Roxie Has Moxie

Alaska promised to be a good place for Sherry. There are ten he-men for every woman in this frozen wasteland, and almost all of them are lumberjack types who can topple a tree by merely looking at it. Regrettably, Sherry never ran into any of the manly types in the ten years she's been in Alaska, but she has met a lot of cast-offs, degenerates and other weirdoes in her trailer park who find her fascinating. Sherry is not amused by the attentions of these rejects, but she is never rude to these social pariahs never know when you might need one.


The Pug Roxie


In order to tolerate the loneliness of this less-than-a-life style, Sherry wisely invested in a playful little pup named Roxie. Roxie was as cute as a bug in a rug, and the pure, unadultered joy this little dog brought Sherry was a boon to her spirit. You could almost say life was worth living with Roxie around. It would be too bad if anything ever happened to this little delight on four legs, but sometimes fate must intervene where it is neither wanted nor expected.


Sherry decided to make Roxie a house dog when she noticed that Roxie was very fond of chasing cars and other moving vehicles. Because dogs are not aware of the considerable momentum a car possesses, they cannot be expected to recognize the ever-present dangers of the roadway. In the frozen North, there are other dangers. Huge snow-blowers traverse the roadways, clearing a path with the aid of huge motors and razor sharp blades.


It had snowed heavily the day before. A large pine tree in front of Sherry’s trailer prevented snow from accumulating there. That didn’t matter to poor Roxie, who waited all day for Sherry to come home.  Roxie would usually lay on the floor, with her head at an angle, seeming to sleep, but with alert ears always listening for the familiar sound of Sherry’s car, a 1973 Ford Plymouth station wagon with a broken tailpipe, collapsed suspension and a radio that would only play one AM station, a fire and brimstone Christian preacher from Fairbanks.


It seemed that Roxie could tell time, because at around six o’clock each day, she would get up and pace, listening for the sound of the sputtering Plymouth and the preacher on the radio, and then for Sherry to walk in with a treat for her.


It was 5:45 p.m., time to get up and pace. Roxie jumped up on the sofa, looked out the window, panting and looking expectantly. Roxie could hear a faint rumble in the background, but it wasn’t like the sound of Sherry’s junker. Roxie kept on looking, and slowly something much different came into view. It made a louder sound than usual, and a large white spray came out its side. The house began to vibrate. Suddenly, the door burst open!


Roxie knew she was supposed to stay inside, but the door was open and in her excitement she wanted to go outside and greet Sherry. No car was in the driveway. Instead, the large machine continued its approach.


Behind the machine was Sherry’s car. Roxie could see Sherry in her car, and Roxie started running. However, the noise from the big machine greatly excited her, and she instead turned her attention toward the giant lumbering toward her. It was coming close, too close, and soon it was in her territory. Roxie could not allow this intrusion. She ran into the path of the machine. Sherry saw what was happening and quickly got out of her car to distract Roxie. She called at the top of her lungs, but Roxie paid no attention.


The snow blower was clearing the roadway so that cars could travel unobstructed. The operator of the machine could see the dog, but could not stop what was about to happen. In truth, he did not want to stop what was about to happen. A nice enough fellow he was, liked by all, he had taken to reading catalogs featuring gargoyles and other monstrosities that some people were quite fond of.  To be certain, nobody could imagine someone wanting to do harm to a kind and loving pet, but sometimes circumstances convene in such a way as to defy all sense of logic and balance.  In fact, sometimes the demoniac seems to prevail and nothing but horror and gore result.


Poor Roxie was directly in the path of the snow blower, barking furiously, holding her ground directly in front of her house. The snow blower now surged forward, and Sherry could not catch up, having fallen in the snow and sprained her ankle. She could only watch helplessly as the snow blower’s engine revved up to its maximum setting, whereupon she heard a loud clunk and a fine red spray shower her front yard and porch. The snow blower never stopped, and she could see the color of the snow change from red to pink and finally to white again as it proceeded down the road.


Horrified, Sherry pulled herself up and hobbled toward her trailer, having seen an object hit the door, bang loudly, and then roll inside. It was poor Roxie’s head, decapitated by the evil, cruel blades of the snow blower. As unfortunate as it was that Roxie got out of the house, in a grisly sense, Roxie had returned home.


