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Rain Dogs

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“There was a death down by the river that day. It wasnʼt my friends, and it sure wasnʼt me. There was no Body, but as we left, we felt lighter, leaving behind our innocence and the end of our childhood, the death of dreams, mystery, and ideals that only boys can hold in their hearts”
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Rain Dogs

by Julian Edward Bleach

"Oh, how we danced with the
Rose of Tralee
Her long hair black as a raven
Oh, how we danced and you
Whispered to me
You'll never be going back home
Youll never be going back Home"

- Tom Waits, Rain Dogs 1985


"There was a death down by the river that day. It wasnt my friends, and it sure wasnt me.

There was no Body, but as we left, we felt lighter, leaving behind our innocence and the
end of our childhood, the death of dreams, mystery, and ideals that only boys can hold in
their hearts"

Casey Parker, 2011

Chapter 1: Endless Summer

All of this happened in the summer of 1996, nearly fifteen years ago now. Guns & Roses
were dominating the charts while girls were dominating our thoughts. We had just
graduated primary school. Big deal that was. All we did was show up and sit restlessly
through a tacky award ceremony just to get to the free pizza. We had just begun our last
summer before heading off to high school. Every summer of my childhood was unforgettable
even though we hardly did anything. We spent countless, melting summer days and
evenings just existing. Mainly because it was too hot to do anything, but also because the
lack of shadows and movement made it seem like we were waiting for something to break.
Deep down we knew our days of freedom wouldn't last forever, but we spent all of our days
trying to convince ourselves otherwise. Maybe this was why I couldn't sleep at night. Not
only because it was still hot but because that slowly growing unease got louder when the sun
went down. There was no more hot pavement left to ride our bikes on, no more jokes to tell. I
was forced to face my inner thoughts, left to sleep with a foreign monster. It had to have
been born from something, this beast of burden. But at first glance the hazy days didn't offer
anything worth a seconds thought except for the instant gratification of simple pleasures.
Where did this anxiety come from? Is this growing up?

Maybe I just didn't understand how growing up worked, I was never given the manual that I
assumed all boys received, handed down from their fathers. I was always waiting for it to
happen. But nothing ever did. I felt no progress, no change, only static. So I tried to suppress
my fear by staying out with my friends longer, but of course, eventually they all had to go
home to parents and dinner tables. I did too, but I was often afforded the luxury of staying
out longer as long as I told my parents where I was. I would often convince at least one of
the gang, usually Matt Myers, to stay with me just a little bit longer, until they either got bored
or thought it was odd that I just wanted to sit, and wait. So when they left, I would start to
walk or ride home, while the sun and the sky turned brilliant neon pink and blue, the night
crept in, as did the beast. I lay waiting for this lingering, suffocating, black cloud to either
extinguish the sunshine and everything that my friends and I had built together under it, or
just break and drown us all. A change was coming. The Last True summer came that
December in 1996. Looking back, I realised on some level that it would be the end of many
things. It was the calm before the storm. But I could always count on my friends being by my
side.


