Junkies, it’s a suck-ass day. Mookie the Violent has checked out. You know “those people?” The ones who don’t have kids, who show off pictures of their dogs as if the dogs were kids? That’s the Evil Queen™ and I. We have absolutely no perspective on life. We are dog people to the hilt. I’ve been around dogs my whole life, learned to walk months early by grabbing hold of the tail of our lab-mix “Coachie Boy” and standing as he walked away, pulling me up. In my life, I’ve had Coach (a family dog), Bunner (the first dog that was truly mine), Booger (dad’s dog, hung out with Bunner), Dizzy (who met an untimely demise on a highway), and then Mookie the Violent.
Mooks showed up on my doorstep one day in 1994. I was 25, and like a dumb-ass, I started putting food bowls on the porch for her. And, of course, I let her in the house. She slept in the exact same place that Dizzy had slept, and I was already hooked. One day Mooks stopped coming around. I went to every Humane Society in the area, and found her in one. She was in a cage so small she couldn’t turn around, and a Humane Society dude was washing her off with a pressurized hose. She was yelping, shivering, scared out of her mind. He was probably a volunteer and a great guy, and did not need me threatening to break his fucking neck, but at that point I knew that dog was coming with me. I adopted her, and for the past 14 years that dog went with me everywhere. When I was a single guy in my twenties, this dog basically lived in my car — everywhere I went, she went. She loved the car, it was like her kennel, and she always knew I was coming back in an hour or so. The back seat had a blanket, water, toys, it was a little slice of doggy heaven.
We moved across country three times (Michigan to Cali, Cali to Michigan, Michigan to Cali). She got to see the whole country. We tried to take every vactaion in dog-friendly hotels, because the Evil Queen™ and I really didn’t enjoy ourselves unless the dogs were with us. The single best road trip of my life was just me driving across country (Detroit to San Francisco) with a big dog bed in the front passenger seat, Mookie sitting on top so she could look out and see everything. We made that trip in two days and one night — a couple of marathon drivers, listening to a Clive Cussler novel on tape. Just me and the dog for 48 hours straight, like some Steinbeck stereotype.
Mooks weighed anywhere from 40 to 45 pounds, and she could whip ass like you wouldn’t believe. She grew up on the streets, yo, fighting for food from garbage cans, drinking water wherever she could find it. She was the sweetest little thing, but every now and then, some stupid dog, most often a bigger dog, would fuck with her, and she would morph into this snarling wild thing that belonged on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Fortunately, she never ran into a pit bull, but she kicked the holy hell out of 100-pound German shepherds (she was very racist in her early days, hated the Germans). Once I took her to see my brother, who had two 110-pound black labs. One of those labs got all up in Mookie’s shit, and she had them both on the ground, tails tucked, crying their asses off in about three seconds. It was amazing to watch. She was like the Tazmanian devil once she got wound up. She was 11-1 for the first ten years I had her (yes, I’m a male who loves fights, so I kept stats on my dog). Her nasty side faded as she got older and more and more spoiled, so she was about 2-for-4 in the rest of the serious doggy altercations. For a 40-pound ball of fluff, I’ll take a 13-5 career record any day of the week.
She’s also partially responsible for most of the fiction of mine you have listened to or read. She would sit under my desk, just hanging out while I wrote. I thought of her as my writing partner. Even when I got my closet-studio, she curled up in a 24″ by 24″ space in front of the PowerMac, always available for a chin schootch when I needed to think out a plot point or a character voice. When we were in Michigan and couldn’t afford heat, I’d set up a little blanket for her (both to keep her warm and to use her as a foot-warmer … yes, doggy labor, go ahead and turn me in to the SPCA).
Without a doubt, Mookie was my best friend. Her kidneys crapped out on her last week. It began during the SMOD™ writing retreat. She started walking slower, stopped eating regular food (I though I was smart giving her raw eggs and milk to get something in her belly). Once I got her home, it got progressively worse. The last few days she spent sleeping. There was much lovie time, lots of petting, lots of nice talk. I found the single biggest blessing to writing full-time was being able to be home with my dog 24/7 as she faded away. I used all of my Future Dark Overlord™ powers to try and heal her, but some things, apparently, are beyond even my abilities.
Last night we put Mookie the Violent down. I’m a total fucking wreck. Death is okay in fiction, in real life, it sucks balls. The SMOD™ is due in two weeks and I will meet that deadline, even if I’m bawling like a little bitch the whole time. Invest in Kleenex, my friends, the stock is about to go up.
I have two big announcements coming up, including a reveal of what this SMOD™ is all about, so I’ll dutifully communicate those — but other than that, you may not hear much from me in the next couple of weeks.