…cute dogs heal broken hearts
365 DAYS, 365 POSTS #12
Today is a sad day for America, so I’m just gonna post these pics of The Girls.
…co-starring her best buddy, Herman Yankdoodle
As most of you know, I started a dedicated story blog for “Life On The Magic Bus”. Sadly, it got almost no traffic, so I’m closing it up and porting all of the chapters over here. They’ll appear 3-4 at a time for a few days. After that, I’ll try to post new chapters every week or so. I’ll also be getting new Doclopedia entries up.
Life On The Magic Bus
Doc gets a bus
Grace has her doubts
Grace Clay was just about to succumb to the warm spring sun and doze off in her chair on the front porch when the dogs, Sasha & Lucy, started barking and ran toward the front gate.
“Is that the Dad Unit, girls?”, Grace asked the basset hound and the basset/coonhound mix. It was a redundant question, because they had a special bark for Doc, her husband. Her husband who had left three days ago to look at a used school bus that could be converted into “a hippie RV”. Her husband, who later sent her a text that he was “in a poker game with four British rubes” in an effort to win said bus. It was, he had assured her, “the coolest bus you will ever see”. She took this with a grain of salt because Doc could sometimes get a touch hyperbolic. Actually, he was very often hyperbolic.
(Narrator: Grace left out manic and excitable.)
Now she could hear the sound of the bus coming over the small hill between the house and the road. It wasn’t nearly as loud as you might expect a big school bus to be. Then it crested the hill and pulled up in front of the house and she found out why.
It was a short bus, painted up in a tie dye design and sporting a digital destination sign above the front window that read “Middle Earth” in flashing green letters. It looked like it was in perfect shape, but…
…it was a SHORT BUS! Taking a deep breath, Grace got up and began walking toward the gate. She would be having words with Doc, oh yes.
Lucy and Sasha watched the bus roll up.
“Dang,” said the older dog to the pup, “That bus is a whole lot smaller than I expected. How are we all going to fit in that?”
Sasha, who agreed that it looked too small, said “Maybe Daddy was thinking about towing a trailer or something. Whatever, Mom doesn’t look pleased.”
The not very pleased Mom Unit stood at the gate with her hands on her hips and a stern look on her face.
(Narrator: AKA the Universal Sign of an Upset Wife/Mother.)
A few seconds later, the bus door, which looked like a regular front door, opened and a small ramp extended down to the ground. Grace had to admit that was a nice touch.
“I was wondering how my short legs would manage to get on the bus. Ten points to House Dad”, Sasha said. Lucy nodded agreement.
Doc stepped off the bus with a big smile on his face, He was wearing a blue t-shirt that had “Crazy Old Fart” printed on it and a red bandana with little white stars. He blue jeans were faded nearly white. He was, as usual, barefoot.
(Narrator: Doc has size 12EEEE feet. They tend to destroy shoes after a couple of months. Therefore, he often just goes without shoes altogether. He claims to be part hobbit.)
Upon seeing that Grace was less than amused, he greeted her with a big hug and kiss, then said, “Hello, My Sweet Little Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel Of Love! My keen husbandly senses tell me that you are not totally happy.”
(Narrator: Yes, he really does call her things like that.)
Grace stepped back half a pace. She would not succumb to his rascally charm. “That is a short bus. It’s way too small for…”
“Now, baby, just let me explain and show you the inside.”
“Don’t you now baby me, mister! How the hell are both of us and three dogs supposed to live in that for months at a time?” She was now giving Doc “The Look”, which all husbands & children know only too well. However, after nearly 40 years of marriage, Doc had built up something of an immunity.
(Narrator: Also, he liked living dangerously.)
Doc kept smiling. “Just give me a chance, My Sweet Little Chocolate Chip Cookie Of Sweetness? Would I mess up something important?”
“You got us both shot in Prague. THAT was important.”
“Aww, Grace, those were mere flesh wounds. We don’t even have scars from them anymore. Besides, we ended up blowing Kalyakov and those other bastards up, so it was all good. Just take a look inside, ok? If you don’t like it, I sell the bus tomorrow. Hell, it’s not like I spent any money on it. Those Brits sucked at Texas Hold ‘Em.”
She looked at him, but her expression was softening.
“Did you cheat?”
A look of mock surprise came over him.
“Why, my dear, I am shocked and saddened that you would think that I might stoop to cheating to win this fine bus off those fellows. And I only had to cheat a little. They really did suck at poker. Who the hell stays in when the other guy has aces showing? Now come on and bring The Girls. Y’all are gonna see some really cool shit.”
