Jan 1, 2022
This is the first heist novel written by a dog- me. Maximus Gary Kingsbury.
I know this story is getting less funny and pretty dark. But what did you expect when dogs and coyotes battle over food?
And if it’s your first time here, make sure to check out the previous volumes of my heist novel before you rattle off a bunch of emails to Don complaining that it’s confusing.
There are a whole bunch of maps and diagrams in Volumes II and III that explain a lot.
I hope you enjoy!!! Thanks for reading!
–Maximus Gary Kingsbury
THE STORM BURSTS
THE STARS ARE BLINKING OUT
IN SANGUINE NUNC NATANETES SUMUS
TERROR BEGETS HORROR
AN EBBING TIDE
HELL GOING ON
RUN WIENERS, RUN
THE TOY IS WINDING DOWN
TEN THOUSAND CUTS
HELLO BLACK DOG!
THE PALE HORSE APPROACHETH
THE STORM BURSTS
Wharglearg charged from the treeline for the second time. Assigned attack groups bounded for Pack Gingy with wide mouths and renewed vigor.
Max saw the ‘Havoc Group’ – Grimshull and Mardina – run straight through the middle cars to the back of the shed as four Coyotes stormed him. He severely miscalculated Waskin’s intelligence. Dog help Ginger and Zeus. There was only a bungee cord saving them.
The four coyotes snarled and lunged at Maximus Gary maniacally. No order could be made of it.
Out of the corner of his eye, Maximus Gary saw Teddy grab Grelant by the throat and throw him to the ground with a deep “Thump.” He saw Jabode grab Teddy’s head from the other side. Teddy made a guttural sound and snapped viciously at the face of his new attacker.
Teddy gripped Jabode’s throat much as he grabbed Grelant’s and swung him easily to the ground. Teddy ripped at Jabode’s throat briefly before he saw Maximus Gary fighting against the four coyotes. There was no time to finish Jabode off. He had to come to Max’s aid.
Teddy got mad. He got mean. He forgot about Jabode and Grelant and charged Tohono, Waskin, Rincon, and Stiwict with his shoulder down and hit them with every ounce of his 105lbs at a full run. The coyotes tumbled over each other like a flailing, snarling, spiteful snake pit.
Maximus Gary took advantage of the chaos and latched onto the real Waskin’s neck and bit her as hard as he could, tearing into the soft flesh below her shoulder and ripping savagely.
Maximus Gary heard Tohono yell “WASKIN!” and that’s when Maximus Gary understood Tohono wasn’t Waskin.
Maximus Gary released his grip. She shrieked and broke free with eyes blazing and ready jaws. Maximus Gary looked steadily into her eyes before springing directly into the middle of the four writhing coyotes. Maximus Gary knew that pressing the advantage would keep the other three coyotes off balance so Teddy’s powerful jaws could go to work on Waskin’s shoulder in earnest.
Maximus Gary never felt panic before, but he felt the rudiments of it now. It was creeping up his brain stem like an itch. He struggled to reign in his emotions as he stabbed at the Hydra-like coyote snouts looking for a blood-purchase on his neck.
Where was Auggie?
His well-planned defense had turned into a broken play.
Ginger and Zeus heard the second charge through the thin shed walls. They heard the grunts, muffled howls and yips of pain as the sides engaged. Then they heard heavy breathing at the back door.
“Let’s go,” whispered Ginger to Zeus. “Time to teach the coyotes a lesson!”
Zeus nodded and hopped onto the broken bag of lime by the door. He positioned himself so that his kicks would send a stream of powdery lime straight at the door crack. He silently ripped at the bag’s paper anxiously.
“On my signal,” said Ginger softly as she concentrated at the door.
Grimshull and Mardina’s snuffles at the back door went on and on. They hypnotized Ginger with their rhythm. Then the coyotes tugged at the door handle. The bungee cord brought the door back with a “CRACK!!”
Zeus was wide-eyed and paralyzed. He thought big dogs like Maximus Gary would be there to protect him in the shed, or that the coyotes would bypass them.
