In the sea of codswallop where all berley legends begin, like chum scattering over the waves, there was at one time a hopeful tale of a savior bedecked in plucky certainty, a hero, if you will, ecumenically invulnerable to the bloody boasts floating over the scrim of the world like clots sticking to the inside of a stroking mind. He was, in a word, a scab hero, much like a mercenary, but charming and relatively inoffensive. But where he came from, what he was after, what he did, the whole thing stunk to high heaven of high adventure and he was more or less a lowdown sort, a stained but blank canvas reckoning with its creator for just a hint of purpose before its abiogenesis kicked in and wrote an epic free hand.
He lived, mostly without complaint, but come morning he was gone again. He was a transitional sword for hire, righting wrongs, doing evil in, standing for justice but very rarely truth. Truth was a gray matter, much like the hero himself. Prone to tangents… Partial to quests…
But the story, or conglomeration of stories, has long since etched itself onto the backdrop of time. His unconventional archetype has been pursued and impressed upon so many silly fairy tales that the brand has been diluted, as they say. And there is a bit of truth (make no mistake) in what he once was, which is, undiluted. But the bits have been broken in by the beatings of better storytellers than I. The greater parts are fiction, no doubt, but the tenor of it all is unquestionably authentic, which is where that elusive truth he was reluctant to accept fits in, unfit for any one story, beginning and ending in a hurly burley, from dust, and to dust returns. Once upon a time.
Once upon a time there was a most precious rose whose penchant for blooming in the cold autumn months presaged a reversal of fealty. It was that kind of rose.
Yet it was said that were a landed gentleman or Lord to tour the countryside and discover the rose prior to its fearsome bloom that he might stave off the foretold revolution. Furthermore, boiling the rose’s petals granted the Lord the ability to sow love and kindness amongst his kingdom’s vassals. And a season of bounty would follow the winter’s exacting chill. Yet it was also said that the Lord must happen upon the rose accidentally. Because no man saddled a horse in late summer without his mind on the rose, peaces were few and far between.
Since the serfs were so seldom the recipients of the rose’s awkward spell, they bore the brunt of its magic, or curse, or joke. So one particularly dry autumn they burned the entire countryside in hopes of saving their masters’ fields.
This is why today we have no lords and public education. And why roses can now only be found in grocery stores, where they know better.
Harold was hungry, but din-din was unlikely to arrive before the others returned. He debated eating the thing he’d found under Wendy’s bed the other day…but he gradually remembered that he’d buried it outside. And the door was locked. (And the thing wasn’t, strictly, edible.)
Doors in general seemed to be designed for people, not dogs, an annoyance Harold was compelled to abide. Also, his master was an idiot, but that went with the territory (his territory, unfortunately).
Harold was not alone in thinking this. Wendy also believed it, given the pheromones she excreted whenever the mailman was present and the fact that she and the master had not slept in the same bed for two or fourteen years. Most dogs were proud of their masters by virtue that they were taller and had mastered the automated world around them. Harold felt this was dubious but he also accepted that he himself was not innately clever – he had a bad habit of trying to fit large objects in his throat and then pooping them sidewise.
They didn’t call him Harold, naturally. The master had named him Spot, but in his mind Harold called himself after the master. He couldn’t tell anyone about this because dogs don’t talk, or rather can’t talk, and have to make due by smell alone; not an altogether inconvenient system given that it was impossible to lie…
Though it would be nice to call home every once in a while and tell them everything was fine.