Speaking of my friends, I met Tony Reed when I was five years old, on the monkey bars. We
sometimes called him Tony Dweeb, and only his mother called him Antony. In fact, even his
own mother hardly ever called him anything, except to call him out when she was on a mean
streak, which almost happened all the time. I guess what with Tonys old man bailing out on
his bike when Tony was only five, Tony spent most of his time with us, and his Mum got a bit
lonely. She turned to the bottle, along with daytime reruns of Bewitched and I Dream of
Jeannie. Shed always wanted to be a housewife and, halfway through high school, along
comes bad boy Hal on his second hand Honda to whisk her away with dreams and, what
would soon prove to be false, promises. She rode the wave of almost surreal cliches,
dropping out to the horror of her well educated parents, moving away to the outer southern
suburbs and setting up home. Her other hobbies included getting knocked up, and knocked
about, usually on Tuesday nights, which was the All Night Happy Hour down at the Old
Southern Tavern (these days known as The Castle). They may have done it up from the
inside out recently, but still every time I walk down to The Castle for a drink or ten, that ol'
beer soaked carpet smell takes me right back. Its as if they tried to mask the memories from
our eyes. I mean the place did have a lousy reputation, granted. But those memories, good
and bad, just have a way of seeping through the years and tapping you on the shoulders in
more ways than one.
Anyway, the knocking about kept up even after the knocking up, and I think Mrs Reed still
thinks it was a deliberate attempt to stop Tony from entering this world. Her world, the only
one she knew, which was filled with cruelty. But of course, eventually along came Tony, as
he was destined to do. Tall from the get go, scrawny, wiry Tony Reed, The Dweeb with his
bird like nose, chin, grin, and his Jew -fro. Despite having your typical spic name and
heritage, Tony looked more jewy than anything, not a bit like his old man, and has reason to
believe this may have been the cause of and eventual demise of his parents relationship.
He never resented the old man for picking up and taking off, because it made things more
peaceful. He found more time, love and devotion could be doted upon him by his loving
mother. Sometimes we would read stories in the local town rag, Cherrymill Courier, about
some unnamed bikie starting riots and picking fights at rural taverns across the state. For a
fleeting moment, we would see Tonys eyes sparkle with both loathing and nostalgia. One
day, while cleaning up his room, Tonys mum found a stack of Couriers piled up under the
bed, and without pondering their significance, tossed them away. That following week, I
noticed a subtle shift in Tony.
The rest of the gang thought I was nuts. But I swore, he no longer seemed to sparkle, the
way his eyes always would. He was usually like the worlds longest party sparkler, his limbs
thrashing about to emphasise his excitable way of talking. And his eyes, caged and
protected d by those glasses, always had a fiery life to them. But that week at school, the fire
had gone out. That was until The Ferrydale Falls. But Ill get to that later.

Chapter 2: The Gang

The Gang, being Tony the only child, who was renowned for making constant wise cracks,
maybe as a way of dealing with his home life, though that idea never occurred to me till I did
a bit of growing up. Then you had Ryan, another scrawny kid, a few feet higher than Tony.
His arms stopped further down than his knees. He was always wearing hand me downs
which was mostly surfy gear from his older brother Luke, and which were almost always two
sizes too large. So most days, hed have on these gigantic tent-like board shorts with lanky,
spindly white legs extruding from them. Ryan came from a family of five other brothers. He
was somewhere around the middle, which made him invisible by default. And as a result of
being ignored, Ryan found he had plenty of time on his hands.

Ryan spent this time accidentally developing an odd sense of humour. It was so subtle youd
spend half the day trying to figure out if he was digging into you or actually being serious. He
didnt talk much, but when he did open his gob it was usually to say something profound and
hilarious. These moments were something Tony dug very much, and with one guy having no
brothers, and the other having too many, combined with their mutual love for slapstick antics,
they became best friends almost immediately. They were a regular Amos and Andy, The
Falls very own vaudeville act. Usually in those old comedy duos the pair look so different
from each other that the physical contrast itself is somewhat a joke. But Tony and Ryan
looked like brothers, and most of the time, they felt like it too.

Myers was what youd call the odd one out. While the rest of us wore our heart on our
sleeves and constantly made fools of ourselves, he was more reserved and cautious. Myers
was his surname, his actual name was Matt. But back in those days it was the unspoken,
Rule of Cool that some kids just got called by their surnames. There was never an actual
hard-boiled, real list of these rules, or who appointed and regulated them. But we all felt their
existence, just like you know some days when you wake up, that its going to rain that
afternoon. When it came to betting on the forecast, you could never go past Horaldo, the
neighbourhood mutt. Im not sure that was even his real name. The dogs face was eerily
similar to a character description from an old detective novel of mine, hence the nickname.
Horaldo was homeless but much loved and infamous around town, just not loved enough for
someone to actually take him in. I never figured that. I always wanted to keep him, but my
Dad would always have some reason why I couldnt, such as the rising price of petrol
He (Horaldo, not my Dad) was, at the core, a cattle dog, but mixed with god knows what. He
would spend half the day outside Rays Milk Bar up on the main street, waiting for patrons to
throw a chip or two his way. This is how Horaldo got the majority of his daily nutrition. As a
result, he had this portly, barrel like midsection, and a gnarled, scruffy face.

