Pseudopod 055: Dead Dog

By Nicholas Ozment

Read by Ben Phillips

Joel Coker was doing 72 in a 55, his mind re-playing the shouting match he’d had with his mistress earlier that evening, when the dog ran out in front of his car.

“God Christ Almighty!” His knuckles turned white squeezing the steering wheel; his foot pumped the brake. He’d conditioned himself not to swerve for animals in the road — he knew better than to risk crashing into a ditch to save a raccoon or somebody’s cat.

He was still going 40 when the jarring thump came. The dog stood as tall as they come, and the low front-end of the Civic caught it in the upward arc of its loping run, flipping it up onto the hood. The dog’s body came rolling at him, slamming into the windshield directly in front of his face.

01
JCM
September 16th, 2007 1:47 pm

Pretty good story. After reading “Evolution of Claus” at Susurrus Magazine, I had really high hopes for this story. They were pretty well met.

02
Mitch Small
September 16th, 2007 7:35 pm

The ending was ponderous, but probably because I expected an EC Comics style ending. That’ll teach me to expect things. Good story, regardless, but it seemed to lack finality.

03
Bright Lies
September 18th, 2007 11:41 am

I don’t mind endings that don’t really end. They’re more disturbing that way. :)

The thought of the wife watching her ‘dog’ husband wrestling with a ‘real’ wild dog in the front yard (albeit supernatural) must have solidified her contempt for him. And then I suppose the dog getting up (yet again) and running off to fight another day might mean that Joel would continue to be haunted by his true ‘dogged nature’.

3.5/5 Bloody Apples for this one.

04
September 18th, 2007 12:53 pm

Not a bad story. The language was very well used. I found the black dog myth and the narrator’s guiltless infidelity a bit hard to lash together thematically, and some of the descripive passages and long flashbacks made my attention wander.

But I have a request. Referencing the “mini generation gap” comment I made on “The Apple Tree Man,” could we hear a bit more from the under 40 crowd on future Pseudopods? I’m sure doing abhorrant things with a wife and kids at home is viscerally arresting once you have them, but trust me: down here, clawing our way into a dead and cynical global economy, there is horror aplenty.

05
September 18th, 2007 9:14 pm

Pretty good story. I felt like I cheated on my girlfriend just listening to it! :-(

I can’t say the horror element was that great, but I actually thought the narrative portion was this tale’s best part.

06
Spork
October 5th, 2007 6:47 am

I didn’t care about one single thing in this story. It completely failed to grab my attention at all.

07
Seraph
October 12th, 2007 9:12 am

I love the character – he is such a lowlife.

The narration was brilliant and the description too. Great pacing – surprised it hasn’t had kinder comments.

08
lefty
October 23rd, 2007 10:39 pm

I found my attention wandering before the dog appeared again, thinking about child support and how much it much suck for both parties.

Thankfully my attention came back and I felt a bit creeped out as the dog stalked the man.

The ending annoyed me a little, that the dog gave up after being shot (hell it was still up and walking wasn’t it? Have another go!) Then again I can always just imagine it would try again later.