Monday, December 29, 2008

Zombie Dog!

Lets start the new year out right, shall we? Lets start the new year out with a story.

A story about the Meadows family.

Why is this the right way to start the New Year, you ask?

Because if you swallow a live toad first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you all day.


I'm sure that at some point in the past Brendel the dog had been readily identifiable as a specific breed, and I'm guessing that it was some kind of a terrier situation. When I met him, though, Brendel was in such an advanced state of deterioration that he was only vaguely canine, and that only when stood next to a cat or a possum or a raccoon.

Brendel belonged to the Meadows family. Specifically, Sunshine Meadows.

Now, Sunshine Meadows was a person that I would have hesitated to trust with a toaster oven. That much was stark raving obvious before you'd even spent one full minute in her presence; she was like a fat, loud, functionally retarded Sue Ann Nivens, if Sue Ann Nivens had dribbled a constant stream of rat scabies and mushroom soup and evil. Nevertheless, someone actually took at look at this complete waste of skin and sold it a puppy. The only thing that can possibly explain this is that reincarnation exists and Brendel was Hitler before he was Brendel.

Brendel was about the size of a large housecat. I think he was originally a brindle dog, which the Meadows steadfastly insisted was spelled and pronounced 'Brendel'*; although by the time I made his acquaintance he was almost entirely white.

I have never seen a dog this old. Nobody knew how old he was exactly. In fact one of the common Meadows evening conversations centered around trying to figure out how old Brendel was by attempting to date him to different events.** If aroma was anything to go by Brendel was 800 years old. You KNEW when this dog was in the vicinity. He didn't smell like a dog, though; he smelled like burnt tunafish casserole. I honestly do not think this dog had been bathed ever. I mean clear geologic levels of filth on this dog that would fly off in discernable chunks when he got kicking. He'd always stop when he was done and sniff his toes. 'Hmmmm. 1954...a very good year.' And then he'd go around and vacuum up all the frag.

Oh yes.

He was drawn up into a perfect knobby half-moon shape, and tiptoed around on the ends of his claws instead of moving his legs. This made him look eerily as though he were a childs' evil decomposed pull toy rolling around. He always carried his head held low to the ground, glaring at you through eyes milk white with cataract tissue. His teeth met in a jagged cross stitch of fishbones and fangs on the outside of his lips and saliva drooled out of his flews in a perpetual stream.

He did not breathe. Not visibly. Not audibly. You could hold your hand in front of his nose and not feel a single thing, even when he was asleep.

The shape of every single bone in this animals body was clearly visible, and I mean right down to the separate bones in his tail. When he ate something you could literally watch as it lumped and bulged its way through his entire intestinal tract. Now this was not a symptom of starvation by any means...this dog ate like a machine. Anything. At all. Constantly. Dog food, dead robins, hamburger wrappers, tinfoil, old gum, sheetrock...

One time I watched this animal go down the side of the road vacuuming up smashed, blackened cherries out of the gravel. And he ate every single one, pits, skin, gravel and all, his head scanning back and forth like a zombie flamingo in the brine shrimp. He was completely blind, this dog, and yet down the block he went, looking like something that fell off Stephen Kings ass, with his muzzle just dusting the ground, darting and swallowing, trailing drool, and all the while this little dog is making this horrible burbling wet noise:

UHAGARK fffart WHIFFLEharf EEEEblargkaffkaff GORPslurp eeeeewaaaAK AK growfBURPooappsnorf snorf FFFfrapSNORKLEakbarfHATCHOOfrap

There was nothing natural or cleanly about this whatsoever.

Now despite being blind as a stone this animal would track your movements. As soon as you came into the room his little bald head would slowly rise and his muzzle would come around and point directly at you while you walked by. His eyes were like perfect moonstone opals, completely opaque, dry and hard. Obviously there was nothing wrong with his hearing or his sense of smell. You could call him from anyplace and he would come gliding up on his tippitoes and stop with his dry, dry nose touching your leg, and just stand there. "OK, boy", you'd say, and he'd come back online and glide off.

