| Michaela Fisher
In the spirit of the spooky season, we thought we would revisit a short story from “Tales for the Tail End of a Wintry Day”, the first volume of Bedtime4Dogs collected short stories. Read this with your canine companion and enjoy!
Mystery of the Blood Red Flower
by Delilah Journey
I opened the crimson front door on our turn of the century home, the shade of red having been chosen as the historic color symbolizing safety & welcome. The door itself is ajar. As I push the door the rest of the way I notice something is amiss. The shoes in the foyer are askew; a cobalt blue cylindrical vase is shattered in pieces and there is an unidentifiable liquid-ish smear on a jagged piece. There is a mess of blood red flower petals trailing through heavy prints of dirt leading out the back door.
Sometime ago, I had an unintended break in the chaos of everyday life that I look back on as a formative transitional time.
You do what you do in transitions. You embrace the welcome void of a schedule to pursue the things you have been “meaning to get to” and in some cases you embrace the joyful things you can’t believe you haven’t done yet. In my case, having the attention span of a gnat, an unhealthy sense of time and a sometimes overly exuberant spirit, I did all of it. The short tale following is one of the many comedic and poignant moments that intersected at the time.
When the most recent economy collapse happened, I became one of the statistics of folks who lost their income. Like the rest of those in the room with me, in one poetic fell swoop, I was handed a performance bonus for the year and then invited to a small room I hadn’t known existed. In that sterile, hidden room I signed an agreement to not work at a competitor for an extended amount of time in exchange for a sundry of things. You get the idea. I knew I was going to be home for a while.
Enter the puppy. We did what folks who have always wanted their own puppy do when they finally have time to dedicate to a little furry being-they start scouring the internet! My husband being a good googler immediately found a rescue organization who had just saved a litter from Kansas. We saw a picture of a black curly-haired Newfoundland puppy who just had to be ours. One call to the rescue and we were on our way to meet her.
When we got there, the curly haired black pup we had seen online hung back shyly while her gregarious sister bounded past her rescuers to jump right on my husband’s arm, encircling it with her paw like she owned him. And about 15 minutes of paperwork later she did and me too. We were on our way home with her.
Previously, we had volunteered our charming old home to be part of a local neighborhood event that meant many strangers were going to come tromping through our house. In order to prepare for this, as one might expect, we decided to fix up everything we had been “meaning to get to” since we moved in approximately a decade earlier. It was all cosmetic and involved some fun details including flowers. With the impending guests, we decided to put in annuals for color. It was spring after all!
While there was a healthy variety of contractors performing their various special whatever to get the house ready, there was no lack of interest in the brand new, friendly, furry family addition. And everyone stopped to pet her or pick her up and get licked on the chin. She was being socialized by strangers in the security of her new home.
It comes to the morning of the showcase. It’s a beautiful sunny day. The final touches are being added in the house with puppy underfoot the whole time. And on the outside, the lawn person has finished raking the last of the brown mulch around a row of bright red ranunculus I’d just planted. It is perfect.
I step out to grab the last refreshment from the grocer for our guests, leaving the puppy with the other adoring humans and her own intentions.
In her own sense of mischief the puppy has brought the ranunculus from the garden to the foyer knocking over everything in her wake and then promptly escaping the crime scene leaving her incriminating paw prints behind.