Short Story Contest Honorable Mention – Dan Olivas

In case you haven’t been paying attention, on Monday we announced the winner of our short story contest. Yesterday we posted an honorable mention. Today we will do so again. The story below was submitted by Dan Olivas and is entitled “Gordon.” Enjoy.

My mistress always gets the case of the cutes when I opine on the War in Iraq or whether we should impose trade sanctions on China or even when I remind her-gently-that the only type of bone safe for a dog is a raw, fresh, whole-beef femur. Whenever I broach these subjects in the hope of starting an intelligent and, in the case of bones, productive exchange of ideas, Alicia scrunches up her nose, grabs my face with both hands and says: “Gordon, you’re the cutest dog ever!”

Maybe I took the wrong approach. When I first ventured to communicate in English, I stuck to simple ideas, not wanting to scare her off. I commented on the cool and refreshing water in my bowl. I complimented Alicia on her new Anne Klein pumps, the cream colored ones with square, tight and elegant bows three inches from the toes. During our walks at the park, I noted the changing color of the leaves (I simply love autumn) and the delicate cloud formations. I even told her that I liked the name she gave me, a clever acknowledgment of my breed. At first, I frightened her with my observations. But eventually she enjoyed my little opinions particularly since she broke up with that brute, Alfredo, who never read a book in his life and who thinks Paris Hilton is a classy woman. Good riddance to bad rubbish. I gladly filled that void.

Anyway, as I undertook the task of increasing the complexity of my utterances, Alicia started to take me less seriously. She giggled, for God’s sake, when I noted that the Supreme Court’s term was ending soon and wondered whether the Chief Justice would use this as an opportunity to announce his retirement. It seems to me that any Gordon Setter worth his (or her) salt would have ended the experiment right there an then. But no. I’m too stubborn. I had to keep it up with the hope that she would respect me and eventually take great joy in our little digressions on politics, the arts, canine diets. My friend across the street, Jiffy (what a name!), a well-groomed English Springer Spaniel, who, despite occasional bouts with rage syndrome, very wisely told me to stop it right now. Owners appreciate talking dogs as much as they appreciate dancing cheese-and-mushroom omelets, he said. Despite his rather colorful metaphor, Jiffy had a point. But I, of course, ignored the advice. To this day, I continue to chat with Alicia and she continues to respond with scrunchy nose and scratchy fingers. Alas.

Next week, Alicia plans to move out of Los Angeles and settle in San Francisco. Her employer gave her a well-deserved promotion and raise. She’s going to oversee a team of six talented young people on the new product line. So, you can imagine, Alicia’s been a bit frantic getting ready to sublet her apartment, find a new one (that allows pets) near public transportation in the Bay Area, and say good bye to friends and family. It’s a mixed blessing, to be sure. The excitement around her place is almost too much to bear. But I’m doing my part, offering calming words of advice, telling her that she’ll get everything packed in time and that the new job is going to be fantastic. I’m doing all I can to be her best friend. That’s my job. And I wouldn’t trade it for any other in the world.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).


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