Majerle - I
A new day arrived.Majerle
Shortly before noon he woke, shifted and sniffed the thick, clean air, then sat upon his bed. As always, his first sight was of the breathtaking skyline of the central island of the city, through his pair of majestic windows facing the ocean. Contemplating a nap, he reluctantly decided against it, stretched his lazy little body, and leapt off the bed on to his lushly carpeted floor. He entered the bathroom, a spacious, comfortable room that contained only his basic necessities: a lavatory, a supply of water... but absolutely no bath or shower.
Suddenly confused, he determinedly trampled over to his desk and read one of his business cards,
Major of the City of Muttford
Member of the Muttford Pirates
95 Master Crescent,
Far North Muttford,
Home: (666) 757-3311
Remembering who, where, and how important he was, Majerle breathed a long and content sigh of relief. Though an Australian Shepherd, notorious for their intelligence and perception, he often finds himself bewildered and disoriented, as most dogs do.
His typical breakfast is rather simple: he always consumes as much as he ever feels necessary, or unless nothing remains. As it was on this day, he had run completely out of his nourishing morsels; he made a mental note to visit the grocery store... a thought likely already forgotten.
Finally ready to go, his little bow-tie (for work) encompassing his little brown neck, he looked around his house once more before departing for work. He barked into the air, and the security system was hence triggered.
His car and chauffeur, (a human, no less), waited patiently outside his door. Majerle boarded his vehicle to the garbled greeting from his driver: Majerle is rarely able to understand what most lowly humans say to him... with the major exception of his Master, of course. Entering the rear door behind the driver, Majerle lowered the window and held his head out in the breezy, warm air, sanctifying his poised, black nose. The car pulled out of the driveway of Majerle's impressive estate.
Majerle's daily expedition to his downtown office bares high scenic merit; although the beauty of the route, spectacular as it is, never interferes with its perfect efficiency. From his gate to the Skyway's entrance, the lining lush trees offer a somewhat border of relative protection between Far North Muttford and the remainder of the population: this solace is highly welcomed by all residents of this opulent neighbourhood. Not that additional protection is essential in this land of absolute security and safety, but Majerle much enjoys the solitude.
The day was a Thursday, thus explaining the extremely high volume of traffic. They ascended the ramp to the Skyway.
To an outsider, the sight of thousands of furry protruding heads screaming by, at speeds as high as two-hundred kilometres-per-hour, is quite intimidating, although the shock does, favourably, disappear with time. There are exceptionally few accidents or collisions on the Skyway, actually very few over the entire city itself: no bad drivers drive upon Muttford roads, and its citizens are simply too inordinately responsible. The Skyway itself is an amazing complex of smooth pavements, extended hundreds of metres into the air, (high enough for the excessive speeds to become inaudible to the public below), the colours black and grey a theme. The duration of the journey from Majerle's home to the central island causeway (via the Skyway), is approximately fifteen minutes. From the exit of the Skyway, via the outer perimeter's petite outer-city district, takes no less than five minutes, predominantly in view of the reduced seventy-five kilometre-an-hour speed limit.
An ambulance whizzed past in the opposite direction, its accompanying fleet of helicopters and support vehicles following in pursuit. (Note: Emergency vehicles are permitted to exceed the posted speed maximum, with the exception of the Skyway, by half of that number; e.g. in downtown Muttford, a sixty kilometre speed limit translates into a full ninety.) This is accepted here, as are the posted speed limits: maximum means maximum, and exceeding the legal limit to any degree is punishable.
The causeway is the most secure and guarded stretch on the mainland, though few indications of its intricate network are apparent. A short, black tunnel provides entrance to the bridge; it is within this tunnel, serving as a monitor for incoming vehicles, that examines the identification and registration of every living creature that uses this passage on route for the central island. Invalid identification, let alone no identification whatsoever, is a huge offence: violations of this process usually result in a massive pursuit by police cars, helicopters and tanks... all potential risks are treated as such. Only new visitors to Muttford think anything of these measures, in fact, most, (primarily humans), are actually shocked. However, nobody here questions this.
The tunnel itself is free flowing: the vehicles travelling within never stop. The system is monitored by infrared cameras and radars located on the walls, ceiling and floors of the tunnel, with countless operators each monitoring a camera, to ensure that nobody enters without the proper requisites.
As his car popped out of the tunnel, with the accepting green light smiling overhead, Majerle's eyes sparkled at the familiar sight of this amazing city. Gliding eloquently upon the bridge, named the Muttford Sea Bridge, Majerle spotted the Muttford Civic Prism, home of the Bats, the Dead Fish and the animal fights. Arguably the most spectacular structure of them all, the Prism serves merely as a prelude to the other fabrics that comprise the glorious skyline. From the base of the bridge, the initial skyscrapers towered above the road: "Welcome to Muttford Central Island", read the sign.
As they rounded the first bend onto Halo Street, Majerle felt his habitual overwhelming rush of pride, remaining in awe that he had a building with his name on it. The sight of the cute, brown building amongst the other imposing structures was beautiful to him. Simply entitled, "Majerle's", his all-brown building comprised of elegant restaurants, a first-rate hotel, and the various offices out of which his mayoral operations functioned.
The undisputed landmark of the city is the Pyradome, sports home of the Pirates and Vikings, which is geographically the central point of the central island. The city's principal buildings form an encircling line around the stadium, the roadway between which named Pirate Circle, honouring the victorious baseball teams of the past and present.
Majerle's car entered the merge between Halo and Pirate, bracketed by the Central Mall and the MCS Towers, and departed the main street for the Circle. Passing the small Nothing office and frightening NIN building, the chauffeur turned onto Majerle Road and pulled into Majerle's personal garage. In an effort to promote unrequited equality in Muttford, each employee of the building possesses a private parking area... Majerle, conveniently, just happened to own the one closest to the elevator. Having arrived at his office, he bid adieu to his driver and entered the elevator.
Majerle - II
As Mayor of Muttford, Majerle is the foremost link between his Master and the population of the city, thus representing one of the utmost figures in authority and responsibility within Muttford. Most of the time, Majerle rarely realises his important stature: in a sense, his close link with the Master, obtained whilst he was being raised, enables him to somewhat take his status for granted.
As scheduled, Majerle was to have a major conference with the President of Muttford, the leader of Wordolg-Muttford, and the Premiers of Security and Law, (all three fellow Pirates), in the afternoon. The President of Muttford is Milwaukee, a national hero, and one of the most prolific ambassadors of the Wordolg Network. His job is to represent the city internationally and to meet with other world leaders, but his personal priority is to ensure that Muttford is governed efficiently. He was the Master's preferred selection, not for President alone, but for every other position as well, an offer that gallant Milwaukee abruptly refused.
The Premier of Security is Rockford, a cross-breed of Rottweiler and mutt, his line of employment to plan, analyse, administrate, and determine all security decisions devised by the quartet of local leaders. The concepts of security, protection and safety are some of the most appealing aspects of residing in Muttford, thus Rockford is a vital link in the government. Every action carried out is done quickly and tactfully, and nothing is ever revealed to panic the population. With the problems and controversy concerning Muttford's unrequited independence, (surfacing only from the human-governed world), it is of great imperative that the border is always fully protected. There are frequent attempts by human-domination activist groups to storm into Muttford and overthrow the canine government, none of which are even barely successful.
There is no immigration into Muttford, as all of its residents are hand-picked (or "paw-picked"), and no visitor can enter without a full, extensive check into their criminal and political background. Humans, (without being stereotypical), are by history one of the worst species of visitors to Muttford, following only cats, spiders, and bees on that unfortunate list. Their non-stop complaining, bickering, and disgust at the way the city is run is agitating to local citizens. What humans don't realise are three things:
1) Carefully analysed, this world is better than theirs - probably far better - but different, and extreme difference is rarely accepted by humans;
2) All humans also hate to be the minority in places, evident in global racial tension and race segregation. In Muttford, all human visitors are part of a minority, regardless of colour, language or religion, and thus they are unable to blame the problem on racism or "speciesism". Furthermore, unlike humans and the way they act towards "others", the citizens of Muttford are generally free of prejudice and spite towards any species; and
3) if humans don't like or show respect for it, they should go away, and never come back. It should be emphasised that not all humans are problematic - every species has their bright spots, even humans.
The Premier of Law is Dabroy, a lanky Doberman, the foremost legal presence in the city, the highest judge, and the prime minister of the Muttford Supreme Court. A local hero, strongly of his marquee status on the baseball team, he is probably the most popular member of the government because of his known ability to pass excellent judgement upon individuals, and his administration of harsh - but fair - punishment.
The leader of Wordolg-Muttford is Xerox, manager of the Pirates, who has an excellent rapport with the individuals around him. His young wisdom (though he is several years older than the others), provides a fresh and inspired outlook on dealing with issues that are brought before the panel in meetings. He serves as the representative of the Wordolg global organisation.