(Narrator: Yes, The Girls is always capitalized. I have no idea why. I told you he was strange.)
Grace and the dogs followed Doc up the ramp and into the cab of the bus. Grace noticed that the dashboard had more gauges and readouts than most buses. The driver’s seat looked more like a big comfy recliner than a regular bus driver’s seat.
A second door, which was bright blue and seemed to be made of some kind of metal embossed with a big question mark, lead into the rest of the bus. Doc opened it and stepped through, with the others following him.
When we use the phrase “jaw dropping”, we do not mean that jaws actually hit the floor, but the jaws of Grace, Lucy & Sasha certainly tried. In addition, all of their eyes opened wider than any previous time in their lives.
The bus was bigger…WAY bigger…on the inside.
Grace is boggled
Doc gives a tour
The Cheshire Cat would have been impressed by the smile on Doc’s face as he watched his wife of 37 years try to form words to express her surprise. It was a pretty rare thing for Grace to be without something to say about something he had done. He rather enjoyed it.
The room they were standing in was at least 90 feet on a side. The walls were lined with book cases and flat panel television screens and shelves. Two hallways lead off to the left and right. There was an elevator in the rear that lead up to a mezzanine level. Grace was pretty sure the elevator was an exact copy of the one in the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles. She had to remind herself to breath.
(Narrator: The elevator in question and the interior of the Bradbury Building have been used in about a zillion movies and television shows. You’ve all seen it. Google it if you don’t believe me.)
On one side of the elevator there was an adult sized spiral playground slide, on the other, a gleaming brass firehouse pole. The room was furnished with about a dozen sofas, at least that many recliners and plenty of coffee & end tables. There were two door on the rear wall. One was labeled “Chocolate Closet” and the other “SmartBot Central”. The room had a hardwood floor. It smelled lightly of gardenias and pizza.
In Canine, Lucy could only say “Hommina hommina hommina!”
Sasha could only say “WOW!
Doc put his arm around Grace’s waist and chuckled.
“This is the living room. Up there are the 12 bedrooms, each with it’s own bathroom. You like?”
“Holy shit!”, was all that she could say. Then, she said it three more times, once each in Spanish, German and Mandarin.
(Narrator: Between them, Grace & Doc know about two dozen languages.)
Shaking off her stunned state, Lucy looked around, nearly as amazed as Mom was. As boggled as she was by what she saw, she was even more boggled by the things she smelled. More than a few of them were totally unknown to her.
“Curl my tail and call me Porky, this is a totally strange deal right here.” The hound dog had to sit down to try and take this all in. Her younger sister, however, was running forward to leap onto a sofa.
“Oh heck yes!”, Sasha barked as she landed on the very soft and comfy sofa. “Miles and miles of wonderful well padded furniture for us to sleep on!” She flopped over on her back and began wriggling in joy. Doc walked over and rubbed her tummy.
“Well, it looks like Sasha approves of things. Now come on, My Sweet Little Dumbstruck Cherub Of Cuteness, and let me show you all of the other rooms.”
Grace blinked at him. “There are more rooms? How is all of this even possible?”
(Narrator: Yes, I was waiting for somebody to ask that, too.)
As he took her hand, Doc shrugged and said “Far as I can tell, it’s some goofy quantum physics shit. Made my eyes cross to listen to the Brit with the long assed scarf describe it, even when the one with the fez tried to simplify things. I figure, if it works, it works.”
(Narrator: Doc tends to take a pretty casual view of practical science.)
When they started down the aptly named Left Hallway…
(Narrator: Which was only on their left once they were facing the front of the bus. Port/Starboard for you old salts.)
…they saw that it stretched at least 100 feet and had five doors on each side and one at the end. To make a long story short, they saw…
The Kitchen/Dining Room, both halves of which were five star restaurant quality.
The Pantry, that under other circumstances would have been called a small supermarket.
The Movie Room, which could seat up to 100 people in comfy recliners, each of which had a built in drink dispenser on the right and a snack dispenser on the left.
The Slide Room, where there were long connected slides on the floor, ceiling and all four walls. Doc showed them how it worked and soon he and Sasha were sliding around at high speed in gravity defying directions.
(Narrator: At this point, both Grace and Lucy had to have a sit down for a few minutes.)
The Wardrobe Room, which was larger than their farmhouse and had a dizzying array of clothing, from shoes to hats.
The Greenhouse, a huge structure that was lit by the light of two suns.
(Narrator: At this point, both Grace and Doc had to have a sit down for a few minutes.)