The guys and I would spend a lot of time at Rays during the holidays. It was like our own
army supply store. I think it originally was owned and run by someone named Ray back in
the olden days, but was now owned by some Polish guy whos name was so far from Ray
that it wasnt funny. Hed always hire teenage girls to clerk the counter while he sat out back
smoking those funny little cigars that smelled like shoe polish. Our loyalty to Rays admittedly
came from both the sweet things on display on the shelves, and the ones working behind the
counter. Id always drop in for a Dr Pepper because I was addicted the stuff, even though it
tasted like toothpaste and my grandpas denture cleaner. But I would also frequent Rays
Milk Bar because of Belinda Bowers. She was by far the oldest employee, at sweet sixteen,
whereas me and the gang back then were twelve at the most. Belinda reminded me of the
first cartoon I ever saw, Bambi.

She had thick but damp looking auburn hair that was always kept up in a loose bun,
probably for work purposes. Sometimes she wore a black hair net, other days I guess she
was just forgetful, too busy thinking about...whatever teenage girls thought about. I sure as
shit didnt know at that age. She had a thick, flat, nose with rounded edges, sprayed with
dark freckles, naturally tanned olive skin, and those eyes. Man, those eyes. Over a decade
later, and Ill never forget how large they seemed. So large I could see in the pupil a
sensualised spark, whos purpose I couldnt quite grasp at that age. She had an earthy
grounded smell to her that reminded me of woodlands and forests.. Despite my always
having a bad nose, on account of Ryan breaking it during a bout of fisticuffs over something
stupid like baseball cards, its always been the easiest way for me to describe things. Just
like how the town dump, for me, has always smelt of terracotta. She had these bony, delicate
hands with palms always opened, and a knowingly sly grin on her face. The left corner of her
mouth only ever raised slightly enough to notice if you were paying enough attention to her

face. Although, like the sun, you could never stare at it too long or it would drive you mad
And even when you stared right into her face, you could only see the outlines and
surrounding features. The middle was just burning with a beautiful light. I was always
exploding around her. I always tried to play it cool, but whenever I reached the counter, I
wouldnt be able to let go of the warm coins from my palm. As much as every inch of my
being ached to have physical contact with her, part of me was terrified to cross that invisible
line from childhood into the scary grey world in between childhood and adulthood. Teens,
man. They scared the shit out of me and yet intrigued me at the same time. There was a
daily ritual. Belinda Bowers would always hold her hand out for change, and every time I
would just slam down the exact change on the glass counter top rather than touching her
hand. I would turn and run out. I never saw her reaction because my back was turned, but I
still think that she kept her hand open and waiting even as I ran out.

Belindas father Harold Bowers has been the tavern manager and resident bar tender of the
Castle Tavern for more than twenty years, and spent more time at work, which felt more like
Home to him, than his actual place of residence with his young daughter. Weekdays were
slow, but the place was always dark, and cool, and gave him time to think. Too much
thinking is what he did, so it was nice to have some regular company; Tonys old man. Hed
always wax lyrical, mostly about his bitch of a wife and his good for nothin son, but Hal
Reeds other favourite pastime was urban town legends and conspiracy theories. Ranging
from the probable to the bat shit insane. Harold never tried to encourage or entertain these
theories, but on the other hand he was only enabling Hal, by feeding him the fuel to his fire. I
guess Harold never cut him off because he needed the distraction. So after a few years
Harold had heard all the stories before, so much so that he knew them by heart, but no one
ever really asked him to recount them. So even after Hal left town for good, they just kind of
sat up there in that vault we all have in our brains filed under Useless Shit. The stuff you
wish you could delete to make room for learning other more important life lessons, but just
refuses to budge. The stuff you end up using as an excuse. "Oh I cant possibly be an
Astronaut because I know too much about the Backstreet Boys"

