Hi here is a short story I wrote a little while ago about an eyeball dog and his friend, a human.
Click over here under this sentence right here to learn what the heck Eyeball Dog and his friends are up to this time.
When my parents first brought Charlie home, it was all a bit too much for my 9-year-old brain to handle.
“Meet your new dog. His name is Charlie,” they said.
“Wait. I’m Charlie,” I said.
“Yeah. You are. We know. We just… really like that name. We wanted to try it out on something else,” my dad told me, placing his hand gently on my shoulder.
If you want to really confuse your kids, and maybe even give them supernatural powers, a quick and fun way to do it would be giving a pet the same name as them. Growing up as a child, Charlie was a great friend to me. He was a beautiful half-German-shepherd-half-a whole bunch-of-other-stuff puppy. We’d go on long hikes, we’d wrestle, oh yeah and we could swap consciousness.
It was a pretty simple operation, I’d just have to concentrate, and I was looking out of the eyes of a dog. It’s no different than telling your body to pick up a glass of water or to yell at people that walk by your window. Sorry, sometimes I forget what dogs do and humans don’t. It is a lot of fun to yell at people when they walk by, and I’d recommend anyone with the courage to try it immediately. People just walking by like they’re hot shit and you get to yell at them. “Hey you! Walk guy! Look at me. I live here.”
If anyone’s wondering, being a child and being a dog isn’t really that much of a difference. You can’t reach anything and everyone treats you like you don’t know anything. Like a lot of kids, once I got to school, I started looking for ways to be at school as little as possible. Of course, being able to switch places with a dog was an easy way to not be in school. Charlie was pretty well trained by then, so I just told him to “stay,” and he’d sit in class for a while and I’d get a little break. He didn’t really seem to mind. I have to give him and all other dogs out there some serious credit, he was able to pull in a solid B average which is pretty impressive for a different species. Maybe that reflects more poorly on the school system than it does positively on dogs, but I’m not really in any position to say.
While Charlie was in class being a flea scholar, I had a lot of time on my hands. Enough time to make terrible dog-related puns. Including that one here was to increase the immersion of my story, you see. I was a dog with nowhere to go. I couldn’t interact with humans for fear of being tossed in the pound, so I was left with other dogs as my only company. If anyone’s really taken the time to pay attention to a dog for a while, I’m sure you’d agree that they are extremely boring. Most dogs just stare. I can already look at a staring dog in the mirror. I’m the dog.
After moving from one staring dog to another all around the suburbs near my school until I ended up downtown. Some of the most powerful gang leaders and mob bosses have the most interesting dogs. They stare too, but they really stare. They’ve seen some serious dog shit, you can just tell. Okay, those dogs were pretty boring, too, but their owners weren’t. I saw drug deals go down, I saw hits being put out, and I even threw a couple dog fights and made a bit of cash.
Eventually, I had found a decent form of entertainment in hanging out with mob dogs. Unfortunately, Charlie and I had just graduated High School, and it was time to start my life or whatever the hell you’re supposed to do after High School. I did what any sensible dog brain switching guy would do, I starting touring around showing off my “dog training” skills. It didn’t take much effort, just jump inside Charlie and do a couple tricks. I’d jump through a couple hoops, do some simple math (I couldn’t do any of the fancy shit because I barely went to school), and generally just impress the audience with my big-ass human brain. Charlie got to stand there and enjoy the audience reaction.
“How do you do it?” local news reporters would ask.
I’d hop back in my human body and respond, “Oh, me and Charlie have a very unique bond, and I am able to control him using very subtle facial and bodily cues.”
That way, whenever Charlie did something weird in my body, people would just think that’s me being a “trainer” or whatever. Everyone was looking at the dog anyway. I guess my eyes didn’t move like a normal dog’s. They darted around like the nervous human that I am. That ended up getting us the nickname Charlie and Eyeball Dog. Eyeball Dog kind of stuck for whatever reason. I guess it could be worse as far as nicknames go.
Traveling around as a trainer was going well for a while until we ended up in the heart of LA for one of the biggest dog shows around. The show was big. The dogs were normal sized. After our performance I was approached backstage by a pair of suited, important looking men.