The Library, possibly the largest room on the bus. Four stories high and it went on until it was lost in the distance.
(Narrator: Grace, an avid reader since age 4, squeed at the sight of this. Doc immediately gained 1.5 million Husband Points)
The Pool, Olympic sized and heated.
The Gym, which had exercise equipment for both humans and dogs.
The Game Room, which had thousands of games of all sorts, from tabletop RPGs to video and computer games. There was also a pool table and a few pinball machines.
The Meadow Room, wherein there was in fact a five acre meadow with stout fencing, clover, flowers, shrubs, a few shade trees and assorted small wildlife.
(Narrator: Everybody had to have a sit down in this room.)
After settling their nerves in the Meadow Room, they checked out the Right Hallway, which had fewer rooms.
The Warehouse, while not as large as the Library, was still humongous and full of all sizes of crates. Doc wondered aloud if the Ark of the Covenant might not be in here somewhere. For whatever reason, Grace did not find that amusing.
The Room of Relaxation, which only allowed one person through the door at a time and presented a different room to each one.
The Museum, containing various items from the lives of Doc & Grace, including holograms made from family photos. Several items in the room were things Doc & Grace has thought lost or destroyed, such as their highly customized 1970 Corvette convertible.
And finally, The Shoe Room. As they stopped at the slightly open door to this room, all Grace had to say was “What the hell?”
Doc opened the door and there was, as advertised, a 40 X 40 foot room filled with large piles of shoes of all types. New shoes, old shoes, men’s, women’s & children’s shoes. Some of the piles were six or seven feet tall.
“Well, there’s something you don’t see every day. Look at all those shoes.”
(Narrator: Among other things, Doc is known for his use of understatement just when you expect his hyperbole.)
Grace was about to point out that a room full of shoes was pretty underwhelming in this place, but was interrupted by Winker popping out from beneath the nearest pile of shoes and shouting “Oh man, do I ever LOVE this bus!”
In English. That all of them heard. Through a small round device on her collar.
Drinks are poured
Stunned only for a moment, because she was a former spy, Grace whirled around and grabbed Doc by the shirt, jerking him close and saying in a low voice, “You will explain this right now or it will be Karachi all over again.”
Wide eyed, Doc quietly said, “The bus makes dogs and other critters smart and she’s wearing a Multiversal Translator. Her thoughts, if she chooses, are translated into English or whatever language is needed. We hear her voice in our heads.”
“That’s right, Mom, I’m smart now,” Winker said. Her voice sounded like Sigourney Weaver. “Well, I was always smart for a dog, but now, I’m smart for a human.”
Sasha looked at Lucy and said, in Canine, “This is the coolest thing EVER! We’ll be able to TALK!”
Lucy nodded. “I may never leave this bus.”
Grace let go of Doc and started back toward the living room. Everyone else followed her. She sat down on a sofa and Winker jumped up next to her.
“I know this is a shock, Mom, but before this goes any further, let me finally say to you in a way you will understand that I love you, mom. You have been a great mother since you started bottle feeding me at two weeks old. Heck, you’re the only real mother I remember.”
Grace blinked a couple of times, then burst into tears and hugged Winker tightly. This went on for a couple of minutes.
(Narrator: Despite them both being worldly and all, Grace and Doc are also big old sentimental softies.)
Doc walked over to a bookcase, pressed inwardly on a copy of “How To Train Your Bartender” and then stepped behind the full service bar that extended out from the wall as the wall itself slid up into…somewhere.
Quick as a wink, he had mixed up or poured five drinks and carried them over to the assembled females.
“Sweetheart, a whiskey sour for you. Winker, a beef broth martini, shaken, not stirred, with two olives. Lucy, spring water with a dash of pureed liver and a twist of jerky. Sasha, goat milk and peanut butter in a highball glass. For me, a glass of 12 year old private reserve scotch. And now a toast. To humans, dogs, love and the Magic Bus!”
They all toasted, then took a good long drink
“So,” Winker asked after they finished their drinks, “where are we going to go first?”
…and I try not to piss him off
Yes, Gentle Readers, I know this is only the second post this month. Things tend to slow down after the annual DogCon report, but this year it’s all made worse by the fact that I’m working 6 days a week. I won’t be back to 5 days a week until the last week of October, so bear with me.
To get more of me, in the writing and chatty sense, you can check me out on Facebook…
or on Ello, where I’m @doccross (Doc Cross)
or Twitter, where I am also @doccross
Also, on Facebook I have a group called 30 Days Wonder where I do writing/gaming experiments.