After rounding up the gang, we would head up into the main town square, and over the war
memorial to the white plastic picnic chairs and tables outside Rays. You know the kind, the
ones decorated with Coke banners to be found in every costal town in the state. On those
days, I would always get Tony or Ryan to go in for me, wanting to avoid Belinda from the
sheer embarrassment of just even existing. Maybe I was ashamed of my age, I dont know
why but, at the time, we placed a tremendous deal on numbers, and age meant a lot. It was
like a badge you wore. So Ryan and Tony would go in together, wanting to see what new
lollies and chocolate bars they had, but mostly just for an excuse to be together and share
the same, tired old jokes. This left me alone with Myers.

Matt Myers came from a strong solid family; his mother was a nurse and his father a banker,
just like mine. His grandma lived with them, accommodating the entire upper section of the
split-level they lived in. It was always the familiarity that became a comfortable, happy habit
after a while, to greet Gramma Myers as you walked in their home. Gday Missus M! and
then Id be left to make uncomfortable small talk. Not that it was her fault, I loved that old
bag, but I just never knew what to talk about, or what I was allowed to talk about, of our
adventures and stuff. Eventually Myers would return with a couple of Cokes and we would
head down to what was basically a basement level, through a narrow hallway, past his older
sisters room, into his tiny Japanese Apartment like bedroom.
Here we would geek out playing Donkey Kong on Super Nintendo and he would start going
on about nanotechnology and molecular structures. I really looked up to Myers the most.
Most of the guys in my year were just basically full of shit, even though they put on these

tough guy facades. But to me, Myers seemed to be wise. Even though we were the same
age, the way he would sit there with his long hippy black hair, torn jeans, Guns N. Roses
shirt, and scat about philosophy just seemed more real to me. If there was bullshit to be
smelt, it wasnt around Matt Myers.

Usually I didnt mind being left alone with Myers as it gave me a chance to geek out over
stuff the vaudeville twins of our gang would have scoffed at as a defence against not
understanding. But that day he just seemed out of sorts. The awkward buzzing silence was
broken by Horaldos gravely welcoming bark as he waddled up to us. I filtered through my
pockets, looking for Scooby snacks, but only came up with coins and lint, I could literally see
the rise and fall of expectation and disappointment in that loveable mutts face. He settled for
a head rub.

"Gonna rain" I informed Myers. He looked at me, looked at the neon blue sky, looked back at
me and just scoffed.

"Im serious, man" I held eye contact with him until he started to take me seriously.

"You say this all the time regardless of whether it actually does or not, Casey. Youre the Boy
and the clouds are the Wolf" mused Myers.

"Care to make it a bet?" I wagered.

"Sure. Just to prove youre full of shit. More than worth the fortune that is my weekly
allowance"

We shook hands and Horaldo looked up at me, almost smiling. We never agreed on any of
the fine details, and I assumed Myers would eventually forget about it. But I knew I would be
making a profit that day.

"Easy money, chump" I chuckled and punched him playfully on the arm.

"Care to show your work? " Myers queried

"Well a few weeks ago, I started having these nightmares. Im doing laps up at the Pools,
and Im trying to see how many underwater laps I can do before I run out of breath. But
pretty soon I start to black out. I try to reach the surface, but the surface keeps getting further
and further away. All I can hear is what sounds like a submarine radar, until I realise its
Horaldo here, under the water with me, trying to help. I can hear him, but I cant see him. All I
hear is what sounds like a warning signal, a siren. Eventually this booming sound fills my
head and I black out completely. I wake up practically screaming, and covered in cold sweat,
but for a moment there I think Im still in the water, you know?!"

Myers pauses for just a moment too long, then cracks up, "You wet the bed, you fucking
pussy?"

"No! Fuck you; my point is....my point is this. Sometimes youve just got to make a leap of
faith and put your belief in something that may seem completely fucking insane"

Myers pauses yet again, looks up at the sky for a while, then back at me. "Why?"