Ginger heard the back door “CRACK!!” again. Then a sniffing, snuffling coyote snout came through the gap. The sight of the coyote snout in The Garden Shed knocked Ginger out of her hypnosis. She saw Zeus in position; staring dumbly.
Ginger motioned silently and got Zeus to look at her. She put her paw up to her mouth in a “Shhh..” gesture. Then she smiled. He smiled back, relieved.
Grimshull’s snout became a head, pushing its way through the gap. It looked like some macabre coyote birth through two pieces of wood. When Grimshull’s head wriggled fully completely through the doorway, Ginger screamed, “NOW!”
Zeus dug strongly, ripping through the already-shredded bag and sending the caustic powder in strong streams towards the door. Ginger heard Grimshull yowl and curse. She tried to get her head back out, but the bungee cord kept the door snug against her neck. It was a trap. She clamped her eyes shut and pulled back repeatedly. Fresh lime struck her in the face. She panicked and writhed her whole body, but it was no use- her head was trapped in the shed door and lime was caking her entire head.
Zeus laughed maniacally and Ginger directed his shots until the powder in the air made it difficult to breathe.
Once Mardina understood what was going on, he thrust his head through the gap and pulled it open so that Grimshull could finally extract her head. The door slammed shut with another CRACK!
Grimshull ran in blind circles, shaking her entire body, trying to free it of the burning powder. She ran to the corn snow and rubbed her face in it over and over. There was nothing Mardina could do to help her so he immediately took to gnawing at the bungee cord- completely shielded from the lime by the door.
Zeus stopped digging at the lime and was breathing shallowly on top of the shredded bag. He was covered in white lime powder. Everything in the shed was covered in it. It was thick in the air.
This was something Ginger hadn’t counted on.
The Shed seemed like a very small and hostile place now.
THE STARS ARE BLINKING OUT
Jabode and Grelant regained their senses and charged at Teddy’s rear in unison as he pinned Waskin. When they both bit his hindquarters, Teddy released Waskin and whipped around. Without a sound, he got Grelant by his snout. Jabode was still attached to his hindquarters. To an observer, it must have looked like a bizarre 3-Dog Maypole Dance. Finally, Waskin broke free of Teddy and Teddy broke free of Jabode- but with Jabode’s teeth pulling out a large chunk of hair and skin from Teddy’s hindquarters.
Now freed, Teddy focused his might against Grelant. Grelant, with his back to the ground, kicked his powerful back legs furiously, trying to hit Teddy’s soft underbelly and testicles to no effect. After a couple hits on Teddy’s tender belly, Teddy got Grelant securely by the neck and swung him viciously to and fro as effortlessly as an old stuffed toy. And Teddy discarded him as such. He turned to face Jabode.
Grelant was the first casualty of the night. He bled to death from his neck as he tried to crawl off into the woods. Grelant turned on his back and stared at the cold stars above him as they blinked out one by one.
Buddy made his way down to the birch trees where The Ham lay. He grabbed it in his jaws and started across the snow towards The Garden Shed. When he was by the rhododendron, his cloudy corneas saw Scott coming up the driveway with his “Roadhouse” DVD.
Buddy could see Scott was waving his hands and having an animated conversation with people Buddy couldn’t see. He liked Scott. Then something flung from one of Scott’s hands and it splintered on the driveway with a plasticky sound.
Scott shouted a bunch of swears to his invisible friends, flailed his arms again, and bent down to inspect the shattered DVD case. That’s when Scott saw Buddy and the foil-covered ham in his mouth. Scott stopped in mid-bend.
Scott was used to absurdist situations. So when he saw Buddy with a huge tin foil-covered ham in his mouth steadfastly moving across the snow-encrusted lawn, he paid Buddy no mind. Scott only mentioned it two days later when his hangover wore off- after all the Bipeds spent hours gathering evidence and piecing together the events of that day. Being unable to differentiate all of Don and Liana’s black dogs, Scott said to them in a heavy Boston accent two days later, “One of your dogs had a ham on the lawn the other night.”
