"Murder, Misfits & Mutts" - Chapter 18 - Carmel Dog Tales

Chapter 18


Abby sat at her kitchen table staring at her drawing of the dirty shoe bottom with the slashes across it and twig thing on top. No closer to making sense of it, Abby munched Wheat Thins, washed them down with chardonnay and looked across the kitchen where Winifred curled up beside Murphy on the floor.

     Pushing the drawing aside, Abby dragged herself to the refrigerator, opened the door and looked inside. Not a pretty picture. What food there was, was shriveled, the wrong color, or looked left over from a long ago Super Bowl party.  The rest of the kitchen and its ancient toaster oven and blender made it clear Abby was neither a cook nor had any interest in becoming one.

     Abby slammed the refrigerator door. The noise made Murphy and Winifred jump, give Abby the whale-eye and leave the room. Apologizing useless, Abby plopped back down at the table and washed away her misery in wine and Wheat Thins.



Harley’s room above the estate garages suited him fine. He liked that it was away from the house, quiet, private.  Sitting on his twin bed he read aloud slowly from Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, Living the Wisdom of the TAO.

     “Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty, only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good, only because there is evil.”

     Harley thought about that, found himself looking at a hunting knife on his bedside table. Harley picked up the knife, opened the blade, intoxicated by its gleaming perfection. Eyes lost in reverie, smile recalling another time and place, Harley jerked upright and hurled the knife across the room, the tip ripping into a Psycho movie poster splitting Janet Leigh’s screaming face.

     Harley was pleased, particularly since the other knife rips in the poster were considerably off the mark.  


     Jerry’s face contorted with pain as he looked at his words on the laptop… Wrong ones. In the wrong order.

     Time to get some air.

     Jerry stood on the trailer steps inhaling the cool night when he heard pleasurable moans coming from the cantilevered bedroom of a 5th wheel travel trailer parked next door. Not music to his ears.

     Jerry turned to escape back inside when he heard another sound: a plaintive whine. Turning back, Jerry saw the giant Newfoundland sitting outside his kennel under the cantilevered bedroom. Listening to the big guy’s pathetic moooaaaan – a perfect counterpoint to the love-making oooohhhh going on above his head – this was one misery Jerry knew how to solve.

     Padding stealthily over to the trailer, Jerry untied the Newfoundland’s tether, escorted him over to the trailer door, found it unlocked and let the big guy in, giving him a boost on the butt up the entry steps.

     Hustling back to his humble digs, Jerry looked out his window just in time to witness the earthquake hit the bedroom, the lovers’ scream echoing through the cottonwoods.        The good deed filled his heart with joy. Short lived as Jerry’s cell rang. He checked the caller ID, grimaced and answered.

     “Yeah, Al… I’m working on it now… Tomorrow, I promise. Have I ever lied to you?”

     Al’s response forced Jerry to hold the phone at arm’s length. Jerry disconnected, retrieved an old cardboard box from a cabinet under the dinette bench and took out a dog-eared file. Flipping through the folder, Jerry pulled a tear sheet from an old Golf Illustrated magazine, opened his laptop and started copying text straight from a faded wine-stained magazine page.



Rosa marveled at the starry sky as she hauled a trash bag to a row of garbage containers behind the estate’s garages. Taking the lid off one of the barrels she heard Harley chanting his meditation mantras from his room above the garage.  Happy for his inner peace, she was about to throw her bag into the barrel when something caught her eye. Pulling the pair of men’s work pants out of the garbage, Rosa was surprised they were still in fairly good shape – certainly salvageable. And then she saw three small tears near the cuff.

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