Black Magic

Black Magic

This is a simple story with just a few key components:

Two dogs.

Two rabbits.

A bright flashlight.

A post on social media.

And some modern black magic.

Fair enough, maybe the story is not so simple, but let me tell it to you the only way I know how. Let’s start at the beginning.

An obvious place, you say, the beginning. But Star Wars started in the middle and that certainly qualifies as a successful, if somewhat long-winded, tale.

Anyway, the beginning. Two dogs. And let’s start with just one­—Typhoon.

Some of you may point out that naming a dog after a natural disaster is just tempting the gods, daring them to taunt me with his mischievousness for years. In his defense…oh, who am I kidding? He is a disaster. A walking, wooing, lovable disaster.

Typhoon woke me up at 2 a.m. wanting to go outside. To properly take you into this story, you need to understand that Typhoon does not do things the way a normal dog does. He didn’t scratch at the door, whine, bark, and even slap my face with a paw. No, he woke me in his normal, obnoxious way—by walking around the room.

How, you ask, is that obnoxious?

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

The noise works its way into the chambers of my deep sleep. It drags me to the surface, pulling and tugging at my resistance, until I am finally awake enough to realize what is happening. And once comprehension has entered my fuzzy brain, the noise relentlessly echoes among the cobwebs.

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

With apologies to the great Edgar Allen Poe, it is the Tell-Tale Claws, the relentless clicking and clacking…

sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

Oh, oops, slipped into Poe mode there. Where was I? Typhoon pacing the room.

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

I sigh and open an eye. The cause of the interruption of sleep walks into view. Fifty-eight pounds of Siberian Husky who knows perfectly well he is cute enough to get away with this.

“Why don’t you lie down and go back to sleep?” I mumble.

Sometimes this works. Typhoon collapses onto the floor with a loud rumble of body on hardwood floor and releases a deep, pathetic sigh. Dog for “Fine.”

But at other times, like this night, my plea has no effect.

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

“Do you have to go outside?”

A whine begins deep in his chest. High pitched and growing in volume. He comes nose to nose with me, staring with those hypnotic eyes—one blue, one brown.

I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture—a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees—very gradually—I made up my mind to take the dog outside, and thus rid myself of the eye.

Oops. Poe mode again. And a slight misquote. That relentless clicking does that to a mind. Now, where were we?

 Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

“Do you really have to go outside, or can it wait until morning?”

Typhoon is a smart dog. He knows exactly how to handle this question. He drops his rump onto the wood floor in a perfectly formed sit. He locks eyes with me, that light-blue vulture eye drilling into my brain…

And farts.

The raucous sound vibrating off the wood floor can best be described as alarming. He was the engineer of a freight train barreling to a crossing, innocent victims in the path. To give warning to all who dare to cross him, he is blasting his horn with a horrific ferociousness. Something is coming, it warns. Something big. Something that cannot be stopped.

The noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed—I raved—I swore!

Oh, forget Poe. I threw off the covers, stood, and walked quickly through the room while holding my breath.

Which brings us to the next item on our little introductory list—the flashlight. The magical, bright flashlight I bought just so I can spot suicidal rabbits who weirdly think sleeping inside a fenced dog yard could be safe.  The ever-speedy Typhoon has chased down and caught more rabbits than I really care to remember.

On the off chance that they have not heard the warning alarm from the little rabbit killer himself, the warning still wafting around the bedroom, I illuminated the yard, and, sure enough, spotted an innocent bunny munching away on some grass in the yard.

Convincing a rabbit that it should immediately leave a yard in the middle of the night is not the easiest task in the world. Sadly, they are not the smartest of creatures, but who am to criticize since I am standing in a freezing backyard in my pajamas chasing a rabbit with a flashlight while worrying that my gaseous dog is about to move to DefCon 1?

Every time the cute little critter would get close to the gate and the slight opening it needed to work through, it changed its mind and charged me. Well, maybe not charged, but it came in my general direction undeterred by the threat of a middle-aged man in pajamas waving a bright flashlight.

Finally, I convinced the floppy-eared creature to exit the yard to the relative safety of the field beyond. Unless, of course, our resident bobcat, fox, coyote pack, or birds of prey were hunting. File that under not my problem and let’s return to our story.

