Ghosts, Dogs, and Riddles
by V Rose Dahrke
Well, I have to say, this week has been perhaps the crappiest in a long time. Let’s break it down:
Monday: Spent all damn day reading for class and accomplished only about half of my total workload.
Tuesday: It was a Tuesday. If you knew my schedule, you’d understand.
Wednesday: Oh, this was fun. I decided to stop at the supermarket after school, and as I was walking out with my four or five items, I see a young man walking in. I think to myself, “He looks familiar; where do I….HOLY SHIT”. The gentleman in question was the best friend of my best friend’s brother, and I had not seen or heard from him in close to three years, and for good reason: the brother of my best friend is also my ex-boyfriend. With the exception of my dear Jessica, I have taken great pains to separate myself from the portion of my life where I knew these two men, my ex and the friend of his I saw, and I have done so with decent success. To see a ghost from my past walk into my supermarket- not just one that I never go to, but the one two blocks from my apartment- was…unnerving.
I called to him. He turned, stared at me for a moment, then turned abruptly around and stalked off after his girlfriend. I didn’t know her; Jessica told me her name later. I think he recognized me. The look on his face said something along the lines of “I’m not dealing with this right now.”
I’m not insulted by it, not by a long ways. The last time we spoke, he was reprimanding me for talking to the cops and I was screaming obscenities; the conversation ended when I threw the phone against the wall and returned to my place in bed next to a terrified virgin some years my junior whom I had met four days before. All that aside, the poor man found out not long ago that he has a few months left to live. He simply didn’t have time for me, and I can’t begrudge him that.
Thursday: As mentioned in previous entries, I lost what little work I had done on my novel the previous week.
Friday: Alright, I adimit it. I confess it before you all: I haven’t been checking the pressure of the cracked tire every morning. Thus, on Friday night, the stress on the other tires flattened one of them, stranding my fiance some miles from home. The spare was also flat, and I…was not in any state to drive. It was Friday, after all. This is why man invented tow-trucks.
Saturday: After rushing to get ready to go to lunch with my soon-to-be mother in law, I went outside to discover that I had, somehow, despite being sure I checked the night before, left the lights of the other car on. So, we have one car with a flat in the bottom parking lot of the complex, and one car in need of a jump in the middle lot. It was splendid. Enter the sixteen year old brother-in-law, who was able to rescue us without laughing at me too much.
The one major plus of all this was that I was able to recreate that missing scene without too much trouble. I think this version may even be better. I also had the opportunity to attend the monthly poetry slam hosted by a group at my college. If you don’t know what a poetry slam is, Google it, find one in your area, and check it out. They’re pretty much amazing. I also had a lovely St. Valentine’s Day, which I certainly wasn’t expecting.
So, enough of my whining. I did put that scene back together. It wasn’t terribly difficult; the first time I did it I figured out what the protagonist’s concerns were, and the second time I was able to simply rephrase them.
There is one thing that concerns me, a question that has arisen time and time again: do I include dogs? I know that does not make much sense to you, as you have no idea what’s going on in the story, but I keep turning it over and over. We have an underground (literally) nomadic society which lives primarily through hunting, gathering, and raiding a more organized and stable civiliztion which inhabits the same environment. Dogs would thus be useful, but my concern is that the landscape posesses three dimensions. There are routes which these people take that involve moving up or down rather than on a flat plane, and any animal that cannot climb efficiently would be more of a detriment than a benefit. I can vividly recall playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons where the party spent a good twenty minutes trying to figure out how to lower a wolf down a chimney. There is a certain dog which plays an important role in the story toward the middle, but said creature is owned by the opposing force. There is also the issue of the protagonist’s frequent descriptions of her followers as being like hounds or, in a few cases, puppies. It is, as a Polish priest I knew in South Korea was wont to say, a poozelment.