From friday@subgenius.com Thu Aug 13 13:14:29 1998

Newsgroups: alt.slack,alt.friday

Subject: Every Doug Has His Day (X-Day Fiction)

From: friday@subgenius.com (IrRev. Friday Jones)

Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 16:14:29 -0400

 

And now more than ever, don't we need more X-Day fiction?

 

*****

 

EVERY DOUG HAS HIS DAY

© 1998 by Friday Jones

 

Doris Litinsky was a horrible old woman.

She'd been an unpleasant child, an irritating teenager, and a most

obnoxious woman. But it was now, when her bones were old and her mind was

rotten, that her nastiness had reached its full flower. Her voice was a

whining more painful than a mosquito hovering in your ear. Her bent back

and hobbling gait belied the cruel, hard fingers that did not hesitate to

pinch boisterous children and send them wailing home, bruises rising on

their flesh. Her head was practically bald, and her skin was mottled with

liver spots. She generally carried a cane or umbrella, not just to support

her, but to grind out flowers in flowerbeds that she found unsightly (which

was pretty much every sort of flower), and to hit people in the shins to

make them get out of her way. But the most horrible thing about her was

her mouth. From years of scowling and pursing disagreeably, it was

surrounded by wrinkles as deep as knife slashes; her lips always seemed to

be a little chapped and raw, and ugly flakes of skin often hovered around

the corners.

 

When her mouth was put in conjunction with that miracle of the modern age -

the telephone - she became, quite simply, abominable.

From her second-story apartment (which grew a bit too hot in summer, and a

tad chilly in the winter, but which she repeatedly told her landlord was

either a sweltering oven or a freezing wasteland), she would peer out the

window. And watch. And take notes. And then she would pick up the

telephone and make phone calls, and things would happen.

 

If a garbageman accidentally dropped a can in front of her house, or the

mailman delivered a slightly crumpled letter, or the hot water fluctuated

by a few degrees during her shower, she called up whoever she thought was

responsible and made every person who answered the phone wish that they had

been born without ears. Everyone unfortunate enough to hear her was

treated to long, endless rambling about her health, modern manners, rats,

the Way Things Used To Be, hospital bills, liars, her bowel movements, and

so on, and so forth. It was a torrent of excruciating banality and

self-righteousness. More than one person left their job and got a new one

where they would never be asked to answer the phone, just because of HER.

But the ones who felt the wrath of Doris most intensely were the dogs.

She hated dogs. Loathed them. She hated their smell, their eyes, their

doggy tongues dripping with diseased saliva; she hated the sight of a dog,

flinched from dog excrement as though from a leper, and growled in anger

(in a doglike manner that nobody ever dared point out to her) whenever she

so much as heard a dog bark.

 

So, whenever any person within a two-block radius of her apartment got a

dog, and Doris found out about it, she went into action. And within a few

days, that dog was gone.

 

Just yesterday, the new family across the street had gotten a half-grown

puppy for their boy. He had named the dog Doug, and played with him

outside before school, romping in their tiny yard, laughing, rolling in the

grass with the puppy as it yelped and yipped and barked. And inside her

apartment, Doris had gritted her teeth and counted the hours until that boy

went to school, and the mother went to work. When they were gone (and the

dog was lying down in its little doghouse, quite quietly) Doris got ready,

and made a phone call.

 

Between the hours of ten and four, this little neighborhood was practically

deserted. Everyone was at work. So it was no problem for Doris to go

outside, across the street to the neighbor's yard, and when the innocent

young puppy came bounding over to the fence trailing its thin chain behind

it, to spray it in its eager mouth and open eyes with a can of oven

cleaner.

 

The dog went hysterical. Screaming, moaning, clawing at its eyes. Doris

had timed it perfectly; the truck from the pound showed up within five

minutes, while the dog still had a full load of foam in its mouth. They

accepted her complaint that the dog had been sick for weeks, always barking

and whining and disturbing people day and night, that the people here NEVER

took care of it; they were busy men. They loaded the animal into the van

and drove off. And that was that!

 

Of course when the boy and his mother got home, and read the notice from

the Animal Control people, there was much weeping and wailing. The boy sat

outside on the doghouse, crying, clutching his dog's collar between his

hands. Doris looked at him from out of her window and was glad. Horrible

little boy playing with that filthy beast - and just let them try to get

another one! She's take care of that one too!

 

The boy looked up - and directly into Doris' eyes, staring at him from out

of her window. He stared back, hating. Doris leaned back from the

window, a little disturbed. Did he guess Š? But no matter! He was only a

boy, there was nothing he could do Š

 

Doris Litinsky lay in bed, feeling very satisfied with yesterday's work.

It was a somewhat warm morning, even this early, so she got up and put on

her robe and got ready to brew some tea. She brewed tea until it was

black, then filled it with honey and molasses and other sweeteners until

you could almost stand a spoon upright in it. As she hadn't a tooth in her

head, dentistry was not a concern of hers. But as she sat in the kitchen,

she thought she heard a dog bark!