The agenda for this afternoon's meeting, to be held in Majerle's conference room (for a change!), raises the annual animal concerns of Thanksgiving, or the "Holocaust of Turkeys". There is prevalent unrest in the international livestock community, once autumn settles over the land. The primary goal of the meeting is to achieve peace and resolution in the attempt to save as many turkeys and chickens as possible, through brainstorming and instincts alike. Animals still have very powerful instincts, though, unlike crisis' dealt with by human politicians and leaders, the Muttford decisive action will be swift, productive, and harmless.
Representatives of several livestock communities, inside and outside the boundaries of Muttford, were summoned by the three leaders (excluding Xerox). The assembly in the long oak conference room should include the Leader of the Turkeys, the Leader of the Chickens, the Leader of the Ducks, the Leader of the Rhinoceroses (a very eager diplomat), and the Muttford International Relations Deputy, Springbok from South Africa.
Majerle was growing hungry at the mention of the various animals, ("Gourmet Platter", he thought), and licked his lips, before becoming self-appalled at his response. "After all," he continued to think, "Some of my friends are of the livestock variety".
"Yes," said another voice from inside his belly. "Friends to your stomach."
In a regular act of self-punishment, Majerle decided to sit inside his dark, lonely cage until the meeting began, approximately an hour away. The silence, complete with his familiar guilt, caused Majerle to fall into a sleep of vegetarian dreams...
Majerle - III
He was awaken by Timmons, Majerle's messenger and feline translator, (half cat, no less), precisely five minutes before his guests were to arrive. Perturbed at being woken, and even more upset that the duty was performed by a cat, Majerle snarled and furiously chased Timmons out of his office. Satisfied, he smiled, and continued to grin even when Milwaukee's presidential presence entered the room.
“Chase your cat?”
Milwaukee joined Majerle in an unrelenting bond of smiles. All dogs, educated or not, find this strangely amusing and intriguing, the process of chasing a cat. Majerle and Milwaukee have mutual respect for each other and are very tight, and Majerle holds an overwhelming secret admiration for Milwaukee, the legend, the hero.
Rockford entered the room, and the immediate power between him and Milwaukee was noticeable. They are brothers, siblings, who share a bond comparable to no other - Majerle frequently struggles in understanding their connection. Rockford inquired about the happiness in the room, the reply to which planted the three laughing dogs into a triangle of beams. At that point, Timmons re-entered the room, and sensing possible danger, he blurted out his message.
“Your guests have arrived.”
The trio nodded in acknowledgement, glanced brightly at each other, and pretended to take off after him. Timmons literally flew out of the building, landing painfully (though on his feet, at most cats do) in the parking lot seventy floors below.
The satisfied group, not knowing where Timmons had fled to, slapped their paws together and trotted eloquently to the conference room. Serious matters awaited them - they understood that - thus their faces were transformed into masks of grim seriousness and authority.
At the long circle table sat the various animal leaders and the remaining Muttford ministers, even including those that won't likely be involved in the discussion, but who attend so that their various departments are never surprised with its outcome. At the sight of the opening door, each guest rose from their seats (except the rhinoceros, who, unable to sit, was already standing), and fell respectfully quiet. Rockford, Majerle and Milwaukee entered (in that order), to an absolutely silent hush - except for the strange, faint roars of ambulances and police cars from the parking lot below - motioned towards the Muttford flag, and sat down. The meeting had officially begun.
The major leaders (including Dabroy and Xerox), were introduced to the palpable problem by Howard, Leader of the Ducks. Apparently, the increasing rise in education of most animal species (thanks in large part to the education programs on MCS), had led to intellectual suspicion of some animals' disappearing family friends. The concept of thought had transpired resoundingly inside the minds of livestock, and their composure was beginning to waver.
The bi-annual slaughter of decadent birds was about to commence, (it was a week before Thanksgiving), and then recommence just before Christmas. A duck was speaking because his species was the least eaten of the three, and the turkey was simply too anxious and emotional to speak. The leaders of their respective species murmured in sadness whilst the true tales of horror were accounted aloud, especially when the leader of the turkeys, Grace, contributed to the discussion with her personal agonising stories.
“I am now an orphan, my parents were slaughtered in December two years ago. My brother was killed just after I was born, and my sister has mysteriously disappeared. I'm rather old to be an orphan I suppose, but rather selfishly lucky that I remain alive.” She sighed, monitored her plucky feathers, and sat.
“The chicken population is targeted all year round, in addition to the massacres that occur at Thanksgiving and Christmas,” piped Little, the chicken. “When people can't afford turkeys, they run around killing chickens to eat. They should - ”. Little interrupted himself, shook his neck, and ran around the room. The group of the party, familiar with most chickens' regular confusion, accepted Little's mad rush in the room. Little ran straight into Milwaukee, flooring them both, and the room became deathly silent. Slowly, unhurt, Milwaukee rose from the ground with a feather on his head, and helped Little up to his seat.
“You've stated the problem, which is unacceptable, but one that is a custom for humans,“ recognised Milwaukee. “What methods do you suggest?”
“We have heard the rumours of a revolt. Nobody is happy with the situation, and nobody wants this to continue any longer,” grieved Howard.
“I shiver at the thought that I may be caught and decapitated soon,” shivered Grace.
Majerle, silent and thinking throughout the conversation, decided he had a sufficient contribution.
“I resolve that we eliminate all carnivores from the city, to ensure that Muttford becomes a solely-vegetarian nation. I'm a majority vegetarian, and I can live without eating meat at Christmas and Thanksgiving, so the population shouldn't be too disturbed.” Snickering came from Howard, who knew Majerle well.
“I know that you eat tons of chicken, even when its not Thanksgiving. In fact - I recently saw you eating a chicken sandwich!”
Majerle's large eyes expanded in embarrassment, even after Xerox silenced Howard with his paw. Little, meanwhile, was having chicken fits.
“You eat chicken?!? You pig, you beast, you monster! You contemptuous cannibal! Do we eat dogs, oh no, but big brown dog gobbles little defenceless chickens up, destroying our cause!”
“I thought it was artificial,” Majerle lied. “I'm sorry, I'll never eat meat again!” he cried, saddened and tense.
“Oh, you will. You are incorrigible!”
“Can't we all just get along?” pleaded Rusty, the rhinoceros, uttering the phrase he used the most, if not the only phrase of which he knew.
The fresh voice silenced the silly exchange, and placed the focus of the meeting back upon the issue at hand. He continued.
“I believe this problem was brought to you, leaders of Muttford and the canine independence revolution, because we wish to replicate you in your successful breaking away from mankind.”
“But it is not us whom humans eat,” replied Majerle.
“The majority of humans,” interrupted Rockford. “They are nothing but chauvinistic, self-centred creatures with no feelings but those of greed: of money, of territory, of control, of hunger, and consequently of all forms of power.”
The lights suddenly dimmed slightly, signifying the Master's disapproval. The non-dogs cowered in fright, but the canines remained still in familiarity. Quickly, President Milwaukee broke the tension, having already come to a conclusion.
“We will monitor this immediately, and find a solution to the problem.” He looked around the table. “Meanwhile, I advise each one of you to tell your respective groups only what is essential.”
“We can make no promises, yet,” added Rockford. “Humans may be very careless and self-involved,” (the lights dimmed again), “But they are strong and plentiful.”
It is consentually understood by everyone that the media wouldn't report the specifics of the meeting, only a fuzzy article in the small print of tomorrow's "Muttford Post" stating that there was one. The media in Muttford is as far away from tabloid reporting as could be possible, resulting in very intelligent journalism. Tabloid papers and shows are banned in Muttford.
Another meeting seemingly successfully passed, the main Muttford leaders looked in silence at each other in realisation that the potential for danger was a likely probability.
Majerle - IV
After a quiet lunch, out of guilt without the presence of any meat, Majerle boarded the monorail for the far entrance of the Pyradome. Normally, he walked, as the enormous stadium lies directly across the road from his building, but today he preferred to take the long, scenic route.
Over the silver tracks sped his little bright carriage, presenting him the florescent view of the ocean, whenever it was visible through the curtains of building that blocked it. Rounding the right curve, Majerle saw the Muttford Post newspaper building and stood up, preparing to disembark the train.
“West Pyradome, Indianapolis Street Station!” called the stationmaster, after the train had pulled up to the big, black iceberg on the right. Majerle exited through the opened doors, waved farewell to the disappearing train, and entered the corridor to the various Pyradome facilities. Inserting his exclusive personal identification card into the door of the Executive Lounge, a light overhead accepted his entry attempt, and the large, brown oak door automatically swung open.
The lavish blue room was a chamber of comfort, a harbour of class and elegance, used by all high members of society and members of the sports teams. There were only really three walls in the lounge, the fourth side was a full-length clear glass window. The window led to a large patio, holding large, snug chairs, a bar area, an entrance to two of the Pyradome kitchens, and was covered in greenery and original art. The major attraction of this open area was not the material content upon the patio, but the marvellous view of the entire playing field below that it provided. Every inch of the stadium was clearly visible from the patio, from the various restaurants and attractions, to home plate on the far side, and they had camera access to examine other parts of the stadium that were hidden.
