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Dogs Dead.

by Paperback 

Posted: 21 March 2004
Word Count: 836
Summary: One of my stories from a collection that i'm compiling. If the comments aren't too harsh i'll put up some more

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

Dogs Dead.
“Man, that looks bad.”
“Real bad.”
“Real fucking bad.”
We’d got out of Lynn’s big red truck and were stood on the street. Panicking and looking right at the dog we’d just hit, things were getting dark. The dog was sort of all mashed up, half on and half off the front bumper, and in a real state. Its eyes were still open and its tongue lolled around as the dog struggled to keep up its regular breathing pattern. It was making a funny noise. Through the blood and mush, you could still make out the poor creatures face which, along with its wiry, scruffy-looking coat, made it obvious we hadn’t hit one of those expensive types.
“It’s all right,” I said to Lynn. “I think it’s a mongrel”.
“Shit, man! Shit! They’re the best fucking kind. I fucking love mongrels, man. Friendliest fucking type of dog. Oh, man. I don’t believe this fucking shit.”
Lynn, who was pretty large for a woman, had started to kick one of the big tyres at the front of her truck. Her foot was making a loud, empty, thudding noise each time it connected with that thick, black, rubber and I was frightened she’d wake one of the local residents.
It was two-in-the-morning you see and it had been our turn to pick up the pot. I usually liked it when me and Lynn got to go. We could take a bit off the top as a danger payment, and it gave us some time alone. We weren’t going out or anything like that, in fact I don’t think she’d ever even thought of me in that sort of way, but you know, I would have done all the same.
I made to grab hold of Lynn’s arm to try and calm her down but my hand wasn’t large enough. It made me realise just how strong she was. I mean, I’d heard the stories and such but right then, it really dawned on me.
“Fuck, Lynn. It’s late. Be quiet, you’ll wake someone up”.
She turned and looked at me. Through that yellow colour of the street lights, I could see her shoulder muscles flexing and the tears welling up in her average-looking eyes.
“Oh god. What are we going to do?” Lynn was crying now. Not like a girl though, it was more like when your father cries, angry and embarrassed with himself for showing weakness to those he should protect. Still I liked this new side to Lynn. It made her more feminine, more attainable. I’d never seen her cry before. I’d only ever known aggression or swaggering insolence. I was almost glad we’d hit this dog.
“I don’t know, Lynn. You got a shovel?”
Lynn turned and looked at me.
“A shovel? Why the fuck do you want a shovel? It’s not even fucking dead, yet.”
“I know,” I said. “But what else are we going to do? Take it back with us?”
We both looked back down at the dog which was making a noise that I’d never even heard before and scrabbling at the ground with its two front legs which still seemed to work pretty good.
“It’s a fucking mess, Lynn. It’s shot to shit. It needs finishing off.”
It was pretty obvious to me that this would be the cheapest and kindest way to go about things. I mean, I’m no dog doctor but the poor thing was done for. I could see something shiny and wet hanging out of its middle part and that look that glazed its eyes should have told Lynn the same.
“Fuck you, man. Fuck you. I’m taking this dog back with us. If you don’t like it then you can fucking walk.”
I saw that Lynn wasn’t backing down so I climbed back into the truck and left her to it.
I tried not to watch her at work, it was pretty disgusting and when she finally pulled that dog away from the front of her big red truck, I was nearly sick. She should have listened to me in the first place because that dog, it just fell apart, right there in her hands. The truck must have been keeping it all together, like a sort of barrier, and as soon as Lynn used her strong arms to lift that dog away, it just went thin and limp as its insides flooded across the poorly finished road service. Lynn stood there for a few seconds and looked up at the truck. She squinted into the headlights and looked right at me and, even though I knew she couldn’t really see me, I pursed my lips and blew her a kiss. It was the type of kiss I’d never really used before. I really meant it.
Lynn climbed back into her truck, started the engine and we set off. Driving into the night, silently thinking of missed kisses and that poor dead dog, we had too many words we didn‘t want to say.

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Comments by other Members

scottwil at 10:52 on 22 March 2004  Report this post
Tremendous. You have a distinctive voice and a natural style and the writing comes across as effortless. Well done - some of the best work I've seen on this site.

High regards


PeterOC at 18:05 on 22 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Matthew and welcome to Writewords.

I agree with scottwil, I thought this was great. I especially like the way you built up your main character, his vague descriptions for things - "sort of all mashed up" - and his ignorance, like the fact that he can't even think of the word "vet", - "I'm no dog doctor..." - hilarious.

Some little details made the descriptions very real. The dogs' front legs scrabbling and the strange noises it was making. Yuk! The girl's 'average-looking' eyes.