"Because sometimes the consequences dont matter. Sometimes you just got to be brave,

and not be afraid to be wrong. But then there are the other times. The times when you know
in your heart of hearts that you are right, despite the opposition from logic and the physics of
the world. Havent you ever had that feeling?"

"What youre saying is, youll stand to lose all the money youve put aside saving up for that
new Fixie, all because you had some crazy dream about a homeless animal. And you think
this mangy mutt ought a replace Larry the Weather Guy, and we should wake up every
morning to Horaldo the Magnificent on Channel Seven!!?

".......pretty much." I sighed "Ive started thinking of him as the Rain Dog"

"Inside a broken clock...." Myers muttered under his breath. For a second there, I think he
believed me. He just didnt want to believe it himself. Before I could ask what he meant,
Tony and Ryan returned, armed with Milkos and Mad Magazines . For a while I forgot all
about Horaldo. So there we sat, pissing away the day with great glee, me and my best
friends. How I ever ended up falling in and being accepted by these loveable idiots, Ill never
know. Its been fifteen years and I still cant tell you how or why it all happened, except that
maybe it just meant to.

CHAPTER 3: Ferrydale Falls

The Ferrydale Falls is a local haunt supposedly located in the heart of town, down in
a valley, crested by the numerous districts that line the adjourning hilltops. Every
backyard in the neighbourhood looks down into the grounds but its like they never
really see it. Sometimes The Falls dont want to be seen, but if youve been down
there once, it has a way of sticking with you. Everyone has a different route they
take. There are many ways down there but only one way out.
Some days the light would hit that water and make it seem the most desirable dip in
the world. But as soon as you got closer would take on beige, flat quality to it.
Everything floated in that river, even things that werent meant to. No, we never saw
a body, but always noticed rocks and metal scraps just bobbing along the surface.
Oh! and then there were the electric eels. You only managed to discover them if you
were stupid enough to test the local legend that No One Has Ever Reached the
Bottom. Most kids attempted to put death to the legend, and more often than not,
themselves, by diving from the cliff-tops....Sometimes before bothering to test the
depth.

We never meant to end up at the Falls, but things just have a way of creeping up on
you. It was a Friday afternoon, no wait, a Saturday. Christ, who knows anymore. All I
do know is this- there were always two constants that summer you could rely on.
The Sun being out, and my friends being by my side. Both as consistent as the other,
and sometimes just as annoying.

That day we were trailing our usual path. We werent even consciously aware of our habits at
the time, but the day usually went as follows. Id always wake up early, it was always too
humid to sleep, and that electric warm buzz that filled the summer days never truly died off at
night, it was a restless sleeper, and because of that, so was I. Usually my Mum would have
breakfast out and ready, but she was taking my holidays as her holidays as well. This meant
I never liked hanging around the house. Not that there was anything wrong with her, she
never beat me or my sister up, dont get me wrong. If anything she loved us too much. But
that wasnt the problem. The problem was, if it was raining or there was nothing to do or
nowhere to go, Id be stuck in doors all day having to listen to the Soaps and daytime

dramas at full blast. Id escape to my room and pick up some of my Dads old paperbacks,
stuff Id never heard of before, but theyd held a certain intrigue for me, old Raymond
Chandler stories, that kind of thing. At least there, along with my Labrador Jack, and a few
emergency Cokes I could find some solace.

On the sunny days, Id manage to make my own breakfast, leaving a trail of rice bubbles
behind me and be out the door and chasing the rising sun. Id get on my Mongoose dirt bike,
and head over to pick the guys up. They all lived within the same two blocks of each other,
whereas Id grown up further up town in a gated community, which Ive always been grateful
for my upbringing, but it always just felt cut off, like I was missing out on some great
adventure. The ride would always take about a solid twenty minutes of hilly hell. And it was
always the same loop. Id drop by Tonys place first, going around the corner to his bedroom
window and knocking gently to let him know I was there and waiting, and so as to not wake
his Ma. Whilst waiting for him to get dressed, Id always, without fail, douse myself from the
tap under the window and rehydrate. Then wed bike down and around to Condolan Street to
visit Ryans house. Ryan comes from a huge family and a huge house to fit his huge family. I
swear they never slept.

