In January, I participated in a challenge organized by The idea was to write one 101 word story each day–for 30 days. ‘Dad,’ a story written during the challenge, won the Issue 12 Writing Contest. Surely receiving the Man Booker Prize is next?

Writing Contest Issue 12 – Winner


My puppy


Canine Bomb Squad


Ariel’s Prance



Papillon breed

Prospero Dae Drabble

Marie Antoinette’ s puppy dog

Ariel the papillon

Some say the butterfly-dog breed originated in France, but I have my doubts. An arbiter of good taste and fashion, Marie Antoinette had, throughout her merry life, a bevy of Papillons, and I am not disputing this claim (except the part about her happy life). And, on a sun-clad afternoon, amid the singsong of peasants, she was paraded, merrily (see what I mean), on a squeaky-wheeled tumbril heading to the guillotine clutching a small dog, though this little nugget is only extant in the highly sanitized version of events: she cared not a whit about her own life, so it went, but made certain the boisterous little pooch wouldn’t lose his head over the pomp and circumstance of the festivities at Place de la Concorde, and so she had, clandestinely, lovingly, made meticulous arrangements for the cossetted canine to be housed indefinitely in palatial comfort, where he would forever convalesce after becoming aware of her bloody and untimely death. But historical accounts are unreliable, and facts are as malleable as clay in the hands of good writers–and but unruly gelatin in the hands of novices–yet unmistakably, history is written by the victors, leaving the vanquished in a bit of a spot, as usual.

But important evidence is being omitted. Marie Antoinette’s Papillon, as well as those depicted in paintings of the old masters, was an Epagneul Nain, a cute as a button, drop-eared progenitor of the butterfly-eared Papillon. But, in the good and revered name of science, try to offer a modern day Papillon the choice between Ratatouille, Quiche Lorraine, and Escargots–or Chop Suey, and you will learn something. The breed is most likely Chinese in origin. My experiments have consistently proven this point.


Personality, the scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs kind.

DSC_3827 crop 3

The thing about personality is that either you have it or you don’t. And if there’s one thing I learned about weighing a modest five pounds (when I haven’t just eaten half a lemon meringue pie, as that tends to skew the result) it’s that you have to have personality, the scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs kind. In my case I reckon my plumage accounts for most of the measurable mass, and that I’d very nearly be massless without it, which has dire implications for the expansion/contraction of the universe argument. But these measurements, like life itself, are all very speculative—for instance, just how much can a bit of cartilage weigh? And bones the size of toothpicks certainly don’t register on any scale I know of—let’s face it, I don’t live at CERN (and the particle accelerator next to my water bowl is made of cheap plastic and probably a fake); I just live in a plain dog house, equipped with a sauna, two large screen televisions, and Mr. Frisky, a megalomanic armadillo, stuffed lovingly by Chinese factory hands with the plushest gossamer, bearing a chewed-off ear, like a cross, probably the result of some guerrilla war, most likely the brutal campaign fought against toy store owners in the 1980s—you must recall it. I wasn’t yet born at the time, but then again who was?

The Creature

Papillon Dog


The creature (don’t be fooled by the cheery exterior) is secretly mourning the death of Peter O’Toole. Why is that? Because she urgently wants to go to the beach, which is oh-so similar to the Sahara Lawrence of Arabia so admired—or detested, or was it simply that T. E. Lawrence had divided loyalties or uncertain proclivities, all having little to do with undulating deserts and Egyptian actors which have a natural gift for wrapping themselves in once thought unphotographable mirages)–or even more benignly simple, was it the case of a film director (or editor, God only knows what happens in darkened rooms!) desperately wanting to use a match cut of a flame and the torrid desert sun? No matter. And she really does have a ‘no-prisoners’ attitude to getting someone (me) to take her for long and at times circuitous ambulations on bone-white sand, warm to the touch and garnished as though by a cherub’s hand with bits of seaweed, which has a habit, despite extraordinary caprioles, of ending up glued to her feathery tail, and it’s plain to most that she is oblivious to the hanger-ons, the way one tends to blot out pesky peddlers and vintage vagabonds near noisy bus stations.