Gerald’s Talking Dog
By Brendan Straubel
Gerald’s Talking Dog loves cherries. That’s all he ever talks about. To understand why, you must hear his first spoken words, learn how he lived off the land and became..the Most Interesting Dog in the World.
June, 2016. Daybreak. Our hero is lured into a small cage and driven to a low, windowless building near One-comma, where he is drugged and stretched across a cold, metal table.
A funnel rings his neck.
The whir of an electric razor echos ominously behind him.
Though the haze of the anesthesia, he notes sharp instruments neatly lined near his tail. This seems too familiar: Gerald’s Singing Cat returned from just such a trip, having lost all interest in that flirty feline across the alley with the Cool Cat Kitty Face and singing only… falsetto!
Gerald’s Talking Dog is concerned.
Leaping from the table, his right paw clenched in a makeshift fist, Gerald’s Talking Dog finds his voice: “Oh, HELLLL no!!!!”
Stumbling, he heads for the hills, beginning a 40-day trek though coastal Northwest Michigan, searching for safety, vocabulary words… sustenance.
Initially he contents himself with the bland, functional fruits of the Anheuser-Busch farm. Sure, the really big horses are cool. And Amber Boch has a nice color. But the fruits there are without body or taste. And there is nothing natural about Natural Light. He finds occasional solace in the rare Guinness root and Red Stripe bush. But after four days surviving on the Utterly Pointless Ultra Vine, he finds himself behind an abandoned warehouse in Bear Lake, nibbling the 40-ounce fruit of the Schlitz Malt tree from a brown paper bag and mumbling incoherently to himself.
So he heads North, scavenging rotting Icehouse berries(inexplicably popular in the mid-90’s and now found exclusively behind an abandoned Hardee’s in the U.P.)
For days he eats nothing, vowing to perish rather than partake of the Keystone stalk, which grows only in bunches of 24 and tastes the way Chicago fire hydrants smell.
Finally, A Stormcloud rolls from the Farthest Shore. Black. Lined in Silver by the setting sun. A real Rainmaker–coming right at him.
His stomach knotted in hunger and running blind, he slams, head on, into the rough bark ringing the base of a cherry tree. Lit by mad flashes of lightning from the approaching storm, he sees them for the first time: Cherries. Deep red. Plump and aglow.
Leaping repeatedly, he eats dozens, pits and all.
“They are robust!” he thinks pretentiously. ” Tart, yet sweet. With a full rich body, avocado undertones and the refreshing bite of cedar and spinach dip!” He gorges himself on the succulent fruit.
Sated, but thirsty now, and no longer afraid, he walks toward the Stormcloud, vowing never to be a marketing victim again.
“Cherries!” he shouts at the heavens, “saved my manhood, my palate, my life. I don’t always drink beer(I enjoy the occasional Mead) but when I do…it has taste, body, actual carbohydrates and from this moment forward, it shall be brewed to include cherries!”