We were always warmly welcomed, and swept up into the whirlwind of four brothers of
different ages making noises and trouble, their Dad, a gentle giant offering us ever beverage
and pastry under the sun, but then ordering Ryans mum to go get it for us. For this reason,
we always politely declined.

"You boys want some Ovaltine?" Harry would ask quickly but warmly,

Then before we had the chance to respond he would interrupt
"Oh shit, Rob finished the last of it, the bastard, no worries boys, Im sure Lana wont mind
popping off to the shops, will ya love?"

Sometimes the warm hospitality was too nice, if you get me. We felt suffocated by love! After
rescuing Ryan, wed bike around the corner to Matts place, the last port of call was always
the easiest. As I mentioned earlier, Matts parents were hardly to be seen, and even though
his Nan would always ask us what we were up to, we could have just said "shooting birds
with bb guns, you know the usual" and she would have just nodded and smiled regardless.
Either she was more deaf than we thought, or perhaps just the coolest grandma in town.
Like she had just expected this of all of us.
From there wed go ahead and fill up our days with what I now remember in terms of items
and objects. BMXs, paddlepops, sour warheads, redskins, Milkos, slap bands, playing
cards, the kind with the nudie pictures on the back, hawked from Matts old man. We all had
on our hyper-colour t shirts, baseball caps, backwards, naturally, and with the brim bent.
Funny how cyclical fashion is, and how the rules have reversed these days. On the cooler
days, wed fill the time with x men comic books, and super Nintendo, and sit around Matts
backyard drinking cheap vodka hawked from his older sisters mattress, hidden and mixed
into cola cans.
On the hot days, there wasnt much escape, none of us had pools, and the only kinds of
people that attended the public pools were either five or eighty-five, we wouldnt be caught
dead there. I occasionally went up and did laps in a vain attempt to build muscle, but I never
let the guys know. We only lived ten minutes drive from the beach, but with no parents
around (where did they go, and what did they do during our holidays?!) meant no lifts, and
what with the hot weather, we couldnt be arsed to ride our bikes for 2 hours down to the
coast. So wed end up goofing around under sprinklers, or with Ryans slip n slide. But that

day, we needed to really cool down. This is how we serendipitously ended up at Ferrydale
Falls
That day wed done everything backwards and upside down. None of us could sleep the
night before, growing up with Australian Summers, we were used to the heat, but this was
different; it wouldnt budge for anybody. Just when you thought it would break with a breeze,
the fucker would increase and make you toss off another sheet. Wed all planned the day
before to meet up and ride up to Main Street, because the latest x men comic was out - the
one where Professor X supposedly died for good. They tried that trick time and time again,
and we always fell for it. That morning Matt was the first up because his Pa was up and
tinkering away in the garage on his pet project, restoring some old Holden, and making a hell
of a racket.
He collected us all early, telling us of this place hed heard of, some local town watering hole.
This is how we ended up at Rays, stockpiling.

We were heading back from main street, the humidity making our brains go numb when
Tony starts bitching.

"Why would they kill off the Proff, man? Thats retarded. Theres no point reading it anymore,
he was the guy who had them all organised, yknow, the team leader"


"Spoiler alert, douchebag" I quipped, "Give that here" I snatched issue #53 off Tony and we
all just took turns handing it back and forth, walking at the same time and somehow
managing to avoid falling over or into things in our path.

"Hell be back, you watch, they always do this kind of thing, its a marketing technique to get
more sales" said Ryan.
After a while, one of us had the mind to look up and take stock.

"Guys" Matt asked "Where the hell are we?"

Wed grown up in Ferrydale, and knew every nook, every cranny, every back corner
alleyway, street lamp and shortcut, and what we were looking at was completely alien, yet
somehow familiar at the same time. A sense of comfortable familiarity but with a tense
electric current running underneath it. A rocky descending fire trail lay in front of us,
eventually bending down and out of sight, surrounded by thick craggy dry forest branches.
Thunder boomed from the invisible valley. Once, twice, then again in a rapid fire motion.