Then Scott picked up the Roadhouse DVD from the icy driveway and wiped it off on his pants. He checked the disc for damage. Satisfied the DVD was still serviceable, he began walking with purpose again towards the garage entrance, muttering.
On his way, Scott tripped the motion-triggered floodlights and the entire driveway and garden shed area was shot with a naked white light.
Scott hardly noticed. He marched steadily on, The “Roadhouse” DVD gripped tightly in his white-knuckled, freezing hands.
Buddy marched steadily on behind him, The Ham hanging doggedly from his ancient, weak, arthritic jaws.
He was almost there.
IN SANGUINE NUNC NATANETES SUMUS
When Maximus Gary disengaged from Waskin’s neck, he saw Auggie fighting the battle he originally imagined- two small coyotes afraid to get close to an entrenched large dog. Auggie held his position perfectly. The two small Coyotes– Oshunt and Plenkt, darted in and snapped at Auggie harmlessly. Auggie then jutted his snout out and snapped back at the two equally as harmlessly.
“Take them out, Auggie! Charge them!” he yelled between viciously fighting off the four largest coyotes. “You need to take those pups out of action and help me!”
To his horror, Auggie saw Maximus Gary take a nasty bite on his shoulder. Then he saw Grelant’s lifeless body and Waskin wandering drunkenly down the driveway. He saw a bare patch on Teddy’s flank where blood was freely running and made Teddy’s fur seem even blacker than it was.
Auggie understood. The battle had changed.
He faced Oshunt and Plenkt squarely and exhaled. “Tempus est ad PUGNAM!” he shouted to them in Latin (“It is time to FIGHT!”).
Both coyotes cocked their heads at Auggie quizzically. Then they comically looked at each other. Auggie pounced at that moment and hit Oshunt squarely with his 80lb bulk. Oshunt yelped and rolled over and over backwards, trying desperately to right himself on solid ground. Plenkt sprinted nimbly across the Defense Perimeter and watched in terrified fascination.
That’s when Scott set off the garage floodlights.
Auggie was temporarily blinded as he faced the lights. He blinked and blinked. He pawed his eyes. He saw absolutely nothing.
Plenkt and Oshunt saw their advantage and charged at the stupefied Auggie. They each took a side as though they were bringing down a fawn. They leaped up onto his haunches and bit deeply.
“In sanguine nunc natantes sumus,” said Auggie to himself in Latin as his rear knees buckled like the hunted fawn.
(We are swimming in blood now).
TERROR BEGETS HORROR
The Wieners heard Mardina chewing the bungee cord. The door clattered like some kind of poorly-built wooden trolley or some bizarre spasmodic evil being trying to smash its way through it.
Ginger realized it was only a matter of minutes before Mardina was finished.
“Get the fishing poles out!” shouted Ginger to a lime-coated Zeus through the fog. They pulled them out of their leaning rests and scattered them in front of the door like a web spun by some huge, vicious spider.
When Ginger was satisfied the task was done, Zeus hopped up to the counter and positioned himself by several old ceramic plant pots above the door opening. Ginger skittered over to the pile of Biped food and wedged herself under the blade guard of the rider mower.
The gnawing and slapping at the back door stopped.
That’s when Scott set off the floodlights. It filled the shed with an eerie, pale lime-dust-filtered, foggy light.
There was a silence as the coyotes hid from Scott as he went into the garage.
The bungee cord was done. The Garden Shed door swung open slowly and creakily. The wider it swung, the more the pale light exposed the inside, and the more the air in the shed looked toxic.
Grimshull, recovered somewhat from her liming, moved across the floodlit door gap. Her silhouette blocked the light and lime dust billowed out of the shed. Mardina crossed the gap from the other side and blocked more light out.
Ginger and Zeus froze. When their eyes adjusted, they saw the two coyotes grinning widely.
AN EBBING TIDE
Tohono watched Waskin wobbling around in a daze. He was furious. This Lapdog would soon pay. He would have to tend to Waskin afterward.