“Are you, Charlie?” one of the guys said.
“No I’m Eyeb—ahh yes… that is who I am,” I said.
“You were pretty impressive out there. Have you ever considered teaching your training skills?”
“No. I can’t say that I have.”
“Do you really want to keep doing this show forever? Don’t you want to make a difference?”
“What is this?”
“We’re from the LAPD. We think you could help us train some of our K-9 units.”
“Oh. God. Uh, I don’t know. I’ve never done anything like that before. I’m not sure.”
“You would of course get paid for yo—“
“I’ll do it.”
And like that, I was a police dog trainer. Me and Charlie just hung around the dogs and I told the policemen stuff like “Oh it’s important to have a bond with the dog” and “the relationship between you and your dog comes first” and stuff that may or may not be true but sounded good when I said it.
It was tedious after a while, and much like when I was back in school, I was looking for a way out. I marched right into the Chief of Inspectors’ office, and I said “I need to get out on the streets. I wanna see some shit,” or something cool like that. By then I was pretty familiar with how things worked around there, and I was friendly with a lot of the higher ups, so I was able to work out an arrangement, and before I knew it I had a badge and a beat and I bought some aviator sunglasses that I thought looked pretty cool with my new uniform.
Me and Charlie quickly became heroes. It wasn’t much different than when I was in school. I told Charlie to “stay,” and he sat in the police car as a human looking cool while I went in and caught up with some of my old mob dog friends. It was just small stuff at first I was ratting out. I busted a couple low-level guys for drug trafficking, closed down a few dog-fighting rings, things like that. I told the chief that I had an informant that was giving me all these leads on cases around the city, and no one questioned it. The dogs were my informants so technically I was not lying.
For a while these smaller cases were the only ones I took on until a particularly juicy steak of a case was dropped right in front of me: I was making the rounds at a local gang dog pen when one of the mob guys announced it was lunch time. Feeling a bit hungry myself, I went over to sneak a bite of some of the food. The mob guy starts doing that thing where people speak in a friendly tone but say mean things to the dog which is not funny and should not be tolerated.
“You like that food?” the guy says. “Well seein’ as how you’re man’s best friend, we thought you wouldn’t mind havin’ your friend for dinner. Ohh yess you mangy sack of shit, you’re eating people.”
I spit the food out immediately, took a quick look at what the packaging said, and got out of there. After some sleuthing and more hanging around that particular mob dog hideout (don’t worry, I packed my own lunch), I discovered this particular mob boss was murdering to his heart’s content, then using their front as a dog food company to chop up and sell the remains. The old “dog ate the evidence” trick. My inside information was enough to warrant a warrant, and the company was shut down. Thanks to me, dogs can continue eating hooves and chicken innards and stuff without having to live in fear of eating a human.
“You’ve become quite the cop,” the police chief told me after the dog food scandal was over with.
“Thanks sir,” I said, tipping my aviator sunglasses at him.
“You and the Eye Dog make quite a team. That last case proved you can handle bigger things. We want more from you. We’re going to see if you guys can handle sniffing out drugs, and sniffing out perps on the run.”
“I don’t know, chief. I’m happy just being on the streets right now, tracking down cases on my own.”
“Of course, taking this job would mean a significant pay incre—“
“I’ll do it.”
Taking the drug-sniffing job was a mistake. First off, they decided to pair me off with a bloodhound, thinking it would be cool to team up a crazy eye dog with a crazy nose dog. The bloodhound acted like he was so cool because he could smell things. So what. We were from two different worlds, and we did not get along. The only reason I stuck with it is because the trainer of the bloodhound seemed to take a liking to Charlie. I heard her tell him that he was “brilliant, but so mysterious.” So they ended up dating for a while. It seemed like fun, but I was stuck having to deal with the cocky bloodhound even more than usual.