Majerle had come looking for Xerox, also the sports teams' manager, even though the baseball pre-season was still a month away. Xerox wasn't inside the enclosed section of the lounge, so Majerle stepped through the glass onto the patio, a slight squinting of the eyes revealing Xerox sitting on a chair on the far side. Xerox hadn't noticed Majerle enter, evident from his relatively high jump from his chair when Majerle sat down beside him.
“I didn't see you.”
“I'm sorry I startled you,” apologised Majerle. He took a chair, and planted his little brown bottom atop its cushioned membrane.
“Interesting meeting today,” recalled Xerox. “What did you make of it?”
“I think I have a solution, at least for Muttford's inner dealing with it, but I'm not sure if it would work in the human world.”
“What do you suggest? Abolishing meat?”
“In a way, but in a different way.” A horse waiter approached the pair, and Majerle requested a drink of whatever Xerox was having.
“Two waters,” muttered the horse to himself, and returned to the bar. Majerle continued, knowing that Xerox would listen.
“If we discontinued the import of chickens, turkeys and ducks into Muttford grocery stores, wouldn't everybody learn to live without it?”
“We have the power to do that, but wouldn't the demand be overwhelming, at least initially?”
“Yes, but dogs are more understanding, and fortunately, forgetful. I believe if something isn't provided, and there is no way of obtaining it, dogs would soon forget about it, and move onto something else. Then, once the younger generation grows up into a society where there is no meat, the transition would be easier. And anybody who outright opposes can be exported.”
“An excellent theory,” praised Xerox. “Why didn't you bring it out in the meeting?”
“Anything I would have said after the incident with Little would have been rejected from their side, because they captured a flaw in my credibility.”
“A smart assessment. When are you going to speak to Milwaukee, Rockford and Dabroy?”
“Tonight. I expect the Post to be contacted and grocery stores to be informed. We'll devise a fund to temporarily replace the income they would be receiving, before they find another product.” Satisfied, Majerle gulped down the water being handed to him by the horse, and requested another.
“That is why you are the Mayor, that is why the Master loves you more than anybody,” said Xerox with a hint of admiration.
“Me? Milwaukee is the Master's favourite, is he not?”
The two dogs sat in a strange silence, Xerox in a state of peace, and Majerle in a sense of euphoria and nervousness, which he carried with him even when he departed an hour later.
Majerle - V
Majerle had dinner plans with Timmons, Harrold and Mortimer at Compliments that evening, a human-operated restaurant that was located far away, hidden in the outskirts near the Western border. Harrold was the dog of the Master's father, Mortimer was his cat, and the two had become very close friends to Majerle and Timmons. Majerle arrived at the trademark golden doors at seven-thirty, and was escorted to his executive booth by a fine-looking little waitress named Red. Harrold and Mortimer had already arrived; a beagle and a cat together were an odd sight, and Majerle took a seat beside Harrold.
“Greetings, brown dog,” welcomed Mortimer, to a nudge from Harrold who interpreted it to be sarcastic and disrespectful.
“Salutations, skimpy cat,” replied Majerle, knowing that the three of them could say anything to each other, and nothing was ever really serious or fierce. The absence of Timmons perplexed Majerle, who knew him to be punctual and efficient, but his worries quickly evaporated when Timmons was led to the table a minute later, in a wheelchair.
“Holy tiger!” gasped Mortimer in shock at the abundance of bandages and bruises on Timmons' body.
“What in Master's name happened to you?” asked Majerle.
“I fell out of a window,” replied Timmons silently and inaudibly.
“What did you say?”
“I fell out of a window,” repeated Timmons. “Seventy stories towards death, I landed on a parked elephant. What was an elephant doing there, you ask? I don't know, I was too broken to comprehend it.” He paused, looked at Harrold and Majerle, then continued. “Why do chasing cats give you dogs such a thrill?"
“Because you are stupid enough to run!” laughed Harrold.
“That is correct: if you didn't run, we couldn't chase you,” added Majerle. The two cats looked at each other out of submission: the dogs had won yet again. Or had they?
“When are you on 'The Late Show'?” asked Mortimer.
“Next Wednesday,” answered Majerle, excited at its mention.
“Who else is going to be on?” inquired Harrold.
“It will be myself, David Letterman's Stupid Human Tricks, and Morning Glory.” The eavesdropping table behind theirs bubbled with excitement at the mention of one of the main National Bands. Morning Glory was an exceptional band, groomed, cultivated and exposed by the Master, and a frequent visitor to the Muttford circuit.
The table, after ordering their meal, progressed to talking about the upcoming baseball season, the approaching inevitable championship animal fight between Battle and Urquhart, and about practical jokes to play on humans.
After they had finished their meal (only Mortimer consumed meat (it was chicken), prompting Majerle to state, “Enjoy it, it may be your last time”), they were greeted by Mr. Stone, the human proprietor of Compliments.
“How did you enjoy your meal, gentledogs?” asked the tubby, rich owner, ecstatic that the mayor of the city had dined there.
“Everything was delicious, sir, from the potatoes to the cheese to the morsels,” reviewed Majerle.
“May I present you with anything else? Hot milk, perhaps?”
“Certainly, that sounds perfect.” The table nodded. “Four hot milks, please, with extra…”. Glass shattered across the floor from the kitchen, resulting in outrage from Mr. Stone.
“Excuse me, gentledogs,” he said before fleeing to kitchen. The table heard yells, banging, crashing, and the clear phrase from a canine employee, “I quit!”. The door to the kitchen opened, out stormed a tall, dark husky, swearing and muttering whilst he departed the restaurant.
“I apologise to the utmost,” exclaimed the owner, sincerely. “You'll have to excuse me, I have to make arrangements for an interview for a new line cook.” He left the table, and it was obvious that he had forgotten his offer of hot milk. Majerle called for Red to bring the bill, and used his Bank of Muttford money card to pay for the meal. The group left Compliments, unhappy with the way that Mr. Stone had handled the situation. They were, of course, accustomed to perfection, so the human factor of inadequacy was lost on them.
Majerle returned home at about eleven o'clock, having taken the monorail to North Muttford Station, and transferring to his estate via a linking bus. He called Milwaukee to report his idea, was told that everything would be taken care of, and was suggested to read the Post in the morning. At eleven-thirty four, the minute before David Letterman was to dance across the stage at the Worldwide Pants Letterman Theatre, Majerle was confident and assured that he had worked hard that day, and that he may have made a difference in the world.
Majerle - VI
The city regularly stopped running when David Letterman walked into its television screens at eleven-thirty five sharp each evening, including Saturday and Sunday, when reruns were shown. David Letterman was an icon of entertainment, the symbol of laughter, the doctor of dog dreams, and one of the utmost promoters of the canine species.
His contribution towards the liberation of dogs began when he wittingly created a segment entitled "Stupid Pet Tricks" on his old show at NBC. To divert the public's attention away from his ambition to showcase dogs' intelligence and usefulness, he used the word "pet" instead of "dog", although the segment has always been dominated by dogs.
After changing the show's network to CBS in 1993, David Letterman embarked on a series of small, underground conferences, where he was making plans to shift his show again if the right deal came along. Admittedly, he knew little about Muttford and its citizens, and wouldn't have considered the move to the West Coast had the Master and his band not performed on the New York show in April of 1995.
The Master soon learned of Letterman's desires to participate in the canine cause, and made an offer to him that he couldn't refuse. The Master's deal included David Letterman's own personal skyscraper, two live shows a night (one for each coast), full access around the city, and a zoo of pet monkeys. The latter convinced David Letterman to accept the offer, and in September of 1995, the "Late Show" officially left CBS for MCS, the Muttford Communications Services.
September 20th, 1995, was "The Late Show with David Letterman's" first program in Muttford, with Tom Selleck, the Master, and the Master's band as guests that evening. The ratings were the highest in both Letterman's and Muttford's television histories up to that point, and have gradually multiplied as each new show passes.
Two shows are performed each night, one live for the East Coast, the other live for the West Coast, with two separate audiences. This ensures that if material failed on the first live show, it would be altered to improve the second live show, resulting in better, funnier entertainment. During reruns, on the weekends, the opposite show is shown to the opposite time zone, giving the other side a slightly different version of the show that they had seen, keeping the weekend reruns fresh to a degree.
Majerle laughed all night long, watching Mike Judge, Ed O'Neill and The Rentals collaborate in a fast-paced, exhilarating masterpiece of smooth entertainment. David Letterman was especially funny tonight, starting with his opening monologue referring to a recent incident involving Madonna and a dog.
“You know, Madonna,” (snickers popped randomly around the theatre), “has become the latest celebrity to participate in the canine revolution.” (Somebody chuckled.) “Oh, you heard about this? If I remember it correctly, Madonna was in Wolverton last night, trying to find a father for her baby. Intoxicated, she came across this tall, dark stranger who smelled so nice, and was extremely charming, so she came to the rushed decision that he would be the father. She began to strip, but when she came to, minutes after feeling a cold nose on her belly, she realised that he was a dog. I don't know about you, but that was very nice of Madonna towards a dog, wasn't it, I mean, talk about giving a dog a bone!” The theatre erupted in explosions of understanding laughter, at least from the human side; many of the uneducated dog-dominated audience sat in their seats, still waiting for the punch-line.