 

Doris quickly hobbled to the window, cocking a slightly deaf and

wax-clogged ear. Was that a bark, or just the sound of a car starting up

abruptly? Her tea was cooling as she waited to hear the sound again, but

she didn't care: it was more important to get that dog, if it was one!

And there the sound was again, definitely a bark, maybe two! It sounded

far away though. Possibly too far for Doris to see what house it was in.

Maybe four or five blocks over - but there was the barking again, and it

was getting closer!

 

A loose dog? She could have that picked up right away! Maybe they'd catch

it right in front of her house! Maybe they'd shoot it, right on the spot!

Doris giggled, a gurgly unpleasant giggle, as she reached for her phone and

poised her finger to dial the number; she knew it by heart. But her finger

paused, as she heard another bark, from the other side of the house.

"Full moon?" she wheezed to herself, wondering why all of the dogs were

barking this morning. It sounded like there were dogs barking all around

town, and the barking was getting louder. Or was it getting closer? Doris

leaned out her window and looked down Stirling Street - and was paralyzed

with fear. The phone fell from her hand, unnoticed.

 

Way down at the end of the street, where her eyes could barely make it out,

was a speck of brown that turned out to be a dog. It was running down the

center of the street towards her apartment. And behind it were two specks

that were also dogs, no four, no ten, twenty, a pack of dogs. All heading

towards her! She looked the other way, towards Main, and saw more dogs

there. They were running so fast! And now she could see them coming out

all around, bounding over fences, leaping through hedges, white and brown

and black and russet dogs, spotted dogs, long-haired and short-haired dogs,

little and big dogs, a flood of the verminous beasts surging towards her

house - and every one of the dogs seemed to be looking up, towards her

window!

 

Doris shot upright in terror; the edge of the window caught her a nasty

crack across the spine. Gasping with the sudden shock of pain, she looked

across the street - and heard another bark! Even through the tumult of

whining and howling around her, she heard that bark! She knew that bark!

She stared across the street, at the new family's house, and at the dog

house so recently vacated there.

 

There was a dog coming out of the dog house.

 

It was Doug.

 

Doug the dog, but a Doug with fiery eyes and flaming hackles; a Doug with a

bark loud enough to shatter glass; a Doug of the damned, a dog back from

hell. The lawn was smoking under his paws. He leaped the fence, and the

asphalt melted under his breath. His eyes were on Doris, burning with

hatred. She saw the terrible dog-spectre leap against the house door -

which shattered beneath its paws like ice! And behind him came the

howling, snarling, four-legged legions of ghost dogs. She knew them all

now, as she saw them streaming into the doorway, and turned to hear the

thunder of paws against her own front door. The door fell and they were on

her.

 

She was surrounded by their heavy, doggy smell, and the smell of burning.

She was burning, as their teeth sank into her and seared like acid. She

fell, rolling on the floor, frantically trying to cover her face with her

hands. The dogs tore her hands aside with ease. Their tongues, their

mouths were on her. Their fur was rough enough to rasp the flesh from her

bones. They were eating her alive, and their flaming paws scorched a

circle around her writhing, tortured form. The smoke was in her nose,

scalding. The flaming jaws tore at her eyes and ripped the tongue from her

throat. They worried the intestines from her belly and dragged her to and

fro by them. Her fingers were their chew toys, and they urinated flames

into her empty face. It was a slaughterhouse. It was revenge.

 

As the holocaust enveloped the apartment, the dogs took their leave of it,

soaring through doors or window with indifferent ease. And as they ran,

the flames faded from them. Yipping happily, they vanished into the

morning.

 

Doug was the last to leave the house, and as he strode from the smoldering

doorway, the flames that wreathed his shoulders started to grow brighter

and brighter. They rose higher along his back, fading from orange and red

to the palest gold, a blinding white. Suddenly they were not flames at all

but wings, gleaming white wings sprouting from his shoulders. He looked

up, into the sky.

 

There was a silver Frisbee way off in the sky, floating along, carefree.

Higher than any dog could leap. But somehow Doug knew, that if only he

could get a good enough running start, he could jump up and catch that

Frisbee, and that the boy named Bob would be there, to pet him and give him

a treat. He ran, light scattering from his paws, down Stirling Street,

towards the west. The saucer floated overhead, beckoning, just begging him

to leap up and catch it. He would! He would!

 

He leaped - and the leap never ended. Flying, soaring, wings churning the

clouds to froth around him, Doug sailed after the saucer. His barks blew

past too fast to be heard. Oh to run, to soar, to hunt with the pack

forever! Forever and ever!

 

And when he caught that saucer, it was just as he thought it would be: a

land of endless fields of grass, and a thousand rabbits running, fast and

agile, waiting for the chase, and he chased them, up and down the hills,

under the gentle smile of his boy, on and on and on…

 

THE END