Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


It Is A Goonball Dog

April 5, 2016 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life

GoonballThis is my dog. It is a goonball dog. It is the gooniest ball of a dog that there is.

The goonball dog is called Sadie. She has special magic powers and two duties, both self-appointed.

Last week I made an omelette. The goonball and I had already been for our morning walk, during which she had gooned herself to the point of exhaustion through the medium of puddles. When I decided that an omelette was the thing that I would eat she was draped over the bed, eyes closed, spark out.

I went to the kitchen, and she stirred not a bit.

I cracked some eggs, whisked them up in a glass jug, and yet I was left alone. I poked my head around the door and the goonball had not moved.

I chopped tomatoes and ham with gusto, heated oil in a pan, put the extractor fan on as the ancient, blackened stainless steel began to smoke. In a house on the other side of the street somebody dropped a pin. I heard it clearly over the sound of nothing moving at all within my own home.

I sloshed my eggy mixture into the hot pan with the tomatoes and ham. Sizzling occurred, but the goonball was too deep in goony slumber to respond.

As the omelette firmed up I considered what else might be required to make this the finest lunch I had ever eaten. Cheese, I thought to myself, inside my own mind where nobody else could hear. This needs some cheese. I turned to the fridge and a fully alert goonball had materialised at my feet and was trying to influence my next actions with the power of her stare.

Her special magic powers are entirely concerned with the anticipation of cheese. They have no other value. I do not know how to explain this within an evolutionary context. It’s baffling. On the other hand I can’t explain why any sane god would give the goonball special magic cheese powers either, so it’s nil-nil on that front*.

I have a beanbag in my study. I lie back on it when writing longhand. Also while napping. Within a few moments of my settling into it I will often hear the pad of paws ascending the stairs outside. The goonball has worked out where to find** the special secret pressure point at the base of the study door that will cause it to yield before her no matter how firmly it is closed.

From my reclined position I will see the door fly mysteriously open and the goonball will appear, tongue lolling, and without pause cross the room to me. With a sort of weary resignation, she sits her full weight on my sternum and begins to slowly lick my face. There is no escaping her at this point. With the edges of the beanbag preventing me from rolling her off, her positioning in the middle of my chest is a perfect pin. The licking will go on for an excessive amount of time. It isn’t frantic. She doesn’t even seem to be enjoying herself much, even though I am quickly reduced to helpless giggling. It is a strange sort of duty that she has decided she needs to carrying out on a regular basis. I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing, or what she is concerned might happen if she stops, but she’s very determined about it.

The goonball’s second duty, which she takes equally seriously but is far more enthusiastic about, is to guard us. She guards us from all of the things. All of the things outside. All of the things outside our front window, whether they are actually there or not.

Just last weekend she guarded us from several harmless passers-by, a pigeon, some wind, a shadow, the dark, her own reflection, a creak, the light, the potential of somebody being right outside the door even though they clearly weren’t, and other such horrors. It is easy to mock her, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Not one of those things has broken into the house and murdered us all. From that perspective her guarding is 100% successful.

It is a goonball dog, and I loves her.

*Evolution gets all the other points though.

**Or possibly installed one somehow, because she’s not as stupid as she looks***.

***Which is very stupid indeed, per the photographic evidence.

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