The theme of the "Top Ten" list that evening was, "Top Ten ways that the New York Jets would be able to beat the Muttford Vikings", in reference to the awful NFL football team and the best Wordolg Football League team. Letterman began to read.
“Number ten: Call Bob Barker and tell him to bring his squad of neutering and spaying animal controllers.” (Laughter.)
“Number nine: Get them to join up with the New York Giants so they can suck twice as much.” (Laughter.)
“Number eight: Set up a stall of attractive poodles on the sidelines and advise them that mating season is almost over.” (Laughter from the human audience, embarrassed giggles from the canine audience.)
“Number - what number are we at, Paul?”
“Seven,” replied Paul Shaffer, who remained as band leader.
“Number seven: Teach them to score points, for once.” (Quiet laughter, to which David Letterman looked up in surprise.)
“You can't win without scoring points, you...” realising nobody was laughing, he resigned, and continued the list.
“Number six: Sign Madonna to seduce all of the opposition and get them to father her child.” (Laughter, sincere applause.)
“Number five - cinqo, numero cinqo: Visit Darryl Strawberry's agent concerning super-strength steroids.” (Laugher.)
“Number four - Transform into cats, provoking them to overexert themselves chasing them around the field.” (The canine audience detonated with laughter and appreciation, scaring most of the human and cat audience. Some cats even fled the theatre.)
“Number three: Move to New Orleans, change leagues, and call themselves the Gators.” (Prolific boos surrounded the auditorium, insulted at the mention of their biggest barrier from winning the championship. The human audience were slightly confused.)
“Number two - Hide in Letterman's hairpiece until they were in the end zone.” (Everybody always laughed at his alleged hairpiece, though nobody knew if it was one.)
“And, the number one way that the New York Jets would be able to beat the Muttford Vikings,” (drum roll), “Two words: Stop sucking. There you go.” (Laughter bounced around the theatre for the next hour. Humour is all too subjective.)
Satisfied that he had laughed enough for one evening, Majerle turned the television off after the show, (missing Tom Snyder, whom he adored for some mis-remembered reason), fell into a deep, tranquil, and happy sleep, and dreamed of artificial chicken-flavoured dinners.
Europe - I
A triumphant Europe returned to his family's house in Western after landing his first full-time job. Though still a temporary high-school student, he had finally succumbed to family pressure to seek employment, in order to earn enough money to purchase his first car, and to pay for his growing number of personal expenses.
He had presented his resume a fortnight before, not entirely optimistic about his chances, hence he was most surprised after being contacted by the owner, Mr. Stone, about an interview. Nervous, actually terrified, Europe was immediately placed at ease when Mr. Stone engaged him in relaxed conversation, absolutely unrelated to the job. Coincidentally, Mr. Stone had endured a class at the same foreign university as had Europe's father, prompting Mr. Stone's strange reward of employment to Europe for that sole reason. Europe, naturally, did not speculate on the reasons for which he was hired: he was merely gracious and content with finding work.
He was to be a line-cook at a large, formal-yet-casual restaurant located at the far west Muttford borders, for minimum wage. The mere notion at the opportunity to work made Europe care less about his potential earnings; instead, he envisioned the potential new relationships that he would create and his deeper penetration into the social world. He was to commence on Monday - it was Thursday - so he mentally scheduled the upcoming weekend to represent his "last days of freedom", rather ambitious because he was to work only three days a week, nine hours a day. The remaining two weekdays, he would attend his unique secondary school, and his weekends would be left relatively open.
Additionally, he was most satisfied about his winning of several wages with his mother, who, in good spirit, had bet against his ever finding the motivation to secure a job, at least before his education was completed. His mother knowing nothing about the transpiration of events, would certainly be surprised when Europe claimed his variety of winnings from her, ranging from food to vacation promises to Europe, the continent that he was named after. His only regret concerned his recently absent sister, whom last month had strayed too far west into San Francisco, and had likely been abducted, because no trace of her had yet been found. Europe blinked in respect; or perhaps it was the lofty breeze blowing sand into his leathered face.
Arriving home, he purposely distorted his expression as to appear somewhat nonchalant, hoping to fool his mother. However, a lesson learned by all during childhood was that mothers know every little thing about their children, and Europe's mother was no exception; rather, she surpassed it. As usual, she immediately observed the fiendish gleam in Europe's eyes, but realised that it would cater more to her son's excitement if she were to play along.
“How was your interview?” asked London, his mother, named aptly after the glorious British city, rich in tradition and history.
“It appears that Mr. Stone, the owner, once schooled with dad.”
“Intriguing. Mr. Stone likely attended an excellent school.”
“Yes, that is most likely correct.” An extended pause started to quickly wear off Europe's forced cool facade.
“Splendid,” the tall, white beauty uttered, as she turned and departed for the kitchen, her wide smile hidden from her son.
“Ah, Mother, I believe Spain is usually lovely at his time of year.”
“Until I've heard to the contrary, Spain is supposed to be magnificent.”
“Perhaps a vacation there is in our immediate future.”
“Ah, perhaps, however I cannot afford a vacation on my one, meagre salary.” Again, the nurse turned and retreated.
“But you promised!” cried Europe, now apparently desperate.
“Excuse me?” she said with loving faked ignorance.
“Your promises to me: the donuts, the regular use of the car, wait - it was exactly a dozen donuts, the trips to England, France, and Spain. The bells, the food, your promises!” Very desperate.
“Those deals were made as a result of your finding a job,” she began coolly and with purpose. “All you said to me was...”
“He did, he gave me the job, I have a job, finally, at last, I am employed, I am out of the ninety-seven unemployment rate!” He triumphed in an anxious stream of consciousness.
“That's fantastic!” she cheered, with a minuscule degree of expectancy that Europe realised, prompting him to love her even more than he already did. She continued, “When do you start?”
“Monday,” he answered, his energy beginning to drain.
“Congratulations!” she sang. “You are fantastic.”
Europe - II
Monday morning at ten-fifteen sharp, Europe arrived at Compliments, the site of a new part of his life. Waving good-bye to his proud mother, he entered through the large, golden doors, and proceeded to the back office where he had been interviewed. Mr. Stone, wasn't the first to greet him; instead Bear, his son, proceeded to introduce himself, and was followed by the neutral greetings from several of the other employees, Clark, Speed, and Noose. The other newly-hired line-cook to begin with Europe was named Dollar, a tall whippet, uninteresting-looking and without much presence; Europe didn't acknowledge him. After the presentation of their uniforms and the consequent dressing that the shirts required, Dollar and Europe were allotted Clark and Speed as their respective trainers. The job was relatively simple, straightforward, and obviously boring: they were to prepare a variety of dishes and meals on a line, eventually as quickly as possible.
Their first shift was long, hard, and frustrating, but promised to become easier "with experience". At Europe's first lunch break, which was scheduled simultaneously with Speed's, using the skill of mindless small-talk, he asked Speed about the non-prevalence of unions in Muttford, and the alternatives to such an organisation. Europe didn't particularly admire unions, in fact he resented and despised them, but he was merely trying to be social. To his surprise, and immediate disbelief, Speed corrected him.
“We do have our own little union, but it is named the Complex for legal purposes,” Speed explained. “You'll soon notice a small portion deducted from your weekly paycheque, where it is forwarded to the Complex office in San Francisco.”
“Forgive me,” Europe began hesitantly. “But I understand that the formation of a union - ”
“The Complex,” interjected Speed.
“That a union of workers,” Europe continued, warningly, “is prohibited in Muttford.”
“True, the law does states that, but the Complex has two technicalities that avoid detection from local law. Firstly, as run under human-owned and operated management, with the head office in San Francisco, there is a small provision in the American law that permits the organisation of unions.”
“But this is Muttford, an independent country, with its own laws, very strict laws,” argued Europe. “From my knowledge, breaking the union law here is always seriously punishable.”
“That is why the organisation is entitled the Complex. The Complex is not the Union, the Complex appears totally unrelated. The Complex will make you richer than you'd ever believe.”
“Why is it named, the 'Complex'?”
“It is a complicated, diverse, large organisation.”
“What?” Speed began to appear uneasy, more likely, fed up.
“Is that why it’s the 'Complex'? Is that really why?”
“Yes. You'd better change your attitude, because the Complex is powerful enough to destroy you.”
Europe shifted equivocally in his position. He hated the mention of rebellious talk, regardless of how minor, because he was defensive and protective of his country, a perfect nation, the land that he loved like no other. Although he presumed the information he was receiving was false, he additionally disliked being in the presence of liars (if Speed was lying), but the possibility that if it were true, he would never comprehend it.
“How many other places her have similar assemblies?” he asked with great scepticism, but he wanted to re-establish peace.
“In Muttford, I think there are only three other businesses involved in any sort of union, and all are in the Complex; there aren't many human establishments here, you know. In San Francisco, where Mr. Stone is from, the Complex is everywhere.”
“Why is it important?”
“Why is what?” Speed's small intelligence becoming evident.
“What is the big excitement about the 'Complex'?”