Nobody mistreated Brendel. Brendel was a vicious as a pirrahna. He did not want pets or love or to be a lap dog. He would come up and present a body part to be scratched; you scratched it, and then he rolled off, perfectly content. Any attempt to pick him up would result in Brendel going from completely stock still to SCREAMING RAVENING MAELSTROM OF CANINE DEATH and back to complete immobility once you decided not to follow through, or were in another state.

Screaming is no exaggeration either. The very worst, most unnatural, horrible thing about Brendel was his voice.

I was seated over at Sonnyboys house next door one evening right after I'd arrived back in town. It was about 2 in the morning and we were just smoking and talking and having some beers when suddenly I heard a....noise. I am not ashamed to admit that I gave a yelp and jumped for Sonnyboy.

"Isn't it horrible? We decided it sounds like a bum being tortured to death," Sonnyboy explained.

"Well is someone torturing a bum to death?" I asked, completely appalled. I'd never heard anything like this. It really did sound like a human in pain, or several humans in pain, and by pain I mean horrific agony, and by several humans I mean like the emergency waiting room at Harborview Medical Center late on a Saturday night. Horrible loud screaming and groaning and banshee wailing, with a distinct vocal quality to it:

Aoo wawawawa waaaaaa, BUFFA. Boov. VoooOOOO. Wuhwoo. UUOOWAAA aaa aaaaaaaaaaoooooo...oooooOOOOO

"Oh my God Sonnyboy we have to go see whats wrong, Jesus Christ now come on," I said. I was really panicked. I thought someone was in real trouble or something.

We both snuck out the back door and over the fence.

There in the moonlight, sitting on the back step of the Meadows shed, still as a statue, was Brendel. Brendel, with this NOISE coming out of him. His mouth never came wide open and he never hopped up off his front feet like some dogs will when they're all excited and giving voice just to hear themselves be goofy; no, Brendel was just sitting there still as a statue, moving his lips as though he was chewing.

Wumgum. Hmrmwmwmwmwaaaaaaaaaaa. WMWMaaaa. OOOO oo oo, RAIGH! AWRAIGH! AIAIAIauauaooooo. WHY! WAWHY! marowauOOOOOOOOOOOOOWAGGAWAGAAAAAA!

I backed into the fence and got tangled up in it. Sonnyboy nearly pissed himself laughing at me. I ran back indoors and stayed up for the rest of the night. Every time I'd try and sleep this fucking dog would start up again and I'd come up off the couch about a foot.

"Oh my God, if he'd just bark like a normal dog it would be one thing," I kept saying. "You could throw something at it. You wouldn't be afraid if it were just a normal dog noise. This is like...oh my God.
Somebody ought to do something. I mean, this is from hell," I exclaimed.

"Nobody in the whole neighborhood will say a word anymore,"explained Sonnyboy, "because then Sunshine shows up at your door. And NOBODY wants that. Brendel is bad, but Sunshine might play the accordion or something. And the thing is, I don't think you can actually kill Brendel anymore. He'd just return and put a curse on you."

Sad to say, though, it was possible to kill Brendel. It took a dump truck.

By this point I had resumed my campaign of evil and I was busily emptying the bank account of a useless cheating wad of fuck named Brae. Brae, although engaged to another girl, just knew he was Gods gift to women in general and me specifically. I knew that if I kept treating him like crap and holding out on him he'd get so broke trying to buy his way into my drawers that he'd have to re-enlist in the Navy. Which is exactly what happened but is another story. Ahem.

One evening he had picked me up at the Meadows house and we had just driven down to the end of the block when we saw a creature coming down the center line toward us in the headlights, eyes glowing, staggering along on three legs.

Apparently Brendel had wandered down the block to where a housing development was being built and one of the dumptrucks had gone over him; we found the dual wheel tracks full of dirt going right over the bloodstain on the pavement.

And the goddamned dog was still walking.