"Strangest thunder I ever heard, arent you supposed to see the lightning first though?"
asked Ryan.

"Thats no thunder, dummy" I said "Its Horaldo!"

Before the others had a chance to ask who Horaldo was, or why he was hanging on the east
side of town, Id already begun pedalling my bike down the trail into the great unseen at full
pace. I was pedalling like a mad man. Something told me the old mutt was in trouble. Im not
sure why I felt so much love for that bastard dog. Maybe it was because he was more
selfless than most people in town. The only reason he was fat was because we all fed him
out of love. He never really asked for much but always gave so much back. He was always
there, most days hanging around Rays, (I never thought that maybe he belonged to the old
Polish man), other times wed just see him wandering around town in that directionless but

hurried way dogs have of moving. We all just thought he belonged to someone else, but I
knew deep down that he belonged to the town. He was Ferrydales unofficial mascot.

The terrain became unstable more quickly than Id hoped, twisting and turning like a rocky
snake, and eventually I came to an old wooden gate. It was constructed of once-fresh pine
that had now rotted away but was still held up by rusted hinges attached to posts that lay on
both extremities of the trail, hanging half in and out of the forest brush. I could take my
Mongoose no further. I ditched it in a half leap over the frame, pushed myself off the side
pedal and kept running at the same pace while the bicycle fell listlessly to the ground behind
me. I knew Id probably never see it again.

I came to an outcrop of rocks, a crest that overlooked the valley of Ferrydale Falls, except all
I could see was a haze, a refraction of light that lay across the sea of greenery. Horaldo
called out again, except he now sounded more...feminine, and it was almost like there were
two of him, although it could have just been an echo. But as I stooped and listened harder,
trying to hear through the haze clouding my vision and mind, the separation between the
echoes increased and contrasted in tonality. That was not a dog in distress. It was two girls,
playing. How could I have gotten it so wrong? Was I just suffering from selective hearing?
Granted, light and sound does have a way of bending and changing over distance and time.
Does it really have a destination, or are the waves like ripples from a pebble in some kind of
butterfly effect? Two people in different locations, separated by a great distance could both
pick up on the same travelling vibration but experience it differently. What I heard was a
calling. But what I now saw, squinting through the light was what looked like Matts older
sister Melanie AND a friend, splashing around under the head of the Falls.

I looked back up from where I had come, it looked vastly different from my other perspective.
What I had taken for tight, twisting turns on my way down now looked like a directionless,
scattered mess with no clear line of sight or return. If my Dad had forked out for one of those
new Nokia 5110 mobile telephone things I could have at least rung Matt as his parents gave
him one for his birthday. But they were bloody expensive, and my old mans way of justifying
its denial was asking just how exactly would I pay for the calls? Sure, I used to have a paper
route but that turned into a Bin route, which eventually lead to no job at all when a few of the
locals complained about late delivery, the finger immediately got pointed at me, the fastest
delivery boy in the group. I momentarily debated attempting to track my way back, but
thought it easier to head down to the girls and wait for the rest of the gang.

As I descended, the path widened, and the sound of running water filled my ears, rushing in
a white noise through my head. The brush on either side cleared to expose a causeway
currently being drowned by the high tide, but only by a knee length or so.
I walked cautiously out across the causeway with my sneakers still on, probably looking like
Jesus from anyone watching up above in the hills. Although, looking around, everything
seemed displaced from my current point of view. Where the famous Upper Cherrymill church
steeple should be, there was only blue sky. Where the KBL7 Radio Tower stands on the
east side of Ferrydale, only a limping fig branch could be seen. To my right, the causeway
and flow of the current dropped down and off around a corner. The edges of the scene I was
currently witnessing were so neatly cut off and tapered, so surreally neat it almost looked like
a film set. As if someone or something had deliberately planned a stage for events to unfold,
upon a poor imitation of something else.
As I turned to my left, the river opened up at an angle to show that I was mostly likely
standing at a bottleneck that would undoubtedly carry strong currents at high tide. The high,

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