Speed, impatient with the constant questioning, yet unaware of Europe's motivation, stood up, stretched, and then turned to Europe in deathly, serious, recital.
“In the Complex, we are part of something big, we are the hope of a new leadership. We can do anything we matin' want.”
Having headed away from the silent Europe, Speed had forgotten about the conversation already, his small brain taught to turn itself on without trying. Europe remained solemn, and sneered in mockery and disgust.
“Life will find a way,” Europe quoted.
Europe - III
After his initial week of working at Compliments, Europe soon realised that he had a potential friend in Dollar. Europe had discovered Dollar's humorous, witty, and interesting side, an individual almost a year his senior, who possessed similar uncanny interests, such as courting the opposite sex, sports, and especially, the Animal Fights. The pair continuously attempted to share the same counter during every shift, where they would always engage in asinine conversation.
An annoying reoccurrence that Europe and Dollar had both begun to observe was the constantly increasing harassment by other, more senior employees, not yet managers, but who had aspirations to be as such. They were regularly ordered to move faster and talk less, a combination that the pair found impossible to orchestrate: they truly believed that they worked faster whilst they talked.
On their second Wednesday, they met Scotch for the first time, the supervising manager, a little yapping Scottish Terrier with an accent noticeably from the United Kingdom, though exactly where remained a mystery. Scotch was the highest manager under Mr. Stone, and was a wily veteran of the restaurant industry, having worked in various eateries for twenty-eight years. Rumour has it that he was born in the sink of a restaurant forty-six years ago, a tale not altogether denied by him.
They also met Wear that day, an individual who gave contradictory impressions, stemming from his friendliness and good-heartedness, to his regular interspersion in conversations with obscure, degrading comments. He also, unfortunately, contributed to the criticism that the pair were receiving, even though he was in little authoritative position to do so. In fact, after two weeks of constant cooking and meal preparation, (and at a rather satisfactory pace, Europe thought), the only individuals abstaining from regular nagging and verbal harassment, were Speed, Mr. and Mrs. Stone (who rarely had any contact with their employees), Dollar, and the cast of the delicious, mouth-watering waitresses.
The brightest part of the job only existed in the evenings, when the part-time waitresses, some spectacular in beauty and mind, would return from school to commence their shifts. Europe and Dollar frequently shared their secret attraction for a handful of the females, ultimately pushing Europe to eventually gather the nerve to introduce himself to them.
There was Red, a ravishing young feline, whose distressingly very large ring distracted Europe from her enchanting personality; nevertheless, she was enchanting and very alluring to him. Her younger sister, Secord, appealed to him not only because of her undisputed beauty, but that she also possessed a strange, unknown, magnetic attraction to him. Queen was perhaps the most attractive of them all, in an ordinary sort of way, but also appeared to be the most unapproachable. A habitual smoker (although smoking was very rare in Muttford), she confined herself to her small circle or friends, and her obsession with impure relationships distanced her from most entities outside her few interests. They did have one strong similarity, to combat their many differences, and that was their equal interest and fascination with the recreation of swimming, a pastime not altogether endorsed in the city. Monique was a grungy poodle, beautiful in an odd sort of way, and took an immediate liking to Europe, attention that he luxuriated in. The final part-time waitress was not pretty, actually rather ill-looking, but she had a deep and addictive voice. Her name was Stick; naturally, Europe was not drawn to her looks, and he realised that he would have to find amazing quality in her personality if they were to converse, something that Europe, lowly but honestly, hoped wouldn't happen.
Red, coincidentally, was the one who initially received Europe's resume to pass onto management, and she appeared to hold a special bond of admiration to Europe, having watched him discover a job. Secord seemed to have a childhood crush on Europe as well, varying from her embarrassed giggling to her lack of eye contact, not that Europe didn't enjoy the cognisance, but he wished that one of them would find the courage to act on it.
Europe's first lengthy inter-gender conversation came with neither of the sisters, but stunningly, Queen, who handily had her break simultaneously with one of his, during the third week of his employment. Sitting outside the rear exit of the restaurant, Europe had been sitting and consuming his late lunch, when Queen popped through the door and sat down opposite him.
“Smoke?” she asked, staring unfocused at the ground upon which he was occupying, whilst she lit her white cigarette.
“No, thank you,” he rejected, though his face expressively motioned permission for her to go ahead.
Europe quickly learned through casual small-talk that Queen had worked at Compliments for about eight months, that she was a year younger than he, and that she had recently received her Muttford driving licence (so had he!). Yet, he still felt the dire need to progress the conversation beyond the stagnant fragments that it seemed to be disintegrating into; he advanced the conversation to discuss their fellow employees.
“The Stones are alright, they don't interfere with our work that often, although Mrs. Stone can be a biatch at times.” (Biatch in Muttford is equivalent to the title of 'bitch' in the human world; 'bitch' in dog terms is any female, so it is not an insult except to bitch-like males.) She continued, “Bear is simply an asshole, just a complete asshole - pardon my language - but I just wish that he would go away. Wear is fine, he's fairly decent to everybody, he's just not that interesting, really. I know little about Speed, Clark, or that new guy...”
“Dollar,” Europe interjected.
“And Noose speaks less and less to me: I suppose he realises that absolutely nobody likes him. The other cashiers aren't too bright, save perhaps Read and Secord. Actually, its mostly the other cooks with you that are idiots, wimps, actually... none of them dare to consider swimming at all.”
“Swimming?” Europe's eyes enlarged with excited anticipation.
“That's right. Personally, I can't live without it, but few here have the nerve to try and sustain it. What about you?”
“Coincidentally, I love to swim. I take the Mutt down to the Eastern Seaboard once a month to mingle with tourists, and I always wind up in the water.”
“Near the Marco Polo?”
Queen gave Europe his first flash of her smile, a wondrous, electric smile, before proposing that they go swimming together - alone! - one evening in the future.
Peculiarly, swimming by citizens of Muttford was regularly discouraged, although it wasn't under any law, and authorities were only put at slight ease if the swimmers were trained and fully competent. The recent avoidance of dogs from the water, even though they were innovators the 'doggy-paddle', derived from the legend of the drowning of Fred, a brief guard of the Master, a story that has now become a Wordolg fable and a Muttford legacy.
The Legend of Fred
One afternoon, many years ago, when both of the Master's parents were still together, the family all living in a huge estate, the Master's sister received a puppy for Christmas that was already named Fred. Not four weeks later, the Master's parents away on business, and an aunt visiting on vacation, his sister and Fred sat around the pool, splashing water from its perimeter and consequently soaking each other. Fred had already been taught the basics of swimming by the Master's father, who had also stressed his strict instructions that Fred was not to enter the pool whilst he was not present. It seemed merely to be advice, however, and the Master's sister decided to act upon her personal interpretation.
The Master's sister, barely six at the time, encouraged Fred to enter the pool, and he so obliged. Everything was running smoothly: Fred was swimming without trouble, and everybody surrounding the pool area, the aunt and the gardener, was in relatively close proximity to Fred, hence in the event of a problem, they were close enough to reach him quickly.
Meanwhile, the Master was well upstairs in the house, punished for an innocent deed gone wayward, and was uninvolved and more so, uninterested, in the poolside activities below. Bored with the prospect of remaining in his room, and fortunately away from the supervision of his parents, he proceeded to descend the stairs leading to the main floor. A huge series of sparkling-clear windows, overlooking the pool and the yard below, ran parallel beside the staircase. Mysteriously, he paused mid-way down to observe the events outside, and mystically, if not absurdly psychically, the entirety of the unimaginable events was about to occur in an unobstructed view in front of his innocent eyes.
As if he was in a heavenly trance, the Master watched Fred leap once more into the water, paddling as effortlessly as a swan, his sister laughing and frolicking in the cool water, the aunt lying beside the pool soaking up the summer's smiling rays. Fred clambered out of the pool, briskly removed the excess moisture from his fur with one tremulous shake, and dove into the pool again. Freely paddling around, on top of the entire world, Fred slowly distanced himself from land, towards the Master's sister.
Fred uttered one final sign of happy life, before his paddling ceased and he silently sunk into the depths of the water, deep enough that his peaceful face was unable to hear what was happening above him.
Transfixed to his perfect view, seemingly paralysed into a shocked and solemn trance, the Master eyed the commotion below. His sister was helpless, screaming for help but unable to comprehend that she could have picked his little body out of the water, and save him herself. His aunt was hopeless, pathetically pacing up and down the pool's edge, cursing and panicking, considering whether ruining her tan was worth diving in.
Surprisingly, it was the noble Malaysian gardener who rushed to Fred's aid. He scooped the body of Fred out of the water, (even though the soul appeared to had already washed away into the chlorine), laid him across the grass, and applied artificial resuscitation.
The yelling, vulgarities, and wept screaming continued for several more seconds, but all efforts went to no avail, when Fred officially died at that moment in the gardener's arms.