Upon my return to the bedroom, I am greeted by the gaseous Typhoon and his big brother, Frankie, who has requested to join the middle-of-the-night excursion. I am guessing for a breath of fresh air. With the coast clear of invading bunnies, i open the door and they eagerly race through the open door and zoom out into the yard.

Let’s pause for just a moment and check our introductory list.

Two dogs—check.

A bright flashlight—check.

Two rabbits—crap. TWO?

In my defense, it was 2 a.m. My mind was not fully functioning. Upon clearing the yard of one rabbit, I crazily assumed all of his cousins would have picked up the same message. I could only watch in horror as the world’s fastest dog—perhaps propelled by his own internal combustion jet engine—twisted, turned, zigged, zagged, raced, spiraled, and pounced. And then he pranced through the yard with his prize dangling from his jaws.

Frankie is not as fast as his younger brother. But when you are the big brother, you don’t have to be the fastest. Like all big brothers everywhere, you simply let the little brother do the work and then step in and take the prize. Especially when the prize is dangling. Chomp.

And like little brothers everywhere, Typhoon was having none of that. He gripped his end and, well, the most gruesome tug-of-war imaginable ensued. Even Mr. Poe doesn’t have words worthy of this battle.

So, what was I doing? Why wasn’t I out there breaking up the bunny battle?

I was looking for my shoes.

After chasing the first rabbit, the live one, out of the yard, I had kicked off my shoes before walking through the house. Otherwise, I would have been tracking unmentionable substances, doggie landmines waiting among the shadows, across the floor. And no matter how sleepy I might have been, I knew better than to race into a dog yard barefooted for the exact same reason I had removed the shoes in the first place.

Once the shoes were located and my feet were properly encased in protection, I entered the yard. Slower dog, Frankie, was caught first and escorted back inside, sans his half of the prize. Faster dog was cornered. Prize was removed from his mouth after much negotiation and tossed far into the woods (some lucky predator just got nature’s version of fast food delivered).

With that gruesome task out of the way without unnecessary and gory description, let’s venture back to our handy checklist. Two dogs have been returned to the bedroom. The two rabbits are accounted for, even if one of them should now be fairly labeled “some assembly required.” The bright flashlight has been returned to its storage location for future safaris.

That brings us to the post on social media.

I settled back into my bed, listened to Typhoon grumble about the unfairness of it all, picked up my iPad, and typed a quick Facebook post, “Nothing like a rousing 2 a.m. game of remove the rabbit from the dog’s mouth.”

That’s all I said, which brings us to the last item on our story character list—black magic.

And this is the darkest, most evil, and most powerful type of magic in the world. Much worse than Tolkien’s Sauron or Rowling’s Lord Voldemort. This evil overlord is Amazon’s Bezos and his black magic is targeted marketing.

Don’t believe me?

Santa Claus may see you when you’re sleeping and know when you’re awake, but he’s got nothing on Jeff Bezos and his merry band of marketers. The Amazon empire can take your middle of the night musings and convert it into the best targeted advertisement possible.

And he sure nailed me.

After getting a few hours of sleep, I woke at 6 a.m., opened my iPad, and scrolled my Facebook feed. The following appeared:

I clicked on it. I had to. The first review said it can spot small animals up to 70 yards away. It didn’t specifically mention rabbits, but…

Well played, Bezos, well played.

The cover image is licensed under Creative Commons: 0.0 License from Mervyn Chan on Unsplash

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  1. chris on December 19, 2018 at 10:52 am

    You are so funny. I have had my two gsds who are sisters and equal in weight and age play tug of war with a woodchuck in the middle of the day. Of course I am telling both of them to drop it because I don’t want to see him/her hurt. They both did and it stumbled off drunk like. Then the woodchuck proceeded to try to climb a tree (I actually did not know they did that but researched and they do) and fall off several times because of all the dizziness. I helped him/her get to their hole. Not sure if the woodchuck was okay after all that but they say they are pretty tough critters. And lucky for me the woodchuck did not hurt my dogs (because I read they can tear them up pretty bad also).

    • D.K. Wall on December 19, 2018 at 11:04 am

      Glad you enjoyed the story.

      Sadly, the rabbit was well beyond drunk or dizzy. And my crew ignored the verbal command to “Drop it.”