Brae stopped the car and we both got out and stood over the dog. "I can't touch it," he said. "I couldn't even look at the thing when it was OK, now its a mess. Jesus."
And Brendel was.
Brendel had a rib sticking out of his side, and that side was flat. One hind leg was completely dislocated at the hip socket and was broken in several places besides, bent at several strange angles like a paperclip, the foot hanging like a rag.
One ear was almost completely smeared off the side of its head and hung down on its neck attached to a strap of skin.
Part of this animals skull on that side was caved in.
And missing.
You could see this dogs BRAIN.
As we stood and looked down at it in horror, pieces of gravel fell out.
And yet this dog was still walking.

Brae wrapped it up in his coat and we put it in the trunk with the lid open; I sat back there with it while we rolled back up the street slowly. Brendel growled when I tried to pet him. I stopped.

Sunshine reacted like Sunshine did, which meant she giggled and dithered and laughed and looked around and blinked and flapped her hands and dithered some more and screeched "Oh my God! I can't decide! I just can't decide! What do I do! What do I do! I just don't know, I've never been good at deciding! Oh no!"

"We should take the dog to the emergency vets in Portland," I said. "It's down in Northwest."

Sunshine paused a half-beat and frowned down at me. Then she resumed her fluttering and dithering.
"Oh my God! I can't decide! I just can't decide! What do I do! Someone make this decision for me! Oh please! I just don't know!"
-And remember, all this time she's giggling, kids.

"We should drive down there and you can follow in your car," I said. "Just get in your car and we'll go. Go get your keys, here, here's your keys on the wall here, let's take them off the hook and put them in your hand, here, OK, and now let's go out into the driveway, here let me open the door for you, get in your car, OK, good, and now you start the car and you FOLLOW us into Portland, OK? You have to start the car-OK. Good. Now FOLLOW US IN TO PORTLAND."

Once at the vets she continued to be useless, and the doctor looked at us and we looked back and shrugged and rolled our eyes.

Brendel jumped down off the examination table and headed for the door.

The doctor tried to catch him. When his hands closed on him, Brendel came around like a wolverine and buried his teeth in the mans' hand.

We had to threw the coat back over Brendel in order to lift him back onto the table, and all the while this animal is fighting like a hooked marlin and SNARLING in hatred at the top of its lungs.

We all backed away and left Sunshine there. She just stood there looking down at Brendel, watching his brain oog around, giggling. "You're the owner so you have to make a decision," the vet said.

"Well I can't, I just can't, Oh I don't know what to do I just can't," she simpered.

"We're going to leave now," I told the vet quietly. "We got her here. I'm done with the bitch."

"Wait! Does she have transportation?" The vet looked a little panicked.

"Oh you bet she does," Brae laughed. "She drove herself here. The dog was bad enough. There's no way in hell I'd let that in my car."

We stopped at a gas station on the corner of Burnside. Brae cleaned out the trunk of his car and gave his jacket to a bum. Then we went to a bar and got shitfaced stinking, rompin' stompin', ratshit, motherbuttfucking, blind-ass drunk til that bitch closed doors down.

Brendel came back in the form of a handful of ash in a little box. Sunshine kept it on the mantle. When people would come over she'd lead them over and say "thats my poor little doggie Brendel Wendel," and then glare at me.

Apparently Brendels' death was my fault. I never was able to pin her down as to how exactly it was my fault that her blind senile dog that ran around the neighborhood at large had been run over by a goddamn dump just was. So whenever she pulled this I'd just grin real big like Alfred E. Neuman and nod enthusiastically.

This apparently was not the reaction she was looking for from me. She also seemed less than amused when the person she was attempting to zoom cracked up laughing.

The great thing about Sunshine was she had no clue that everyone had her number. None whatsoever.

*When I first heard this dogs name I thought they'd said 'Grendel' and I started laughing. "At least they have a sense of humor about it," I said.

Blank stares.

"You know, Grendel? Like Grendel the monster?" I said.

Blank stares. Some drool.

