We all know how much joy a happy pet brings to the household. After a stressful day at work and on the freeway, after visiting our in-laws in jail, after borrowing more on our credit cards just to live another week, after beating our kids half to death because we can’t stand their incessant wining because we spend more on meth, crack and Jack Daniels than on wholesome, nutritious food for our loving families, our faithful and devoted pets are there to listen to us and bring us up.
Perhaps this is a good time to introduce the beloved dog Roxie. Roxie is a small unnamed breed of short haired dog, six months old, and playful as a bug in a rug. There is nothing this sweet dog would not do to please her master, Sherry Brandhwhine. (Once a playful pooch is past the teething stage, it takes a protectful stance around the house and considers it “their” territory. Dogs consider us “dogs” like they are, and they belong to our “pack”. So it is easy to understand how well they are able to ensconce themselves in our lives, and how much we come to depend on them. Roxie was this way.) Roxie lived with Sherry in the far North, where snow and ice dominate. This country is populated by moose, polar bear, and Sasquatch. It is also occupied by MAN.
Ever advancing technology has created machinery that makes living in in harsh climates more comfortable. Without the modern conveniences, we would not enjoy the standard of living that is now possible, and which few if any countries now in existence enjoy. These machines are a mixed blessing, as they are sometimes quite dangerous and can cause injury if used improperly or without proper precautions. This is why many of these machines have guards or other protective devices to prevent clothes or limbs from entering into them and being injured. Many times people have been known to ignore these precautions and sustain severe injury as a result. Animals, and especially dogs, are largely unable to receive such warnings and can fall prey to injury as a result of accidents involving cars and trucks on the roadway.
Roxie was confined to the house. Sherry wisely decided to keep Roxie indoors when she noticed that Roxie was very fond of chasing cars and other moving vehicles. Because dogs are not aware of the considerable momentum a car possesses, they cannot be expected to recognize the ever-present dangers of the roadway. In the frozen North, there are other dangers. Huge snow-blowers traverse the roadways, gathering up copious quantities of snow and with the aid of huge blower motors and razor sharp blades, blowing the snow onto the side of the road.
It had just snowed heavily the day before. There was at least four feet of snow on the road. Poor Roxie waited all day for Sherry to come home, an interminable wait. Roxie would lay on the floor, with her head at an angle, seeming to sleep, but with alert ears always listening for the familiar sound of Sherry's car. It seemed that Roxie could almost tell time, because at around six o’clock when Sherry usually arrived, Roxie would get up and pace back and forth, waiting for the sound of the car, a 1963 Ford Fairlane station wagon with collapsed suspension, a leaky exhaust and the radio stuck on an AM station that only tuned in a fire and brimstone Christian station from Anchorage.
Finally, it seemed to be time to get up and pace. Roxie jumped up on the sofa, looked out the window, panting and looking expectantly. Roxie could hear a faint rumble in the background, and it seemed like the sound of her owner’s car. Roxie kept on looking, and slowly something much different came into view. It made a louder sound than usual, and a large white spray came out the side. Suddenly, the door burst open!
Roxie came to life! She sensed that she was supposed to stay inside, but the door was open and in her excitement she wanted to go outside and greet Sherry. She rushed outside, but no car was in the driveway. It was so full of snow. Instead, the world's largest snow blower, the Overaasen TV 2200, was approaching poor Roxie, as tons of fine snow was forced skyward like an icy geyser. Behind the machine was Sherry! Roxie could see Sherry in the car, and Roxie started running toward her. However, the noise from the Overaasen excited her, and she instead turned her attention toward the giant lumbering toward her. It was coming close, TOO close, and soon it was in her territory! Roxie could not allow this intrusion. She ran away from the white spray, into the path of the machine. Sherry saw what was happening and quickly got out of the car to distract Roxie. She called to Roxie at the top of her lungs, but Roxie did not hear.
The snow blower was clearing the roadway so that cars could travel unobstructed. The operator of the machine could see the dog, but could not stop what was about to happen. In fact, he did not WANT to stop what was about to happen. The snow plow operator, nicknamed "Mikey-poo" after a never to be forgotten childhood incident, was liked by all. However, Mikey-poo had taken to reading catalogs featuring gargoyles and other monstrosities that some people are quite fond of. To be certain, nobody could imagine someone wanting to do harm to a kind and loving pet, but sometimes circumstances convene in such a way as to defy all sense of logic and balance. In fact, sometimes the demoniac seems to prevail and nothing but horror and gore result.