It was a lot of pressure, being pulled between these two worlds. I had to deal with human relations, with dog problems, and with the pressures of being a cop and upholding the peace. Also I had to deal with that bullshit bloodhound. He kept bumping into me, pushing in front of, and basically just acting like he ran the place. I thought there would be no escape, until they starting training me for drug sniffing. They have to give you a little taste of cocaine so you know what it smells like and can track down more. I took a big sniff, and a shudder went through my body. For a brief, glorious moment, my problems were replaced with an intense high. My heart was beating and my tail was wagging like you wouldn’t believe. I was thwapping the bloodhound in the face with it and hitting Charlie and his girlfriend in the legs, I didn’t care.
After that point, nothing mattered except getting that feeling back. I consulted the local mob dogs when I got some time off, and I was able to track down a small time drug dealer. This time I got to do cocaine in a human body, and it brought me back to that same place of euphoria. My worries and fears about being a dog cop were replaced entirely by my need for more cocaine. I didn’t even care about whether I was in a dog or human body after a while. I’d drive around in my police cruiser as a dog, I’d play around in a dog park as a human. It didn’t matter. I was a mess.
Things came to a stop when I had to head back to the police station. Back to work. I drove up in my police cruiser, and people were looking at me like I was nuts. They knew. Of course. They knew about my drug problem. I decided to just come clean with the chief. I walked into his office, and he looked at me the same peculiar way.
He seemed completely bewildered at what I had become, how I had let this problem get out of hand.
“Charlie?? What in the fuck is going on in here?” he said, loudly.
I tried to answer, but couldn’t speak. I was a dog. I had completely forgotten. I drove up to the police station as a dog, and I had sauntered into the police chief’s office and sat down on one of his Italian leather chairs as a mangy dog, wearing aviators and all. I jumped into my human body as fast as possible, and ran into the chief’s office.
“Charlie. I don’t know what happened to you,” the chief said.
“I’m sorry sir, if you’ll just—“
“This is unacceptable, Charlie. We thought you were such a talented trainer, but now this dog is running amok all over my station. I can’t let this go on. You’re getting sloppy. Too sloppy. A dog and its trainer need to be disciplined. I’m going to have to have to ask for your badge.”
“Sir… please I can—“
“And your gun.”
“Can we work something out? Like a probation or som—“
“And your dog’s cute little badge, too.”
“Also your dog whistle. And your police issue tennis ball chucker.”
“Yes sir. I’ll be leaving now.”
I used my newly found free time to get clean, get my life on track. Life is pretty boring when you’re not an addict, but at least you are not killing yourself. You take the bad with the good, I guess. I spent days locked up inside my apartment, waiting for something to distract me, but nothing ever came. I would have gone outside, but have you seen what they’re showing on TV these days? It’s so good. Every night, too, not just certain nights. Also did you know grocery stores have a section in the back where they put ice cream that is about to expire? It’s usually horrible, awful flavors, but they’re so cheap. Let’s just say I made good use of the “Almost Expired Ice Cream” section. I was pretty pathetic.
My opportunity came when one of my favorite shows was interrupted by breaking news.
“The mayor of Los Angeles’ daughter has been kidnapped. She was last seen bundled up like a cute burrito in a downtown park. No leads as of yet. More updates as they come,” the newscaster said.
Sure, it was unfortunate, but what was I supposed to do? The police didn’t want me around anymore. But I was really bored. You sit around for long enough any crazy old idea will start to sound good. I also came up with this idea of a sex rubber band that snaps you and your sex partner together for the Ultimate Thrust if anyone is interested in buying it. Anyway, my other big idea was to use my dog connections to get to the bottom of the kidnapped baby case.
“Come on Charlie, we got a baby napper capture,” I might have said if I were more clever. Or maybe something like, “The dog days… are over.”
In reality, I just said “Come on boy, into the car” in that high pitched dog calling voice people use. Oh well, you live and you learn, that’s what I sometimes say.
I was back on my beat in no time, sticking my nose in bad guys’ business. Figuratively, of course. Mostly. It was like time had never passed. It became clear this was more than just boredom. I missed the routine. I missed feeling like I mattered. I happily cracked the window for Charlie to wait in my car while I tried to get any clues I could about the mayor’s baby. I couldn’t get any pertinent information, though. The mob guys were just up to business as usual: laundering money here, breaking thumbs there, no mention of a baby or a mayor. No offense to these fine criminals, but they really did not have the management skills to pull off a crime like taking a mayor’s infant daughter.
