Skinny Dogs and Spotted Horses, fiction by Catfish McDaris

Quick trad­ed a Bowie knife and an Arkansas tooth­pick for a cayuse with brown clouds across its white rump. The horse looked strong and knew how to dance and fly. Quick har­nessed a rope bri­dle and threw an old Mex­i­can sad­dle blan­ket over her. The horse gal­loped so fast, he thought his skin was peel­ing back like a shed­ding snake. Quick rode back to the sta­ble for his gear and the skin­ny black dog that he’d been giv­ing scraps to, fol­lowed them out of town. The first night they camped under some cot­ton­wood trees, he had some grain and there was scrub grass for the horse. He stirred up a pot of cof­fee and made some veni­son stew, throw­ing the dog some deer jerky. The stars were hap­py and mak­ing love in the sky. Then the dog start­ed fart­ing and the horse must’ve felt chal­lenged. The: who stepped on the bull­frog con­test, was on. Quick moved his bedroll back from the fire, he didn’t feel like get­ting all his hair singed off in case of explosion.

mcdarisCat­fish McDaris won the Thelo­nius Monk Award in 2015. He’s recent­ly been trans­lat­ed into Man­darin, French, Pol­ish, Swedish, Ara­bic, Ben­gali, Span­ish, Yoru­ba, Taga­log, and Esperan­to. His 25 years of pub­lished mate­r­i­al is in the Spe­cial Archives Col­lec­tion at Mar­quette Univ. in Mil­wau­kee, Wis­con­sin. He’s list­ed in Wikipedia. His ances­tors are from the Ani­waya Clan of the Chero­kee Nation.

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