Poor Roxie was directly in the path of the snow blower, barking furiously, holding her ground directly in front of HER house. The snow blower now surged forward, and Sherry could not catch up, having fallen in the snow and sprained her ankle. She could only watch helplessly as the snow blower’s 2,000 horsepower engine revved up to its maximum setting. Soon after, Sherry heard a loud CLUNK, whereupon a fine red spray showered her front yard and front porch. The machine lumbered on into the distance, its grisly red spray slowly turning a beautiful rose colored hue, then pink, and finally pure white again.
Horrified, Sherry got up and hobbled toward the front door, having seen something hit the door, bang loudly, and then roll inside. It was poor Roxie’s head, decapitated by the evil, cruel blades of the snow blower. As unfortunate as it was that Roxie got out of the house, in a grisly sense, Roxie had come home.
Horrified at what just happened, Sherry thought fast and took action. The head, which was still fresh from the guillotine-like blades of the snow blower, tried to produce a faint bark, but couldn’t because the dog’s heart, lungs, circulatory system and body were nothing more than a red spray on the front lawn.
Roxie was still alive! Dr. Thluck, a world-renowned animal psychiatrist and surgeon in head transplant surgery, happened to be outside and saw what happened to the unfortunate beast as it was transformed by the snow blower into a mass of red gore fertilizing the front lawn and a barely alive head flying through the air. There was no time to lose...
Dr. Thluck needed to staunch the bleeding which was draining the remaining life force from Roxie’s battered and near lifeless head. He grabbed a pink tutu which was handily lying about and jammed one of the chewed up arms into the carotid artery and jammed the other chewed up arm into the poor mutt’s mouth to keep it from trying to bark, which was impossible. He quickly rushed the near lifeless head into his secret underground laboratory, where he hooked it up to an ingenious heart-lung machine, trying by any chance imaginable to keep it alive.
It was a miracle, but the head lived on. How long it would live was impossible to say. Sherry and Dr. Thluck kept a constant vigil over the unfortunate creature, talking to it, giving it comfort by petting what was left of it. There really wasn’t much the dog could do, as most of the bone and musculature that would allow the head to make any movements was now food for countless maggots and other vile filth that made good use of the unexpected bounty. Actually, this is the way of nature and is good. All the new and exciting insect life resulting from the shredding of poor Roxie’s carcass meant a high-protein food source for birds, lizards, and other of God’s creatures.
As the days turned into weeks, something constructive would have to be done to bring some normalcy into poor Roxie’s admittedly restricted existence. Roxie’s senses were severely restricted. She could not smell, as there has to be airflow through the nasal passages and these were all sewn up now that the heart-lung machine was giving live-giving oxygen. Roxie could still hear, and that was a blessing as she could take comfort in Sherry’s voice and Dr. Thluck’s ministrations as he toiled to keep her alive. It was agreed upon that Roxie should have a voice, and a way was set upon to allow her to speak.
Dr. Thluck undertook very delicate brain surgery on Roxie to insert electrodes into the dog’s stationary head. These would be hooked up to a computer that would actuate a voice synthesizer when the dog wanted to bark. In this way, she could hear herself and feel some comfort in having a formerly lost ability. After much experimentation, the device at last worked, and Roxie would thrill at being able to produce electronic yelps that sounded remarkably real. Ultimately, the barking was becoming tiresome and Sherry and Dr. Thluck agreed to change the barking noise into a monotone “bark” sound, which was actually a man saying the word “bark”. Roxie was understandably upset, but learned to live with the inaccurate feedback.
About the only think Roxie could do was to move her eyes. She furtively glanced about, picking places to look at in the lab, and then glance away to see if anything new was going on outside her field of vision. She became aware of something moving in the lab, but she did not know what it was. She barked furiously, but of course the only sound to come out of the voice synthesizer was a man's voice saying "bark, bark". The object, or whatever it was stopped making noise, but Roxy kept her ears perked up.
After what seemed like hours, she heard the same scratching sound, but now it seemed to be right behind her. She could feel something walking... on her head! Roxie barked furiously, and the synthesizer monotonously groaned out the man saying, "bark, bark," but to no avail.
Something was crawling on her immobile head, scratching around. All she could do was blink her eyes, those huge, bulging eyes that sensed danger as the snow blower approached, those bulging eyes that saw the world turn over and over as she was swallowed by the Overaasen and cut to ribbons, those bulging eyes looking around as her near lifeless head was flying through the air like a carrier pigeon on its way to hell.
Finally, the object of her abject horror came into view. It was more than she could take, more than anyone could take if they saw what she saw...