subsequently included it in my collection LONNIE, ME AND THE HOUND OF HELL.
Dog Star – excerpt
by Marian Allen
I’ll begin with the dogs–in medias Rex, as it were. There were two of us–three, if you count Sparkle–four, if you count the puppy–but there were two of us on the scene.
Direct your attention, if you will, to Fiona. Cairn Terrier, twenty pounds of dark intensity, muscles and nerves of steel, wrapped in yards of gray shag. Observe her gleaming eyeteeth, her glittering eye. Do not attempt to extract that plastic action figurine from between her paws. She is not cuddling it, and she will not welcome your intervention. Fiona is my elder by three years, and I am five.
My name is Cyrano. I am, to an observable degree, Irish Setter. To her credit, Fiona, who is pedigreed and papered, purchased from a licensed breeder, has never made me feel my unmapped lineage.
The third dog in this adventure, the one we’ve never met, is a black Labrador retriever called Sparkle. Sparkle is the editor of “Sparkle’s Bark,” a newsletter to which I subscribe over the World Wide Woof. Every night, she sends out an issue filled with jokes, tips, and recipes.
Here’s my favorite of Sparkle’s recipes: Find a human who’s eating a sandwich–road workers, construction workers, or kids are best–and sit where they can see you. Don’t make a sound or a move, just watch them eat. If desired, cock your head and prick up your ears if they look at you, or you may move your eyes or your head to follow the sandwich as it moves to and from the human’s mouth. Before the sandwich is half gone, the human will either give you a piece of the sandwich or, ideally, remove one slice of bread and toss it to you.
I have personally tried this recipe many times, and I have never known it to fail.
So, when we found the Thing in the woods, it was only natural that I appealed to Sparkle for advice.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character finds a Thing in the woods.