As my search got more desperate, so did the mayor’s. He began offering cash, keys to the city, get out of jail free cards, anything he could to get information about his napped baby’s whereabouts. By this time, I had exhausted all of my options. All of my connections were either innocent or oblivious, or I suppose they were a mixture of both.
I packed it in. I went back into my human body and drove home. Just as I was about to relax with my almost-expired carton of Spumoni ice cream, a red flash caught my eye. My answering machine had a message, which was odd because no one had called me since I got fired from the force, and also because it was 2010 and no one uses land-lines anymore. A voice started speaking. It was quiet, but excited.
“Check… check park. Find baby. Rat cats. Rat cats,” the voice said.
“Oh nice, the creepy anonymous tip. Really original,” I said to no one in particular.
I had already checked the park earlier that day. It was the scene of the crime. I’d have to be a pretty lousy DogCop to not check the scene of the crime. But other than a couple attractive dogs playing fetch, there wasn’t anything there.
The voice seemed cool, though, so I decided to check one last time, even though I was going to miss my shows. That’s how dedicated I was to this noble cause. It was almost night by the time I got to the scene of the crime. Everything was a silhouette. I got to the park bench where the baby was last seen. It was exactly the same as it was when I saw it earlier that day, only darker. I felt like I had been duped.
As I was walking back to the car, I heard a rustling coming from behind a tree. The light made it hard to see, but something was moving. I put up my pathetic human fists, hoping the person was dumb or nearsighted. I took a deep breath, and I jumped around to the other side of the tree. There was nothing there. I still heard the rustling. My less sensitive human ears couldn’t quite pick up where it was coming from.
I put my ear lower to the ground, when I saw it. There was hole at the bottom of the tree that seemed to lead to a tunnel. The hole could barely fit my head, much less my body, but I thought I could maybe see what was the cause of the rustling if I got closer. I squinted at the blackness, and then I shot back immediately when a high-pitched shriek emerged from the tunnel and I crab-walked back to a safe distance. Following the shriek was what looked to be a large rat, but upon closer inspection was a possum. After looking around to make sure no one saw me get scared by a little possum, I started heading back. There were no clues to be found, and I got scared by an oversized rat.
It hit me. “Oversized rat?” The voice on the phone was talking about “rat cats.” I must have been going through withdrawals, because for some reason, it made sense. That was why none of the usual suspects knew anything about the mayor’s daughter. They weren’t involved. It was possums the whole time. I did what any man with the power to switch consciousnesses with a dog would do. I brain-jumped into Charlie’s head, gave my chompers a few test bites, and I made my way into the cave. As soon as my tail passed the threshold, the rustling started up again. I couldn’t make out anything in the pitch black tunnel. My dog heart was racing, the rustling was getting louder the deeper I got. I saw an open space in front of me. I pressed my side against the wall, and peered around the corner.
The clearing was dimly lit. There were dark figures racing across the ground, the walls. They didn’t seem to comply with any laws of gravity or time. They climbed and appeared and disappeared at will. Right in the center of this rustling, logic-defying room, there was a bundle of blankets that looked to contain a baby. My instincts took over, and I was in the middle of the room with the baby bundle in my teeth before I had time to think things through. There was a screech and a sharp pain at my leg. A possum had latched on to me.
Another screech, another pain. At my tail. At my hind legs. Around my neck. I dropped the bundle in pain and it made a small “oof” sound. (Don’t worry, it was only dropped at a dog’s mouth’s height). Point is, there was still hope. The baby was alive and accounted for. As soon as the bundle hit the ground, I was released. I dashed back out toward light and safety.
The possum attack awakened some kind of drive in me. The idea of those things rustling down there, holding a baby hostage, biting intruders. It drove me nuts. I had to do something.
After a quick trip to the store I was all ready to do a thing. I took a swig from a cheap bottle of booze and grabbed my supplies. Razor, pipe cleaners, white spray-paint, and a couple of cartons of cheap ice cream for later. Check, check, and double check.