Rincon, Stiwict and Tohono regrouped from Teddy’s hit. Stiwict threw herself at Maximus Gary’s legs and tripped him up. Rincon and Tohono vaulted on top of Maximus Gary, and pinned him to the ground. They worked to reduce his freedom of movement.
Maximus Gary struggled to keep his belly and neck protected. They attacked him relentlessly and forced him on his back. He could hardly breathe.
He fought savagely against them, but they tore at him from everywhere. He fought with all his might. Yet through the calamity, the pain, and the confusion, Maximus Gary was still calm and rational.
The garage floodlights went on.
“Was it Don and his shotgun?” he gleefully thought.
“Where were Teddy and Auggie?”
They must be fighting their own battles.
The floodlights went on.
Teddy disengaged from Jabode and hurriedly limped to where Waskin was zombie-limping in a daze. Teddy’s powerful jaws easily clamped on her waiting neck. Teddy thrashed back and forth like a salmon going upstream. Waskin yowled and frothed in pain.
Tohono screamed “WASKIN!!!” and scrambled off the ground from where he was trying to get at Maximus Gary’s belly. He shot at Teddy in a blind rage.
It was the first time Maximus Gary knew he was wrong in his naming of Tohono and Waskin.
Tohono hit Teddy in his bloody rear leg. Teddy bawled in pain and crumpled to the ground. Jabode got a hold of him as Tohono went back to Maximus Gary who was still pinned to the ground.
Teddy fought back viciously, grabbing onto Jabode’s back like he was a raptor- bite, twist, release for a better hold- bite, twist, release for a better hold…
HELL GOING ON
Grimshull stepped into The Garden Shed first. She blacked out a lot of the light coming in. Mardina blocked out even more light when he moved across the open door in tandem.
They were slow, letting their eyes adjust to the dark. They could smell a lot of delicious human food in spite of the lime dust. Grimshull stepped across the threshold and cautiously looked around, letting her eyes adjust. Grimshull expected a large, fight-worthy dog guarding the riches.
Ginger was motionless. Zeus was in shock. He piddled himself motionlessly on the shelf.
The pee dripped down off the shelf and Grimshull followed it up with her eyes to a petrified Zeus looking down at her. “Outed!” she sniggered. She stared directly at Zeus. She said softly, “I ate a little one like you not too long ago…” Her eyes became wide and Zeus was falling into them. Her mouth was a comfort. He was becoming hypnotized.
It was then that Mardina stepped on a mackerel jig. It dug deep and he bellowed in pain. The shed shuddered with his attempts to free himself. The more he tried to release it from his paw, the more the jig sank in. He twisted and howled.
Mardina spat and tore at his foot. Grimshull backed outside the shed uneasily. Her head was low and slightly cocked as she peered into the shed from the pale light.
Zeus nudged the flower pot over the shelf edge. The pot exploded next to Mardina’s hooked foot. The force of the pot drove the lure further in. He roared and crouched to spring at the tiny Zeus high on the counter.
Then they heard Tohono bellow, “Grimshull, Mardina! I need you! NOW!!”
Grimshull and Mardina immediately took off running towards Tohono’s voice.
There was a huge clatter as the lure in Grimshull’s foot dragged the fishing rod out of the shed. It clattered like Scott’s DVD being thrown down 1,000 asphalt steps.
The barbed hook finally broke through Grimshull’s paw and the fishing pole skidded to a stop under the nearest car. Fur and blood covered the lure. Grimshull three-pawed it at full speed to Tohono.
“What the hell was going on out there?” thought Ginger. “Are we winning or losing?”
From the bottom of the pile, Maximus Gary felt relief as Tohono went after Teddy. There was no longer as much of a weight pressing down on him. He began to right himself, and with it, go on the offensive.
Maximus Gary took a couple of hard bites at Stiwict’s protruding face. He hit it once in force and heard her shriek. Satisfied, he fought on. Rincon was a large coyote, but not used to killing. He mostly kept the history of Wharlglearg alive and raised pups. Maximus Gary ripped at his ear with his teeth and felt him boil away.
