Dog in Residence: Week 4, Day 28

Guest blogger: Horrie Oddlong

My name is in danger.

 

It’s 3am and the House Writer is working.

 

There’s a smile playing about her lips and a glint in her eye, even as the neighbours’ passive aggressive chink-crash of party clean up punctures the wee-hours quiet. Apparently they didn’t love having the garden hose turned on them.

 

I’m uneasy. It’s not the noise or the risk of retribution. It’s that list of names she keeps poring over. What’s wrong with Horrie, as a moniker? I’ve been Horrie Oddlong from the get-go, and I’d say I’ve grown into it pretty well (four legs now, did you notice?).

 

But suddenly she’s tooling around with other bright ideas. Eric Illingworth, for instance. Anton Mosquito. Peggy of Braeside.

 

Peggy?

 

“Shhh, Horrie,” she says. “I’m running through all the names of people I played elastics with at primary school.”

 

She’s pretty old.

 

“It’s vital that a character’s name resonates with me, otherwise I can’t find a flow state,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how loud the Pomodoro ticks. If I don’t feel connected to the name, I’ll be stuck in the mud without a paddle until the cows come home.”

 

Don’t be daft. As if I’m going to tell her she’s mangling her idioms.

 

So I lie patiently with my chin on my paws as she toys with my name and taps at the keyboard while the steam from a fresh brew wafts into an arc of lamplight. It’s actually pretty meditative. Peaceful, even. Especially after the heartache she put me through last week. What a pointless, dead-end, deeply unsatisfying romance that turned out to be.

 

I don’t want to talk about it.

 

Hang on. My name hasn’t been mentioned for two whole Pomodoros, and nothing about my character arc seems to be progressing. There’s a detailed backstory being developed for someone who was raised by hippies and is terrified of earthworms, but I know that’s not me – my folks were horse rustlers, and some of my best friends are invertebrates.

 

Waaaait a minute. Am I being nudged out of the story here? Am I being turned into a secondary character? A bit part?

 

Damn you, Peggy of Braeside, with the showy moves and the fancy knickers. You’d better have some solid plot-progressing psychological motive up your sleeve, because I’m not going down without a decent dialogue duel.

 

Right, House Writer?

 

Right?

 

Oh, the sun’s coming up. She’s gone back to bed.