10/14/10: Way to shame me into updating again by commenting, people who comment! (Seriously, though, hi, welcome, and pull up one of the splintery old orange crates that we use for seating 'round these parts seein' as we can't afford no fancy chairs.)

The rules from
here still apply.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Left At The Railroad Tracks

The man drove hunched over the wheel, knuckles bulging yellowly beneath the skin of his hands. He cast the occasional quick glance at the truck's passenger seat, but mainly he kept his eyes forward. He had the headlights off, and the last streetlight had been about twenty miles back.

"Just a little farther," he muttered yet again. "Almost there. Almost there."

The boy stirred fitfully on the seat beside the man. It'd been a trick to get him into the vehicle with his wrists and ankles all bound up together like that, but once that was done, he hadn't moved much. A couple of blows to the head with a chunk of wood had helped. Now the boy barely moved but for the occasional twitch, or a flutter of lids over unfocused brown eyes. It'd been those eyes that had caught the man's attention in the first place.

"I guess you didn't want to play anymore," the man muttered, as he turned from the country road onto an even smaller one. "And that's fine. That's fine. But if playtime's over, then everyone has to take their toys and go home." The man glanced over at the boy again. "Time to put my toys away."

Woods grew up thick to either side of the road as they traveled on. At last the man slowed to a stop. He flicked his headlights on briefly, and the set of railroad tracks crossing the road reflected dimly back.

"Left," he said to himself, turning the truck in that direction. "Left. Left at the railroad tracks."

There was a faint path through the woods by the tracks, where a set of wheelruts could be seen if you knew enough to look; he followed them now, the truck bouncing along the uneven ground. A tree branch snapped against the passenger window, and the boy moaned thickly. His eyes opened fully for the first time since the trip had started.

"Hey," he said now, his voice fearful, but not panicked yet. "Hey, mister. Please. I just want to go home."

The man glanced over at the boy. Those were really wonderful brown eyes; dark, deep, promising all sorts of secrets. The man had learned lots of secrets from the boy during all those lovely days down in the basement. The boy had called for help, of course -- they all tried that, all the boys he had played with since discovering this game -- but to no avail. The man lived far from any neighbors, alone but for the playmates he would sometimes smuggle home in his truck.

"Please, mister," the boy tried again. "I won't tell anyone. Just... just let me go." He swallowed. "Right here is fine, even."

The man didn't answer, and the boy seemed to give up, falling silent again. When they reached the abandoned quarry, though, he tried one more time. "I just want to go home," he said to the man, and now he began to cry. "Why won't you let me go home?"

He struggled when the man tried to get him out of the truck, of course, but a couple swings of the tire iron and the boy went limp. The man dragged him to the quarry and sent him tumbling over the edge. The boy's body hit the still water with a loud splash. It was too dark for the man to see, but he imagined the boy sinking, falling to rest alongside all the other boys that the man had played with over the years.

"All done," he murmured, returning to the truck. "All cleaned up from playtime." He swung the truck around until it was pointing back toward the trail through the woods, and smiled as he started driving back toward the road. "Maybe I'll find some new toys to play with tomorrow."

Okay, so let me explain.

The comic shows a dog-man and a dog-dog. There is an obvious imbalance of power and of -- for lack of a better word -- humanity between the two of them. Why is this? Why does the dog-man get to drive the dog-dog around wherever he wants? Why should the dog-dog be subservient to the dog-man?

If you translated them into a human-man and a human-boy, what kind of relationship might you wind up with?

Serial killer and hapless victim, that's what.

See? It makes perfect sense!


Mad Monkey said...

Now that I get it, I can't *un*-get it. That's the problem with these anthropomorphic animal comics; cute little vignettes become horrifying once you think about the logical implications of their behavior. A human-man sitting in his car with his dog, driving out on the open road is kind of sweet in a folksy, treacly way -- but when it's a *dog-man* and a *dog-dog* (as you put it) there's an element of captivity and sapient horror to it. Why is the dog-man so much larger and more powerful than the actual dog? Are we supposed to see dog-man as a standing for men? It makes my skin crawl..

But at least we're not watching a Chicken-Lady eat at KFC or something.

Blog Post Frank said...

> an element of captivity and sapient horror

Yes, exactly! That sums up quite well the vibe I frequently get from Pluggers... it just doesn't quite work a lot of the time, and this is one of the more entertaining ways that it fails. (The one where the chicken-plugger uses old egg cartons as jewelry boxes comes to mind as well -- probably one of the most unintentionally creepy-yet-hilarious installments ever.)