  2. chris on December 19, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Most of the time my crew ignores the command of dropping it too. Of course I do not want anything hurt so I always feel bad for the animal. By the way I forgot to ask-did you get the purchase from Amazon? Our library system is so awesome that they let you borrow things from their library of things and guess what is on it FLIR TG165 Thermal Camera and it can be checked out for 2 weeks. I think we will check it out and see how it works. I have a dark yard too that is big with critters and ones that also sneak in the fenced in area.

    • D.K. Wall on December 20, 2018 at 7:06 am

      No, did not make the purchase, but I may have to check out the library. Never think of them for anything but books.

  3. Sharon Sammons on December 19, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    I have had my own experience with my 4 dogs, except it was a cat and not a bunny.

  4. Teresa on December 20, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Hillarious descriptions.Most people who are blessed enough to have canine family members can relate to all the funny/crazy antics.
    I just have two questions;
    How do you manage to have only two of the herd go out?
    And-how do you get the rabbit away from them… don’t they eat it???
    Thanks for the story-I love the Poe references!!

    • D.K. Wall on December 20, 2018 at 7:05 am

      How only two?

      That was all that wanted to go outside. If the others had known rabbit was on the menu, they probably would have gone. I joke that they couldn’t possibly all go outside at the same time because then they couldn’t bother me as often to open the door for them.

      Don’t they eat it?

      My master hunter is Typhoon who also, ironically, is my pickiest eater. He loves to catch and hates to share, but also has no real interest in eating.

  5. Ann Foose on December 20, 2018 at 11:30 am

    My corgis would rather chase squirrels than rabbits, but the other morning while feeding the horses I witnessed the neighbor’s cat take down a full grown rabbit. Loved your story because 2:00 am wake up calls happen all too frequently here.

  6. Sharon on December 20, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    I loved this story and everyone you post. You wrote about the evil clicking sound. The same sound that follows me everywhere…..everywhere…..everywhere….day and night. My 15 year old rescue Sibe, who is deaf and night blind, follows me everywhere. I go to the bathroom click, click, click. I travel to the bedroom click, click, click. On to the kitchen click, click, click. Forgot my glasses in the bedroom click, click, click. It never stops clicking, clicking, clicking. I’m so happy someone else understands my plight.

  7. Juno's mom on December 20, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Oh dear. Jeff is a mind reader. 1984.

  8. Vincent Porrazzo on December 21, 2018 at 5:28 am

    My two big galoots prefer cats in the bushes on our evening walks. Dogs heads disappear into bushes and pop out with a unhappy cat being shared. I try to break it up and get clawed on my leg. Off I go to the ER and get anti tetanus and rabies shots. No fun for me but pups quite pleased with themselves.

  9. Jean Burkhardt on December 21, 2018 at 5:58 am

    Hu-Dad I can relate big time to your story. Although I have ONLY one husky boy-he sometimes is like having two or three. One summer some lovely mommy bunny decided to have her 4 babies under our back porch and we t know it. Our big boy Bradley chased all 4 of them and sadly none survived his attack. They aren’t the smartest animal on the earth for sure. He also has NO interest in the meal-just the kill. He also would LOVE to corner any cat that might be dumb enough to climb under our fenced in yard! Great story!!!—I enjoyed it so much-especially the click clack of Typhoon’s paws!

  10. Cheryl on December 21, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Great story!! I can just see those 2 boys!!????????

  11. Carolyn on January 3, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Loved this!! The visual of the tug-o-war is… awesome. And gross. LOL.

  12. Denise Schoen on February 13, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Loved your short story. But how could anyone not with members of The Herd involved. Have enjoyed the adventures/misadventures for many years. You paint such a vivid picture. I felt like I was outside with you chasing down Typhoon and Frankie.
    Am so glad that you continue to write, expanding your talents.

  13. tammy j on April 26, 2019 at 8:13 am

    I promise not to comment on every short story here.
    but this was fabulous.
    I have often wondered who does your lawn maintenance… as in poop picker upper. . . from a herd of not so small dogs!!! it must be a daily exercise. I don’t see an ounce of fat on you in the author picture.
    I’m assuming the famous fart didn’t amount to anything more substantial after the chase and sad demise of the fast food bunny? LOL.
    going to get a bite of breakfast now and continue reading. 🙂

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