Miranda — The Tempest. Painting by John William Waterhouse, 1916. Public domain photo.

My concentration broke just as the mast fell into the sea. I fell against the rock, breathing heavily. The unnatural wind I had created whipped through my hair. The curse had taken more out of me than expected this time. The ocean waves cascaded into the ship’s hull. I could not hear the breaking and snapping of the ship over the clash of waves but I imagined it was quite the symphony. I wish I could have heard their gargled screams as the water consumed the flesh. That was always my favorite part.

He gave me the freedom to kill as I chose. As long as the bodies fed His great appetite it did not matter how they got there. I had tried lightning, whirlpools, sirens. But the tempest was my favorite. I regained strength as He consumed the corpses. And then I waited for His next meal to appear on the horizon.


Dog’s Day in Summer



“Come here, boy!” shouted Danny patting his thighs with his hands. I ran as fast as I could, all four legs just grazing the long grass. My slobbery tongue licked mud off his face. He pushed me away and I barked until he let me have the rest of the mud.


“Danny, jump in!” called John. Danny grabbed my tail and I twirled around and chased after him into the lake. John, Keith, and Matt were neck deep in the muddy water and I watched Danny swim out to them. I stayed barking at the edge, guarding their clothes that were hung up on a tree limb.  Once they left them on the ground and I took them to guard them in a hole. But they ran out of the water after me and wouldn’t let me dig the hole. The clothes would’ve been safer but my humans didn’t understand.


I lapped up the water and enjoyed the flavorful critters I snatched up. When I’d had my fill I lay under the tree in the shade and listened to my humans in the water.


When the boys swam back to shore, they were laughing and Danny kept pushing Keith back into the water. I wagged my tail and walked towards them to join the fun. 


“Good boy, Doffer!” said Danny. Matt patted me on the head and grabbed his shirt off the tree limb. The other boys followed suit and the five of us left the lake.


We headed for the fort we’d made in the woods behind John and Matt’s house. I went straight for the water dish which stayed filled up with a hose that Matt had rigged stretching from the house and into the fort. Danny handed me a treat which I greedily inhaled and I grabbed the small ball that Danny kept throwing away. Whenever he threw it, I always brought it back to him but my human would just throw it away again. And I would bring it back. Humans could be silly like that. Just from the lake to the fort he had thrown it four times. He was not careful and it was my job to make sure he didn’t lose it.


John pulled out the cards and my humans sat in a circle to play.  Then John accused Matt of cheating and punched his brother in the arm.


“You’re just a sore loser!” said Matt escalating into a louder voice and whopping John in the stomach. Then it was war. They tumbled on the dirt and Keith and Danny shifted out of their way. Meanwhile, Danny picked up the cards and he and Keith continued the game. After a few more blows Matt and John joined back in on the game like nothing had happened. They were like fighting pups that put up a fuss and then forgot all about it.


Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw something move near my humans’ tool box. I looked at the boys to see if they had seen it but they were distracted. I stood up, leaving the ball against Danny’s leg, hoping he didn’t try to lose it in the meantime.


My nostrils flared as I caught the scent of something strange and menacing. I walked to where I had seen the movement. The putrid smell was coming from there. Whatever was lurking was evil. I growled and hunched forward. My humans were in danger. I saw the movement again and lurched, hitting my head against the box.


“What is it, Doffer?” said Matt, starting to crawl in the fort towards me. I turned and barked at him warning him not to come closer. He jumped back and it got the other boys’ attention. The game was paused as they all watched me bare my jaws and growl. When I was sure they were not going to come closer, I turned back to the tool box and pile of sticks in the corner kept for fort repairs and s’mores. The creature was under there. Down on all haunches I sniffed and followed the evil stink around the tools to get a better angle at the stick pile. I growled again, tail and ears perked for action. One look over my shoulder told me my humans were a safe distance away.


I lunged into the debris, snapping some twigs and sunk my jaws around something that squealed and hissed. It scratched my face and I bit down harder. Suddenly I was pulled by my waist out of the sticks. The villain was still in my grasp.


“Lucy!” shouted John reaching for the thing in my mouth. Why didn’t he stay back! It was dangerous. Danny told me to drop it and I reluctantly opened my mouth and let the now whimpering vermin out but was ready to snatch it up again. John, stupid human, grabbed the critter in his hands. When it did not attack, I relaxed and Danny let me go.


“Ma’s going to be pissed!” said Matt crawling on his hands and knees to John. “She just got this stupid cat.”


“Doffer didn’t get her too bad. Just a little scrape on her paw,” said John.  He and Matt looked at each other and then both looked at me. I sat up straight and proud. My humans were no longer in danger. I had subdued the cat.


Then Keith started laughing. Danny scratched my ears and joined him. The cat, Lucy, was burrowing as far as she could into John’s arms for safety. She perked her head up and I growled, making her burrow more frantically. John crawled outside the fort with the creature.


Matt was grinning. “The fort does say ‘No Girls’. Good boy, Doffer” he said. Danny grabbed the ball and tossed it inside the fort against the stick wall a few feet away. I brought it back to him. He would never learn.



One deep breath filled my lungs. In through the nose, out through the mouth, just like I had practiced countless times before.

Two steps on the beam before liftoff. My toes curled around the edges of the beam, my chalked feet holding me steady.

Three judges sat on the panel. One was incessantly clicking her pen.

Four feet left on the beam for my flip.

Five seconds on the timer. It was more than enough time.

Six feet I catapulted through the air towards the landing. My feet found the mat and stuck firm. I raised my arms in the air, striking my final pose.

Seven months ago I missed the landing. A clumsy mistake. No one had clapped then, just gasped. They were cheering now.

Eight million times I have dreamed about redeeming myself from that tarnishing blemish in my career.

Nine years it felt like the judges took to show me my scores.

Ten. Ten. Ten.




He straightened out the last corner of the blanket. He sat cross-legged across from her and pulled out two wine glasses and a 1970 Cabernet. It was the year they were married. He poured himself a hearty portion and set the bottle down. “Happy anniversary,” he said, clinking his glass against her headstone.




“What do we do now?” asked the blacksmith, wiping sweat from his forehead. Alexander stood over the body and shrugged.

“We did not think this through,” said the clerk next to him, shaking his head. “This one is over six feet tall; he made it for you, Alexander. But who will make the coffin for the coffin-maker?”

They stood around the body of Mr. Burr, wondering how to bury the body without a coffin or a coffin-maker. Alexander suggested they stuff the larger coffin with linens. The blacksmith suggested the carpenter saw off an end to make it shorter. They argued back and forth about the best solution. The heated argument started threatening their friendships so the clerk suggested a good drink might help them calm down and think better.

They found the answer to their dilemma at the bottom of the large wooden ale barrel.