“The ship is righted,” thought Maximus Gary as he got to his feet. It was time to put Stiwict and Rincon to flight.
Grimshull and Mardina charged him from behind. Maximus Gary grunted and was knocked to the ground again. He was immediately buried by Grimshull, Mardina, Rincon, Stiwict, and Tohono buried him. The air was slowly squeezed out of his lungs.
Waskin limped off in a daze, trailing blood in a steady stream from her neck through the parked cars and down the driveway. Teddy’s wicked bite was doing its work.
RUN WIENERS, RUN
After Grimshull and Mardina ran off, Ginger and Zeus tarried in the shed as if time had stopped. They were absolutely motionless. Despite the cacophony of fighting canines outside, Ginger was sure Grimshull and Mardina or another coyote was waiting outside in a clever trap for them. It was Zeus who broke the stillness and hopped off the shelf.
‘Let’s go,” he said. “I can’t breathe this lime dust another second.”
“Yes,” Ginger replied breathlessly. “With the bungee cord gone, The Shed can’t protect us anymore.”
Ginger and Zeus poked their heads out of The Shed door. They were blinded by the garage floodlights.
Ginger had a million things going through her mind. The first was, “Where should they go?”
Should they run for the deck? What about the garage? Either way, they’d have to bark their little heads off to get the Bipeds up and let them in.
What kind of coyote attention would that barking attract, and would the Bipeds open the door in time? Who could say?
Also, what kind of Biped attention would that attract? The kind that would drive off the coyotes, yet take their well-deserved bounty from them, most probably.
Maybe they should run for the woods and hunker down until daylight and the inevitable Biped comings and goings to let them into the safety of the house.
In any case, it was time to abandon The Shed.
THE TOY IS WINDING DOWN
Teddy and Jabode fought each other to a standstill. They faced each other, breathing heavily and sizing up the others’ wounds.
Teddy was a 105lb dog and Jabode was an energetic 45lb coyote. Jabode was relentless in his pursuit. He used his superior speed to wind Teddy around and around. Teddy had to protect his injured rear leg at all costs. Another hit on that and Teddy knew he was done.
Where was Auggie? He needed Auggie to protect his wounded flank.
Was he even still fighting? Had he been taken out?
“AUGGIE!!” Teddy screamed, “WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?!”
He pushed his butt against the treeline. Jabode squared off against him again.
“I NEED YOU, AUGGIE!!!!”
TEN THOUSAND CUTS
Auggie was being harried by Oshunt and Plenkt. They never offered a direct fight. They distracted and baited him into foolish moves that cost him a nip there and a slash there. All those little wounds were adding up to a very big wound, indeed. And he was exhausted from running around and trying to avoid the pecks and nicks. And if Auggie tried charging and bowling one of the young coyotes over, they would melt away and one of them would appear at his rear for more nicks and cuts.
Auggie was panting heavily. His haunches were slowly bleeding from the equivalent of ten thousand small paper cuts.
Auggie regained his sight, swiveled, and lunged at Plenkt, He scored a glancing bite off his chest. Plenkt did not make a sound. When Auggie backed up after the lunge, Oshunt darted forward and chomped on Auggie’s leg. That one hurt. That was real pain….
The worst was that he was completely alone.
Then he heard Teddy scream, “AUGGIE!! WHERE ARE YOU!?!?!”
And then, “I NEED YOU AUGGIE!!!”
As Ginger and Zeus cautiously ventured out of The Garden Shed, they breathed in the fresh air like skin divers finally at the surface. What they saw and heard was utterly surreal.
They saw Waskin staggering towards them. She was bleeding heavily. She sloughed past the Wieners, heading down the driveway in her delirium.
They heard Teddy howl as Jabode ran him down and attacked his injured leg by the treeline.
A stout and wounded Auggie was fighting for his life against two nimble coyotes with razor teeth.
Max was pinned to the ground by five coyotes.
Ginger blinked disbelievingly. “All is lost,” she thought. “It was done. The food. The victories. The Ham. Pack Gingy. It was all done.”
