dog cairn terrier belly eye

Brownie, storyteller

With the right amount of belly rubs, and if you listen close, you just might get one of Brownie’s famous stories…

She loves to sit out back and monitor the neighborhood. While I scratched her butt, she told me about her life before retirement – she used to be quite the detective, solving crimes and capers the world over. She met a man she never saw again but always hoped to.
On a train from Ankara, she was involved in the the investigation of a former socialite’s murder. There were 7 suspects, all characters from a pulp crime novel. One was a rancher there on a long-delayed vacation. He had killed the socialite because she was a spy. No one believed him but Brownie, and she helped him escape before the final stop. She still thinks about his rugged features and blue eyes…
Now she lives quietly, waiting for the time a breathless child comes to the door with a mystery to solve

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Has she told you about the time she accidentally made off with the Hope Diamond? It involved a chase through the French catacombs, into the back alleys of London, across the top of a zeppelin, and hanging from the skids of a helicopter. It was back in her private eye days, and besides the height, it’s the noise that’s the really surprising thing – helicopters are loud! She ended up landing it on her own and delivering the jewel thief into custody.

While sunbathing, she told me the fireworks last night reminded her of her time with the king of Siam – they had fireworks almost every night. It was a happy time, and she seemed wistful.

dog cairn terrier smile grass
Brownie’s eyes shine like stars when she has company. Today she told me of the time she booked passage on a steamer bound across the English channel. Cases had dried up and her business as an investigator was in danger. Seeking verdant shores, she headed to France. The voyage was to be quiet and quick, a turning of a page, but a storm came out of nowhere and the steamer came ashore, belly scraped on rocks. When she came to, the big dipper peeked down through a break in the clouds, and a Norwegian fisherman bent down to help her up. And that was the start of a whole new story…

With the sun setting and clouds moving in fast, it’s another great Saturday night with Brownie.
We dodged a few wet snowflakes, hollered for the neighbors not to get too comfortable, for Miss B had her eye on them, then huddled under a blanket. She started to get a bit drowsy, all warm and having her belly rubbed and full of treats… The pit pat of rain on the roof became the click clack of wheels on rails…
She stood in the dining car, blue smoke curling to the ceiling from the Colonel’s pipe, the others sitting at tables here and there, stewards by the doors to ensure no escape. There had been a murder, and Detective Brownie knew who was responsible. The Professor harumphed for her to get on with it. Unperturbed, Brownie eyed them all: the Conductor, not to be confused with the Maestro, the Captain, the Beauty Queen, the Countess, and the Duke, each with their own motive, each as untrustworthy as the next. Just as she raised her hand to point the finger, there was a horrible noise as the train derailed. Thrown clear by some miracle just a mile outside of Canterbury, Brownie was the sole survivor, the killer’s identity never voiced…

No better way to spend a Sunday evening than sitting on the back porch with my gal Brownie, sipping tea, passing judgment on the neighbors, and dreaming of all the ways to cook a chicken: fried, boiled, breaded, roasted, or stolen in the night, eaten raw beneath the porch while the farmer calls out with a pitchfork and heavy steps search in the wrong direction. That’s when I look over and realize we’ve been drinking teas from Long Island and gotten a little silly, stewing in the heat and humidity. Brownie laughs, that great burst of sound as she throws her head back, spilling some of her drink and sending birds into the air. She sighs and gets nostalgic about hunting before becoming civilized in the ‘burbs. I look at my watch, and she tells me to go, go grab life by the neck while you can!

In honor of the weather, she told me a story that began – It was a dark and stormy night… Mr. and Mrs. Jones knocked on her office door. Once out of the rain, they told of their missing daughter. Brownie took the case and tracked Samantha Jones from her bedroom, to a stolen coach, through the cars of an international train, into the country side, and finally a cave on the coast. A cult of the Old Gods had poor Samantha on a stone altar, the seas boiling, ready for the sacrifice. Brownie sprang into action, and there was more blood than the cultists bargained for. Whatever they had summoned dined on the leftovers as Brownie and Samantha fled the collapsing cave into the safety of the night!

dog cairn terrier look
Today she was ready to get outside to check the perimeter and cast a suspicious eye toward Sugar, the neighbor “dog.” She says she has evidence that Sugar is something else entirely and got frustrated with me when I wouldn’t give her a boost over the fence to get a closer look. She didn’t give me any other details whether Sugar is a pod person, shape changer, cyborg, nth dimensional creature, or an alien that looks like a dog, but she spent most of our visit glaring through the fence.

Brownie was hot on a new case today: just what are the neighbors hiding under their new pool? It seemed reasonable at first, the suburbs, summer, an above ground pool to beat the heat, but then the noises after dark began. A little night swimming? Teenagers sneaking out and being teenagers? So Brownie thought at first too, but then the mysterious lights – green, bobbing at waist height, what could they be? Binoculars ready, she’s been keeping vigil every night, watching the same pattern. So today, she had me create a diversion while she opened a secret tunnel beneath the fence. She cut me off when I began to scold her about digging in the yard, more important things to worry about, she said. When we regrouped, I was hot and out of breath, not in the best of moods, but all that paled in comparison to what she had found…

dog cairn terrier grass shaggy
The year was 1918. Spanish Flu arrived in the spring, and her man returned from The Front not long after. Masks were the hottest medical and fashion trend, and everyone was wearing one when Brownie arrived at the station, clapping her hat on her head in her hurry, scanning the arrival board. Her shoes clattered on platform three. She ducked to peer in the windows and stood on her toes to see over the crowd. Only his eyes were visible, but she recognized him right away, his posture, the tip of his cap, and his smile, though hidden, shined through the fabric. Running, she elbowed her way to him, and they met like two colliding trains to cheers and applause. Arm in arm, they went home, her mask wet with tears of joy.