Cave Canem Part 1 of 2 (humorous short story)

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  1. #1

    Cave Canem Part 1 of 2 (humorous short story)

    Cave Canem part 1 (1500 words)
    The big Labrador lay with his glossy black head resting across Charlie’s thighs, drooling onto his master’s blue jeans as the pair watched the Jack Russell in the TV advertisement gobbling its meal of tasty Beefo-Bitz. Charlie had christened the new family pet Fido two days previously when his parents brought him home from the local animal refuge after watching Give A Dog A Home on BBC1. Fido had immediately chosen their son’s lap as its preferred place for watching television.

    Charlie’s mother Linda fussed into the living room from the kitchen. ‘I’m trying to listen to Woman’s Hour on my radio, Charlie. D’you have to have the TV so loud? Turn it down a bit and get that wet dog off you. You’ve got dirty paw marks all over your clean jeans and your new blue top. What were you thinking of? Honestly!’

    She bustled back into the kitchen and returned clutching a damp cloth.

    Pushing the dog away from him, Charlie sighed and stood up. ‘I thought you liked dogs, mum. Come on Fido, let’s go down the rec.’
    The teenager kicked off his old felt scuffers and slipped his feet into a pair of laceless Army boots, his preferred footwear for outdoors.

    Wiping muddy paw prints off the black faux leather sofa, his mother retorted, ‘I like small, cute dogs, not big lollopy ones and dogs are only called Fido in comics and for Goodness sake don’t slam the-, oh that flipping kid!’

    Charlie ambled along the lane, lost in thoughts peculiar to teenaged boys. The Labrador followed at his own pace, stopping occasionally to sniff at various interesting odours emanating from the boles of the trees thoughtfully planted along the grass verge by the local council. From day one, Charlie had been dissuaded from putting Fido on a lead. The first time he had attempted to clip the nice new leather leash onto his collar, the dog had emitted a low, intense snarling accompanied by a manic grin exposing his fearsome teeth.

    ‘Your mum’s an old fusspot, Charlie. Don’t worry about your clothes, she can wash 'em later.’ The gruff voice came from behind him.

    Charlie stopped and turned round. There was nobody in sight. Stepping onto the grass verge, he gingerly attempted to make a gap in the blackthorn hedge bordering the lane.

    ‘Hah!’ he called out. ‘I know it’s you, Johnny Barnes, ouch! I know you’re behind this hedge. Ouch!’

    ‘It was me, Charlie, you thicko.’

    Sucking on his thorn-punctured fingertips, Charlie slowly turned his head. Fido was sitting looking at him, head cocked on one side and his eyes bright with intelligence.

    ‘And your mum’s right about Fido. My actual name is Sniffwig and I’d be very much obliged if you could use it, please.’

    Charlie gaped. ‘Bloomin' Heck! You can speak! I’ve got a talking dog!’ he finally managed to say. He chortled. ‘‘Wait till I tell mum. Woohoo! I bet we could make ourselves loads of cash on the stage an’ stuff.’

    Sniffwig’s velvety ears made a soft flapping sound as he shook his head. ‘Not a chance, Charlie old boy. I will only utter woof, yap or bow-wow when anybody else is around so you can forget that idea, chum.’

    Charlie’s face fell. ‘Well, what’s the bloomin' use of having a talking dog, then? Can’t I even tell Janice?’

    Sniffwig snorted derisively. ‘You kidding, Charlie? It would be the same as taking out an ad in the Chronicle, be all over town in a week!’ The soft flapping was repeated. ‘No, let’s keep it to ourselves for the time being. Anyway, there’s other ways of making a bit of dosh.’

    ‘Yeah? Name one.’ Charlie said sulkily.

    Sniffwig looked into space as he considered his reply. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘let’s say you got into a card game with your pals. I could tell you what cards they’re holding, couldn’t I?’

    It was Charlie’s turn to snort. ‘Yeah, great. And how would you let me know without speaking, eh? Tell me that, smart paws.’

    Sniffwig sat and scratched his right ear with his hind leg. ‘Yeah, that’s a poser, right enough. Ah well, leave it with me, I’ll give it a bit more thought.’

    They walked on in companionable silence and were almost at the park when Charlie spotted the burly figure of his girlfriend coming towards them. ‘Hey, Charlie!’ she shouted, ‘Where you goin'?’

    ‘Just off to the park with Sniffwig here.’ Charlie called back.

    Janice came up to them, a frown on her puffy face. ‘I thought he was called Fido. You said his name was Fido.’

    ‘I changed it to Sniffwig. Dogs are only called Fido in stories.’

    ‘Thassa weird name. Why don’t you call him sumfink like Dandy or Rover?’

    ‘Cos he isn’t a comic or a bloody car, fat legs.’

    There was the silence which precedes a thunderstorm and Janice’s face turned beetroot under her fake tan. ‘What did you say, you, you…?’

    ‘It wasn’t me, it was the dog. Ow!’ The slap knocked Charlie onto his backside on the grass verge.

    ‘I could of gone out wiv Johnny Barnes, he did ask me, you toe-rag. He’s got money, you’re always skint.’

    ‘Yeah? Well, off you go then, darling, he’s welcome to you. He likes ‘em fat and stupid.’

    ‘Shut up, Sniffwig. Ooh! Ouch! Janice, I swear-’ but she was already stalking away.

