Making trouble for my characters is what I love to do in my books. No smooth sailing makes for a better plot and, if I’m lucky, a bit of humor to release tension as needed. So… which one of my characters needs a puppy?
You can bet your Lifesavers my horse trainer would be off schedule, my burglar couldn’t burgle as easily, and my florist would screw up outgoing orders if they had a puppy on their hands. And I’m not talking about the usual dog responsibilities of training, walking, and cleaning up after you canine companion. That goes without saying, and at this point, any seasoned dog person will just wipe-spray-wipe an accidental puddle without a comment, just as they heap lavish praise on a pup that does its business outside.
I’m talking about the dog’s natural desire to help. Dog is, according to Kipling’s “Just-So Stories,” our First Friend. What kind of a friend wouldn’t help you do the dishes at night? Why, all that steak juice on the plates and utensils looks horribly messy. A good pup will climb into the dishwasher and take care of the problem right away.
Or, killing threats. That huge, billowing paper bag you got from Trader Joe’s – unacceptable. Your little protector will stalk around it, growl a bit, pounce on it, and kill it dead, dead, DEAD. See the pup shake the paper bag’s neck! See it rip it onto shreds on the carpet! What a brave little dog. Now maybe I’ll have to find a new hiding place for the rest of my shopping bags.
And then, like me, you might have a project in mind. Covering the opening to a janitor’s closet that’s too small for a regular door. “A curtain,” you think. “But not any boring old curtain. A macrame BEAD CURTAIN!” You know, like the ones you saw in the 70’s in your mom’s friend’s apartment, but you mom wouldn’t ever get one because she though it was too gauche? Making things is fun. Tying knots into rope is meditative, and threading beads onto a curtain will be just so much fun! Dark wood beads to match the kitchen cabinets, turquoise glass and silver to match the tiles and the hardware…
Oh. The puppy. Few things are more tempting to a growing, teething pup than wooden beads hanging off hemp rope, swaying from side to side. And it’s around the corner, too, out of sight. The bead curtain isn’t done yet, but the photo above illustrates what’s probably going to happen to it. Freya took keen interest in the strong and chewy hemp twine as I started making it. I’m sure the wooden beads will crunch even better than the sticks in the yard!
Some projects are doomed even before they start.