Devolved: Gone to the Dogs

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They smelled different now. There was still salt, though less of it. There was less of everything now. The two-legs were still good to run with, though. There was one thing there was more of: the two-legs wore a lot more fur now. They smelled better for it too. No more unnatural gases from those peculiar skins they used to take on and off. After millennia of kinship they had come full circle, back to the beginning.


For the wolves it was easier now. Things had returned to the natural order. The two-legs no longer had time to pervert their breeding. There was only time to hunt and to eat. All of the abominations of their husbandry had died off, no longer protected from the shortcomings the two-legs had bred into them. Only those that could run, hunt and weather the elements remained. They had been tragic imitations of their lupine ancestors, dependent upon the two-legs for their very existence and survival. Now, again, wolves would be pure: the two-legs would need them just as much as they had when they had first pursued their quarry together.


The great packs would again roam the earth, two-legs and wolves together, stalking and taking their prey to sate their aching bellies. Two-legs still had fire at least, if all their other wonders had gone. Their young were fearless, their pups moved as their canine brothers did on all fours, in the dirt. Yet they had no fangs, no claws, no fur. If they were to all survive then all pups must be nurtured, shown the way of the wild. With time their pups might even learn to remain on all fours.


How many millennia would pass again and would this time be different? If their breeding stock remained strong, pure, would they unite this time on four legs all? Their savage packs could battle by tooth and claw to maintain the balance; no more fire from the sky. It must be so, for this race can not be run again…