It was then she saw an exhausted Buddy trudging up the driveway with the foil-covered ham hung low in his mouth. Buddy put The Ham down on the snowbank and said to Waskin cheerfully, “Hi! Do you want some Ham?” When she pushed by him, Buddy was confused and a little upset. Why did that dog ignore him? Did she know how hard he worked to find The Ham and bring it here? And what dog didn’t like ham?
Buddy picked up The Ham and made his way towards the gap between the parked cars.
Ginger’s mouth swung open in disbelief.
She breathlessly said to Zeus, “Buddy doesn’t understand! He’ll be ripped to pieces!”
HELLO BLACK DOG!
Maximus Gary found himself pinned on his back again, being torn at by a swarm of five coyotes. He felt the crush of their weight close in on him. It was difficult to breathe.
Where were Teddy and Auggie? Ginger and Zeus? What happened to them? He couldn’t see or hear anything other than the ghostly, lime-infused floodlight filtered through the coyotes pinning him.
He waited for the crash of Teddy’s huge body knocking these beasts off him again. Or Auggie’s crushing jaws sending the coyotes into flight.
For the first time in his celebrated life, Maximus Gary entertained defeat.
He failed his comrades. Whatever butchery, whatever misery and suffering Pack Gingy was experiencing right now was his fault. And for what? Some stupid, hollow victory over the Bipeds? He barked as loudly as his crushed lungs would let him, trying to get Don and his shotgun outside. It was a feeble bark and he knew Don would never hear it, but he had to try. And whenever Maximus Gary barked, it was harder to fill his lungs with air. It was as if a python was incrementally squeezing the air out of him.
Tohono’s face appeared above him in the pale light.
“Hello, Black Dog!” Tohono grinned. “Remember me?”
Max’s mind was slowing down. Or it was shock? There was no way of telling.
“You’re beautiful,” Tohono continued. “Almost flawless, except for your lack of testicles. Do you remember when you called me ‘Trasheater?’ That hurt me, Lapdog. But not as much as your goon killing my beloved Waskin…” he trailed off.
“You attacked US,” gasped Maximus Gary. “You have no honor.”
Tohono chuckled. “I’d rather have my intestines than honor.” Tohono said almost gleefully, “And now, I’m going to hurt you so very deeply. Be assured the pain will last for hours.”
Tohono bent down and touched Maximus Gary’s pinned belly gently with his grubby, blood-stained paw.
THE PALE HORSE APPROACHETH
Buddy clambered up the snowbank and down to the driveway asphalt. He couldn’t wait until the other dogs saw him with The Ham. He knew they called him Big Dumb Buddy, but now maybe they would call him Big Smart Buddy. That would be so wonderful!
The Ham hung low in his tired mouth. He kept it from scraping the pavement by swinging it back and forth to the tune of his lumbering gait. Big Smart Buddy was going to be a hero!
Buddy saw two small creatures running out of The Garden Shed. One of them had two huge ears like a bat. Lime dust billowed out of the shed. The creatures were both pale and when they ran, white clouds of what appeared to be smoke trailed them.
He couldn’t see either one of the creatures very clearly because of the floodlights and because he was almost blind. “Exactly who did Maximus Gary invite to this Food Party?” thought Buddy as he drudged purposefully towards the gap between the parked cars, gasping like an ancient, giant bellows.
“BUDDY!” screamed Ginger.
But Buddy couldn’t hear her or the fighting ahead of him because Buddy was more deaf than he was blind. He continued his gait.
“OH MY DOG!” Ginger said to Zeus.”He doesn’t know what’s going on! The coyotes will completely eviscerate him! Let’s go!” she shouted and took off after him.
Zeus was doubtful and wondered why he had to risk his complete consumption by a coyote to save Buddy from being eviscerated. He never even met Buddy. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” he thought and sprinted off after her.
Buddy made his way through the parked cars and onto the battlefield while the pale, little bat-like creatures darted in and out of his feet and left trails of smoke behind them.
That’s all I’m gonna write this month.
And as Buddy would say- “Thanks for reading this far!”
-Maximus Gary Kingsbury