"....Oh. From Beowulf," said Eldest Brother.

Which was what finally made me decide to do him.

scene: dinner conversation, around the table. all family members and our narrator are present.

Dad-Brendel has to be about 22 now. Sure. We got him wasn't it right around the time when Eldest Brother had to get circumcized? Remember? Back when Kelvin spilled a pot of hot tea on his crotch and he got 2nd degree burns and all the skin sloughed off and it got infected and then he got pimosis and it closed off the end of his dick and he had to get an emergency circumcision?

Mom-No, I think it was back when Mysterion got her period. Wasn't it? Right around then? I remember finding a lot of bloody underwear in the laundry right around then...

Eldest Brother-No no no it was back right after we made Kelvin go live in the garage because he kept going in to Mysterions room at night. I remember we were putting up the wallboard when you brought Brendel home.

Kelvin-I never went into Mysterions room at night. That was a lie. She was lying.

Mom-She was not lying; we found your underpants right next to her bed, Kelvin.

Kelvin-Well, we didn't have Brendel then because I remember I had just started working nights and I'd come home and wake up in Mysterions bedroom and not remember how I got there.

Dad-I thought you said she was lying.

Kelvin-Well...well, she
was lying; I was never in there. Not really. And we didn't have Brendel then anyway.

-cue happy family laughter all round



  1. Thank you for posting this so late in the year. Had you left it for 2009 then the rest of us might have decided that we would not be able to do anything better for the year and hang up our blogging shoes.

  2. vicus: well.....thanks. I think. i just figured nothing says 'happy new year' like a story about a zombie dog. whaddya gonna do.

  3. Good gawd! I have seen a creature like that as well... Equally dessicated, bony and ugly as sin, but not nasty. It was a Chihuahua, about 24 years old.

    Thanks, FN! I so love your writings! You make me hoot out loud all the time.... ;-)

  4. My god this story has elements from "A Christmas Story", or the same author who wrote about a neighbor family who owned dogs and the dogs stole their turkey dinner and they wound up having Thanksgiving dinner in Chinatown. Also saw written for the first time "HOICK Patoeeeee!" description of hocking a loogie.
    Your zombie dog was better.

  5. Anonymous10:25 PM

    Good writing, laughed my ass off! A real evil animal - Why did nobody shoot that creature, at least when it was run over by the truck? Hope that I never have to encounter such a hellhound.

  6. I think I am a little bit in love with sunshine :-)

  7. that was a great story...thank you...seems crazy dogs gravitate to crazy people...meanwhile i have an OCD shit...everything has to be in it's place or she isn't right...and let's everyone know about it...wonder where she gets that from...

  8. One wonders what Caeser Millan would have made of him.

  9. Holy Crap!
    That was craaaaazy! Makes Cujo look like Benji.

    Kindly send me y'er email Madame..the 3 that I had all bounced back???

  10. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours Miss FN.

  11. Anonymous1:14 AM

    Brilliant! You are a fucking genius.

    Not all old dogs are like that by the way....

    Hrapepy Noow yoire!!

  12. Happy New Year FN - thanks for such fun this year I love reading your words even the horrible, truly gross, foul and yucksome ones :)

  13. You are my very own Carson McCullers dear HRH Firstness. Have a fab New Year and behave badly won't you. Just off to swallow my very own toad. XX

  14. Is it really true that if you swallow a live toad first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you all day? Because given the last few months I'm about ready to try it.

    Anyway, this is a fabulous story. You are an amazing writer. I've read it three times now just to make sure I didn't miss out a single sentence.

  15. Hmm, wonder what your neighbors have to say about you. As much as you say about yourself?

    Good story, thanks.

  16. Happy New Year, beeyottchhhh!

  17. Happy New Year, FN! I have loved coming here to read your writings.... you make me just howl with laughter! And cringe, and go 'GAK!' and shudder.... but mostly laugh my ass off! Thanks!

  18. Ahhh. Now THIS is what my new year needed to start off right. Thank you FN! And a very happy new year to you.