I have a feeling the amount of swearing will put some people off this piece. It does get to be very noticeable towards the end. I thought, all right, it's the characters. That's the way they speak but maybe you could take out a few without losing the impact.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

All the best,


Jubbly at 18:48 on 22 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Matthew and welcome to WW, this is a great story, very well written, the swearing didn't bother me it was completely in character. It's very vivid writing and got me thinking just what sort of kiss he was describing the last line is brilliant. There's a scene in Charlie Higgins's 'Getting Rid of Mr Kitchen' which is very reminiscent of this, but you bring a warmth and compassion that is absent in his character. Lovely work.



anisoara at 20:20 on 22 March 2004  Report this post
Yes, this is great. I had to hold my hands around my tummy to try to hold myself together as I reached the end, it was that visceral! I was right there, groaning away as Lynn tried to peel the dog off.


word`s worth at 20:30 on 22 March 2004  Report this post
Eugh! I feel sick about the dog - you described its post-collision disintegration with such vividness...eugh! but in an insane way, I enjoyed this!

A good first upload. Looking forward to reading more of your work.


old friend at 21:06 on 22 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Matthew,

A memorable little piece as your 'maiden speech' to WW.

Am I right in saying that the first two words were a repeat of the title? If so then separate this from the beginning conversation... by the way this should be Dog's Dead.

There are other small points but these did not detract from the main storyline. For me there were too many 'fucks' but overall in was amusing in a 'black comedy' way. I think that kicking a large inflated tyre would produce little sound - but kicking the metal wheel might be different.

What comes through is that you have a creative talent and I look forward to reading more examples of this on WW.


Account Closed at 10:04 on 23 March 2004  Report this post
I found this difficult to read and I'm not a dog lover so you definately got the description across well. I found the characterisation very interesting esp. Lynn. I was curious about the gang and the smoking with its rituals and to see where this couple could go.

Look forward to more but maybe a different subject matter!

Yours squemishly

Becca at 13:00 on 23 March 2004  Report this post
Hello Matthew,
I don't know where this story is on the site, I found it through your profile. I thought it an honest piece of writing, and just the kind of thing that could happen to Travellers. I'm glad, and this is an assumption, that they weren't stoned before the accident. You capture the helplessness of the situation well, and the 'doggish' heroism of the big woman. I thought too, that you could remove a couple of 'fucks' without losing anything.
Typo at: '..and that look, that glazed its eyes should have told Lynn the same.' - That glazed look in its eyes?

The story is told from the MC's point of view, but at the end where you write 'Driving into the night, silently thinking of missed kisses, and that poor dead dog, we had too many words we didn't want to say.' It would have been more plausible if you'd said 'I had too many words I didn't want to say.' Otherwise you've changed the POV.

Also 'silently thinking'? - because thought is silent, would it be an idea to say 'Driving into the night, silent, and thinking of missed kisses and that poor dead dog, ...?
I look forward to coming across more of your writing, and welcome to WW.

Grinder at 16:38 on 23 March 2004  Report this post

Nice opening piece, lots of good stuff in a very small space.

I’m a bit squeamish myself about using ‘harsh language’ and tend to limit its use to the very essential. Although it’s not really a criticism, I would echo others and say that a little pruning of the ‘f’ words wouldn’t hurt.

I take it you’ve had close experience of such a road kill, because it was very realistic. If you haven’t then you managed to really nail it.

Can we have something about cats next time :o)

Great stuff.


Becca at 19:36 on 23 March 2004  Report this post
I thought it was realistic too. Someone I knew came across a dying rabbit, and hit it on the head with his flute to put it out of its misery, and bent the flute, couldn't play it again, and it was an essential prop in the performance he, (and I), made our living by. I'm not supposed to be writing this type of thing in this space.

bjlangley at 14:49 on 29 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Matthew,

it's a very vivid piece, I could see that poor dog laying there, half-stuck to the truck.

I did find with all of the swearing early on, that it was a little hard to get into, but as I got to know the characters, they seemed to fit better.

All the best,


haunted at 13:33 on 18 April 2004  Report this post
I can't believe i missed this when you first posted.

Very strong writing that feels real. The characters reactions are very interesting to read.

I really enjoy writing with a hard impact and this work well for me.


juleschoc at 21:58 on 09 November 2004  Report this post
god not again..how do you get a thing posted on this site?????
I'll say it again..3rd time lucky...
very distinct and interesting voice. I suspect you have been reading Raymond Carver..if not get some of his work.
Interesting to see that you come from the Uk..the story is americanised..you could try writing in your own regional accent..not that the story doesn't work but you could make your writing even more authentic.
Another interesting fact..like a lot of good writers you are a gemini. Carver was a gemini and so am I (ahem!) and I think we all have a simlilar distinct minimalist style that successfully conveys 'real' life.
This story has prompted me to read more of your work..i would even think of buying an anthology.

One tip..if you haven't enrolled on a graduate writing course get and do it. You certainly won't regret it. If you do just remember who encouraged you when your writing really starts to take off.

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