I have a recurring dream of something in the sky, so huge that it’s almost impossible to comprehend. All I know is that it’s screaming in unholy rage, a violent, vicious anger that clings only to the flimsiest of pretexts in order to unleash its unrelenting fury on the world below.

It’s too big to handle, and I’m powerless before it.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 1812 words, novella: The Mungk

heart attack morning

Mazy got out this morning. Someone left the gate open at the side (no idea who, because apparently, all three of the back and side yard cameras went dead in the last week) and out she went. Thankfully, she came after I called her a few times, from a block away.

Fuck me. I thought we’d lost her. My wife never would have forgiven me (or herself, depending on who left the gate open).

Target: 1200 words
Written: 1559 words, novella: The Mungk

cousin dogs

Mazy had a playdate with her cousin Harlow yesterday, and I think the younger, more energetic shepherd wore her right out. That was probably the most active she’s been since we got her.

It’s good for her to get to know her cousins and her aunts and uncles. She might have to stay with them one weekend or while we’re on vacation, and it would be nice if she’s already comfortable.

I wish I were that comfortable; I feel like an alien in my skin these days.

I want to sleep so soundly.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 1173 words, novella: The Mungk

lap cats

With Mazy around, our cats don’t come out anymore, except when we’re asleep.

Magnus used to sit on my lap every night. Cassie was over all day long, begging me to pet her.

I miss it.

Isis curled up briefly in what I call the Maggie spot, the empty space between my wife and I in bed, with her face in my face and my arm around her. That was nice, but it only lasted a few minutes.

Ares lets me pet him randomly throughout the day. I’m lucky to see Raiden at all.

Mazy’s grown on me, but still, it’s never been more abundantly clear that I’m primarily a cat guy, even if I love dogs as well.

I miss the tender moments, the fun moments. The purrs. The hand licks and the head butts.

I miss Cass. I miss Magnus.

I miss having kittens around all the time.

Man, life eats shit sometimes. When I need my cats most of all, they’ve been cowed by this moose we’ve brought in, and I get nothing.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 2040 words, novella: The Mungk


We buried Cassie yesterday. Where Magnus could be a complete asshole at times, and he was definitely a one-man cat, Cassie was everyone’s true love. She jumped in everyone’s lap immediately, purring and rubbing up against them, no matter who they were.

She curled up every night with us, and she loved rolling around on the deck in the sun. She loved playing with a toy bowtie and bunny finger puppet at night, a game appropriately called Bowtie and Bun-Bun. She would lick my hair at night, laying on my pillow and reach out to grab your nose and pull you in for kisses if you weren’t paying enough attention.

She had special bonds with her brothers and sisters, and they all miss her. Even Mazy, our new Great Pyrenees/Golden Retriever mix, who was only in the house for ten days with Cass while she was sick, loved her. Watching Cass follow Mazy around and Mazy nuzzle her, I prayed that Cass would get better, so we could witness that connection grow for years to come.

Sadly, it was not to be and on the heels of Magnus dying only ten days earlier, I was absolutely devastated. I’m as depressed as I’ve ever been.

I keep reminding myself that in the future, when I’m sad about the normal, day-to-day bullshit, that this is true sadness, not that other navel gazing nonsense. Magnus and Cassie sad.

Love hurts, but I think of it this way – it wouldn’t hurt so bad if you didn’t love so deeply, and a life with love that deep is always better than one devoid.

Goodbye, Cassie. You were the best girl. You set a standard very few cats could ever reach, and life is going to suck without you. We love you.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 355 words, novella: The Mungk

bad day

Less than two weeks after the loss of my beloved Magnus, we’re about to lose our beloved Cassie.

I don’t know if I can take this again so soon.

I’ve already lost the best one in the whole world once, and now I have to do it again.

I don’t know if I can. These last ten-plus months have been nothing but heartache and loss. I can’t take anymore.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 316 words, novella: The Mungk

the thing is

I would give my life force for some people. Some animals in particular. Mostly animals.

I would gladly sacrifice a year off my life if it meant my kittens got five more. I’m a total pacifist, but when it comes to people abusing animals, children or the disabled, I’ve got zero tolerance. Scum of the earth, as far as I’m concerned.

I’m not a vegetarian because I understand biology and life cycles; I’d rather eat in a more sustainable way that doesn’t do what civilizations have done since imperialism began – kill the world with grains and agriculture. The history of imperialism is inextricably entwined with agriculture and the hoarding of resources. Agriculture is responsible for the destruction of more natural environments and extinction of animals than vegetarians and vegans would ever admit, because to do so would be a tacit admission of not understanding the subject they’re supposed to be well versed in. Agriculture is far more responsible for the patriarchy than meat eating, and that’s a tough thing to admit.

But here, I deal in reality, and I try to see as many perspectives as possible. I’m not sitting over slabs of meat like some redneck shit; green veggies are still a big part of my meals, and I understand the health benefits (and deliciousness) of eating green. Factory farming is still unimaginably cruel and should be outlawed.

Corn fields should be converted to pastures. Or better yet, let the natural environments grow back and eat what grows there.

And for heaven’s sake, give up a few years when you’re ninety or a hundred to let everyone else, including the animals, have better lives. You don’t need to live that long and it’s a shit quality of life anyway.

Selfless early exit. That’s the thing, and I’m sticking to it.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 2287 words, novella: The Mungk

no win situations

I’m so tired of them. There’s no solution. People and circumstances just put you in them, and in the end, the only possible course of action is complete acceptance and fuck it. It’s either that, or bucking against the bit, tortured in frustration.

I’ve historically chosen the latter; maybe it’s time for a little radical acceptance.

I’m fucked. Shrug. Party on, Wayne.

Party on, Garth.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 2255 words, novella: The Mungk

mazy mae

The Marvelous Miss Mazy. That’s what we’re calling her anyway.

I’m finally falling in love with the dog and our cats are starting to come to grips.

Good meeting with her cousin-dogs yesterday. Everyone loved her at PetSmart.

She’s extremely well-behaved. We even took a bonding walk in the snow.

Damn it. I’m still a cat guy, but this dog is really growing on me.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 2432 words, novella: The Mungk

deteriorating shoes

We went to my wife and daughter’s company Christmas party/25th anniversary party last night. It’s a place I worked for the better part of a decade, and nearly killed me with stress. It started a downhill spiral of work that put us in massive debt after a failed store, and then the nightmare that was my last place of work, before I became a fed.

As always, as much as I want to relax, I can’t around these people; it’s like a weird PTSD reaction.

And something always happens. Last time, pre-pandemic, my suit jacket had been in the closet so long it reeked like moldy basement. This year, I put on a pair of dress shoes I haven’t worn in three years, and over the night, huge chunks fell off of them. I’ve never seen a pair of shoes deteriorate so fast.

By the end, I was walking without soles. Insanity.

Everything about that place is traumatic, even their parties.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 1535 words, novella: The Mungk