Pardero Added Mar 8, 2018 - 12:23pm
Highly imaginative! Accomplishes a lot in a compact story. I am a fan of post-apocalyptic stories.
Dave Volek Added Mar 8, 2018 - 12:41pm
Now that's a new kind of dystopia!
Well done. Maybe this piece deserves a a bigger screenplay.
Neil Lock Added Mar 8, 2018 - 1:22pm
Four legs good, two legs bad.
Six legs better. We've been had!
Eight legs best for Spiderman.
But with ten digits, you are Man.
opher goodwin Added Mar 8, 2018 - 1:22pm
Nice one burger - would it be different? I doubt it.
Pardero Added Mar 8, 2018 - 6:31pm
The Burghal Hidage,
This would seem the perfect venue for your creativity. I am grateful that WB offers such a variety that includes speculative fiction. I am eager to read more of your output. 
I was surprised to find you a brother in arms. I shouldn't have been. You are an individualist who, when not entertaining, harries the present entrenched status quo, or accomplishes both at once.
We are insurgents and we have installed a most unlikely champion to lead our insurgency. It is stranger than fictuon.
Pardero Added Mar 8, 2018 - 6:32pm
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 8, 2018 - 8:59pm
Wanted to give it from the dog's perspective. Sadly this can only be done by assigning human like thought or speech to the equation. 
Canines, I believe much more so than humans, are in most cases sound judges of character. This is in part because of the manner in which their brains work. "Memory" is not retained by some abstraction, not stored or represented as a form of speech. It is a conditioned response to prior experience as triggered through the olfactory bulb, stimulated by scent molecules. If dogs had speech they would not say, upon greeting us " Good to see you!" They would say "Good to smell you!" This is the reason why dog's are always sniffing ass. There may be some more artful way of saying that, but there it is.
In this sense the canine "memory" is in fact more honest. Not subject to the interpretation of the meaning of speech, body language, tone.... all things which can be manipulated to present a false message. All these subtleties are rendered moot: what smelled bad before will still smell bad in a month, a year, a decade.
The proto-canines (were they wolves? Something like, I suspect) that roamed in our prehistoric period found something in our droppings that told them that we were scoring some good grub. And then our packs began to run together. And for all of our abuse since they remain our loyal companions. So what if our construct should crumble? What then of our dogs? I think we should in that instance both devolve to our purer selves.  
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 8, 2018 - 9:03pm
Thanks Pard -
   It is a venue, I guess. My offerings are often not of a type or tone or even genre that are broadly welcomed, but that's okay. I know my own voice. I'm practicing :)
Pardero Added Mar 8, 2018 - 9:20pm
You have a lot of insight into dog behavior.
As you may have suspected, I am a cat person. Cats are inscrutable but seem to tolerate me and occasionally allow me to be the boss.
Pardero Added Mar 8, 2018 - 9:22pm
If we were in it for the affirmation, we could bash Trump to curry favor and collect lots of 'likes'.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 8, 2018 - 9:31pm
Cats don't need us! Hell, cats don't even need other cats, but once a month anyway.  
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 8, 2018 - 9:36pm
No real need to bash Trump. It's really like dropping an Orca into an above ground pool. Once you've got the beast in there it really doesn't leave room for much of anything else. Probably best to just stay out of the way and enjoy the show. Once all the water's run out be sure to remain clear of the blowhole
Mustafa Kemal Added Mar 8, 2018 - 10:18pm
Burghal, sometimes you remind me of a Celtic Leonard Cohen.
Swirling over a dark apocalytic vision are stars of beauty and optimism. 
But can you sing?
Leroy Added Mar 8, 2018 - 10:28pm
Another creative masterpiece.  I have to admit to having to read it a couple of times to fully appreciate it.
Concerning the sense of smell, I came across a study that suggested the human sense of smell was as good as our four-legged friends.  Keep in mind that half of all scientific studies get it wrong.  Supposedly, we two-legged types have a different sense of smell but are able to discriminate just as many smells.  Maybe if we returned to the wild, the sense of smell would become more important to us.  I have a suspicion that the reason we ran with the dogs was because of their sense of smell and our lack of it.
Pardero Added Mar 9, 2018 - 1:55am
The Burghal Hidage,
Just a bit off topic, I am unable to navigate to your Dirty Harry article, which may or may not have been advertised as 'the ultimate Burghal Hidage adventure'. Is it just my ineptitude, or are malicious gremlins at work?
opher goodwin Added Mar 9, 2018 - 4:05am
I love dogs burger. Their world of smell is alien to us. The chemicals they put out through anal glands and in their urine contains a wealth of information - age, health, strength, size, pack, gender, stage in reproductive cycle. When they go for a walk and pee on every prominent marker they are staking territory and communicating with the rest of the pack. It's a social thing. Each tree is a library.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 9, 2018 - 6:23am
Good morning all...where to start? 
Cohen? really? uh...thanks? LOL...for the record I do not sing. I can mouth the lyrics of the entire playlist of XMs Classic Vinyl...maybe First Wave too, but....yeah, sorry. 
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 9, 2018 - 6:31am
Leroy - we do indeed still possess this capacity! But it is repressed. As we have evolved so have our brains. Like the appendix the olfactory bulb in our brains has diminished. The receptors are still there and we still, completely unconsciously, respond to pheromones which we emit in copious amounts just like every other animal on the planet. 
You have to wonder what a canine version of history would translate to. No partisan agenda, no spin cycle, just pure, unadulterated truth: either their asses smelled or they didn't.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 9, 2018 - 6:38am
Pard your malicious gremlins reside in Autumns 48 hour rule. I'm advertised? Shit! I owe someone a beer!
Dirty Harry will post this weekend (barring any other earth shattering news) as one of a continuing series which seems to be evolving toward a collection sometimes referred to as the Devil's Diary. Or Hells Chronicles.  It is a shorter entry for the series. To orient yourself to some references you would need to browse the catalogue.
Or you can just ask :) I should not presume to prevail upon your time
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 9, 2018 - 8:42am
Opher - If I were a resident and voter of your United Kingdom I would quite possibly vote for a Labour candidate. was a dog.
Dogs are easy to understand. When some people smell fear or unease they become sharks, yet you never know it because they wear masks. They smile in your face while they plot your demise. If a dog doesn't like what he's picking up from you there will be no mystery about it: they do not mask their reactions. Dogs are honest
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 9, 2018 - 8:44am
And Neil, sorry did not mean to leave you off. I see that besides your continuing brilliant essays you still favor us with these appearances of the darn poor rhymer :) 
Thanks again, on both counts!
Mustafa Kemal Added Mar 9, 2018 - 3:26pm
Burghal, re:
"Cats don't need us! Hell, cats don't even need other cats, but once a month anyway. "
I beg to differ. Cats need servants. Moreover, my cat needed someone to show off to.
My brother and I were standing by my 4runner and the cat came  up slowly to the two of us while we were talking and then jumped to the top of the 4runner, as it has done so many times before. However, possibly because it was self concious in showing off, this time it didnt make it and  slide down the back of the vehicle, claws out. 
My brother said "what was that?" I told him he was a show off.
When we used to have company that we regularly had, he used to take this one indivduals seat, and when she tried to claim it, the cat would hiss and the claws would come out.  He was very social.
He was a very good companion. Never helped with the woodpile, though it would sit on top of the pile while I worked.
Pardero Added Mar 9, 2018 - 7:36pm
 I like dogs but my job is really only appropriate for a self sufficient cat. I lack the time for a dog. If by some fluke, I can retire some day, I will get a dog.
It looks like The Burghal Hidage has been woodshedding. He has several stories lined up for publication. This should be fun.
Katharine Otto Added Mar 9, 2018 - 10:31pm
I believe animals generally are emotionally honest.  As far as "two-legs" goes, it occurs to me that birds have only two legs, too, but I can't think of any other animal category that does.  Perhaps a future "two-legs" would have wings instead of arms and rise above it all.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 10, 2018 - 5:57am
or they will shed all their appendages and slither away as serpents
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 10, 2018 - 8:44am
pard - what to do? I have three. I am considering holding Dirty Harry back for an obit which may be imminent.
So that leaves Status Interitus or The sad,slow and ugly death of the media. Choose your poison
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 10, 2018 - 8:45am
Balloting open until 11:15 AM, US EST
Pardero Added Mar 10, 2018 - 10:37am
The Burghal Hidage,
I am an indecisive Libra. The Latin sounds interesting. So does something as timely as  the decline of the media...
The Sad, Slow, and Ugly Death Of The Media!
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 10, 2018 - 10:43am
Leaning that way