A few hours passed and it was morning. The rising sun illuminated my dastardly plan. Before me stood Charlie the Dog, his shaved tail wagging, pipe cleaners glued to his face, and his muzzle painted white. I did sacrifice some realism for his comfort. He wasn’t perfect, but I just hoped it was enough to fool those nearsighted, dumbass possums.
“Charlie? Operation ‘Undercover Possum’ is in effect. Get serious. Stop licking yourself.” After so missing so many opportunities to say cool lines, I thought I’d try saying one. I guess I learned my lesson.
Back at the park. I gave Charlie a treat, rustled his fur a little bit, and I gave the dog a hug. So what. I didn’t know what was going to happen down there. Dogs like hugs.
I jumped into Charlie’s body, and I left him on the bench. He sat and watched some squirrels go by. I gave him a big dog smile and I turned toward the hole in the tree. It had become an obsession. I’d climbed down inside that tree in my head hundreds of times. I didn’t care about the glory. I didn’t care about the redemption. I wanted that baby back.
The light dissipated quickly, and after a few twists and turns, I was again in complete darkness. I came to a familiar corner, and I knew the room with the baby was right around the corner. No reason to wait any longer.
I walked in like I belonged there. I walked like a possum, crouched down slightly, ass and naked tail shimmying side-to-side. I did my best impression of a possum’s stupid face: I pulled my lips back and opened my eyes wide. Nothing in my head but “marsupial, marsupial, marsupial, marsupial.” Directly in front of me was the baby bundle. It seemed like my plan was working. I kept my eyes forward, but the frantic activity that surrounded me before was gone. There was no movement at all. My dog muscles tensed, and I continued on.
My head dropped down, and I picked up the baby bundle in my jaws. I felt movement underneath. Hope wasn’t lost, the baby was alive. As I looked closer, I could see the baby reacting and shifting. She seemed healthy, but afraid. It seemed like the hard part was done. I felt a sense of relief wash over me.
“Let’s get you back where you belong little baby,” is what I would have said if I didn’t have my mouth full of blanket and if I were a human at the moment.
I turned around, and saw the silhouettes of what seemed like a hundred screeching and snarling possums standing in front of the tunnel leading me to safety. I was shocked. My mouth dropped open and the baby landed on the ground. The soft thud echoed across the room, and when it reached the ears of the possums, they all charged.
I felt sharp pains across my dog body. They had latched on to all my limbs, they were climbing on my back. I was completely covered. I pried a few off with my teeth, throwing them across the room and into the wall as hard as I could. The empty space left by the downed possum was filled with another immediately, burrowing its whiskered head under my fur and biting the skin beneath. The process repeated and repeated. The possums gnawing at my legs eventually became too much to bear, and I fell to my stomach. Knowing victory was imminent, the possums climbed on top of one another to keep me down and continue the onslaught. Eventually my entire body was covered with them, blocking out any remaining light that happened to make its way down to this awful room. It seemed like as good a time as any to close my eyes.
I’m sorry to admit I did consider switching places with Charlie at this moment. This was my mess though. He didn’t ask to be part of this. If anyone was going to die, it was going to be me. At that thought, the darkness didn’t seem so bad anymore, as long as I didn’t have to stare at any more god damned possum faces. The pain washed over me, and in a strange way, I was at peace.
I opened my eyes. I saw the possums all cowered in the corner of the room in defensive positions. Their scared, white faces were illuminated by the scarce light entering the doorway. A shadow shrouded them in darkness for a moment. I was grabbed by the scruff of my neck and pulled out of the cave into the blinding sunlight.
Above me, I saw myself. I saw Charlie in my body, and standing behind him were two cops. One was on the radio, and the other was holding the baby, distracting her from the undoubtedly ugly sight that lay before her: shaved and bloody, and spray-painted.
“Hello dispatch? We have an emergency at Asher Park. We have the mayor’s baby. She was found by what looks to be a shaved dog… I think. You better just get some backup down here,” the cop with the walkie-talkie said.
I looked up at Charlie. He gave me a slow nod. I realized what should have been clear all along. We weren’t trainer and his freaky Eyeball Dog. We were partners.