There was a consenting thunderstruck silence from the Master's unbelieving gazing above to the trio of live witnesses below. Then, the Master flipped into a sudden fury of eternal rage: he blamed his aunt, he blamed his sister (he was sure that she could have saved him had she been able to think), he blamed himself, he even blamed the honourable gardener, he blamed Fred for being a thoughtless dog, but there was one that he blamed the most and has never, ever, forgiven, and never will: God.
There is no God, there never was a God, there never will be a God. The perception of a higher, protective being lies predominantly in the mind, that all prayers, hopes, and spiritual happenings are myths emanated and acted upon by the ordinary human brain's subconscious. The Master was born from a Catholic mother, was subjected against his will to catechism and weekly masses, but it was at that catastrophic point in his life that he strongly doubted the presence of a God. What lies, concoctions, and fantasies were burrowed into his head early in life only came out of his naive, believing parents, who did not see truthful cerebrating. "God only saves those who save themselves" is a common hypocritical religious philosophy. If one could truly save themselves, then they wouldn't require divine intervention, and the subsequent argument that He had let you find the strength and power in yourself to overcome the obstacle, then what if you failed and killed yourself? Fred couldn't save himself, as an enslaved animal he was totally dependent upon human assistance, humans hence appearing to play a surreal version of God themselves. Dogs have no God, but either does any creature in the galaxy, because there is no God.
The Master hated everybody, especially the God that never was - the idea that there was always hope disintegrated with the ever-maturing mind of the Master.
The principles told in this story set the base of some of the ideals in Muttford: there is no public religious presence in the entire city, although private practice of religion is accepted; and swimming is relatively discouraged.
Europe - IV
Europe, remembering the tale, wined in pity after recognising the dangers of the world, that anything could happen to anybody, anywhere, at any time. Queen, revealing a flaw of simple-mindedness in her intolerance of Europe's pensive state, had departed so he urinated behind a tree, and re-entered the kitchen. It was late afternoon, the sipping sun had begun its descent, when Red entered the kitchen to collect a tray, peculiar because there was a large segregated pile of clean trays set aside specifically for waitresses. She flashed Europe a smile, acknowledged Dollar, silently inviting him to converse with her. Although the unmistakable presence of that large, expensive- looking ring slightly deterred him, he boldly interpreted this opportunity as a cue for him to ask her out. Using a pre-prepared pick-up line that he had brainstormed with his mother at home, he asked casually,
“Would you care to join me at my house Saturday to rake leaves with me?”
Her smile continued, yet appeared to shift into the realm of falseness; it was still radiant, though.
“I'm sorry, I have puppy-sitting duties to attend to tomorrow.”
Slowly, somewhat nonchalant, he continued.
“Perhaps in the evening?” he asked wryly.
“I'm sorry again: I've made dinner plans already.”
Disgruntled and moderately annoyed, Europe presented Red with one more, determining, question.
“Would you ever like to come over and rake leaves with me?”
“Raking leaves is really not my thing,” the smile constant but ever-revealing, and Europe realised that he was being over-zealous. As she departed, Dollar punched Europe lightly, whose eyes continued to distract him from his work.
Bear trotted around, over to where they weren't working, when in a reiterated but mildly enthusiastic tone, he encouraged the pair on.
“Pick up the pace, gentleman,” Bear said to Dollar and Europe who exchanged quick glances before Dollar replied, subtly but smoothly.
“Perhaps the pace has been picked...”
A comedic silence ensued, before Europe burrowed his laughing head underneath the counter, unable to contain his humour. Nothing so timelss had he heard, the response timed impeccably to perfection, and in this moment of dancing delight he momentarily forgot about his conversation with Red. Bear could only glare in disgust, upset that it was not he who had invited the laughter, so he muttered something unintelligible and departed. Dollar and Europe smiled about it for the remainder of the day, (for Europe, his laughter would continue for the rest of his life - okay, maybe not in 2002), and the floating thoughts of Red and her contrasting advances disappeared almost entirely from Europe's mind, at least until the impending major conflicts began the following week.
Crowe - I
Blackness covered her eyes, the glare of the sun distorting her perfect vision and blinding her, as her unimpassioned glaze amalgamated with the sun's dark white rays. She turned her head away from the golden ball, ignored the reflection in the window of her hurting visual portals, and let her mind shout along freely with the spitting violence that exited her modest speakers. Her legs, flowing with ambitious adrenaline and ecstatic expectancy, pounded the floor with rhythmic vengeance. Having slipped into her tall leather boots, she manoeuvred her ebony body into her night clothes, packed her bruised bag full of her necessities, and encompassed her raven neck with real, silver jewellery: she was now, as always, prepared for the Underground.
Gliding over the land below, riding upon the reliable "Mutt", she arrived at her station in the Cross, and sauntered through the web of restaurants, night-clubs, and watering holes. An excited bustling of contrasting individuals engulfed her, each party moving steadily in a direction opposite somebody else, few taking the time to observe the characters that brushed against them.
Crowe took the time to observe, however, as she found great pleasure in identifying the differences that made up her private little world. She distinguished between the individuals who were to attend the classical music palace, Moore Concert Hall, and the ones who were headed for "The Bruce Brothers' Blues & Jazz Café". She saw tall dogs with short humans, she viewed thin dogs with small ponies, she eyed fat dogs with some other fat dogs who were creating a problem for some human tourists. As she approached the commotion, the entire group, including the tormented humans, became deathly silent at her presence and watched her pass beside them, before continuing in their heated conference. Crowe loved the power that her outfitted blackness had on others, a strange allure that enticed others to stare at her strange guise, and the very rare occasions that she was ever bothered.
Looking casually over her shoulder, she noticed a trio of suspicious-appearing males, and recognised that they had been following her since she departed the monorail. This was not rare: it was frequent that a member of the prestigious secret underworld was pursued by non-members, who were continuously attempting to search for the Underground's surreptitious entrance. She changed direction, from Bruce Street to Murray Avenue, and ascended the stairwell that bridged the street. Her pursuers ran up the stairs behind her, to discover that she was once again trotting down Murray Avenue - then she disappeared again, to their astonishment, leaving them thinking that she had entered the Underground. But no! - She had stepped into the doorway of a popular lounge, conversed briefly with its security guard, before exiting the establishment once more. She had lost her lead on the trio, who had narrowed their distance to ten metres - they had no intentions of harming her, (or so she hoped), they merely wanted to find the entrance.
As they passed the lounge that Crowe had entered, they were blocked by the large, wolf-looking doordog, whose low, mean stare stopped them without physical contact. Meanwhile, as according to plan, Crowe had slipped around the corner onto Maise Street and darted to its link with Rage Street, leaving her trio of pursuers behind in dejected helplessness.
Rage Street had an altogether different atmosphere, an aura of intense vibrancy and incomprehensible energy. The cryptic gloomy sounds dwarfed by the crushing distorted mayhem made Rage Street, Crowe's absolute favourite. The creatures who occupied its pavements were the highest contrasting population of any street in Muttford, considered by tourists to be the most dangerous street in the world, but that classification lies only in the eye of the beholder. For the majority of others, whoever accepts this street as the distinct artery it is, soon learn that the politeness and responsibility possessed by Rage Street's regulars are unsurpassed. Crowe herself found Rage Street to be her one sole love in the world: she could never have dreamed of the individuals that she had met there, and she would never have believed that the music it contained would have saved her life.
She had just turned eighteen, after a disastrous sequence of teenage years, when she stumbled upon a tall, silent human who was sitting in the grass upon a hill in Western. He was strumming a black guitar, playing a tune vaguely familiar to her but momentarily unrecognisable, and continued to play without knowing that she was present. She planted her curious body on a boulder behind him, listening in reverence as he began to sing along with a glorious voice, slightly out of tune, but that wasn't the point. She travelled with him in spirit atop the planet, circling the earth, then the moon, and then the sun, until the glowing outlines of the solar system transformed into a smiling face, and then into an acquainted logo: the sign of DHI. Her shock was so immense that her dreams overwhelmed her, a wall of dark white rays shooting towards her as if they were flying on black lights...
When she awoke, she immediately noticed that the figure had departed, and the first thought that entered her pulsing head was that she had identified who it was who had played before her: the Master. It was as if it were a sign from... who was it that humans pray to? Listening to her sub-conscious, she examined the logic inside herself, before coming to an accurate conclusion. She had come to the hill on her eighteenth birthday, knife in paw, because she was determined to slide down its slope and simultaneously slit herself deep within her fur. Had he not been there, she either would have fulfilled her plans for suicide, or she would have "catted-out", (similar to the human phrase of "chickened-out"), wouldn't have been able to live with her incompetence, and would have likely lived an agonising death anyway. The fact that he was there, along with his flawless display of the music of DHI, gave her the feeling that she had witnessed something few others had, and she found resilient strength in that. She also believed that he had noticed her, firstly because her knife was missing, and secondly because of the philosophy that she had never been able to extract from her head since.
“The majority of stories, plays, movies, and songs are effectively false and fake, because of their lacklustre, happy endings. Life is not a happy progress, unless one chooses to live an ambitious life, thus one's life becomes fulfilled. Life is lived by strength, by determination, by a sublime hope that everything will become easier, although history has proven that life never ends happily. Those who argue, should realise that all of life ends in tragedy, because all life ends in death. But how can one be sure that one will actually ever see death? That question is answered in life by living as satisfying an existence as possible, without ever sacrificing the future of one's distant life.