    Charlie got up stiffly, thighs aching from Janice’s hefty kicks. ‘Flipping Heck, dog! What did you do that for? I thought she was going to kill me!’

    ‘You can do much better than her, Charlie, and don’t tell me you liked her.’

    Massaging his bruised thigh muscles, Charlie said, ‘I’ve got to admit it was her idea for us to go out together after Joe Gibbs dumped her. I did think she was trying to make Johnny Barnes jealous at the time but-’

    ‘What about that redhead, thingummy Evans. I’ve seen the way she looks at you. You fancy her, don’t you?’

    Charlie stared. He had never seen a dog leer before. He blushed. ‘Marion Evans. Yeah, but…’ he stopped as Sniffwig’s words sank in. ‘What d’you mean, the way she looks at me?’
    Sniffwig sighed. ‘Humans! Thick as, er, two very thick things stuck together! She’s dying for you to ask her out, Dumbo.’

    Charlie considered the very attractive notion but his mind was still trying to come to grips with the fact that he had a dog which could talk like a human being. They walked on in silence for a while then, ‘Got it! I’ve got it!’ Charlie shouted suddenly, startling Sniffwig who had just adopted the classic bow and arrow stance.

    The dog whistled. ‘Whew! Charlie. Don’t do that again, I nearly dropped it on the footpath! Ooh, that’s better.’

    ‘Ugh, that stinks, Sniffwig. What’ve you been eating? Look out, here comes McDuff. If he sees your turd, he’ll do one himself.’ Charlie groaned. ‘Oh no, too late, the sneaky git’s using binoculars.’

    ‘All right, young Charlie Phillips, there’s no other canine in sight and that’s clearly fresh dog doings.’ the Dog Warden said triumphantly, taking a booklet of bright orange tickets from his Hi-viz jacket pocket.

    ‘You give me a fine, Sneaky McDuff, and I’ll tell your missus all about you and the new barmaid at the Red Lion.’

    The warden turned pale and his fleshy mouth dropped open. ‘W-What?’ he stammered. ‘How do you…?’ Without another word, he stuffed the wad of tickets into his trouser pocket, turned and hurried away.

    ‘That was brilliant, Sniffwig! Dad would’ve stopped my allowance if old Sneaky had fined me. How did you know about…? Never mind, forget I asked.’

    ‘So, what’s this brilliant idea you’ve got then?’ Sniffwig said as he inhaled the delicious aromas wafting from an overflowing litter bin.

    ‘Oh yeah, that. I know how we can make some real dosh.’

    ‘And?’

    ‘Well, I could be a ventriloquist with you as my dummy.’

    Sniffwig looked coldly at his master. ‘Dummy. I could be your dummy, you say. Choose a better word before you feel my teeth in your leg, young man.’

    ‘Erm, doll.’

    ‘Grrr!’

    ‘I mean, partner. You know what I mean, you do the talking and I make out it’s me.’

    Sniffwig looked dubious. ‘You mean people will pay money for me to sit on your lap while you pretend to tell amusing stories without moving your lips. That it?’

    ‘Yeah, great idea isn’t it?’

    Sniffwig nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s actually not bad as human ideas go.’ he said. ‘What do we have to do?’

    ‘Best thing is to get on one of those TV talent shows. If we won, we’d get paid thousands of quids. Think of it!’

    Sniffwig did think of it. ‘I’d want a big house, a farm maybe, with lots of rabbits running about.’

    Excitement bubbled up in Charlie and he laughed.

    Breaking into a run, he said, ‘Yeah, no probs. Wouldn’t that be brill? Forget the rec, let’s go home and start practising.’
    Last edited by topcol; February 2nd, 2018 at 09:24 AM. Reason: reinstated original excerpt

  2. #2
    Charlie had christened the new family pet Fido the day his parents brought him home from the local animal refuge two days previously after watching Give A Dog A Home on BBC1.
    That's a bit of a sentence, 'the day his parents brought him home' is the same as ' two days previously'. combining them could help unwind it a bit, 'Charlie had christened the new family pet Fido two days previously when his parents brought him home from the local animal refuge after watching Give A Dog A Home on BBC1.' There is still a lot going on, the christening, a new pet, journey from the refuge, two day time lag, BBC progamme, I would be inclined to split it up into more than one sentence, not for the physical length, but for the number of ideas in it, three plus or minus one is a good rule of thumb.

    A good start, lots of possibilities where it might go.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    That's a bit of a sentence, 'the day his parents brought him home' is the same as ' two days previously'. combining them could help unwind it a bit, 'Charlie had christened the new family pet Fido two days previously when his parents brought him home from the local animal refuge after watching Give A Dog A Home on BBC1.' There is still a lot going on, the christening, a new pet, journey from the refuge, two day time lag, BBC progamme, I would be inclined to split it up into more than one sentence, not for the physical length, but for the number of ideas in it, three plus or minus one is a good rule of thumb.

    A good start, lots of possibilities where it might go.
    Thanks, Olly, I've edited the bits you commented on pretty much as you suggested.

    I did post the 2nd half on WF somewhere, can't seem to find it now.

    Cheers

    topcol

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by topcol View Post
    I did post the 2nd half on WF somewhere, can't seem to find it now.

    Cheers

    topcol
    https://www.writingforums.com/thread...t=#post2132457
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