Basic Cookery

0412 - DemonFnarglyl sprawled on the dining room floor leafing through his granddam’s cookery books. He had no plans to actually make anything. He just enjoyed reading the recipes and trying to imagine what the various exotic dishes might taste like. Far too many of them seemed to involve vegetation like crabgrass and dandelion greens. Granddam always said that greens were good for his digestion, but he was pretty sure she made him eat them because her granddam had made her eat them, too.

He tossed aside a book that was dedicated to plant-based foods: Ivies for Immortality. Being immortal sounded cool, until you realized that it meant leaving your friends and your family all alone and getting old and broken but never actually dying. Pheh. They could keep their immortality, especially if it meant a diet based on ivy.

Although… the poison kind did have a nice bite to it.

He skipped over three books about stewing roadkill – not interesting enough, and then he found a book that was different than the rest. Instead of having a brightly colored cover with pictures of sumptuous food, this one was black, and leather, and smelled faintly dangerous.

And it didn’t have a title.

After glancing around to make sure Granddam wasn’t paying too close attention, Fnarglyl opened the book, and began paging through it. Some of the pages had recipes, but they didn’t seem to be for food, and they involved drawing symbols on the floor in chalk… or blood.

Just as he was reading a chapter called “Humans: How to Summon and Care for The Pink People,” his grandmother interrupted him. “Glylly, sweetie, it’s time for your bath, and then into bed.”

“Aww, Gran, can’t I have just a few more minutes?” he asked.

“Not tonight, Glylly. You know I have my garden club tomorrow morning, and I have to be up early.”

Fnarglyl reshelved the cookbooks, but the black one, he tucked under a wing. Granddam usually left him alone for the two or three hours she was with her gardening friends. Most of the ingredients for summoning a human were in the house, and she’d never notice if he drew a chalk circle down in the basement… at least, he didn’t think she would.

“Glylly… don’t dawdle.”

“Sorry, Gran,” he said, and got up. He kissed her cheek and caressed her hand with his tail and slid past her toward the bathroom. He was almost sure she’d looked at him funny, but she hadn’t said anything.

Tomorrow, he thought, I’m going to meet a human for the first time!

He hoped they didn’t bite.





Every dog owner can tell you that dog hair seems to have a life of its own.

Breed, color, age, coat-length and type, there’s always one commonality: the fur gets everywhere. In some cases, it even seems as though there’s more of the stuff on the floors and furniture than can be found on the actual dog. Even on the no-shed varieties of canines.

The stuff congregates in corners and bunches under beds. During certain seasons, you can brush enough of it off your canine companion to form his or her doppelganger out of the discarded fibers.

Own a dog long enough, or have enough dogs trotting through your home with drooling jowls and wagging tails, and you begin to wonder if maybe you’ve got it wrong. Maybe the dogs are really naked, and their coats – so lovely to touch, so accursedly painful when you get a dog-hair splinter in your foot on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night – aren’t just an adaptation to protect their soft parts and keep them warm.

“What if,” you muse aloud while your husband is forwarding through yet another commercial during the latest episode of The Flash, “dog hair doesn’t grow on the dog? What if it’s really a symbiotic life form, bent on taking over the planet?”

“Are you writing another story?” he asks. “Because that’s an interesting premise.”

“No, I’m completely serious,” you say. “I mean, consider: it ends up everywhere, it seems to multiply like crazy, and we don’t perceive it as a threat unless we’re allergic to the dander. And what about those allergies. Maybe they’re not just allergies! Maybe it’s a toxin released by this alien life form! Maybe these creatures are the reason dogs have comparatively short lifespans!”

“Or maybe you’re just annoyed because I haven’t swept the floor in three days,” your husband says, not without affection. “Can we finish this episode now?”

“Go for it.”

Your chihuahua jumps up onto the couch, and a single piece of his fur separates from the rest and spirals into your tea, but you don’t realize it until you take a sip and begin to choke.

At the funeral, everyone says you look amazing, and so natural, and how appropriate that even in death there’s dog hair clinging to your blouse.