January 27th, 2006

International Kittens of Mystery

Nous Sommes Anglais - Part 10 - The Constipated Puppy

The rest of the afternoon was taken up with dog-walking and worrying, sometimes both at the same time. Gypsy decided thirty minutes was tops when it came to lying quiet in a hotel room. And after that, the prospect of carrying her downstairs and being blown around Wimereux for twenty minutes became almost appealing.

But not for me. "I'm not taking her downstairs again."

"Why not?"

"I'm just not, that's all."

I wasn't going to say any more. I could still hear the waitress's voice. As I lay framed in the banisters, a dog fastened to my right leg, an open-mouthed dining room silently waiting to see what we'd do next. "Anglais," she'd said, just the one word, mentioned in passing to one of the guests, as she flitted between the tables, collecting plates. But it was enough. Conversation resumed, glasses clinked and eyes left the stair-well. What kind of reputation do we English have in Europe?

So, Shelagh escorted Gypsy about town, while I phoned my sister to give her the news. She didn't believe it either but knew me better than to ask if I'd fixed the horsebox roof.

But we did have a house. The Acte had been signed, the furniture unloaded and the electric fence erected. I told her not to expect us until Friday or Saturday and to leave the front door key somewhere obvious in the outhouse.

And then I settled down to watch TV. I found all the English channels and was just starting to enjoy myself when Gypsy returned.

Which is when the real worrying started. Neither of us could remember seeing Gypsy relieve herself since we returned from the pub in Dover the night before. All the opportunities we'd given her since she'd spurned.

How long could a puppy remain bottled up? I didn't want to think any further than that. But more dog-walking seemed to be the preferable proposition. Especially now the dining room was empty.

I don't remember how many times we walked around Wimereux. Sometimes there were three of us, sometimes just Shelagh and Gypsy. We saw storms, we saw sunny periods, we saw everything except what we wanted to see.

She just wouldn't relieve herself while on the lead. That had to be it. We'd never had to leash her on the farm before because our fields were well-fenced and we'd never taken her for walks anywhere else. But could we unleash her here?

And expect to see her again?

Which would be worse - to tramp the wet and wind-lashed streets of Wimereux searching for a lost puppy or tied to a constipated one? We voted for the former, narrowly. Consequently, we staggered for interminable hours through the various shades of a force ten gale, humans and puppy eyeing each other in embarrassed silence.

As we approached the hotel for the seventh or eighth time, I looked through the spray and heaving sea towards our old home. To the place where thirty-two hours ago, we'd embarked on a thousand mile journey south. We were now 250 miles due east. At this rate we'd be in Poland by the week-end.

We pushed on towards the promenade, hoping to find a beach where we could let Gypsy off but either there wasn't a beach or the tide was in. And the promenade was covered in spray and breaking waves.

We returned to the hotel, wondering if we should try a laxative. Or would that present fate with too tempting a target? Just how quick can you run downstairs carrying an incontinent puppy?

Back in the room the phone rang. I'd reached such a low ebb by that time that I half-expected to hear that a freak tornado had whisked the new horsebox away to Cuba, but no, it was on its way and expected to arrive at the lairage between one and two, the next morning. The driver would phone us at the hotel as soon as he arrived.

If we lasted that long.

But an unexpected chain of events was gathering in the ether. Minnie started mewling for no apparent reason, which set off Guinny, which in turn signalled to Gypsy that it was probably time to chew something human. I objected and in the ensuing excitement Gypsy's intestinal abstinence came to a sudden and, some might add, spectacular end in the bathroom shower tray.

I have never seen anyone so pleased to clean up after a dog before.

(next instalment: a new plan, a new torment)
International Kittens of Mystery

It's a Mystery

Well, my mystery novel An Unsafe Pair of Hands is now officially re-read, revised and printed, and awaiting a long sea journey to New York to visit an agent.

Which now leaves me with a trilemna - do I keep my mystery writer's hat on and go into book two of the series (already outlined); do I don my SF hat and go with book two of the Shift series (also already outlined and first two chapters completed); or do I go eschew all book twos of series that I haven't sold yet and finish outlining a standalone SF novel, the idea for which came to me last week in a dream?

And can I sustain a 100k novel about peeing?

That was a joke by the way (see post from a few days back) Everyone knows that you can't get more than a novella out of...

Pause while waiting for the tablets kick in ... And I'm glad I finally got around to working on An Unsafe Pair of Hands again. I wrote the novel nearly two years ago and besides sending it off to the Sara Ann Freed Memorial Award (Warner's first mystery novel competition - where it was a finalist) I've largely ignored it. As soon as Baen made an offer on Resonance my attention switched and the novel was as good as trunked. Of course if history repeats itself Baen should now make an offer on Shift.:)