Corgi and the Ramp

We aren’t 100% sure of how old our Kit is. The rescue organization estimated he was about 3, and we’ve had him for 6 years. That puts him at 9. Like our first dog, Faye, he’s a corgi. But unlike Faye, he’s lazy. He was a whopping 45 pounds when we adopted him, compared to Faye’s top weight at 19 pounds. And also unlike Faye, who was notoriously picky, Kit eats like he’s unsure of his next meal.

Corgis can develop back problems when they are too heavy. Despite our best efforts to whittle down his weight, things came to a head this last holiday season. We don’t know what his life was like before he came to us, but we do know he’s terrified of loud noises—whether it’s loud laughter, expressions of disgust during video games, or teen bickering. When things get noisy, Kit likes to retreat into our bedroom. The trouble is, that’s on the second floor. After a week of going up and down stairs several times a day, he was done.

The vet said it was vertebral disc injury, but it was too soon to tell how bad it was. His stomach wasn’t doing so great either, so mild meds, acupuncture, and rest (no stairs) were recommended. We got him a ramp to deal with the last issue.

He wasn’t keen on it at first. We tried to tempt him into using it by setting it up to go to the window seat. If he couldn’t chase squirrels, at least he’d be able to bark at them. He sniffed but refused to trust the odd new addition. We want to keep him less pudgy, but he was getting better enough to be sassy and try jumping up and down off things. Low-cal rewards were clearly the lesser evil. And it worked. 

I need to be fast folding it out, because he can be impatient and try a leap he has no business attempting. Still I’m thrilled that the acupuncture is working so well, and even more miraculously he doesn’t seem to mind it. We’ll still need to keep an eye on his back, but hopefully he has plenty of squirrel chasing years ahead of him.

Kit near his downstairs dog bed, wondering what I am doing.

Song Choice: Jump by Van Halen

This essay is linked to Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings #4

Sea in a Bottle

Zizi regarded the space yet to be filled in her basket then looked at the sea. What could she use to hold it in? She pulled out the half full bottle of water from her coat pocket. It was getting late in the afternoon and she had things to do at home. She wouldn’t finish the water.

She walked to a nearby shrub and shared her water with it before continuing down the steps, towards the spot where the freshwater stream met the sea. Once Zizi was satisfied she had enough water, she walked back.

She spread out all the things she gathered on her work bench at home. With a cup of tea in hand, Zizi started dividing up them into piles she thought would work together. She’d hold something up to her ear every now and then or stroke it with her hand before deciding where to place it. At the end she had sorted everything except the water.

She laughed. It was a bit of a silly impulse to have gathered it. She’d never used water in one of her jars before. Maybe she’d keep it for her personal collection. She went to find another jar to transfer it to, when she saw the box of random treasures a friend had given her. A bit of sea glass, a tiny sand dollar, a small jar…yes, she could make this work.

Zizi just finished arranging her display on the vending table when a woman from another table came over.

“These are so beautiful,” she said. “I’m Jenna, by the way.”

“I’m Zizi. Thanks.”

Jenna picked up the jar with the seawater, sand dollar, and sea glass. She immediately got an image of herself as a teen, visiting the shore with her mother. They had both played hooky from school and work that day. It was a blast. Jenna still missed her so much.

Zizi saw the look on Jenna’s face. “I never know why I make the things I do, but I know when they’ve found a home. Care to work out a trade,” she asked, nodding towards Jenna’s table.

“Oh yes,” Jenna said, with the sea’s scent and her mother’s smile still lingering in her mind.

Photo by Mohamed Ahsan on Unsplash

Song Choice: Time in A Bottle by Jim Croce

This piece of flash fiction was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings #3: Salt-Water Poetry.

Hour of the Ox

The oni considered the figure in white as she wobbled out of the mists, heading for the sacred tree.

“That one has the look of ‘he’s done me wrong for the last time’ on her face,” he said right before popping a glutinous rice ball the same shade of white as her robes into his mouth. He chewed it slowly. “What do you think, Fumihiro?”

“I think you had better share the mochi, Eiji,” Fumihiro said. His red, clawed hand pulled out several of the sweet treats from the bowl and gobbled them up.

Eiji did nothing to stop his elder brother from taking the mochi. He was used to it. Eiji wrinkled his snout. “I think there are toenails in that doll she’s carrying.”

Fumihiro sniffed the air. “Yes, that smells about right. She must be very close to her target.”

“Of course she is. You have to be close to someone to hate them this much,” Eiji said, looking at his brother. “And you truly have to hate someone to risk being out during the hour of the ox to cast a curse.”

The brothers watched as the woman balanced on her single pronged sandals and hammered a nail through the straw doll she brought with her, impaling it onto the sacred tree.

“Nice form,” Eiji said, nodding. “And she’s well prepared. She not only has the dagger and the mirror, she’s managed to keep the trivet with lit candles balanced on her head this whole time. There’s something to be said for doing things properly.”

“I guess,” Fumihiro said. He looked away from the woman and sucked on the ends of his matted hair, hoping to find any crumbs left from the mochi there. Finding none, he moved on to investigate his loin cloth for other traces of food.

Eiji leaned forward, tapping a claw on his red chin. He considered the woman, now screaming her desire to have her faithless lover’s heart devoured by jealousy. “There is something to be said about bad form though.”

“And what’s that?”

Itadekimasu,* Eiji said, flashing his fangs in the moonlight.

*Itadekimasu = “Let's eat”

This flash fiction piece was created for my prompt over at Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings: Myth-placed.

Ushi no Koku Mairi by Matthew Meyer
Find more of his marvelous mythology work at 

Liner Notes for this Groove: Oni are a legendary ogre-like creatures in Japanese mythology. The only thing they like better than sweet rice balls (mochi) is human flesh. The cursing ritual described in the story has a basis in Japanese mythology. The ushi no koku mairi is a notorious spell, requiring several components to do correctly. It must be performed between 1 and 3 a.m., called the Hour of the Ox. This is the time when the border between the world of the living and dead is thinnest, and it is also the time when evil spirits have the most power.

Song Choice: I Put a Spell on You by Screaming Jay Hawkins