“These violent times and pessimistic artists are no more violent and pessimistic than this world was five-hundred years ago, as evident in Shakespeare's work. You will be welcomed to the Underground, if you so select, but the choice is made within your sole soul, and only yours. Listen to the music of Reznor, Chang, and Burton, listen to the organisation of DHI, but whatever you do, you must listen to your city. If you succeed, you'll find refuge in the Underground, you'll discover your Underground Home.”
Since that day, having descended from her dizzy daze, she made her life's ambition to strengthening the Underground, promoting it and singing its glory, without deterring from the remarkable person that resided inside of her, a person of subdue and deep, dark, thought. She listened to the music that he spoke of, she constantly studied the message that had been inserted in her brain, between "how do I eat?" and, "who am I?" Her affection for the Underground and its society was to the extreme that she only wanted to die inside of it, but she never considered suicide again because she could never die whilst she was a part of such brilliance.
“Master of Brightness...,”
She hummed to herself each day the sun entered her room and woke her, her patriotism strengthened by the Underground's influence on her nation. Negative thoughts, though never completely escaping her, were suffocated by her feelings of love and triumph, love for the creatures around her and the life that she had been given, and triumph because she truly believed that she could do something that mattered.
Her role in the Underground was gaining importance as each sunset wiped out into darkness, as everybody around her noticed a special secret power that sparked out of her whenever she spoke or whenever she moved. The music meant more to her than it did to the original musicians, not because she wasn't creating it, but because nothing was as true and as accurate and as scary as the music of DHI. She surpassed her strong beliefs of the musical ideals by additionally living by them: she understood that she was living in a world of whores, but the undermining hope in the bridge of the song led her to believe that she was not a whore. "New Animal Farm",
“This meat I eat died in its sleep,”
Frightened and saddened her to the point where she is a pure vegetarian, on a diet where meat has no known existence. She loved the song for its recurring message of the possibility of an animal revolution, repeated again continuously at the song's conclusion, which created pure havoc in her head, her crazed impatience for a sequel that would never come, a finale that would never be known.
She loved DHI, she loved the other individuals who loved it, and she wanted to kill everybody who didn't.
So she did.
Crowe - II
Ninety-nine percent of the world's total creature population was gathered into a large room inside a factory, "The Killer Factory". They had been separated into various classifications, forced into lines where they could never escape, and were summoned, a million at a time, to be evaporated. A minuscule billion had been spared, designated into another, larger room, and stripped naked. Each individual in that room was raped by the Blackness, at the conclusion of which they were asked a life-depending question:
“What is this shit?”,
to which only a handful were able to complete the sentence. Most were stunned, silenced by both its harsh demand and its obscure, abstract meaning, so most were evaporated. Nobody was really executed: they were simply carried by steam to a better place atop the clouds, into the false heavens of which they completely believed, and they would be quick to learn first-hand that the concept of heaven was, indeed, a fallacy, which would effectively result in many of their helpless suicides.
The few who remained were raped once more by the Blackness, who imposed on them all of her evil desires, but she didn't dispose of them. For answering the question correctly, they would be allowed to live to be her slaves, parlaying to all of her needs when and what she wanted.
For she had evaporated trillions of unbelieving creatures, for the reason that their thoughts didn't agree with hers. And she would do it again, and again, and again, controlling the population as if she were the non-existent God. It was for that reason that she did it, to be the highest power in existence, to be a non-existent God.
Crowe - III
Crowe, though she never completely understood "The Killer Factory" or its accurate interpretation, she was able to acknowledge that something was not right, that the judgement of the Blackness, though common in all spectrums of society today, was simple-minded and too unforgiving. In that knowledge, she always allowed others the freedom to think what they chose - though she would never have agreed with any of them - but she had the intelligence to realise that she didn't have to listen... she just had to let life be. She left her plans of hate and murder only in her head, with the strength to lock it there, a world where she could throw everything that she didn't like into its white room and laugh about it to herself.
Crowe - IV
Crowe stood outside Rage Street for several minutes, breathing in the winter-fresh air, (though Muttford never saw a real winter), monitoring her environment to see if anyone else was lurking somewhere: in the shadows in an alley, perhaps, but there was nobody suspicious at all. She examined her tidy reflection in a silver window, started to walk towards City Hall but then flung around and leapt down a hidden stairwell, where she landed awkwardly on her forepaw. She stood back up, recognised the cold, damp, cellar in which she occupied, and stood up with her back pressed against a bone-dry, grey stone wall. She was facing a blank black wall, and waited ten seconds until she heard the wall behind her knock. She replied with a backwards kick, three short bursts followed by three longer ones, followed by three additional short ones: her secret code. The wall behind her stood silent for a minute, before the blank black wall before her metamorphosed into a time-based doorway. She darted through the portal within five seconds - the door would close in ten - and found herself in an empty garage, a room of four, padded walls, and a roof that barely rose above her head. She walked to the wall on the left, paused, then opened the ebony curtain that decorated it with excited paws, and stumbled back into the familiar world of the Underground.
The music was deafening, in fact, she had already temporarily lost half of her hearing before she was able to quickly insert her earplugs in - she had forgotten to do so earlier, what with the thrill of the chase that she had led. She flew into the room, as she always did, with great energy and unparalleled awe, because she had arrived at her favourite world.
The room was gigantic, the size of an arena, but was covered in black cloths, over the walls, over the floors, over the tables and chairs, even over some of the individuals who were in attendance. The main stage was to the far right, and though it wasn't very big, the sounds that it produced were too powerful to notice its modest size. Individuals sat up straight on their black chairs to face it, sipping curdled milk and digesting their brown biscuits, engaging in dark conversations and wagging their tales in acceptance of the music. Others fought viciously in a pit in front of the stage, pounding and slamming, screaming and crushing, their collective energies never draining, and ever-gaining momentum.
In the opposite corner of the room stood the second stage, an offish structure, rarely populated by the Underground's regulars, but not for bad reasons. The ring for the Underground's Animal Fights was set up in the third corner, with hundreds of chairs encircling it, and hundreds of bodies tenanting those chairs. The fourth corner possessed nothing: no stage, no ring, no bar, not even a single chair, but it remained bare to honour the Master and DHI, who, if he ever visited the Underground, would have been overpowered by their tribute of solitary.
Crowe, noticing that the ring's audience was larger than she had ever witnessed before, asked Raven, her favourite acquaintance, who had just appeared from behind her, who was fighting tonight.
“Warfield,” Raven replied in her enigmatic, alluring tone.
“Warfield? You're kidding me - Warfield is the greatest fighter in the underworld. What is he doing here?”
“Pasqual spat on him in the street the other day, when Warfield was here on vacation with his mother, and Warfield challenged him right there to an Animal Fight. The Underground was the only available location for the next week, and in his impatience, his manager booked him in tonight.”
“Why did nobody tell me?”
“I thought you were supposed to know everything that happened in the underworld, but really, as it is, I myself only found out about it this afternoon. By the way, the Silo is steaming that we have Warfield and they don't.”
The Silo was another section of the Underworld, along with the Underground and the Subway, each bitter rivals with one another, with the Underground becoming quickly the most powerful and influential. The Silo was located in a quiet area of Western, whilst the Subway was based underneath the heart of the central island, the Underground forming a midway point between the two.
“When does it start?” asked Crowe, altogether knowing that the under card fights would commence at eleven, with the main fight at one in the morning. Raven stared back wryly, understanding that Crowe rarely required words as an answer. Raven nodded at her, and departed for the main stage.
Knowing that she would have a front row seat reserved anyway, she decided to wander around the floor. Chaotic animals rushed about the area, sweeping like a vacuous tidal wave, spraying dust and sweat alike into a suffocating tornado of heat. Others flew above the heat, their heads altered into a state of high, singing and swimming, laughing and leaping, their souls grasping higher and higher towards the purple glow. Though she did not condone what they were doing, she herself searched for the black-and-white light, the transmitter of her glorious dark white rays of life.
She stood in a corner, contemplating the matter of food, and then was joined by Paske, a tall, strong, high-powered member of the Underground. She greeted him, with a nod of her head.
“Paske,” she said softly and darkly.
“Crowe,” he responded with a similar gesture of the head, (she believed it to be a tick). “I apologise for continuously asking you, but I often forget: when are you going to get the mass of tickets that the Underground ordered?”
“I'll go tomorrow afternoon. This isn't going to take long, is it, because I have passes for a Friday evening at Moore Concert Hall, with Raven.”
“No, it shouldn't take long at all. You are simply to go to the Pyradome ticket office, collect the many tickets for the various events - although you'll likely have to wait for the Warfield vs. Battle Fight tickets - and then you should return within two hours. You still have the forms, don't you? When you go to Moore's in the evening, I'll have somebody collect the package from you.”
“Who will it be?”
“Masterson.” Crowe simultaneously winced and smiled, knowing Masterson's annoying tendencies, but similarly lovingly dreaming of him in her Killer Factory: she wanted to kill him. “And I still get all the tickets that I want, correct?”
