And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Our Dead…
4 July 2022

I was dreaming of past lovers, and a few new ones to boot, when my home was invaded by three armed men. They knew I had a dog.

‘Call her!’, they ordered me at gunpoint. I was kneeling, terrified but instead of her name I shouted,

‘STAY,’ hoping her good training would keep her put in one of the strange, hidden spots she liked to snooze in. The man with the gun trained on me rammed the butt of his pistol to my temple and I fell face down on the parquet floor. And then I heard the hesitant scrabble of paws on the floor upstairs…

Is there any animal more ill-fated then the dog in a movie or a novel (or my dream in this instance)? Is the question I woke with this morning as the engine thrummed into life two decks below me. Of course they all desert me when I try to think of examples but Dances with Wolves and Dead Calm and virtually every horror movie ever leap to mind. The novel I am reading right now is no exception, heads up if you wish to avoid ‘The Green Road’ by Anne Enright (though it is really rather good). Is it so necessary? Does it further the plot in a meaningful way? Or is it just a cheap way to elicit an emotional response in the viewer/reader.

One of the first films I saw at a cinema unaccompanied by an adult was a Canadian movie called ‘The Dog Who Stopped a War’ in which battling neighborhood kids and their aforementioned war is ended during a vicious snowball fight when a snow fort collapses and crushes their beloved St. Bernard. I was devastated and had to hide the tears from my young companions.

My cousin Veronica suggested they design an app in which you could punch the name of the film in to see if the dog dies. A fine idea that would save the animal lover much distress. Horses should probably be added too. Cats, meh.

Reality is little different. Louis C.K said that having a dog is just a countdown to tragedy and given his fondness for masturbating unsolicited in front of female peers, it would seem so was his career.

I’ll never forget Tobias Wolff’s memoir of the Vietnam War (if you have not read Tobias Wolff read everything. Now!). He adopts a stray dog whom he dotes on much to the chagrin of the Vietnamese he serves with. On his last day in country they serve him up a celebratory stir fry only to inform him once he has finished that it was his dog.

Perhaps one of the few creatures with a shorter life expectancy then a dog in film and on the page are the fish flies which descend in swarms on our ship this time of year and die in droves like enthusiastic members of an eschatological cult. Their corpses litter the deck and despite the annoyance this creates their iridescent wings and the graceful curve of their segmented abdomens appear almost painterly when laid out in a tapestry of thousands before you.

My interest in crystals and healing stones has been piqued of late. I recently purchased a carnelian stone from Madagascar. It is known as the fire stone for its lustrous orange hue and it is supposed to ignite courage, confidence and creativity. All three things that I could do with. But it was for another use I bought it. They are supposed to help with nightmares.

Well last night did not end well for me or my beloved dream-dog border collie. She was taken down in a hail of bullets as she tried to come to my defense and I copped one in the back of the skull execution style.

Who said you can’t die in your dreams? I do so all the time.

The nightmares remain the same, but maybe there is something to these stones as it wasn’t all just doom and gloom.

At least I got lucky first.