The head, which was still fresh from the guillotine-like blades of the snow blower, tried to produce a faint bark, but couldn’t, because the dog’s heart, lungs, circulatory system and body were nothing more than red mulch on the front lawn.



Against all odds, Roxie was still alive. Sherry’s neighbor, a mysterious Dr. Thluck, who coincidentally was a world-renowned surgeon in canine head transplant surgery, happened to be in a parapet of his castle like home adjacent to the trailer park. He saw what happened to the unfortunate beast as it was transformed by the snow blower into a mass of red gore and a barely alive head flying through the air.


Dr. Thluck, an eccentric, medium height man with wild frizzy hair and glasses so thick you could barely see his eyeballs, had that typical German accent that a lot of mad scientists in the movies have. He was friendly enough, but you always got the feeling he was dissecting you with his eyes. Good thing he wasn’t a cook.


The doctor rushed to the scene of the accident. He needed to staunch the bleeding which was draining the remaining life force from Roxie’s battered and near lifeless head. He grabbed a mangled pink tutu which was handily lying about and jammed one of the chewed up arms into the carotid artery and jammed the other chewed up arm into the poor mutt’s mouth to keep it from trying to bark, which was impossible.


He and Sherry rushed the near lifeless head into his secret underground laboratory, where he hooked it up to an ingenious heart-lung machine, trying by any chance imaginable to keep it alive. It was a miracle, but the head lived on. How long it would live was impossible to say.


Sherry and Dr. Thluck kept a constant vigil over the unfortunate creature, talking to it, giving it comfort by petting what was left of it.  There really wasn’t much the dog could do, as most of the bone and musculature that would allow the head to make any movements was now food for countless maggots and other vile filth that made good use of the unexpected bounty. Actually, this is the way of nature and is good, because all the new and exciting insect life resulting from the shredding of poor Roxie’s carcass meant a high-protein food source for birds, maggots, and other of God’s creatures.


As the days turned into weeks, something constructive would have to be done to bring some normalcy into poor Roxie’s existence.  Roxie could not smell, as there has to be airflow through the nasal passages and these were all sewn up now that the heart-lung machine was providing live-giving oxygen. Roxie could still see and hear, which allowed Roxie to take comfort in Sherry’s voice and Dr. Thluck’s ministrations as he toiled to keep her alive. However, it was agreed that Roxie should have a voice, and a way was set upon to allow her to speak.


Dr. Thluck undertook very delicate brain surgery on Roxie to insert electrodes into the dog’s stationary head.  These would be hooked up to a computer that would actuate a voice synthesizer when the dog wanted to bark. In this way, she could hear herself and feel some comfort in having a formerly lost ability.


After much experimentation, the device at last worked, and Roxie would thrill at being able to produce electronic yelps that sounded remarkably real. Ultimately, the barking was becoming tiresome and Dr. Thluck agreed to change the barking noise into a monotone sounding bark, which was actually a recording of a man saying the word “bark”.


The changed voice in the synthesizer from a realistic yelp to a man saying the word “bark” was disconcerting to Roxie, but she was a trooper of a mutt and soon adjusted. Besides “barking”, the only think poor Roxie could do was to move her eyes. She furtively glanced about, picking places to look at in the lab, and then look away to see if anything new was going on. She became aware of something moving in her vicinity, but she did not know what it was. She barked furiously, but of course the only sound to come out of the voice synthesizer was the man's voice saying "bark, bark".


She heard a scratching sound that slowly grew louder and louder, and it seemed like it was right behind her. She could feel something walking...on her head! Roxie barked furiously, and the synthesizer monotonously groaned out the man saying, "bark, bark," but to no avail.


All Roxie could do was blink her eyes, those huge, bulging eyes that challenged the snow blower as it approached, eyes that saw the world turn over and over as she was swallowed by the machine and cut to ribbons, eyes watching the world go by as her near lifeless head flew through the air like a carrier pigeon on its way to hell.


Finally, the object of her abject horror came into view. It was more than she could take, more than anyone could take if they saw what she saw...