As mentioned briefly the other day (just in the comments I think) there was a sad-looking dog on the train the other day. I was trying to describe the look on his face to myself, in my head, and when I realised what the look looked most like, I pulled out my diary to write it down. And then, having nothing else to do, I kept writing.
So it doesnt strictly make any sense, and its peppered with tangents, as is my brain, but I did just transcribe it straight out of my Moleskine without tidying it up any, because I wanted to. So there we are. Anyway: in my terrible train writing, it says this:
Sitting on the train with one of those dogs with one of those squished and enormously sad-looking faces (but then, how would you feel if someone squished YOUR face?). I realise he looks like nothing so much as a proud king of an alien super-race of spacedogs that has only just discovered his home planet has been destroyed.
Coming to Earth for a secret interplanetary spacedog conference a good matter of years ago, he had booked into – from what he could see on the internet outernet anyway – the finest alien-canine vacation apartments London had to offer. It was some surprise, then, that after only his first night at The Battersea, the turning of the door handle, that he had presumed was going to lead in turn to a pleasant uniformed chambermaid turning down his dog-bed, actually led to him being turned out of his room into some kind of mobile kennel, and subsequently, turning INTO the beloved Chief House-animal of the Anderson family. Of Hove.
Of course, Xanimytrax Hildaygron the Third had missed his people. In the 627 earth years since he ascended to the throne (sorry, I should mention here, thats 847 Human Earth Years, which is of course 4521 Earth DOG years or a year and a bit on the planet Xanimytrax Hildaygron III was from. In fact, in the eyes of his subjects, Xanimytrax Hildaygron III – or King Conker as they called him – was a mere pup) sorry, where was I before I opened those brackets? Ah yes.
In the long/ridiculously long/relatively brief time King Conker had ruled over the planet of Winalot 5 (depending on what species you were) he had been considered a wise and considerate ruler.
He had put into place many socially caring practices; free meat-flavoured biscuits for primary age puppies, municipal robot poop-scoopers cleaning the streets of every town. More than this, hed negotiated a tense but lasting truce between his race and the neighbouring Postie-People of Planet N16 9JW (although, to be fair, from the other sides point of view it was more often referred to as a strike).
He missed his people. He missed his official duties. More than anything, he missed his wife, Princess Fidoyanxiansnuffyrexia – or Rover as he would call her in the privacy of their royal apartments.He had only known two years (820 earth human years, of course, or 6782 earth-DOG-years) before hed come on this silly conference, he remembered.
But he loved her as much as they day he had first met her; at a Speed-bottom-sniffing-event organised as a mixer for all the young aridogcracy of the royal court of Winalot 5.
Sometimes he wondered what was happening at home, but in the daily routine of stick chasing toy-chewing and tummy-tickling, he found that it slipped increasingly often from his mind.
Though it might seem cold and callous to forget ones home and family so soon, it is not surprising, really, given the tedium and extended earth life-span of King Conkers particular race of spacedog. For, it had to be said, though The Andersons (of Hove) were a perfectly pleasant host family, the fact that it had taken them quite so long to wonder why the family pet had been the family pet since before anyone could remember (actually since 1842, but whos counting?) mark them out as possibly not the crunchiest meatbiscuits in the bag.
King Conker hadnt thought of home for a while, in fact, until this morning. Hed boarded the train to London with a mild feeling of fret – hed over heard the Mummy Anderson saying to the small girly brown-haired Anderson that they were going to take a trip to see Great-Nana Anderson, and see if SHE could remember who first had brought their beloved dog into the family home – and everything had been going fine
Until hed heard a noise that chilled the very sweat on his quivering nose.
Mummy Anderson put her hands over her ears and pulled a painful face. But what sounded like interference on the train drivers radio to everyone else was in fact a transmission pitched to attract the attention of any listening spacedogs. Sure enough, several in the carriage pricked up their ears, and, with confusion and dismay, listened to the message contained in the crackle that followed.
War had been raging, it said, And Winalot 5 was gone. King Conker felt lost. Alone.
But then, he hadnt spotted
[Im really Sorry, the train arrived at Farringdon at this point, and cant remember what I was going to say. You can see I WAS trying to draw to an end as we got toward work, I just ran out of time]
Here is a close up, though, to make up for it. See?! He DOES look like an Alien Spacedog whod just discovered his home planet had blown up. Which is very cute for one train ride – but you wouldnt want to live with it, would you?
I mean, youd just be a bit like YES, all RIGHT, your home planet got destroyed, we GET it, what exactly are you thinking we can DO about this? and then give them another biscuit because you felt bad about shouting.
Anyway. There is the story about the sad-looking spacedog I saw on the train. If nothing else, its reminded me that I just need to sit down and write without purpose every so often. Its so enjoyable, and sometimes I just forget, you know?
Jesus, thats one grumpy pooch.