“Correct, although don't go around scalping them, because you'd be put in the pound (the Muttford mainland's prison) and we wouldn't be able to get you out.”
The two parted, Paske for the stairwell where he chatted with several odd-looking poodles, and Crowe walked over to her front-row seat next to Raven, preparing to view a massacre.
Crowe - V
The fight between Warfield and Pasqual began at twelve forty-four, and ended at twelve forty-six; the only reason it went that long was because Warfield had purposely dished out the maximum punishment. Pasqual continued to lie motionless in the ring, his tail quivering as if his life was being slowly drawn out through his extension. If that wasn't bad enough, Warfield's massive presence loomed over him, circling him as if his intentions for a further beating were being considered. Warfield was gigantic; a "super-fighter", a black cross between a Great Dane and a Doberman the human-equivalent size of almost seven feet.
He deemed himself the conqueror, the ruler of the night, and truly believed that he would be able to beat the invincible Battle on the night before Christmas Eve. It was a justifiable belief when examining his extraordinarily impressive fight record. In eighteen top-level fights - nineteen with his victory over Pasqual - he had won them all, had knocked out his opponent in all but one, (who unfortunately died at the veterinarians later that week), and was ranked among the top three contenders in the world. The winner of the fight (and thus would be the Wordolg Animal Fights Champion) would meet the monumental Urquhart a week later to end the year with the highest-ranked fight of them all, either way.
Crowe sat in wonder and awe, watching her hero dance around his prey, yet she admired his display of his decent maturity to restrain himself from attacking the lifeless Pasqual. She wanted to talk to him - and actually did, though briefly - and then realised that she had found a hero to sit upon her mantle with DHI.
Crowe - VI
She returned home, mirroring the way she came, but she travelled this time in a maze of ecstasy, virtually unable to muster the patience to wait the two months until the fight. Lying, curled upon her blackened bed, she fell into a coma of whirling sleep, hungering for another Warfield victory.
Once she fell asleep, she became completely oblivious to the fact that Pasqual had died at that exact moment, and that Pasqual had been a close acquaintance of Battle.
The Master of Muttford
My chair is very comfortable. I sit here for hours every day, never moving, never speaking, never looking; I merely sit and stay sitting. After I have finished sitting, I crawl over to my bed where I sleep. My bed is very comfortable. I sleep there for hours every day, never moving, never speaking, never looking; I merely sleep and stay sleeping. Sometimes I go to the bathroom. Sometimes I forget, and mess up my chair, or worse, my bed. Naturally, I eat, but only what morsels I can find on the floor.
The floor is nice, too. I can do lots of things on the floor. I can stand on the floor, I can sit on the floor, I can move my chair on the floor and sit on my chair on the floor. Sometimes I run on the floor, but only when I am not sitting or sleeping or excreting or eating. I am a regular multi-dimensional human being.
I have had my mind reversed: instead of growing, I am becoming insane; instead of expanding my knowledge, I have destroyed my personality. I have become an idiot; to many dogs, I am now to them what dogs were once to most humans. But I saw their intelligence, yes, I knew they were the smartest creatures in existence. I realised their potential, so I built them a city, had them educated, and gave them excellent health care (to have them live into their nineties). I created jobs for them, I helped them resist the human opposition, I put ends to all current problems.
But I am not a hero.
I sit on my chair, sleep in my bed, eat off my floor, and I can't stop myself from continuing in this downward fashion. Instead of being the controller, where I would be the commander of every action beneath me in the city, I have become weak and without influence. Everybody, in all aspects of everyday life, has become independent and self-sufficient, and rarely needs my assistance. It used to be that if there were a problem in the city, that couldn't be solved by local emergency services, it would be brought to my attention and I would send personnel to rectify it. Now, the problems don't reach me, because my personnel are trained well enough to intercept problems and handle them on their own. To add to that, problems are lessening in Muttford; I created an idealistic, perfect city, and that is simply what is has become.
I simply sit on my chair, sleep in my bed, and die a little each day.
"I am an exit".
I am also oblivious to the human world. I watch no television anymore, never read, never listen to music, and never talk to anybody. A war could be raging outside my room, and I still wouldn't know about it.
Occasionally, Majerle visits, and we sit together, sleep together, eat together, and rest in silence together, which is what I enjoy the most in life. I am so proud of what I've helped him become: the Mayor of Muttford, among the most powerful dogs in the city, the respected individual, the elite sportsdog. I made him what he is today, and he thankfully recognises that. Appreciation is imperative.
Sometimes I try to read, I try to get myself into the creative and intelligent state that I was in before the city, but I become scared and scream. The contents of the books I have tried to read are too frightening to comprehend; books about the governing of other cities and other worlds, in the future, in the past, and the way the world may very well be - I really must try to get outside.
The last time that I went outside was about a year ago. I had literally tripped over my old guitar, and after recognising what it was, my memory sparkled with reminiscences of the music that I once created. So, I decided to find a secluded area and play alone to myself, truly believing that it might metamorphose me back into the person whom I used to be.
I sat on a rock and played beautifully - though at first I was stale, stiff, and uncomfortable - and I progressed to sing along. I was lost in a world of melody, a world of abstract reality, and my memory recalled a brighter side of myself. When I returned from my cloud, I found a stunning young girl, clad in black, with a knife locked between her pale, white fingers. She was dead, or so it looked, and it was obvious that I had killed her. To prevent the police from finding the murder weapon, I removed the knife, patted her head - it actually felt nice and soft, like the head of a dog - and vanished from that hill. I wouldn't leave the Skyport again. I suppose that I'm just a coward, afraid of the outside.
I am not, by any means, helpless of thought or emotion. My memory is perhaps my strongest possession, although it only revokes bitter, antagonising pieces of my past.
I had two dogs in my early teenage life, two mixed-breed mutts, named "Rocky" (last name Rockford), and "Brewer" (last name Milwaukee), and we lived happily together. Unfortunately, they grew restless of the area, and, as outdoor animals, departed the house to explore the neighbourhood. The time that they stayed absent grew noticeably longer, starting from trips of only a few hours, to holidays of a few weeks. Then, the pair disappeared for several months, and I assumed that they were gone forever. Half a year later, Rocky returned, snuggled up to me for hours as if he had never left, before running back down the street towards the curtain of sunset that was looming before him. I never saw Rocky again, except in my blasted memory.
Brewer returned once more, a couple of weeks after Rocky left, and he, too, embraced me, and we spent hours of quality time together. We bonded, getting to know each other better than I thought possible; we played, we laughed, we sang with the creatures of nature. But, then, he had to go. I stood upon the paved street, petted him farewell, and watched his perfect little world disappear with him down the street forever. So I cried.
Fred (Frederick) was another dog that disappeared before my eyes. He drowned right in front of me; I was watching the whole incident through a window that appeared to be a portal of subconscious. I could have saved him.
Paddy (Woofer) and Boogie (Barkley) were two more dogs that I never saw again, although I may never know exactly what happened to them. I was a young child, probably not past nine years old, when my family and I went on vacation. My father assured me that the dogs were being taken care of temporarily, and would be staying with good people around spacious land, and, believing him, looked forward to seeing them again upon our return. But I never did see them again, because my father let the "people" keep them, because the dogs and the "people" had taken to each other’s liking. Of course, I believed him: I was a naive, undoubting child. However, as every day dulls into another, I'm beginning to imagine the other alternative more vividly: perhaps they were executed. I cannot bear to ask my father about this, so I doubt I'll ever know exactly what happened.
Majerle is the greatest, though, and I am the luckiest Master in the world because I helped raise such brilliance. Rescued from an Animal Shelter, I quickly turned him into a confident, loving, compassionate animal, before turning him into the Mayor of Muttford.
The city of Muttford is a perfect city, because dogs are the penultimate creatures in existence. They don't complain, they don't judge colour, nationality, or gender, they are patient, they exhibit genuine understanding, they read other species better than any other. I have created and constructed the perfect city, using dogs to populate and govern it, because the animal kingdom deserves its liberty, as we all do, and dogs seemed an appropriate creature to start with.
There are plenty of other animal communities around the world, even some small towns, but no other species created a city, and no other city is nearly as perfect as Muttford.
Perfection is Perfect.
But I have to escape this state; I have to re-begin the progress of living and growing and learning.
I know what I'll do: I'll promise myself to read a book, the first book I find, right now. Actually, I'll multiply my second evolution even further, by reading two books, maybe three. Reaching and retrieving a trio of novels, I sat in glee as I looked down towards the covers of the worlds that I would soon visit. This should do it: three books should start to move me again. Then, I'll progress to newspapers. Then music. Then exercising. Then I'll walk around the clean, crisp, streets of Muttford, to meet the public and be the individual that I once was.
I will succeed, I will achieve. Though I may not be a hero, and probably never will be, I can learn to respect myself through my recreation and resurrection. I won't be an exit for much longer.
I burrowed my head into "1984" and hence began my new life.
The end of Majerle, Europe, Crowe, and the Master of Muttford