by Leigh Lundin
Cats have come to dominate mystery cosies. Aficionados embrace multiple cat novel series, cat blogs, cat conference panels, and fans talk of a cat mystery convention.
If cats symbolize the cosy, mutts must represent noir.
Cats are feminine. Dogs are masculine.
Cats are positive. The cat’s meow and the cat’s pajamas are the good things in life.
Dogs are negative karma. Bad things are dog days and a dog’s life.
Cats– unless they’re alley cats or coal black– can’t do noir. That takes a dog.
Not any dog can do the job– neither poodle nor papillon or any frou-frou dog, but a real dog, one not too far descended from that branch of wolves and jackals.
Steve with Lucy as PUPPY!
The Nobull Dog
Sharon’s daughter. Erin, has a bulldog named Lucille. Sharon calls the dog Lucy, I call her Dump Truck. The pooch is built like a semi and has the frightening iron jaws of earth-moving equipment.
I feel for Lucy. She’s the homely girl with a tender heart, the one attending the ball where everyone else is beautiful. She dribbles. She drools. She can lay down a gaseous fog that knocks birds out of trees.
The bitch has nipples the size of .45 slugs. She bowls over people who stand unwittingly close. When wagging her non-tail, her backside whumps alarmingly like an out-of-control bus on a mountain road.
The laws of aerodynamics notwithstanding, she can fly. Dump Truck dog can launch herself from ground zero and collide with you at chest level. It’s a truly frightening experience to see Lucy descending from the sky like a meteor about to wipe out dinosaurs.
Steve with Molly
Sharon swears Lucy has a delicate stomach, although short of concrete blocks, I haven’t found anything Lucy won’t eat. Come to think of it, considering the density of her compact body, she may be loaded with cement blocks. If she steps on your bare foot, it feels like she set a refrigerator on your toe.
The first time I met Lucy, Sharon warned me, "She’s in heat." Too late. Lucy introduced herself by sitting on my shoe, my white shoe that became bloodstained red. She panted and slobbered and wagged her non-tail. When she opened her mouth in greeting, the size and shape looked like the open hood of Steve’s van.
In evolutionary terms, I think Lucy’s ancestors crossbred with hippos, rhinos, and diesel engines. ‘Fur’ is a misnomer for her Brillo-pad astroturf coat. She has a sandpaper tongue like a cat. Where the steel plates of her skull come together between her eyes at the top of her muzzle, Lucy has a deep hollow where Marlowe could stash spent cartridges collected from a crime scene.
The Bulldog Whisperer
I’ve grown fond of dump truck dog. Right now she’s snoring, causing the ceiling fan’s light fixture to vibrate as if Lucy’s gotten on its nerves. Every hour or so, she’ll pause, release gas, and pick up snoring again.
As long as she’s snoring, I’m fine. It’s when she stops snoring, I become alarmed, concerned at any moment I’ll find a boulder hurtling through the air in happy greeting.
Sharon’s daughter roughhouses with her. To be sure, Lucy likes rough play, although concrete walls can take only so much before they crumble.
On the other hand, I talk softly to her, feathering my fingertips across her forehead and scratching that hollow between her eyes. She relaxes and grows quiet, no longer demolishing oak furniture, although the sofa sagged when she climbed up beside me.
Surprisingly, Lucy doesn’t have doggie breath, although that’s hard to appreciate since the other end’s volcanically active.
I whisper sweet nothings, call her little Dump Truck and tell her she’s so ugly she’s cute. She licks my hand with her sandpaper tongue and tries to purr. Lucy wants to climb in my lap, but I’m not anxious for knee replacements. Instead, I stroke her ears.
She closes her eyes and is about to snore when she hears the word "cookie" from the other room. Lucy launches herself like a cannon ball and knocks back the sofa.
Oh well. That gives me a few minutes to finish my article before she retu… azfghjkl…
For a different take on a pet, read The Mystery Place.