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With Carina indisposed – actually talking her way into a government industrial chemist to obtain the neccessary ingredients for the moon-a-muck’s crystalline breakfast, before taking a “sample” – it fell to Aristophanes Brown himself to take the strange flotsam creature for a walk.

Obviously, the rather unique nature of the moon-a-muck meant that exposing it to the chattering classes of London might have attracted plenty of the wrong kind of attention, and he didn’t want the creature – gender still undetermined – getting upset by fuss.

So after a consulation with Alexia, a muzzle was devised to cover the animal’s trumpet like snout and give a more dog like visage. The moon-a-muck’s sleek silver coat was back brushed a little to roughen up the un-natural smoothness, a process it withstood without complaint, its gentle eyes watching Aristophanes and Alexia all the while. There didn’t seem to be much to do about the flat paddle of a tail or the feet, so they left as was.

Looking back to admire their handiwork, they discussed what to do if asked by some passing dog fancier or member of the kennel club.

“I don’t know anything about dogs Alexia,” said Aristophanes. “Other than I don’t think we’ll get away with calling it a St Bernard.”

Carina, as a means of earning her keep in between her more economically interesting activities, was entrusted with the moon-a-muck’s early walks, and around the docks in early evening or morning there was no issue in taking this most strange creature out on a leash. However, the moon-a-muck was clearly in need of further exercise; whenever Carina brought it back it always looked rather sad, and would hoot restlessly.

However, taking it out in town had not yet been considered. Until this fine morning, where Aristophanes just thought it was time to go further afield.

And so, after a cab ride with a mercifully uncurious driver, they alighted on the Embankment, and headed East.

It was a sunday, promendade day, and many dogs and owners were out taking in the London air. The moon-a-muck seemed to have no smell, so canines weren’t particularly bothered other than the usual inquiitiveness, but the moon-a-muck would always stiffen slightly, despite the fact it was stronger and larger than most dogs.

“What a charmingly strange dog!” exclaimed one well padded matron out with her rather dominated looking husband. “What breed is it?”

“It’s, errrr, a smoke daschund and beagle cross” explained Aristophanes, words falling dead out of his mouth as he realised how daft this sounded for an animal the size of an alsation, if lower to the ground.

“Smoke daschund…that’s odd. Does that explain the size, it’s a whopper of a size for that breed?”

“Errr, yes, it’s, um, a Romanian breed. From the Carpathians.”

The moon-a-muck hooted in joyful derision at this, and the woman cast her podgy face down in surprise.

“And does that explain the bark too?!!!”

“It’s got a cold…and that’s why, errr, we must go. Come on…Fido” asserted Brown, and a late moth flew across his face, and the moon-a-muck trumpeted again, muffled by muzzle.

They hurried off in quest of a quiet Underground station.

Later, as he sipped tea with Alexia, she was succint in her opinion. Succint and direct, as ever.

“Aristophanes, you are an utter idiot sometimes. A four and a half feet sausage dog? From Romania? Ha!”

Her laugh tinkled, such an unusual sound for her. Aristophanes could only sip his tea, and look at the moon-a-muck as it snorted down some alum crystals.

“I wonder what your purpose is, you ash coloured creature. What are you for?”

The moon-a-muck looked at him with great dark eyes, and hooted softly.

Copyright Mulberry Lightning 01.12.14

I do love my moon-a-muck. 25 minutes or so of writing for this, as I build my 19th century world

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