I have high hopes of being back on here soon with new Doclopedia entries, among other projects.
…but he had scoot
Grace Update: My Sweet Little Broken Armed Gingerbread Cookie Of Passion tool a 2 mile walk this morning up to the McDonalds to get an Egg McMuffin. she did well, although it tuckered her out and she’s now sleeping like a comatose log.
Dog Update: Winker & Lucy are healthy and spoiled. They have both been VERY good girls sincr Grace broke her arm. Oddly enough, they are also sleeping just now.
Doc Update: I’m doing fine healthwise, but mentally I’m going “AAAAIIIIEEEE!!!!” because of tending to everybody here at the old homestead AND dealing with idiots at work AND psyching myself up for the dive into doing even more writing AND getting ready to do self publishing of PDFs. However, I’m NOT asleep right now.
…co-starring her new boyfriend, Blinky Swerdlow
I took The Girls to the park just a bit ago. We do this every weekday, since the park is only about 2 blocks away and they both need exercise. Winker, who needs to work off some of her chubbiness, is not a great fan of such walks, since the outside world is not air conditioned or carpeted. Lucy likes to walk, which is good because it burns off energy and it helps her gain confidence about…well, everything.
Also, the park has children and squirrels.
Now, Winker loves people, but she really loves kids. She could probably spend hours being petted and told how cute she is.
Lucy, she’s a chasin’ kinda gal. If she sees a cat or a squirrel, she is off like a floppy eared rocket. That’s why she gets the 16′ retractable leash.
Today, fate worked out to have both hounds see their chosen prey at the same time…in opposite directions. While the Winkerdog zoomed off at a much slower pace than Lucy, she still weighs 45 pounds and was very determined to go love her some kids. Lucy, seeing the arrogant (and possibly communist) rodent casually digging among some leaves, took off to make the world safe from bushy tailed terrorists. Lucy weighs about 55 pounds.
A less well constructed person than myself might have had both arms torn off, but I just let out a dignified “Wha? Hey! Ughuff! Shit!”.
Once I got my composure back (and they both reached the ends of their respective leashes), I reeled them in. Both of them gave me the stink eye, and in Winker’s case, that’s pretty bad since she just has the one eye to use.
I told Lucy that she had done an excellent job of kicking the squirrel’s ass, then lead them both over to the kids, where much oohing and aahing was bestowed upon both of them.
After awhile, we left for home and the glory of air conditioning, no squirrels and Fooood Foorrrr Dooggggssss.
Also: naps for dogs.
…heavily edited by a big bottle of scotch
In a few minutes, I’ll be off to my mom’s house to pick up a few things of mine that she has had for the last 25-30 years. I’ll be taking The Girls, who will no doubt have great fun sniffing around mom’s garden and interacting with her miniature poodle, Charlie.
Later today, I’ll dive headlong into gardening for a bit, then cook up a tasty meal featuring the last of the pork sirloin. After dinner, it is much writing for me to be doing.
More stuff later.
…from the July 1962 issue
DogCon 1, Last Day
The Dealer’s Room, she is closed…the seminars, they are done…the Art Show? History…Gaming gots 2 more hours, then it’s all she wrote…DogCon 1 is over.
The seminar I was part of, “I Hate …..!”, was packed. As the title indicates, it was a bitchfest for the 8 of us on the panel, then halfway thru, we let the audience bitch. Yeah, us gamers love to gripe.
Grace hit the Dealer’s Room hard while I was seminaring. She bought enough board and card games to increase our collection by an order of magnitude. We’ll ship them home, lest I have to ride atop the car all the way back to California.
When the con was over, I called my bestest pal, Avis, at GenCon so we could share a “The con is over” moment:)
Right now, the con honchos are getting things ready for a “Post Con Cool Down”, in which everyone is invited into a huge portion of the convention center for soft drinks and…wait for it…pie! No gaming, just pie eating and chatting for a couple of hours. How cool is that?
So, this ends my con report. Grace, The Girls and I will depart from this hotel at midnight for the long drive home. Sharon, the World’s Greatest Dogsitter, will fly out tomorrow morning.
In summary, the con was incredible. If I don’t go to GenCon, I’ll be back here for CatCon 2 next year.
Oh, and the Super Secret Origin of DogCon? I can’t tell you about it. Wouldn’t be a Super Secret if I did that, right?
(Winker: Hahaha, Dad. Very funny. NOT!)
(Daisy: We love you, Daddy, but jeez, that stunk.)