Refugees in Space is a silly, short story that I wrote for a Speculative Fiction course I took through Southwest Writers. It is loosely based on a writing prompt and an idea I had about the stars realigning themselves. At first, I had the escaping star somewhat like a teenage girl, but I changed her gender because of another story in which stars are male and planets are their female counterparts. For instance, Sol has nine wives. Humankind dwells on Gaia, who has been a bit depressed lately.
I just posted a short story about My Dog Buster. What a lovely little fellow he was, though he could be a terror. Here's the text to the story I wrote about him in 2014, as well as a link:
Many dogs love to fight you for the right to strut through a door first or lead the walk. These dogs consider themselves to be the number one dog and they are not shy to let you know. I have a big gruff dog like this. Pull your arm off, that one will. But he is not the top dog he thinks he is because I have another dog; a little, tiny, scruffy, barky, bantam pooch who cares nada for being numero uno. Oh no. This guy is the number two dog and proud of it.
Buster never challenges me because I am the big pack leader and he knows it. It is all the other mutts around that he keeps in line and makes their lives miserable. There is not a bone in the house that isn’t his. Every stuffed animal is his express favorite and he wants it and pursues it and fights for it the second any other dog glances at the grubby thing. However, all of that is nothing compared to his rigidly enforced rule that no other dog is to be petted ever, and that he alone is to sit on my lap or near my knee or by my couch. Snuffling amiably in the general vicinity of my area only invites the invasion of his hairy carcass in-between them and the boss with hurled commentary on their unworthiness.
If I happen to catch one of the unfortunate others in a misdeed and call them on it, the tiny terror backs me immediately with stentorian officiousness and bustling nosiness. Buster, I prophetically named him when I got him from a shelter who had found him wandering the streets of Albuquerque as a six month old pup, and a bustling, bossy Buster he is. How dejected and downcast he looked then and I tenderly, innocently, took him home and under my wing to nurse him back to good cheer.
You never saw a more adorable dog. Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth as he cuddled up to me. He had separation issues and trotting after me was his chief delight. That was then. He still has issues. I can’t step a foot outside my door without him threatening a catatonic fit if he isn’t brought along. Yet somehow, that endearing, friendly little cherub mutated from a benign Tonto into Poe’s vengeful Montresor when it comes to other canines and me. Scruffy, rough, curly white hair with ears that shine pink when the light is glowing through them and darling little black nose topped by sparkling, black, lively eyes make up my intrepid Buster.
The only one who doesn’t tremble at his ferocious antics is the big orange, long-haired tom cat who has moved into my house and refuses to move out. Once I gave the admittedly gorgeous feline to someone in Albuquerque, a good thirty-five miles from my home in Moriarty. It wasn’t but a few days later that I came home to find him back in my yard under a van, waiting for me to open the door so I could get him some damn dinner before he took an evening nap. His long solitary journey home up and over the Sandia Mountains didn’t seem to faze him so it isn’t surprising that he doesn’t let a senseless, fuzzy, self-important terrier mix tell him what to do.
But Buster doesn’t seem to mind. It is only the household’s other dogs that he threatens and bullies and challenges as he drives them ruthlessly into the lower ranks. I am number one and he is number two - the primero pet and my doggy best friend, if he does say so himself.
I went to the Black Panther movie yesterday. The special effects were a lot of fun and the storyline moved along quickly. There were some good scenes as they attempted to confront various lines of thought concerning racism, projecting the idea, Marvel Comics style, that a superhero would be called on to lead the world in a better way.
In one scene in the film, there are villagers who have been captured by guerillas. It is a tense scene until they are rescued. The whole concept of racism, coupled with the habitat and the terror, reminded me of my friend Jean who hid for 100 days in Rwanda during the days of the 1994 genocide. One Rwandan tribe terrorized the other and Jean survived by hiding in the rain forest and drinking water from the leaves. I cannot imagine the terror and horror he must have suffered. Nowadays, he is providing free education for children in Uganda.
I enjoyed the film. There was a spirited debate about two reasonable approaches to overturning the past and trying to create a new reality for those who have been oppressed, but unfortunately, at the end, there are many questions that remain. How do you resolve what has been done and move forward with justice - and love, restoration, and kindness for all - when the world is so fallen? Evil abounds. I think it will take more than a superhero to set things right. It will take God himself, and maybe only eternity brings true peace.
Still, it was a thoughtful film and one can only appreciate the effort made to be fair-minded about the best way to go forward. I recommend #BlackPanther.