My published Shaggy Dog Story
I never really enjoyed meeting new people, but she said I
had to meet her new boyfriend. “You can’t pronounce his real name, so just call
him Bob.” she told me when I asked. Then she added: “Just — just whatever you
do, don’t ask about his pet, in the pool. Don’t ask me, because I don’t know. I
never asked.” I followed her directions, and around noon I rode up to a large
wrought iron gate. I pushed the button and said “It’s me.” “Right on time.” the
voice replied as the gate opened. The tree arched driveway was a little creepy,
but the cool kind of creepy. A few hundred yards through, the trees were
replaced by a giant hill, maybe even a small mountain. The driveway continued
in a spiral, carved out of the side of the cliff face. I started thinking this
Bob character may not be so bad, for a trust-fund brat.
At the top of the driveway, there was another, smaller,
gate. I shut off the engine and put the kickstand down, as I finally got my
ears to pop. Then I saw my sister and Bob far on the other side of the gate
waving me towards them. As I approached, I noticed the pool. I tried not to
stare during our introduction, but, when Bob said, “Come on, let me give you
the tour.” and headed for the door, I couldn’t help myself. I didn’t see
anything but an odd-looking design on the bottom of the pool at first. I
thought I saw the pattern move. Then I knew I saw it move and change colors.
Even after it changed back to the light blue color of the bottom of the pool, I
could clearly see the giant octopus, sitting, waiting ominously on the bottom.
living room was rather large, with one corner for entertainment, another for a
collection of aquariums, and one for reading. He turned on the big screen and
demonstrated the surround sound. They were impressive. Many of the books on his
shelves were in a foreign language. Vzkriesenie
Cthulhu caught my attention; I’d heard of Cthulhu. When I asked about it,
Bob seemed hesitant. He told me that most of the books were his uncle’s. He’d
brought them with him when he brought Bob to America. Bob said that he was very
young then and that his uncle never taught him to read Slovak, but he couldn’t
get rid of his uncle’s books. I didn’t quite believe him.
Bob could finish telling me all about his fish, a loud buzzer went off,
followed by a voice. “This is Deputy Johnson. I need to speak to Bee, or Bye-lo
um, it’s spelled B I E L” Bob mercifully interrupted: “Just call me Bob, and
come on up.” We all slowly wandered back to the pool, to meet the deputy.
Again, I had to fight staring at the pool, at least when Bob was looking. When
the deputy arrived, Bob met him at the gate. Between fighting my preoccupation
with the octopus and their low voices, I didn’t fully catch what they said,
something about a missing pool guy. I let the deputy know that today was the
first time I’d been there and didn’t know anything. He didn’t believe me, as
expected, but he didn’t push any further.
The three of them went inside, while I stayed outside.
I sat by the pool, wondering about the octopus and
reminding myself of the promise I had made to a dying brother, from the motorcycle
club, to watch out for his dingbat old lady. I wondered what my sister had
gotten me into this time. They were both crazier than a sack full of cats, but
at least Bob was independently wealthy, unlike the usual bums she’d introduced
me to. Maybe they’d work out and I won’t have to work so hard to keep my promise.
Everything seemed okay, when they came back out of the
house. Deputy Johnson paused at the pool, on his way to the gate and said, “Well,
that all makes sense, but I have to ask: Why do you have a baby blue octopus in
your pool?” Bob took a deep breath and quick as a blink, buried his knife hilt
deep into the deputy’s throat. He knew exactly what he was doing or got very
lucky. The deputy seized for just a moment, then fell limp as Bob pushed him in
the pool. Bob drove that knife in at just the right angle. This wasn’t the
first time I’d seen someone murdered, but this was somehow different. I put on
my poker face, but I was thoroughly rattled by the suddenness of it all and the
look on Bob’s face. I’d seen mean, angry people before, but this was pure evil.
The eternity of a few seconds passed before I said,
“Catherine! We have to go. Now.” Bob answered, “Let’s go for a ride. The
weather’s perfect. What do you say Cat?” I couldn’t believe that she agreed. I
had to think of a way to get Cat away from Bob. I wasn’t carrying that day and
after seeing how fast Bob moved, I wasn’t going to try anything. What to do?
What to do? Slowly putting down the driveway, I could just barely hear Cat ask,
“Bob, I have to know. Why do you have
a baby blue octo…” when she was interrupted by the roar of Bob’s bike, at full
throttle, taking the both of them off the cliff to their deaths.
I hate meeting new people.