Husband, leaving for work: "I'm off to save the world."
The Dog: *whines*
Me: "This dog appreciates it. He doesn't want to be a post-apocalyptic dog."
Husband: "Yeah, he doesn't look good in spikes. He's not tough enough to hang with the other post-apocalyptic dogs."
Me: "It's true. All the dogs you ever see in post-apocalyptic stories are, like, Pit Bulls and German Shepherds. You never hear about post-apocalyptic poodles."
And so he went off to work, the dog eventually stopped whining, and I wrote "Post Apocalyptic Poodle."
Charles Christian, the editor at Grievous Angel, bought the story because, as he says in his introduction to it, "I've a dachshund who came from a rescue charity but who I suspect is actually an alien in an unfortunate disguise." Everyone needs mirrors in fiction, even alien-eyed shorty dogs.
I started to say just now that I try not to write apocalyptic stories, but my own publication list belies that claim. There's "The Bolt Tightener," where a seawall is the only thing keeping the monsters from their final victory; there's "Natural Selection," a maybe-it's-a-virus, maybe-it's-zombies survival struggle; there's "As Dust Rolls Toward the Mountain," a contemporary Cassandra retelling about an asteroid strike, there's "Breath Over the Mouth of a Bottle," where an unnatural snowstorm has engulfed the whole planet.
So. I guess I do write the occasional apocalyptic story. But I'm a little tired of them, to be honest, which is why it was easy to for me to satirize the genre in "Post Apocalyptic Poodle." It seems to be impossible these days for writers to imagine a future that isn't an apocalypse or a dystopia. I'm very interested in the nascent Solarpunk subgenre, which challenges writers to imagine an optimistic future. Even most supposed solarpunk I've read is still dystopic or post-apocalyptic in nature. It's like the crash is so inevitable at this point that we can't even conceptualize of it not happening.
"Post Apocalyptic Poodle" is just over 500 words, and it's online to read for free. Give it a read, and then click through to see the other fun stories Grievous Angel has published.
Post-apocalyptic Poodle has no master. She runs free in the ruins of her former master’s city. She ravages the Dumpsters, the roadside recycling, the industrial bins. Other survivors skulk around the alleyways and snarl at her. She rolls in mud until it cakes her hypoallergenic locks, positions sticks along her back like spikes, and snarls back.
If you enjoy this story, check out my other "dog story," "Working Like a Dog," published in Bartleby Snopes.